Tiziana Bottino, an elected Director of the Prince William County Soil and Water Conservation District, issued an apology after making a comment on a post on Facebook some deemed to be racist.
On Sunday, June 28, Bottino commented on a story that appeared on the Potomac Local News Facebook page, about the election of Tim Parrish as the new chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee.
“Yay now you have your token black person, congratulations!” Bottino wrote.
Potomac Local News posted a story about her comments about Parrish, who is black, on Thursday, July 2. The story also detailed other Facebook users’ reactions to her comment, with some calling it racist. Bottino declined to comment for the story, however, following its publication, Bottino emailed a statement to Potomac Local News.
“I apologize to Mr. Parrish and anyone else in the African-American community whom I offended. My comments were not directed at him personally, and I certainly did not mean to diminish his accomplishments or his worth,” Bottino wrote. “It is my hope that Mr. Parrish’s election as Chairman signals that the Prince William County Republican Committee is on a path towards increased inclusion. I understand that my word choice was wrong and I hope that Mr. Parrish will accept my apology.”
Bottino’s apology came with caveats, as she attempted to link her statement on Facebook with President Donald Trump.
“My intent was to point out the hypocrisy of the Republican Party which supports a President who just days ago retweeted — and subsequently deleted — a video of a supporter chanting “white power”, who ordered a group of Democratic Congresswomen of color to “go back where they came from,” who regularly incites violence against Black Lives Matter protestors, and who refuses to condemn white supremacists and Neo-Nazis,” wrote Bottino.
Also in her apology statement, she criticized former Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and his support for the 287(g) program that, in partnership with Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, employed trained county jail guards to identify potential illegal immigrants who had been charged with crimes, at the time they are processed into the jail.
Late last month, the county’s jail board opted not to renew the 287(g) program, which had been in place since 2007. The action was carried out over the objection of longtime Jail Board Chairman, Prince William County Sheriff Glendell Hill.
Since publishing the original story on Bottino’s comments, many who commented on the Potomac Local News story have called for Bottino’s resignation from her elected position.
Potomac Local News has learned Bottino was the organizer of a Black Lives Matter Family March, which took place a day before she made the comment about Parrish, at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 27 at the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge. The event was billed as a peaceful march for children and families, where attendees would participate in a 1-mile march from the county government center to a nearby police station Davis Ford Road.
Bottino was one of three Prince William County Soil and Water Conservation District Directors elected in November 2019. The district is managed by a five-member board, to include the three elected officials, an agent of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and a Director appointed by the state government.
The Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District is one of 47 such agencies in Virginia. The agency receives funding from both the county and the state.