Editorial – Craziness from IW GOP 

Published 4:27 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

The Isle of Wight County Republican Party needs to take the keys away from the frat boy running its social media.

In case you missed reporter Stephen Faleski’s article on the local party’s latest sophomoric stunt, its official Facebook account posted this garbage when Isle of Wight County Schools, on the school district’s own page, congratulated Colleen Loud, director of accountability and assessment, as the May recipient of the division’s “Inspire, Succeed, Lead, Empower,” or ISLE, Award:

“Is it true that you are allowing students to identify as a ‘Furry’ on top of that does the board even know what’s even going on about that?”

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The post was so absurd that School Board Chair Jason Maresh, whose conservative bona fides are impeccable, took to Facebook himself to condemn it.

“I generally avoid responding to Facebook comments, but as the Chairman of the IWCS Board I feel compelled to express my complete and total disgust with this sort of unwarranted nonsense on a post aimed to recognize achievements within our public schools,” Maresh wrote.

Until he either takes personal responsibility or publicly reprimands the culprit, all eyes are on party Chair Bill Yoakum, known, among other things, for his involvement in the local leadership class’ campaign to intimidate Renee Bevan, a concerned Smithfield citizen who regularly holds elected leadership accountable for the unchecked residential growth that threatens this community’s small-town character and charm. That leadership includes Yoakum ally Renee Rountree, the current county supervisor and former town councilwoman who freaked out over a longshot write-in candidacy for the seat she believed should be hers. 

In the supposedly nonpartisan supervisor election, Yoakum dug up “dirt” on the write-in candidate, Chris Torre, and fed it to then-Supervisor Dick Grice and his anointed successor, Rountree, we learned from a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request earlier this year. 

This is what the Isle of Wight GOP has become during a time when Virginia Republicans should be riding high over the success of one of the nation’s most popular governors, Glenn Youngkin, and polls showing a real shot at turning Virginia red in this fall’s presidential race. Important stuff, in other words.  

Instead, the person running its Facebook account pedaled in the debunked propaganda that local schools are accommodating so-called “furries,” a subculture of people who apparently would rather be cats than humans. 

Yoakum, who’s been in hiding since Faleski asked him about the now-deleted Facebook post, needs to either man up or step aside and let the grownups have control of the Isle of Wight Republican Party.