Editor:

To all my supporters, I am grateful for your interest during this campaign and your support in my desire to serve you as sheriff. My humble request is for everyone, especially my supporters, to treat the other candidates with the respect the office of sheriff deserves. I ask that you please refrain from making negative comments about them on social media and elsewhere.
With the arrival of technology and the ever-present nature of social media, bullying has the potential to fill all aspects of life, for adults as well as children. Cyberbullying has become a concerning issue within our schools. Where bullying traditionally remained confined to the school playground and hallways, it is now possible for a child to be impacted by simply reaching into his or her pocket and pulling out a smartphone. The unfortunate consequence of this reprehensible act is magnified by its constant presence in the world of social networks.
I firmly believe in respecting and treating others as you wish to be treated. Although it is easy to gravitate towards the negativity during the campaign season, I believe that we can use this election to show our children how to treat those with whom we disagree with humility, understanding and respect. I believe it is our responsibility to show the younger generations how to express our opinions and views in a positive manner without the negative comments.
I believe each candidate is truly passionate about their views and has the best interests of Botetourt County at heart. Running for public office is a sacrifice in itself and each candidate should be commended for having the courage to step up and declare the intent to serve our community.
I encourage my supporters to please take a moment to think about the example we are setting for our kids and to seriously consider retracting any negative comments that may have been made about my fellow candidates. When this election concludes, I want us all to feel proud of the campaigns we have run. Most importantly, I want us to be able to show our families that it is possible to respectfully disagree with another person yet still live and work together in the great county of Botetourt.

Matt Ward

Candidate for Sheriff

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