I’ve heard a bit of concern expressed already about new Democratic delegates’ reelection chances in 2019. For one thing, there won’t be a governor’s race on the ballot two years from now, so traditionally the electorate tends to be much smaller and skews whiter/older/more Republican. Yet as long as Trump remains “president,” I expect Democratic voters to stay fired up and to turn out in much larger numbers than they had in the past, so I’m not sure how much we need to panic about that. Still, it’s a legitimate concern, given that the “blue wave” we enjoyed in November 2017 might not exist in November 2019. The bottom line is that we simply don’t know what will happen two years from now.
So how do newly elected Democratic delegates, like Danica Roem, help best set themselves up to ensure that their tenures in the Virginia General Assembly will be longer than one term? For starters, by working hard for their districts, by being on top of legislation, by putting in – and passing – legislation that benefits their districts, by not getting distracted with new-found celebrity or whatever and instead putting their noses to the grindstones (and keeping them there). Yeah, it’s kinda boring, but combined with strong constituent services and – of course – fundraising, this is how it’s got to be done. Which is why I’m happy to see Delegate-elect Danica Roem’s latest Facebook post, which stresses that she plans to “spend as much time as possible doing my homework: making sure my staff and I read every single bill that comes our way” and “defin[ing] myself as a policy wonk who does her homework, is well-prepared each day and gets bills passed.” Exactly!
A note about the upcoming session:
I receive a ton of invitations to various events occurring in and out of Richmond during session (Jan. 10-March 10) every day and I’m thankful for the invites.
That said, during my first year in Richmond, I need to spend as much time as possible doing my homework: making sure my staff and I read every single bill that comes our way. My goal is to define myself as a policy wonk who does her homework, is well-prepared each day and gets bills passed.
On Fridays, I’m leaving Richmond as soon as I can so I can spend as much time around my family as I can, so I don’t plan on spending many Saturdays and Sundays in Richmond unless I absolutely have to be there for official business.
So most of my nights after the caucus, floor session, subcommittee and committee meetings adjourn, I’ll be holed up reading bills or hopefully talking to constituents, staff or stakeholders for particular bills. I’m not going to have much of a social life and will probably be able to fulfill my pledge to make government boring again rather quickly.
I already have a favorite restaurant in Richmond and long-time friends who live in the area, so I will make some time to socialize with them. Other than that, I have a lot of reading ahead of me.