Jim Barnes
Although I have an academic background in journalism and communications, most of my career has been devoted to public information in local government. I worked as a freelance writer for several years in the early 1980s, and am excited to return to freelancing with Patch. I have earned degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Kentucky.
I have worked at all levels of government – federal, state, county and city – and especially enjoyed working at the local level, where I could respond most quickly to the needs of residents and see the impacts of my work. I recently completed a 22-year tenure as Director of Public Information for the Loudoun County government.  Part of my job was to understand the workings of government and help explain it to the citizens.  Over the years, I have observed hundreds of public meetings from a staff perspective, and have produced thousands of press releases, brochures, reports, television programs and webpages. In this role, I have always remained publicly neutral on the issues, and have never been involved as an insider in local politics – just as an interested observer and an informed voter. I have found that neither party has a monopoly on good ideas and decisions. While I consider myself to be moderate-to-liberal on most issues, I am not registered with any political party, and I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Another important lesson I have learned is that on most issues there is no self-evident, right answer.  If there were, there would be no need for a public debate.  And sometimes the most obvious solution doesn’t turn out to be the best one. I am married, and my wife and I have three children (two college graduates, and one currently in college).  I am a graduate of Leadership Loudoun, and served for many years on its Board of Directors.  I am also an active member of Leesburg Presbyterian Church, an ordained Elder and Deacon, and currently as Clerk of the church’s governing board.
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