Voice of Virginia: Campaigning Like It’s 1963

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    by Kim Drew Wright

    Liberal Women of Chesterfield County

    A local grassroots group will be “money bombing” their VA candidates in hopes to win back power in the largely Republican VA House – 100 seats up for grabs this November (Democrats currently hold only 34 in a state that went for Hillary).
    Die-in outside Dave Brat/Amanda Chase town hall 5/9/17
    Die-in 5/9/17 outside Brat town hall in Midlothian, VA with Together We Will and Indivisible.

    In 1963, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, was the year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Beatlemania was newly beginning in the states with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the US Post Office began using zip codes, the cost of a gallon of gas was 29 cents, and Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at Lincoln Memorial — just two hours north of Chesterfield County.

    Protestors outside a Dave Brat town hall. Nicole, 5/9/17
    Nicole Angela Subryan shows off her creative shirt at a protest outside a Dave Brat town hall 5/9/17 in Midlothian, VA. The registered nurse decided to get creative when Brat forbade signs inside the town hall.

    I wasn’t born until almost a decade later, so I have never seen the type of passion and civil engagement that is now boiling over in my county, throughout the state, and across the country. I founded Liberal Women of Chesterfield County a mere two days after the 2016 presidential election results. What started as a plea for like-minded folks to support each other, rapidly turned into 2,300 county residents actively participating in their government. For six months, I have been working full-time with no pay, despite those Republican rumors circulating, to gather strength for the Democrats in Chesterfield County so we can ensure our progressive values of equality don’t get abolished with the current administration. Many tough and talented, like-minded people, have joined the effort and we have created a force to be reckoned with in our area. LWCC has brought in candidates to speak to us, written letters to the editor of our local papers, advocated for bills in our General Assembly, attended rallies, protests, and marches, and mailed thousands of post cards to our representatives from Board of Supervisors to State Senators.

    We have also worked with our candidates early on, many of which, are ordinary citizens like me or you, that felt compelled after the presidential election to run for office. They need our excitement, passion, and dedication to help them win these districts. LWCC works with, not only, those candidates in Chesterfield County who are running against long-seated Republicans, but, also candidates in surrounding areas that have a good shot in this historical year to usurp the incumbent.

    LWCC members wear red for ed(ucation) at a Board of Supervisors work session 4/26/17.
    Members of LWCC wear red for ed(ucation) at a Board of Supervisors work session 4/26/17. Jenefer Hughes (right) is running for Commissioner of Revenue. 

    Our grassroots effort has drawn, not only our local county media’s attention, Chesterfield Observer, but national, and even international attention as well — UK News coverage.

    Our next strategy to help our VA House candidates is an LWCC Money Bomb — we’ll spotlight one candidate running for this November’s VA House race — ask for donations and volunteers for their campaign and precinct work. We’ll be sharing articles on Blue Virginia about the spotlighted candidate and asking Democrats from across the country to donate to our cause here in Virginia. One thing I’ve learned from the 2016 fiasco is that our local-level government is critical, and that each House seat counts regardless of if it’s in “your” district or not. LWCC slogan is “Each of our causes, is all of our causes.”

    Liberal Women of Chesterfield County logo with slogan
    LWCC logo with slogan.

    This can apply to the House seats, too, and, also, each of our states. None of us in this country that care about our basic civil rights and the freedom that America stands for, can afford to lose any ground — anywhere. We have to protect each other’s back. Virginia and New Jersey are the first states to test this with 2017 elections. We must win these seats. It is about more than these seats — it is about our basic human rights and what we are willing to do to stand up for each other.

    Some members of LWCC outside the Chesterfield County Courthouse 4/27/17
    Some members of LWCC outside Chesterfield County Courthouse 4/27/17 — show strength in solidarity. 

    We need your help to turn VA races blue and win back this country from the Tea Party that is holding Americans hostage. Please follow Voice of Virginia these next few months, meet our candidates that matter in VA this year, and GIVE so that we can impact these races and gain strength in numbers. Monday 5/15, I’ll be introducing Larry Barnett, for House District 27, to you. You’re going to love him!

    Current VA House Districts that fall (at least partially) inside Chesterfield County:

    HD 27 Larry Barnett
    HD 62 Sheila Bynum-Coleman
    HD 63 primary
    HD 65 Francis Stevens
    HD 66 Katie Sponslor
    HD 68 primary
    HD 69 Betsy Carr (incumbent)
    HD 70 primary