By Tom Jackman (Washington Post)
The Sterling man who was named to the Loudoun County library board of trustees last week, apparently without disclosing his past as a fervent anti-abortion protester, apparently will not join the board. Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), who nominated Andrew Beacham to the library board, said Saturday he will seek to have Beacham’s nomination withdrawn at a board of supervisors meeting next week.
Beacham, 31, is a former candidate for Congress from Kentucky, tea party political devotee and close associate of anti-abortion activist Randall Terry. He once joined Terry in tearing pages from the Koran in front of the White House on Sept. 11, 2010. More details about Beacham’s background, his explanation of his actions and why he agreed to join the Loudoun library board as one of its nine volunteer trustees are here.
Delgaudio said he was unaware, until contacted by me on Thursday, that Beacham had torn up a Koran or run for Congress. He said he met Beacham while knocking on doors in his Sterling district. By Thursday, the Loudoun board of supervisors had already confirmed Beacham’s nomination, through a consent vote taken in the board’s meeting on Jan. 2. Beacham had supplied only a four-paragraph resume to the board (linked here from the Real Loudoun blog) which did not list any specific jobs or education, only that he was “a Freelance Fine Artist and Videographer who has worked in the field of media production and broadcasting over the last 4 years.”
Much of that was with Terry, the founder of the Operation Rescue anti-abortion group, producing and directing videos. He said he moved to Sterling last year, and his LinkedIn profile notes that he is working on his bachelor’s degree.
Delgaudio had a change of heart on Friday and informed Loudoun board Chairman Scott York that he would move for the board to reconsider its approval of Beacham, and if that motion is approved, he would withdraw Beacham’s nomination, York said Saturday. York and other supervisors said they also were unaware of Beacham’s background before approving him.
“I don’t appoint these kinds of people to the library board,” Delgaudio said Saturday from Richmond, where he was protesting at the inauguration of Terry McAuliffe, in his role as head of Public Advocate, a conservative lobbying group. “We want someone going to the library board who can fit the mold of the Board of Supervisors,” meaning devoted to providing services to the community. “He does not reflect what I’m trying to accomplish as a supervisor.”
I asked why Beacham’s political views should matter if he is willing to put in the time and effort to serve without any political agenda on the library board, as Beacham told me he would on Thursday. “I’m sure he could do a great job,” Delgaudio said, “but we’re a county government, we’re not the U.S. Congress. This is not a U.S. Senate confirmation, and I’ve never confused the two.” I said Beacham said he would not try to drive the library board with a conservative view. “Then he should put his name on the ballot” and run for office, Delgaudio said.
After my Friday blog post, the blog Loudoun Progress noted that Beacham appeared with Delgaudio at a 2009 rally staged by Public Advocate outside an Obama appearance at Wakefield High School in Arlington. One photo shows them standing close together, appearing to call into question Delgaudio’s claim that he just met Beacham and didn’t know his politics. Delgaudio said he did not meet Beacham at that protest, and that outsiders whom he doesn’t know sometimes join his events. He said there had been media coverage of his protest the day before the Obama speech, which may have given notice to Beacham.
“I didn’t know he was there,” Delgaudio said. “He was not affiliated with us. He was there on his own. If he’s in one of the photos, I didn’t know it. He didn’t say anything to me. He was not part of my group and has never been part of my group.”
Beacham did not return a call Saturday seeking comment.