The Rappahannock Citizens for Community Empowerment, a/k/a “RCCE” Board of Directors (Executive Director Page Glennie, Vice Executive Director Marian Bragg, and Secretary/Treasurer Thomas Woolman) would like to respond to the letter to the editor in last week’s paper, titled “Walk It Like You Talk It.”
RCCE was founded in 2015 by a group of Rappahannock County citizens who were concerned about the disturbing trend in local government to ignore one of the bedrock principles of democracy: that government at all levels, but especially local government, is the servant of the people. We believe that people are the source of power and that an informed citizenry is critical to a healthy democracy.
With these principles in mind, RCCE was organized to (i) establish and foster good government at the local level in Rappahannock County; (ii) increase the general public’s and local officials’ knowledge and understanding of and respect for the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of Virginia, and other laws aimed at promoting open and honest government including the Virginia Conflicts of Interest Act, the Virginia Public Procurement Act, and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act; (iii) conduct seminars and training for local officials; and (iv) when appropriate, in cases of violations of said Constitutions or laws, take appropriate corrective and remedial action. RCCE was granted IRS recognition as a charitable organization under IRC 501(c)(3) in 2015. RCCE meetings are open to the public, and we invite everyone to participate.
Last year, RCCE membership grew by 300 percent, we purchased video equipment, established a website [www.rappcce.org] and YouTube channel [RCCE Rapp Record], and recorded and posted videos of public meetings.
This year, we are working on a FOIA training seminar and a seminar on the Conflicts of Interest Act. In addition to raising public awareness of citizens’ rights, these seminars benefit everyone in local government who are required to have annual training, and also save taxpayers money. We are also improving our website to bring citizens valuable resources to help them stay abreast of local government.
Like many other charitable organizations, including the NAACP, the ACLU, and locally, RLEP, RAAC, and Foothills Forum, our membership list and donors are not published. Keeping this information confidential is designed to protect the names of members and donors from personal attacks. Rather than discussing the issues and challenges that face our county, some people just want to discredit and blame the messenger.
The charges about Mike Biniek’s application for membership are false. We welcomed him with open arms. However, he changed his mind and demanded his application back.
We understand that some are upset by the changing local politics. We hope they can put their anger aside and work together to help our county. We encourage open and honest debate on the issues and challenges, because that’s the best way for our Rappahannock County community to find the best solutions.
Page Glennie, Marian Bragg, Thomas Woolman
RCCE board of directors
Note: Foothills Forum’s contributors are public: foothills-forum.org/contributors-2/