By Donald Braden
Required Disclosure: My name is Donald Braden. I am the founder of The Full Slate Project and Full Slate Consulting. I am presently under contract with Friends of Kimberly Anne Tucker, candidate for Virginia Beach District 81.
Important campaigns this fall and Democratic women are leading the way!
Virginia is the epicenter of the political fight this year. It’s proximity to DC means it is a hotbed of activism from all sides. The witnessed first-hand most of the flood of people that poured into the capital for the Women’s March on Washington.
Well, women in Virginia have kept the march going right into the fall campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates campaign. What is happening is truly inspiring to see.
VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES OVERVIEW
- Number of Delegates = 100
- Republican-held seats = 66
- Democratic-held seats = 34
- Seats not contested by Democrats in the last cycle = 44
- Contested races Republicans needed to win to secure majority last cycle = 7
- Constituents per House District = 80,010
- Constituents represented by Democrats = 2,720,340
- Constituents Democrats DID NOT SEEK to represent = 3,520,440
MORE OVERVIEW BUT EXCITING NEWS ABOUT THIS FALL’S RACES
- Number of Democratic Candidates = 88
- Contested races Republicans will need to win to secure majority = 39
- Increase in number of Democratic Candidates from last cycle = 32
- Total constituents Democrats are seeking to represent this fall = 7,040,880
- Constituents Democrats are not seeking to represent this fall = 960,120
- Number of Republican Candidates = 72
- Contested races Democrats will need to win to secure a majority = 23
Fifty-five of the sixty-six Republican-held seats are being contested by Democrats. Thirty Women make up more than half of these challenges to Republican incumbents.
See below the fold to learn about these candidates. Click the District number for links to district profiles, click on their name to connect with some element of the candidate’s web presence. Most of all, learn about and support these women leading the way in Virginia. We all need to follow their example.
Here they are:
-Southwest Virginia means everything to me. I value the love and respect we have for each other, and the hard work we do to support our families. I like the fact that we Southwest Virginians are proud, but also not afraid to let our soft side show.
Here in the mountains—our home—we have our own unique art and culture, inspired by animals, wildflowers, beautiful sunny days, and rolling thunderstorms we can hear for miles. There’s a beauty to this life that can stand out because of some good old-fashioned peace and quiet.
Currently, I am a public defender. I represent some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens including adolescents, the indigent and the mentally ill. I am also an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College.
I was born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia. While at Petersburg High School, I earned a full scholarship to Virginia Military Institute and enrolled in the third class of female cadets to attend the historically all-male college. One of the reasons I decided to attend VMI was because I believe that women should be afforded the same educational opportunities as men.
Flo Ketner is the Democratic candidate for the 7th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. A stay-at-home mother of three children, Flo felt compelled to become civically engaged after last year’s elections by joining the New River Valley, Virginia chapter of the Indivisible Project and participating in the Women’s March in Washington. After discovering that the current incumbent was going to be running for reelection unopposed, Flo decided to throw her hat into the ring and provide a voice for the disenchanted voters of the district.
Stephanie is a community activist and a public school teacher. After graduating from Franklin County High School she moved to Florida to attend college. But her love for Virginia and the area brought her back home in 2012. Stephanie has has faced massive student loan debt, worked 60+ hour work weeks in a local factory, married and transitioned to teaching while raising three children. She knows firsthand the plight of Virginia’s working families and has remained dedicated to helping others through her volunteer work with local churches and nursing homes.
Like millions of other Americans in 2017, Wendy decided that she had to get off the sidelines. She co-founded an Indivisible chapter in the predominantly red Clarke County, and grew the organization to over 300 members. Now, she’s running for the Virginia House of Delegates to take her wide-ranging experiences and two decades in the district to advocate for us in Richmond.
She believes that our government should give everyone a fair shot. Virginia should be a place with job opportunities, safe roads, clean air, and equal opportunity. Wendy has the experience, perspective, and heart to represent District 10 in the Virginia House of Delegates.
When I was a kid, my grandfather told me, “The basis of my knowledge comes from reading the newspaper every day.”
