Jon Russell, town councilman running for mayor, presents a carefully crafted political persona: A family man, consultant, small business owner. Over the past two years citizens have witnessed a totally different Jon.
During the Black Lives Matter March last year beginning at Yowell Meadow Park, a counter-event was simultaneously hosted by Russell at Libertas Manor, which borders the Park. 2A supporters boldly brandished pistols and clip belts, clearly intent on intimidation of the unarmed, peaceful marchers. Chillingly, one of the participants stood armed at the fence line surveying the marchers with binoculars. Russell himself is an outspoken firearms supporter and gun owner. When questioned about these activities his response was that this was just a gathering of some of his hunting buddies. Is this the “New Energy” he promotes to unite citizens of Culpeper?
At the height of the pandemic, Russell on social media encouraged acts of civil disobedience hosting “Salon Days” at the his home, anti-masking, anti-vaccine rhetoric and promoting downtown tailgating events in opposition of social gathering recommendations. We’d likely be in a better situation now if leaders at the national and local level had encouraged science-backed protocols in lessening the effects of a worldwide pandemic.
Finally, Russell’s January 6 FaceBook post: “Patriots have breached the barricades of the US Capitol.” When confronted, he quickly deleted all posts and began furiously backpedaling saying his comment was “just a term of endearment.”