Last Thursday, September 30, the people of Sussex County were branded with another embarrassment at the hands of one of their elected officials. It is an embarrassment that we should NOT forget, particularly as we head to the polls this November.
The screenshot shown captures a text message exchange from that day— one in which a sitting Sussex County Commissioner, Chris Carney, lodged a threat against a constituent, because she does not share his political views. The Commissioner went further, branding that same constituent and elected official “ a Bitch”.
The text message exchange was between Commissioner Carney and Frankford Mayor Nick Civitan, and the constituent in question was Frankford Board of Education member Jodi Fernandez. In the text message, Commissioner Carney included a screenshot of the upcoming debate flyer being publicized by the Vrabel and Paul Campaign’s Facebook page, which contained a link to RSVP for the October 5 League of Women Voters’ Candidates Forum. Ms. Fernandez had decided to RSVP to the event, which was visible to her Facebook community, including Commsioner Carney.
Commissioner Carney screenshot, then circled Ms. Fernandez’ name for Mayor Civitan, and wrote the following:
“This bitch doesn’t know what she is in for.”
There is no room for confusion here, no pause for debate, and is no laughing matter or mere joke. This was a threat, plain and simple. The commissioner actively threatened a constituent because of political differences, full stop. He appears to have felt so strongly about his resolve to carry out this threat that he made his intentions explicit to his political ally, Mayor Civitan.
We do not exactly know what Commissioner Carney had in mind for Ms. Fernandez. He could have been considering among numerous forms of retribution, up to or including physical violence, property damage, slander, defamation, harassment, or more. We may never know the truth of his intentions, which is even more frightening.
What we do know is that the commissioner was abusing his considerable power to intimidate, insult, and defame a woman in his community because of her beliefs. We also know that he is quite guilty of perpetuating a toxic culture of misogyny, violence, and corruption in county politics, along with his Sussex County Republican Committee associates. Sadly, this is just one of many more examples….
This is unacceptable and disqualifying.
A few months back, in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, the Sussex County Commissioner board insisted on passing a “pro-respect” resolution rather than denouncing and calling out the hate groups and domestic terror elements that live and breathe right here in Sussex County. The same elements with whom the Commissioners openly associate with. Not even a year later, we are seeing just how hollow even just the “pro-respect” resolution really was. Clearly Commissioner Carney was not being respectful when he referred to Ms. Fernandez as a “bitch,” or when he threatened and menaced her simply because he dislikes her politics. Carney’s running mate, commsioner Director Dawn Fantasia, and current fellow commissioners are not demonstrating respect when they remain locked in a conspiracy of silence over this event or when they don’t follow their own resolutions.
In light of these developments, the Sussex County Democratic Committee is calling for Commissioner Carney to resign, effective immediately, and to end his bid for re-election to the Sussex County Commissioners Board. If this is how Commissioner Carney deals with constituents who disagree with him, it is clear he cannot be a good and reasonable steward of the public trust. He has betrayed his office, branded himself a hypocrite, and thoroughly embarrassed the county that he purports to serve. He must step down at once.
Our thoughts are with Ms. Fernandez and her family at this time, as well as any other community members Commsioner Carney may have also threatened, intimidated or harassed. We trust the authorities will do their job and carry out a thorough investigation into this matter.
Vote Vrabel and Paul for County Commission this November 2nd. Two men who fight to improve the lives of their constituents, not seek out ways to destroy them.
The Sussex County Democratic Committee