After a while, mine did too. In fact, I ended up majoring in journalism and spent the last 10.5 years reporting the news, including nine years in Prince William County, my lifelong home area as a resident of Manassas.
Djuna Osborne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with her BA in English and an MSW from the University of South Carolina. She has an 11 year career in community mental health treating impoverished individuals with chronic medical and mental health issues, substance abuse, and acute crisis in hospitals, jails and clinics. She currently has a private practice in Roanoke County serving a variety of clients throughout the Roanoke Valley. Her profession has taught her the importance of affordable, accessible health care and the consequences of not having adequate funding for mental health services or our schools. Djuna chose social work as her career path because her goal in life is to provide a voice for the voiceless.
Running to represent Virginia 20th House District including the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro and Augusta, Highland, and Nelson Counties.
“As a lifelong Virginian and a longtime resident of Staunton, I am eager to represent you in the House of Delegates; fighting for working families, fully -funded public education, protecting the environment, and promoting economic growth and development. I ask for your vote on November 7, 2017“– Michele Edwards
Kelly Fowler is a Virginia Beach local running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 21st District. Kelly and her husband Dave were raised in the 21st District in military families and are now raising their two daugthers here as well. Kelly is a former Virginia Beach public school teacher who now leads a team of real estate agents who specialize in military relocation. Dave is a deputy with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Department.
My husband and I moved our family to Lynchburg almost 4 years ago and fell in love with this area and how beautiful it is here. We are thrilled to be raising our two children in a place where everyone we met was so warm and welcoming. In our time here I have really been able to learn a lot about our community and what some of the needs are.
Through my work registering voters with a non-partisan non-profit last year, I consistently found that many people’s voices were not being heard and needs were not being represented in Richmond.
On the way to taking my son to school on Nov. 9th last year, he asked me “did the bad man win?”
This is a decisive moment in our Commonwealth. We need assertive leadership with the courage to stand up to entrenched interests in Richmond and do what is right for Virginia.
I’m running for the General Assembly because I believe I can provide that leadership. As our government today gerrymanders the state to ensure their own power, and education and health care are at risk for our most vulnerable, we need representatives in government who understand our needs and will fight for the interests of the community.
Elizabeth came to the United States from Peru as a single mom, looking for a better future for her oldest daughter. She remembers those early years; working three jobs in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment for her and her daughter. Despite graduating with honors from high school in Peru, Elizabeth’s parents could not afford to send her to college. With her love of learning Elizabeth persevered, and enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College, obtaining her degree in Office Administration and Management. Elizabeth also holds a Bachelor’s in Public Safety from Capella University, a Master’s in Public Administration from American University, and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California.
Tia Walbridge is a farmer and small businesswoman, a mom to two fantastic daughters, Evey and Mirabel, and a wife to Nate, a disabled veteran who now serves his country at the Department of Defense.
She graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, and went on to a career caring for animals at rescue centers, animal hospitals, and farms. Now, as a troop leader for her daughters’ Girl Scout troops, a service unit organizer, and an activist, Tia is engaged in this community and wants to bring the values and the voice of the 33rd district to Richmond.
Kathy Tran and her parents fled Vietnam as boat refugees when she was just seven months old. Although many other countries offered them asylum, they waited 13 months for the United States to accept their application. For Kathy’s family, this country has always represented hope, opportunity and freedom. Now, she’s running for the House of Delegates because she couldn’t just stand by while Donald Trump and Virginia Republicans dismantle the ideals that brought her family here.
Kathy has devoted her career to ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
Hala Ayala is running to represent the 51st House District of Virginia. She is a long-time community advocate who wants to make sure that Prince William County families have the resources they need succeed and thrive.
As a single mother, Hala worked her way up from a service job with no health insurance to being a cybersecurity specialist with the Department of Homeland Security. She has fought for raising the minimum wage, Medicaid Expansion and equal pay for equal work as the founder and President of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women.
As the Delegate for the 55th District I will be responsive to all of my constituents, not just the ones that share my party affiliation.
I will seek out information and opinions from the residents of the 55th District to make decisions that are informed from all sides of an issue. We need legislators that listen to the people affected by their legislation.
