OPINION: Democratic leader: Stop ‘secret’ attacks on GOP Councilwoman Hughes


To the editor:

As the chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, I want to address some of the recent media activity regarding Councilwoman Alicia Hughes and its relationship to the ADC. Like many of you, I have been following the online and printed commentary regarding Councilwoman Hughes and her tenure on city council and past activities outside Alexandria.

Let me state emphatically that neither I nor my organization is responsible for any of the “secret” comments or accounts you are seeing. We did not set up and are not responsible for the fake Twitter account, the Facebook page, nor the most recent “Impeach Alicia Hughes” website. We have not coordinated, nor have we attempted to coordinate with any outside groups or individuals that may be responsible for these activities.

Moreover, we are not encouraging anyone, including any of our members, to hide behind the veiled curtain of the Internet to make comments regarding Councilwoman Hughes’ past or tenure on City Council. Simply put, the ADC is not behind in any of this recent, “secret” commentary.

There has been some discussion that the ADC is behind the current activity. That implication is erroneous at best. While some ADC members have publicly commented on Councilwoman Hughes’ activities, they do so as individuals and do not speak for me or the ADC as an organization. They are also doing so as citizens concerned about their community.

But, what you will notice is that these members are not afraid to publicly identify themselves. That is the difference in this situation. While we believe Alexandria voters are entitled to knowledge of Councilwoman Hughes’ past activities and record as a council member, we also believe Councilwoman Hughes is to be afforded the opportunity to know who is raising these questions and to address those individuals or groups publicly. From our perspective, the court of public opinion should be as fair and level as possible.

As the ADC has demonstrated in its decision to require our Democratic council candidates to have their candidate petitions verified by the Alexandria Registrar of Voters, the organization believes in openness and transparency, including the right of someone, including Councilwoman Hughes, to have full knowledge of who is raising questions about her activities.

I personally believe that secret attempts to sully a person’s name are truly out of bounds. Party aside, Councilwoman Hughes has the right to defend herself and her record. Thus, I call for the individual or group that is responsible for these “secret” and veiled comments toward Councilwoman Hughes to publicly identify themselves and engage in open, honest debate.

Secret and veiled comments regarding Councilwoman Hughes are not “civil” in any sense of the word and shadow commentary only creates mistrust within our community. As an elected official, Councilwoman Hughes’ past activities and City Council record on are fair game for public inquiry. Those inquiries, however, should not come from the shadows.

– Dak Hardwick,

Chair, Alexandria Democratic Committee