If it’s Friday, it must be “Flip-A-District Friday,” courtesy of Del. Rip Sullivan’s Project Blue Dominion. This week, the focus is on Del. Chris Hurst (D-HD12), Del. Danica Roem (D-HD13), Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-HD75), and Suhas Subramanyam (D-HD87).
Flip-A-District Friday: Volume XV
Welcome to Volume XV of our “Defend-a-District” series, the penultimate issue for the 2019 cycle. With just 32 days to go, I am reminded that when I was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2014,
I had only 32 Democratic colleagues in the House.
Then came my first cycle as Campaign Chair in 2017. The Democrats had an enormous slate of outstanding, diverse, outspoken, smart candidates who took nothing for granted. Then November 7th happened. Had we taken the majority? Would the House be split 50-50? Unfortunately one race — as I’m sure you remember — came down to drawing a name from a bowl. Other races were tied up in the courts and opinions did not come down in our favor.
It was disappointing when we didn’t take the majority, but I found comfort in a simple fact — we had grown from 34 members in the House Democratic Caucus to a proud and powerful 49. Devoted volunteers, generous donors, cheerful poll greeters, and determined Virginians had stepped up and made what had once seemed impossible into a reality.
I am still in awe of the wave of 2017. As Campaign Chair again this cycle, I surely understand that defending 49 seats is a challenge when paired with flipping enough red districts currently held by well-funded Republicans.
But we can do it because of voters and volunteers like you.
We will take back the majority on November 5th.
Thank you for your time, your enthusiasm, your contributions, and your votes.
House District 12
Meet the candidate: Chris Hurst
Chris has dedicated his life to public service and giving a voice to the people of southwest Virginia. When he came to the area almost a decade ago as a reporter, he quickly identified with our shared values of strong families, strong faith and personal integrity. He fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains and the people living in small towns with big hearts.
As a journalist, he was a fierce advocate for families struggling for access to mental health care and equality in education for students with special needs. He investigated the reasons why our workforce must adapt for the careers of the future, documented the dramatic rise of child abuse and opioid addiction, and held government leaders accountable while showing how our first responders are left without vital resources.
However, Chris decided to leave journalism and run for office after recovering from a profound tragedy. In 2015, he was just beginning a new life with his late girlfriend, Alison Parker. Yet he found himself on a different path after Alison and Adam Ward’s murder on television shocked him and the country. His career in news was fulfilling, but instead of asking questions he became focused on finding solutions. Your continued prayers and support gave him the strength to move forward and be a courageous fighter for all Virginians.
As Delegate for the 12th District, Chris has continued to fight tirelessly to increase access to and resources for mental health care, voted to ensure gun safety laws are put in place, and has been an advocate for quality and affordable schools with adequately paid teachers. He has worked to bring jobs to the 12th District and protect our land and water from outside industries and pollution. Join Chris as he continues to courageously fight for all Virginians.
House District 12:
The 12th House District has shifted, though only slightly, blue in recent years. Hillary Clinton won the district by just two points in 2016, and Governor Northam won by eight points in 2017. The 12th had been represented by a Republican from 2012 until Chris defeated him by nearly 9 points — and outperformed the top of the ticket — in 2017.
Located west of Roanoke, the district includes parts of Montgomery, Pulaski and Giles Counties, and Radford City, and is home to Virginia Tech and Radford University. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why we cannot let Forrest Hite win:
Chris is facing Republican Forrest Hite this cycle, a candidate who did not even have an “issues” section on his website until recently. Looking over the page now reveals nothing more than a series of standard, out-of-touch Republican talking points.
Chris has done an outstanding job representing the 12th District in the House, and it’s clear that Hite does not grasp the nuances of policy-making and would likely end up as just reliable vote for Republican leadership.
Contact the campaign here.
House District 13
Meet the candidate: Danica Roem
Danica Roem represents the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She is a 35-year-old step-mom, lifelong resident of Manassas, and the former lead reporter of the Gainesville Times.
Danica ran for office to bring a reporter’s eye to Richmond and to speak truth to power. She takes pride in her dedication to constituent service and is focused on fixing Route 28, expanding access to healthcare, and making sure every child has a warm meal at school whether or not his or her parents can afford it.
