By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: Dec. 28, 2017 | 9:40 a.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – Wednesday evening, dozens of people packed into the Prince George County main boardroom, but it wasn’t for a public hearing or topic being considered by the county’s governing body. It was to witness history as five first-time elected officials took their oaths of office following the county’s first-ever staggered-term elections a month prior.
Floyd Brown, Jr and Marlene Waymack of the Prince George Board of Supervisors, Rob E.L. Eley, III and Chris Johnson of the Prince George School Board, and Treasurer Susan Clark Vargo were all joined by family, friends and fellow elected officials during the ceremony overseen by longtime Circuit Court Clerk Bishop Knott, Jr. and Chief Judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit Allan Sharrett.
Prior to the swearing in of the two women and three men, Sharrett offered remarks on the weight of what people gathered inside the standing-room only boardroom were witnessing.
“When you run for public office, you are basically putting yourself out there and you run the risk of losing, the risk of assault to your pride, and your reputation,” he said. “And these five persons have been willing to do that in the name of public service and I imagine it is particularly satisfying for them to see that the people have spoken and have expressed their confidence in these five individuals.”
The judge continued by reminding the audience that swearing-in events like the one held Wednesday is an example of a “uniquely American” event as one person has won and another has lost and the transition of power is made peacefully.
“The people have spoken and we transfer power in this country peacefully and orderly and that is something we are witnessing this evening,” Sharrett said.
Following Sharret’s comments, he was his duty to conduct the formal swearing in and, one-by-one, each of the five newly elected officials took their oaths with their left hands on a provided Holy Bible or one they brought, with some choosing to use a bible that was part of their family for their swearing in.
For each candidate, during and after their oath, there was clear emotion for them and those joining them and watching from the audience with some shedding a tear as they begin their time as elected officials representing the people of Prince George County.
These swearing-in ceremonies will become more common as, with the move to staggered-term elections, three seats on both the board of supervisors and school board will be on the ballot two years from now.
Brown, Waymack, Eley, Johnson, and Vargo will officially begin their individual elected roles starting January 1.