As most of you are likely aware, over the past several years Our Town, Strasburg, Virginia, has been rocked by scandals which affected us both regionally and statewide. We were a town which had taken several black eyes with more to come. Council members were not working together, and could not get past petty jealousies to do what was right. Clearly changes were needed. In came Brandy Boies.

One year later, things are clearly changing in town. Strasburg has been relatively scandal free for the first time in years. Most importantly, we have a Council which is working together on behalf of the residents and businesses of Strasburg and not working against each other. In years past, Council members would often vote not based on what was right or wrong, but based on who supported a particular position. Council members were often insulting each other publicly while behind the dais and at work sessions, making it impossible to get things done to better Our Town. That seems to have changed now that we have Mayor Brandy. You’re seeing Council members of different ideologies work together to get good things done for Strasburg.

Take the Juneteenth Proclamation passed by Strasburg last month. The original version was written by yours truly, and Councilor Emily Reynolds wanted significant changes. In years past this resolution dies. But Mayor Brandy worked with us both to see what was important to each of us and what wasn’t and that guaranteed that my original proclamation was improved, thus passing 8-0. Councilor Reynolds’ work improved my original version.

Take careful notes here. A hard core Tea Party Member (myself) worked with a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren supporter (Reynolds) to get something done for Strasburg without any drama. This happened for two reasons. 1) Myself and Emily were willing to put aside partisanship and 2) Mayor Brandy worked with us to understand what the differences were and helped us both get past the differences. No hard sell, no twisting arms – just being her usual friendly self. Brandy’s “Go Team Strasburg” spirit is clearly catching. Brandy and I are on opposite sides of the political divide certainly at the county level — yet Brandy can talk to others who she may disagree with.

Most importantly, there’s been no “spiking of the football.” Councilors have gone from being in each other’s face publicly and privately and are now more likely to listen to someone who disagrees with them.

More work must be done. Strasburg still has a reputation of being business unfriendly, a reputation which is somewhat deserved. We need to get the Business Park filled with entrepreneurs which will improve the tax base. Council must always improve in the way that it listens to citizen concerns and bureaucratic procedures must be in place to serve the citizens, not to serve the process. However it is clear that Strasburg has clearly turned a corner, and this is due in no small part to Mayor Brandy and her “can do” spirit.

John Massoud is a member of the Strasburg Town Council and is the Chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Committee