House District 13:
The 13th District is newly light blue. In 2014, Ed Gillespie beat Senator Mark Warner by four points there, but Hillary Clinton won by an astonishing 14 points just two years later. The 13th had the unfortunate distinction of being represented by extremist, homophobic, transphobic Republican “Bathroom Bob” Marshall from 1992 until Danica beat him by nearly 8 points in 2017.
The majority of the 13th District is in Prince William County and includes the entirety of Manassas Park City. Thanks in part to Danica’s vote to expand Medicaid, 452 people in Manassas Park City and 12,045 people in Prince William County have received critically needed health care coverage.
Just one example of why we cannot let Kelly McGinn win:
McGinn is rabidly anti-LGBT rights. She left a public comment on the State Board of Social Services’ forum meant to solicit feedback about a new proposal for standards for licensed private child-placing agencies, including a provision that would prohibit child-placing agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples.
Here are some revealing quotes from McGinn:
– “Discrimination is an inevitable part of finding the right family for the particular child in question. Similarly, although redefining family, marriage, and parenthood has become a national obsession, one man and one woman joined in marriage remain the most successful paradigmatic family in which to place a child.”
– “[T]his proposed regulation bears all of the marks of a social experiment on our children and is violative of the historical purpose of standing adoption laws.”
McGinn is also extremely anti-choice. She also left feedback on a State Board of Health forum supporting the over-burdensome and medically unnecessary TRAP laws that had been pushed by Ken Cuccinelli in 2013.
Finally, Kelly McGinn was a featured speaker at an anti-ERA rally in Richmond, where she even slipped in a transphobic jab and an attack on abortion rights.
– The ERA “does not even mention the word ‘woman’ or ‘women,’ referring only to equality of rights on account of ‘sex,’ a term which enjoyed a common understanding in 1972 – a man or a woman – but does not in 2019.”
– That she “stands with my sisters to oppose this terrible, old, dead-on-arrival amendment, the ERA.”
– She also stated in a video for the extremely far right Family Foundation that “the main reason I oppose the ERA is because this amendment would change our constitution forever. In fact, it would put abortion into the constitution.”
The people of the 13th District deserve someone who isn’t just a copy of Bathroom Bob Marshall — they deserve a dedicated public servant who cares about their needs like Danica Roem.
Contact the campaign here.
House District 75
Meet the candidate: Roslyn Tyler
A leader in her community, Roslyn volunteered as a member of the Greensville Rotary Club and the Head Start Advisory Committee. A parishioner at the Chapel Hill Baptist Church, she helped organize the 75th District Mass Choir. Roslyn also served on the Boards of Directors of Smart Beginnings, John Tyler Community College, and the Virginia Rural Center. During Governor Tim Kaine’s Administration, she was appointed to the Virginia Health Reform Commission.
Roslyn has a lengthy and impressive record of representing her community’s needs as an elected official. She served on the Sussex County Board of Supervisors, to which she was the first woman ever elected, from 1985 to 1995, and was the Board’s first female Chair. Elected in 2005 to the House of Delegates, Roslyn has been a steadfast, vocal, and effective representative for the 75th District. She helped to secure raises for Virginia’s teachers, expand Medicaid, protect those with pre-existing conditions, prevent the closure of rural hospitals, and consistently supports our farming and forestry industries. Roslyn is also a proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment and an advocate for small businesses and local job creation. She has received countless awards for her legislative service, including the Virginia Education Association’s “Solid as a Rock” Award, the “Conservation Legislative Hero” Award from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and the “President’s Award” from the Virginia Loggers Association.
A senior member in the House of Delegates, Roslyn has earned her place on the powerful Appropriations Committee. In her capacity as Delegate, she has served on the Center for Rural Virginia Board of Trustees, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, and the Joint Commission on Health Care. Roslyn – having previously served as Chairwoman – is Vice Chairwoman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
Roslyn is a small business owner and has been a physical therapist for nearly three decades at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia. Married to Rufus Tyler, Sr., Roslyn is the proud mother of Rufus Jr., Ronecia, Rosché, and Rameka, all of whom were raised in Emporia.
