Two SWVA sheriffs surprised to learn they are listed as members of a national political group | Latest titles

Two Southwest Virginia sheriffs were surprised this week to learn they are listed online as members of a controlled national political organization.

In a recent letter to the editor, Susan Stancill of Abingdon, Va., expressed concern that the name and photo of Washington County Sheriff Blake Andis appeared on the membership page of Protect America Now, an organization she called an “election-denying group of far-right sheriffs.” which is “categorically anti-immigrant”.

“The driving force behind this organization believes in the ‘big lie,’ which is very troubling when this is the most accurate and controlled election in our history,” said Stancill, chairman of the Democratic committee. of Washington County, Virginia. “They support the January 6 actions, which in my view are a betrayal.”

Despite his name and photo appearing on the site’s members page, Andis claimed not to know the organization and said he could not remember if he was a member.

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“What kind of organization is it? Andis said. “I have no idea. It doesn’t tell me anything.”

Although he has not confirmed his membership, Andis said he received emails from Mark Lamb, sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona and founder of Protect America Now.

“I’m not an active member or a paying member, nor do I vote on anything,” Andis said. “I don’t actively participate in it. I’ve had enough of what’s happening locally.

Grayson County, Va. Sheriff Richard Vaughan also said this week that he didn’t know why he was listed on the members’ page alongside Andis and other sheriffs around the country.

“It’s a surprise to me,” Vaughan said. “I know Sheriff Lamb and some of the things he does on the border, but I’m not an active member and have never attended any of their meetings.”

Andis and Vaughan aren’t the only sheriffs in Virginia who seemed perplexed by being named members of Protect America Now. The Loudoun Times-Mirror reported this month that Loudoun County Sheriff Michael L. Chapman also denied being a member, despite appearing on the members page. Chapman was fired at his request, the Times-Mirror reported; however, the newspaper, like Andis and Vaughan, did not identify the root cause of the apparent misunderstanding.

“I’ve seen a few emails going around where they’re soliciting members, but to my knowledge I’ve never joined as a member,” Vaughan said. “I saw some of their emails. It’s been a while, but it’s a surprise to me.

A July report from Reuters called Protect America Now a “right-wing sheriff group” that is part of a True the Vote coalition encouraging sheriffs “to pursue allegations of voter fraud,” the report said.

Oblivion isn’t a satisfying answer for Stancill, who wants to know how Andis got to the membership page and what he plans to do about it.

“I think the citizens of Washington County deserve to know where their sheriff stands on this issue and that his agency is transparent about how his funds are being spent and why,” Stancill said.

Protect America Now did not respond to a request for comment.

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