I’m not sure I’d have ever become an activist if it weren’t for Kenny Boddye. Kenny was one of the first people I’d ever met in my life who was running for office, and I’ll be honest–I’ve judged pretty much every single candidate since then relative to that gold standard.
Why did Kenny make such an impression on me? There are several reasons, and they are why I supported him with every bit of energy I had when he ran for the House of Delegates in 2017, and why I support him now in his run for Occoquan Supervisor.
First and foremost, he’s an incorrigible wonk. He is someone who does much more than just spew generic talking points about an issue–he loves to get “into the weeds” on the details of policy ideas and choices. Whether it’s criminal justice, education, transportation, housing, or environmental policy, he thinks through how any given policy will affect the members of his community, especially those who are most marginalized.
He cares passionately about his community. He’s been attending community meetings, school board meetings, board of supervisors meetings, and public hearings for years. After every one of these meetings, he writes up a social media post or blog article about the meeting, so that everyone else in the community can benefit from learning what he saw and heard. Something that drew me to Kenny as a candidate in the first place was an article he wrote describing a post-election panel discussion on healing after such a divisive election, where he discussed (wonk that he is) what is the role for legislation–as opposed to community–in eliminating inequality.
Another reason I am a strong supporter of Kenny is that he is a bridge builder. We’ve had countless lengthy, serious discussions about how to bring people together–different people within the party, as well as people who are disenfranchised from the party or from politics in general. Kenny is passionate about making the tent as wide as possible, and giving everyone under the tent a voice and a chance to be heard. What that has resulted in is that he has alienated no one–everyone is a Kenny fan.
Not only do activists like me support Kenny, but voters love this guy. I’ve been canvassing with Kenny many times. And I’ve watched as voter after voter falls in love with him at their door. It’s always the same–the door opens just a little crack, as the voter sees some unknown man standing at their door. And, Kenny talks, and the door opens a little wider. And ten minutes later, the voter is outside with Kenny, smiling and nodding, and looks ready to adopt Kenny or marry him off to some close relative. That’s a really good quality to have if you’re going to be a public servant.
Lastly, Kenny is genuinely a good Democratic citizen. There is no one in Virginia who has worked harder, for more candidates. Just a couple months after I met Kenny, he and I (along with Elizabeth Guzman) road tripped to Lynchburg in the January snow to canvass for Ryant Washington, who was running in a special election for a senate seat there. Kenny was running a race of his own already, but he took a day to help out a fellow Democrat. And it never ended. Kenny has knocked doors for every candidate for any elected position from County Clerk to School Board to Board of Supervisors to Delegate to Governor–and that included working his tail off canvassing for the person who defeated him in his primary, Hala Ayala. He is a team player unlike any other.
So, here’s the deal. I’m good friends with Kenny, I adore him. And I could never give back to him as much hope and inspiration as he’s given me. But endorsements on the basis of friendship are meaningless to everyone else. So don’t vote for him because I adore him. Vote for him because he’s smart, wonky, talented, dedicated to serving the community, and dedicated to lifting up every other Democratic candidate in the area. Occoquan, you’re so lucky to get the chance to elect Kenny Boddye to serve you.