Phyllis Randall

Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Loudoun County, Virginia

As Chair At-Large of the Board of Supervisors for Loudoun County, Virginia, Phyllis Randall oversees one of the fastest growing counties within the United States—one with more than nine million square feet of data centers, through which 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic passes on a daily basis. Randall has a long history of public service on both local and state levels, and she made history as both the first person of color and the first African American women to chair a county board in Virginia.

With a background as a mental health therapist specializing in substance abuse and justice-related services, Randall is passionate about creating a community where every person can share their thoughts, be heard, and have access to fair and equitable resources.

In addition to her work as Chair At-Large, she serves on the board of several transportation, land use, governance, health, economic mobility, and economic development initiatives.

As Loudoun’s Chair At-Large, what does a typical workday involve for you? What sorts of activities and decisions are you involved in, and are there any particular skills you find yourself drawing on regularly?

A typical work day for me involves a morning meeting with a county stakeholder group, meetings with county staff on multiple different issues, an afternoon public event, several dozen constituent emails about any variety of things—which I like to answer myself—and potentially an evening meeting on a dais either in the county or on one of the regional boards that I serve on, including being Chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) and on the Metro Washington Council of Governments (COG). I also serve on the Board of Directors on both the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) as well as as Chair of the National Association of Counties’ Programs and Services Committee.

The county is currently re-writing our Zoning Ordinance for the first time in decades—which will involve around-the-clock meetings from September through the Thanksgiving and maybe even December holiday breaks. Every member of our board—other than one who is not running—is also up for re-election.

I find myself regularly drawing on my skills as a mental health therapist. I regularly think to myself that I use my skills from my former profession every bit as much as I did when I practiced. I am an enormous extrovert, so that also helps to get people out of their comfort zones and be willing to drill down on issues to find better policy outcomes. I have tried my best as Chair At-Large to try to bridge divides between the “East” vs. “West” and residents vs. data centers. It’s an ongoing challenge, and one that I wrestle with constantly. I always seek to do a better job of bridging those divides because that is what our county and our country needs more of right now: trying to respect one another and being willing to listen to others’ thoughts and opinions.

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