For the future of our party and our state, we have to do more to build our bench of candidates and support our grassroots activists. I’m running for Senate to bring new ideas to Richmond to move us forward. As a City Council member for the last eight years, I’ve seen first-hand how important our local officials are to quality of life, perceptions of government, and cultivating candidates for higher office. I’d like to see the Party prioritize four things:
1) Building a farm team starts in the towns, cities, and counties across Virginia. The Party should expand its communications to showcase the great work Democratic elected officials are doing in communities all across the Commonwealth – it’ll help with candidate recruitment, and it will help deliver the Democratic message of government that works for everyone.
2) DPVA should expand training and technical support to local Democratic campaigns, filling the gaps that often exist because local races generally involve fewer resources. The Alexandria Democratic Committee, my local committee, is hosting a candidate training series right now. Based on the level of interest the ADC candidate school has received, I know there is a need for it.
3) We have to promote young Democrats in high schools, colleges and in our communities. We should encourage and support young people getting involved in our politics and policy – up to and including encouraging YDs to run for office.
4) Our party has to focus on and unify around a clear vision and policy direction for Virginia. We should be supporting the development of our own policy think tank and should be organizing our local and state legislative plans around common themes and goals. This means more work in the off-season when the legislature isn’t in session, but it is critical work.
These four things are just a start, and I know many others are also making this argument. Doing things the same way we always have isn’t going to move us forward, so I’m excited to see this conversation taking shape. We need new ideas and leadership if we are going to win back the House and hold on to the Senate.