I will work to move us away from the “us vs. them” mentality that has brought government to a standstill. We need a General Assembly that can work together in order to best serve the people of Virginia.
My decision to run for the House of Delegates was a natural extension of the volunteering and activism which has been a constant thread throughout my life. My husband, James and I met while volunteer tutoring adult literacy students at The READ Center. Once our children were born, I was able to engage in our community by becoming the President of the Rainbow Station Parent Board. After attending a community meeting this fall at the University of Richmond, I felt called to work with current students as they proposed policy changes around the handling of campus sexual assault.
Sheila Bynum-Coleman is a native of Chesterfield County, where she graduated from Monacan High School where she was a member of the track and basketball teams. Sheila attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received her B.A. from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, with a major in Political Science and a minor in International Studies.
Sheila Bynum-Coleman is a wife and mother of five. Her children attend Chesterfield County Public Schools, with her oldest child received her B.A. from Virginia Wesleyan College and will be attending Eastern Virginia Medical School in the fall.
I am a retired U.S. Air Force Officer and a Gulf War Veteran. I now run a law firm in Suffolk, Virginia. I am a proven leader with the knowledge, experience, and guts to represent our district in Richmond.
I’m running for office because I believe that the General Assembly should serve the farmers, wage earners, small business owners, and families of Virginia. We don’t want big government handouts, but we want the fruits of our hard work and sacrifice to be enough to afford basic necessities such as health care, safe homes, effective schools, and a chance to succeed.
Katie Sponsler was born in 1980 in the rustbelt town of Warren, Ohio, the fifth of seven children. Her father, David, was an assembly line worker at Lordstown’s General Motors plant and a member of the United Automobile Workers. Her mother, Mary Beth, was the secretary at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church where the family attended daily and Sunday services.
In 2001, Katie joined the United States Air Force. After a year of training, her first post was Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. Katie and her young daughter, Demetria, spent the next five years in Spangdahlem.
Karrie Delaney has always been committed to strengthening the community for everyone.
As a leader, she knows the importance of growing Northern Virginia’s economy to create more jobs and protecting our tax dollars from being misspent. As a mother, she also knows that giving our kids the best possible education should be a top priority.
The daughter of a U.S. Army veteran, Karrie saw firsthand the importance of supporting our returning heroes. Her dad came home from Korea in the late 1950’s to get his GED and a good-paying job in a VA Hospital. We need to make sure that the opportunities for meaningful work that supports a family are there for today’s returning veterans, too.
Dr. Dawn Adams has been an advocate for healthy communities for over 30 years. After receiving her Bachelors of Nursing degree from James Madison University, Dawn positioned herself in the center of Virginia’s healthcare system as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (RN). As an RN, Dawn saw first-hand how our state’s most vulnerable citizens continually fell through the cracks as a result of limited healthcare access and coverage.
As a resident of the 68th District for over two decades, Dr. Dawn Adams understands the concerns and issues that Virginians currently face. Limited access to healthcare, crushing student debt, and job loss have negatively impacted our community for too long. Dawn’s comprehensive background in healthcare coupled with her career in public education, makes her not only the best choice for Delegate of the 68thDistrict, but it makes her the right choice.
Debra Rodman is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies and Director of Women’s Studies at Randolph-Macon College. She regularly serves as an expert witness for U.S. Federal immigration courts for families seeking political asylum, mostly women and children, and LGBT individuals. Named as one of Richmond Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40, Dr. Rodman is a former Fulbright Scholar and fluent Spanish speaker.
Debra is a mom to two beautiful boys and the wife to Darryl Lowery, a Richmond native and member of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina.
Kimberly Anne is a retired educator, a cancer survivor, a military wife and mother, and a grassroots organizer. As a teacher and Assistant Principal, Kimberly had a firsthand look at our public school system, the impact it has on students’ lives, and the vital role it plays in our communities. That experience fostered her commitment to protecting and strengthening our public school system.
But it was a journey through our healthcare system that inspired the cornerstone of her campaign for the House of Delegates. Kimberly was successful in a battle against cancer but understood that there might have been a very different outcome if it weren’t for the excellent medical coverage she was fortunate enough to have.
