CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – The Campbell County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution and call themselves a “First Amendment sanctuary.”
The resolution calls Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order unconstitutional.
“We are supporting the rights of our citizens to engage in commerce, to move freely, and have the freedom of assembly,” said Supervisor Matt Cline, who helped draft the resolution.
Cline said it’s a symbolic stance as a locality, claiming Northam is abusing his power by ordering state agents to force businesses to close if that business is not complying with the guidelines.
“That’s unconstitutional. I think it’s tragic,” Cline said.
At the same time, Cline clarified what’s not in the resolution.
“What is not in the resolution is an anti-mask mandate. There’s none of that. I have a mask, I wear it as I need to. We believe that the wearing of a mask, social distancing, all those are good practices,” said Cline.
However, the resolution doesn’t state that people should wear masks or social distancing.
Supervisor Steve Shockley believes residents should have the choice.
“It should be up to the people, the individuals, the business owners; not one person in a different location, in Richmond, who decides what’s best for the individuals,” Shockley said.
The board also encouraged the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office not to participate with state agents in enforcing the governor’s regulations.
Northam called Campbell County out during Wednesday’s press conference.
“I expect that law enforcement will be part of the solution here; and I would remind everybody in Virginia that we are not the enemy. This should not be divisive. It shouldn’t pit one group of Virginians against another. The enemy is the virus,” Northam said.