by A. Siegel
An important role that Democratic presidential primary candidates can play, in 2019, is coming to Virginia to build momentum to flip the legislature blue in November. This evening, Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought her presidential campaign to George Mason University and did just that. Several Virginia politicians and candidates had the chance to speak to a large and enthusiastic crowd. Among them was Laura Jane Cohen, who is a candidate for the Springfield District seat on the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board. Cohen’s speech, below, was powerful to listen to and well worth the read. But first, check out the video…courtesy of Del. Mark Keam (thanks!).
“Hello, George Mason! I’m so excited to be here and so grateful to Senator Warren for highlighting the importance of our 2019 elections here in Virginia.
And although, I’d like to talk to you about our school board campaign and about how I will fight for fairer compensation for our teachers and staff. About how I’m fighting to unseat our current school board member who believes that the answer to the violence in our schools is more guns. About how I will fight to support all the kids who never thought they could win given that our current board member believes that many of them are second class citizens.
Tonight, I feel called to another conversation.
This has been a tough two years. (And It’s been an especially tough week to be a woman). We have seen our party, our country, assaulted from the outside and the inside and I am ANGRY. And I’m willing to bet you are too.
But tonight, I feel called to remind you who WE are.
We are Democrats.
We are the party of big ideas and open minds. We are the party of people who have spent their lives being disenfranchised and counted out. We are the party of a little girl who almost died in a boat on the way to a better life here and now sits in our Virginia House of Delegates. We are the party and the Commonwealth that elected the first black governor in our country and the first trans person ever elected to a state legislature. We are the party of FDR, of JFK, of Barack Obama, and Elizabeth Warren.
We will survive this because we have no choice.
We are the only thing that stands between this administration and our immigrant neighbors.
We are the only thing that stands between this administration and our LGBTQ friends and family.
We are the only thing that stands between this administration and our environment.
We are the only thing that stands between this administration and the rights that we women and African Americans have fought and died for.
We are the party of big ideas, The New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All.
I was proud to be a Democrat at 19 when I was the first person of the day to pull a Democratic ballot in my precinct in Marietta, GA and got to use my very first vote to vote against Newt Gingrich and I am proud to be a Democrat today.
WE are the lamplighters for all who are looking for a way out of the darkness.
We must pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and get back out there because we are charged with changing this world and making it better for our kids and our grandkids.
We are Democrats!
We will keep fighting because we must!
That fight starts today. You understand that because you are here to listen to the amazing Elizabeth Warren. But, the fight is about more than coming to hear speeches. It is about knocking on doors, making phone calls, giving money, and most important your vote.
That change starts right here in Virginia in 2019 with our school board, our board of Supervisors, and our General Assembly and it goes all the way to the White House in 2020.
I’m asking you to be a part of that fight. So, get out there and use your voice and your vote for change.
Because together, we will change this Commonwealth and together we will change this country!
I’m Laura Jane Cohen and I’m running for Fairfax County school board and If you’d like to join me in this fight, please visit us at laurajanecohen.com
A note: Sometimes we have a candidate to vote for, while sometimes voting against someone drives decision-making, and sometimes the situation combines the two. Not only is Laura Jane Cohen someone we should want on the School Board, someone who will be a dedicated public servant operating from a basis of strong ideals and a vision for the future, Cohen is running against the most reprehensible member of the FCPS School Board. The Springfield FCPS School Board seat is currently occupied by Elizabeth Schultz, who has felt comfortable sharing hate speech-related material, publicly ‘trashed’ students, appears to believe that the answer to gun violence is putting guns in FCPS classrooms, associates with hate groups, and so much more. Springfield District voters will have the chance this November to vote against a hateful and destructive incumbent, and to vote FOR a positive vision for the future, when they cast their ballots for Laura Jane Cohen.
UPDATE by Lowell: Here’s video for last night’s rally, although for some reason it begins AFTER Laura Jane Cohen’s amazing speech. I’ll add video of her speech if and when I get it…