Here’s a promise upon which the LGBTQ community can actually rely: I, Leigh Anne Bowling, promise to fight for you as a future Virginia Delegate for the 82nd District. Many of you are my clients and my friends. Thank you to all of you who are currently serving and who have already served in the U.S. military. You have made us a stronger and better nation, and we appreciate your service!!
Dr. Veronica Coleman is the Pastor of New Jerusalem Ministries, a community focused ministry that she founded in 2010. New Jerusalem Ministries’ work in the community is so widely recognized that in 2015, it received the Model Partnership Award from the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. in recognition of its Mentoring Program and its other outreach efforts conducted on behalf of the students in the city.
A recognized leader in the community, Dr. Coleman is the immediate Past President of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference and has served in leadership capacities with other civic and religious organizations.
Cheryl grew up in an active military family. After serving in the Army for 23 years, Cheryl’s father retired from service and her family resided in Fairfax County, Virginia. For the past 18 years, Cheryl’s family has called the Kempsville area of Virginia Beach home. Her two adult daughters – Ellison and Patricia – attended Virginia Beach City Public Schools and are graduates of Kempsville High School.
In 2016, Cheryl was nominated for the prestigious honor of Teacher of the Year by her fellow teachers at Frank W. Cox High School. Cheryl has served her community for many years offering her leadership in a diverse range of organizations.
DeLucia is a Hampton Roads native raised in Yorktown, where she now resides with her wife and two sons. Like many who hear the call, Kelly entered politics resolved to make a difference. She has been cast into leadership and recognized for excellence throughout her life. Competition, with herself and others, has made her into an intense, resilient, future-focused leader with a deep desire to serve her community in the Virginia House of Delegates. Kelly is ready for the challenge.
The LGBT Democrats of Virginia in Richmond Saturday. Kelly, along with Danica Roem, Dawn Adams, Ben Hixon and Rebecca Colzar all were honored by the Democratic Party’s LGBT caucus.
Cori Johnson is a middle-class working mother and wife with a history of public service and a willingness to roll up her sleeves.
Her time as a paramedic and firefighter taught her to persist when things get tough and never leave her fellow-man behind.
In her spare time, Cori enjoys singing and playing Johnny Cash tunes on her guitar, gardening, knitting and drawing.
Let’s bring back our government of the people, by the people and for the people by electing a delegate who will be as affected by their actions as the rest of us.
I am Sheila Crowley and I am running for the Virginia House of Delegates. I hope you will vote for me on November 7th this year.
I am not a politician. I have never run for office. In fact, I never intended to run for office. But like many people in our community and nation, the results of the 2016 election shocked my conscience. This is a moment in our nation’s history when each of us must do everything we can to advance progressive ideas and reject the politics of greed, fear, and division. We must pursue every avenue to express traditional values of caring, community, and the common good.
Support these wonderful candidates. We need to flip the Virginia House of Delegates Blue this fall.
Click here for a complete Index of Republican-held House of Delegates districts in Virginia with links to their Democratic challengers.
I forgot to mention another woman running to flip a red seat. Fairfax County, the county by DC is having a special election for the School board in August. Two of the women running for House of Delegates, Kathy Tran and Karrie Delaney have Fairfax County in their Districts and this is a great way to build support and flip another red seat blue.
Karen Keys-Garram is running in the special election on August 29, 2017 (yes at the peak of the DC area leave the humidity behind season). Here is a snip from her bio on her website:
“Ms. Keys-Gamarra also has broad experience in the Fairfax community where she serves as a Fairfax County Planning Commissioner and volunteers for such organizations as the NAACP and CASA.
“Keys-Gamarra has a diverse legal and community involvement background. She has worked at a state agency, non-profit organizations, and in private practice. As an attorney, she has handled a range of issues including bankruptcy, consumer concerns, family law, employment discrimination, union disputes and regulatory matters. Keys-Gamarra currently serves as an Advisory Board member for a domestic violence non-profit organization and has previously been appointed to the School Board Budget Task Force and currently serves the Schools Committee for the Planning Commission.”
So, let’s keep our DC area for sure, but let’s make sure not to let this great opportunity to flip a Republican seat at the local level slide by either.
Connect with her campaign: