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I Owe You an Apology

I own two radio stations licensed to serve Martinsville, Virginia. Those licenses, like all broadcast licenses, obligates me to serve the needs and interests of my community. I am required to seek out issues that are the most significant in our community and treat these issues with proper air time.

This responsibility is the impetus behind this commentary that I do on a daily basis. My aim has always been to provide you with my honest opinion about issues of public interest and then provide you with airtime to voice yours. To that end, today, I owe you an apology.

Many people in town knew that Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Clay Gravely has been battling colon cancer for quite some time. He appeared on our airwaves to discuss his intentions of serving another term while it was rumored if Gravely won his re-election bid, he would resign and appoint Andy Hall, his Deputy Assistant, as his replacement. I chose to avoid the topic, and that deprived you, as a consumer of our programming, of information that was relevant to the topic. The rumor turned out to be true. Gravely did win re-election, and before taking the oath of office for a second term, he resigned and appointed Hall to serve in his place.

Regardless of what is said, there is a nagging question we all have as to whether Gravely knew before the election he would not be able to discharge his duties due to his health, or if his health genuinely deteriorated to the point he came to this realization after the fact. Gravely’s action is legal, there is no question regarding this, but, if it was by design, then he effectively used the process to circumvent the intent of the election.

All else aside, make no mistake, the office of Martinsville’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, an elected position, will be held by someone who was not elected for a period of time. If one holds true to the intent of an election, then one will go to great lengths to avoid this possibility.

On election day my wife asked me who I was going to vote for in this particular race. I told her I was casting my vote for Joan Ziglar, which I did. It is my opinion both Ziglar and Gravely were excellent choices, but I feared Clay’s health would not allow him to continue for another term. I was right, and I had the opportunity, and therefore the responsibility, of informing you of this, but I chose not to. An informed public might have chosen a different outcome in this election, and I was negligent in not presenting this information.

I pray for Clay’s restored health. I pray for his family during the difficult time. My words today are in no way intended to malign him in any way. My responsibility to you requires of me to be blunt, honest, and forthright. Sometimes these requirements are perceived as being unkind. I have accepted this fact in the past, but in this matter, this time, I failed.

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