About

Preserving Virginia’s history and creating a more prosperous future for all Virginians.

Our History

The Virginia Council was formed in the winter of 2021 after two long years of ugly, divisive, and often physically destructive cultural conflict across Virginia. 

A growing number of officials, students, and activists took their private support of savage iconoclasm public, leading to the widespread destruction of world class art installations and free speech in the public square.

Innocent citizens were harassed, threatened, and attacked on the streets and at home in the state’s capital city. Independent small businesses were destroyed by misguided activists, only to then be forcibly closed for months and hyper-regulated by an overzealous governor and mayors wielding “emergency” powers.

National landmarks that told the story of Richmond’s Civil War history were very symbolically attacked. The debate began with calls to move statues to museums and battlefields. Now, many of the historical markers that lined Monument Avenue for a century have been dismantled, melted, or dumped at the municipal sewage treatment plant. This history-erasing campaign is one final lie and insult to those who seek to study and understand the complexities of the past so they are not repeated.

The Virginia Council was formed to take legal and cultural action to save the state’s monuments, art, and historic sites. We educate the public on the significance of these historic resources and provide a space where Virginians can build a society that learns from the past while paving a way to the future.

Since 2021, hundreds of Virginians have joined our volunteer movement to take personal responsibility for their communities and neighborhoods while making their voices heard beyond partisan politics. 

Our mission is ongoing—to preserve Virginia’s history and craft the most prosperous future for all of its citizens. Join The Virginia Council and help us build a better Virginia today!

Our Council Leadership

As proud citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is our duty to do the hard work of identifying opportunities to overcome partisan politics and build a more prosperous Virginia for all. Get to know our council leadership.

Advisory Group Officers

Mr. John Reid

is founding chairman of The Virginia Council, and in that role leads a team of educators and activists who are committed to preserving Virginia’s cultural heritage and best traditions. He is also an award-winning host of one of America’s longest running morning shows at NewsRadio WRVA in Richmond. He speaks across the Commonwealth and United States to audiences offering analysis of global politics and advocating for smart, proven, conservative public policy and effective communications messages that challenge stereotypes and forge new solutions to old problems. Reid previously served as the director of editorial communications for the U.S Chamber of Commerce and was senate communications director for U.S. Senator George Allen of Virginia. He was also elected and served as the president of the bi-partisan U.S. Senate Press Secretaries Association. Reid was also a Richmond television news anchor, an investigative reporter, and led communications seminars for the new parliament of Iraq in Baghdad during the war. During the turmoil of the so-called “Arab Spring,” Reid became a partner and director of international development in one of Washington, D.C.’s most influential global consulting firms and was based in the Middle East. Reid has successfully climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef, camped on safari in the African Serengeti, and kayaked with humpback whales in Antarctica. He is a 1992 graduate of Baylor University and resides in Richmond.

Mr. William H. (Bill) Byrd

is director of research and documentation at The Virginia Council. He has spent over forty years involved in Virginia’s political process, as a journalist, political and government affairs analyst, and activist. Bill is a Portsmouth native, who moved to Richmond in 1979 to cover government and politics for The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star and spent twelve years reporting in the paper’s capitol bureau, where he won three Virginia Press Association awards. Bill later spent almost three decades as media relations coordinator, government affairs manager, senior executive writer, and director of corporate public policy with Richmond-based Dominion Energy. Bill earned his B.A. in English from Old Dominion University, an M.B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an Accreditation in Public Relations professional certification from the Public Relations Society of America. Bill is committed to protecting and preserving the Founding Fathers’ reputations and legacy and protecting and preserving the Commonwealth’s heritage sites and its priceless historic art.

Dr. Ann McLean

is director of preservation and education coalitions at The Virginia Council, where she draws on her experience as an art and architectural historian, an educator, and builder of a thriving classical educational program. Ann was born and raised in Charlottesville and Lynchburg, VA, and received her B.A. in English literature from Davidson College in North Carolina. During college she interned at the National Archives and studied at St. John’s College, Oxford. After graduation she worked for Sotheby’s Auction House in New York, and for a national newspaper in Washington, D.C., before returning to Charlottesville to earn a M.A. and Ph.D. in art and architectural history from the University of Virginia. She worked in the curatorial department of Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson researching and recording the provenance of Jefferson decorative arts and furniture. She moved to Richmond in 1993, where she served on the Council for Historic Richmond. In 2010, Ann co-founded Hunter Classical Christian School, and also helped establish St. Jude’s Anglican Church. She has served as HCCS’s fundraiser, board chair, head of school, and art teacher. After ten years as head of school, she left to serve on The Jefferson Council alumni free speech alliance of The University of Virginia, as the chair of the Student Liaison Committee. Ann loves oil painting, dogs, hiking, reading quality poetry and accurate history, and being a wife, mother and recent grandmother. She is excited to preserve Virginia’s history and artistic achievements and America where her family has lived since before the Revolutionary War.

Mr. Robert Moore

is an officer on The Virginia Council’s advisory group and the administration associate at Common Sense Society, having previously served as special assistant in the office of the president. He was previously an education associate at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an educational, research, and human rights nonprofit. He received a B.A. from Clemson University, where he studied political science. Born and raised in historic Upperville, Virginia, Moore is passionate about preserving Virginia's rich heritage and strengthening communities across the state.

Mrs. Elizabeth Stiff

is an officer on The Virginia Council’s advisory group and the chief communications officer for Common Sense Society where she is responsible for building innovative strategies for traditional press and new media outreach, product and event marketing, partner development, employee communications, and creative asset design. She was previously the founding partner of an Emmy award-winning marketing firm, where her communications and marketing success spanned the world of public policy, sports, corporate, and nonprofits. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Good Morning America, and Politico. Originally from North Carolina, Stiff studied political science at the College of Charleston.

Mr. David Talbot

is an officer on The Virginia Council’s advisory group and the executive vice president of Common Sense Society, an international nonprofit network with the mission to strengthen citizen competency by promoting the principles of liberty, prosperity, and beauty. He is chiefly responsible for the development and implementation of strategy, and has fifteen years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, programming, management, and governance. He was formerly chief of staff at the congressionally authorized Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an educational, research, and human rights nonprofit. He has worked as a construction laborer, a substitute teacher, a camp cook, a collegiate athletics statistician, an industrial laundry equipment installer, an oil and gas lease researcher, a ghost writer, a security officer, a janitor, and a grocery store clerk. He serves as treasurer of the National Civic Art Society and graduated cum laude from Hillsdale College.

Advisory Group Founding Members

Deb Arnold

Laszlo Balint

Don Blake

Sandy Brindley

Philip Hamilton

Diana Hollett

Maria Jones

Bob Keeler

James Manship

Aretina Rogers

Marion Smith

Philip Strother

Dale Wheary

Joe Wright

Sandy Wright