26 years old; Moved to Charles Town with husband in 2019; Republican Party candidate
Community Service Experience — With an infant and a toddler I unfortunately don’t have as much time to participate in community service as I’d like. Although, I am a commission liaison for the Parks and Rec Board and I am also a member of the Telamon Board where we work to bring affordable housing in the Eastern Panhandle.
Work Experience & Education — While in college I interned for Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and Senator Ted Cruz. After college I worked at National Review and held various fellowships with the Heritage Foundation, First Liberty Institute, and Charles Koch Institute. I graduated with a Bachelors in Political Science from Saint Mary’s College and a supplementary major in Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 2018. I completed a masters in public policy from Liberty University in 2021 and am currently working on my PhD in Public Policy at Liberty University.
The candidate’s responses below were edited only for clarity & spelling.
What made you decide to run for County Commissioner?
As the daughter of an immigrant I grew up with a great appreciation and indebtedness to our country. I decided to run for commissioner because I wanted to give back to the community and being a mom to two young boys I wanted to make sure Jefferson County is a family-friendly place.
What experience and expertise do you bring to the role of County Commissioner?
I was appointed to the Commission in May 2021 [to fill a seat vacated by the resignation of Josh Compton] and have spent the past year and a half serving in the position. Prior to the Commission I worked for National Review where I was responsible for coordinating events and coalition building. I worked alongside members of the White House, Congress and media to host important policy-related events, round tables and briefings. These experiences gave me the ability to build relationships and work with a variety of stakeholders and I can apply that here in Jefferson County.
How do you plan to engage with county residents to ensure that the decisions of the Commission reflect the interests and concerns of all residents?
I’m two things, a mom, and a PhD student. That means that I know how to put others’ interests before my own and also how to objectively look at all angles of something to determine the best outcome.
What are the most important issues you expect the Commission will need to address in the next few years?
Over the coming years I see the Commission having to address the issue of balanced growth. I want to make sure that Jefferson County is a place full of opportunity, so that our families don’t have to cross into other states for recreation, and our children can not just grow up here but find jobs and stay here! While doing this it is essential we preserve our rural character and agricultural heritage.
What changes would you make to how the Commission conducts its business?
One change I would like to see is for the Commission to adopt more evening meetings. While we do record our meetings and allow virtual attendance I know that many members of the public would like to attend in person but cannot due to work conflicts.
At the end of your term, what is the one thing that you would hope people remember most about your service on the Commission?
I believe in term limits and that we need true citizen representatives, for that reason I am only going to run for one term. At the end of my service to the community I hope that people remember me as someone who genuinely wanted to help and make Jefferson County a better place for the next generation.
The County’s comprehensive plan will need to be reviewed and updated during your term. How would you suggest the Commission approach this review process?
I believe that community input will be paramount when it comes to reviewing the comprehensive plan. We need to be as transparent as possible and make sure that our meetings are being posted, and posted again!
Why should voters elect you?
Voters should vote for me because I’m not a career politician or candidate — I’m a mother raising young children in Jefferson County who wants what’s best for her community. For decades we have seen the same names on the ballot every election year, and I think that needs to change. I strongly believe in term limits and having true citizen representation. Once my time is complete as a commissioner, I will not seek re-election or any other elected position and will return to life as a private citizen and stay-at-home mother.
Clare Anne Ath – Jefferson County Commission Candidate (Charles Town District)
In 2022, there are three candidates running for the Charles Town seat on the Jefferson County Commission (voters can select 1):
Clare Ath is the Republican Party candidate.
Dale Manuel is the Democratic Party candidate.
David Tabb is the Mountain Party candidate.Staff Contributor