I first met Alfonso Lopez (D-49) through an activist group I’d joined that was focused on flipping state legislative seats in the aftermath of November 2016. (He was childhood friends with the founder.) I fully confess before that time I had no idea what a Delegate was or what they did–in fact, I was pretty much raised to believe that “all politicians are corrupt liars.” I was as green as anyone could possibly be, my entire previous history consisting of GOTV phone banking and door knocking for Hillary.
I can’t even begin to measure how much I’ve learned from Alfonso, or how generous he has been with his time and attention. I’ve messaged him and called him at all hours of the day and night to ask his advice, talk about some strategy for some race, or about some legislation I didn’t understand, and he’s always made time for me. Even when he was juggling a newborn tiny baby at one in the morning after driving home from a long day in session.
I’ve learned from him how many hours our “part-time” legislators work. I’ve watched him hop from one event to another all weekend long, filling many weeknights too. He’s constantly out in his community, talking to constituents, showing them how important they are to him, how important their events are to him, how much he loves the Arlington community he lives in.
The grassroots activists have a strong ally and friend in Alfonso Lopez. He’s helped to support so many of the groups I’m involved with–not just when we were acquiescing to the work he thought we should be doing, but when we were determined to do the work WE wanted to do. He’s helped us strategize and organize, and he’s the first one to give the credit for any success to the grassroots.
Aside from all this, Alfonso is also my progressive yardstick during session in the General Assembly. During VAPLAN’s first year tracking legislation, when bills had a progressive subset of Democrats voting together, Alfonso was always in that group, literally every single time. It wasn’t any surprise at all to me that he ended up with a perfect score that first year, and came very close this year too. I’ve had to reach out to him countless times to ask him to explain a bill, and I’m so grateful to have his expertise available.
But the most important thing I learned from him is how very wrong my parents were about the people we elect. Alfonso is not only unimaginably hard-working, but to my surprise, really honest. He’s told me the truth when it was in his interest to, but more telling, even when it wasn’t, when I wasn’t going to like his answer. I have a lot of respect for that.
He’s not in politics for whatever cynical reason my parents thought people went into it, but because he is absolutely passionate about Virginia and making the lives of Virginians better. It’s clear every time he speaks that he’s driven, not by some corrupt power-seeking, but by the determination to make things better. We are one seat short of a majority in both the House and the Senate. I cannot wait to pick up that one seat (and more), and watch what he will do with the majority next session.
Alfonso’s a good man, a good friend, an outstanding Delegate, and an asset to Arlington and to Virginia. I hope you will vote for him on June 11.