House District 75:
The 75th District is light blue and the only House of Delegates District on the southern border between Virginia and North Carolina now held by a Democrat. South of Dinwiddie, the district includes parts of Sussex and Lunenberg Counties, and all of Southampton, Greensville and Brunswick Counties, Emporia City and Franklin City. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why we cannot let Otto Wachsmann win:
Wachsmann has very little content on his website, has given just a few interviews where he says nothing substantial, and has sent out a whopping two tweets. But in case you were wondering whether he would represent the 75th well, the answer is a resounding “no.”
All it takes is one look at where Wachsmann is getting his money, and one can figure out how he’ll vote:
– His largest contributor by far is Speaker Kirk Cox. It’s doubtful that Wachsmann would break Republican ranks if push came to shove.
– Wachsmann’s second highest donor is Todd Gilbert, the House Majority Leader, an extremely conservative delegate who opposes gun safety reform and opposed Medicaid expansion, and is anti-choice.
– Another top donor is Rob Bell, yet another hyper-conservative and partisan Republican delegate who has blocked anti-discrimination and anti-hate crime bills as Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee.
Wachsmann is another Republican nominee financially dependent on party leadership, and would be unlikely to buck the GOP on issues critical to his district.
Contact the campaign here.
House District 87
Meet the candidate: Suhas Subramanyam
Suhas has dedicated his life to serving his community and solving some of our country’s biggest challenges. His family’s story in America began in 1979, when Suhas’s mother, a native of Bengaluru, India, immigrated to the United States to become a physician and raise a family. She married Suhas’s father, who was born in India and raised by the widow of a deceased army veteran. Together, they pursued the American dream and passed along values that Suhas holds today: serve your community, succeed with hard work, and empower those without a voice.
These values stayed with Suhas when, while attending Tulane University in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina hit the city. Suhas’s work in the aftermath of the storm propelled him into a life of community service. He helped organize volunteers to rebuild and revitalize communities affected by the storm and as President of the college’s environmental club, pushed local officials to prioritize environmental standards during the rebuild. He graduated summa cum laude.
Suhas has since worked tirelessly to improve the health and prosperity of all Virginians and Americans. He served on Capitol Hill as a health care and veterans policy aide, where he worked to expand and improve health care access to millions of Americans and drafted legislation to increase job opportunities and funding for veterans. He later earned his law degree with honors at Northwestern University, volunteering at the Center for Wrongful Convictions. There, he was part of the legal team that freed a man who had spent 21 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Suhas also clerked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he helped re-introduce the DREAM Act and worked on criminal justice reforms.
After spending time as a technology and regulatory attorney, Suhas was named a White House technology policy advisor to President Obama. He led a task force on technology policy that President Obama charged with addressing some of the country’s most challenging technology issues, including promoting job creation, addressing displacement in the technology sector, regulating emerging technology, and advancing cybersecurity and IT modernization in the public sector. He also helped save taxpayers money by working on projects to make government processes and services more efficient using technology. After leaving the White House, Suhas started his own consulting firm based in Loudoun County to advise companies and nonprofits on technology, government regulations, and economic empowerment.
Suhas is a proud resident of Loudoun County and has always maintained his commitment to serving the community. He was appointed by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to the Loudoun Health Council where he works to address some of the most pressing health care issues in Northern Virginia. For his professional accomplishments and work in the community, Suhas was named to the Loudoun Times-Mirror’s “40 Under 40.”
He is married to Miranda Peña Subramanyam, who works for a government contractor and volunteers in her free time at the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter. They were married in Sterling, Virginia, where they currently reside.
House District 87:
The 87th District is now represented by Delegate John Bell (D), who will be leaving the position to run for State Senate. Open seats are historically more competitive, and Democrats are not taking this race for granted. The district was held by Republican Delegate David Ramadan between 2011 and 2015 until he chose to retire, leaving an open seat. It was a pivotal moment that November when Bell beat Republican Chuong Nguyen.
We must prevent another open-seat flip from happening in this district on November 5th, when Suhas will face off against Republican Bill Drennan. Suhas is fighting every day for victory and has out-raised Drennan by an astounding $265,344 to $14,974.
The 87th is mostly located in Loudoun County, with about 10 percent in Prince William County. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why we cannot let Bill Drennan win:
Bill Drennan is as conservative as they come, and would be a terrible fit for the 87th District. Here are just a few of his radical positions:
– “Drennan labeled himself a ‘climate change skeptic’ and called into question scientific research showing the existence of climate change. Drennan said the issue of climate change had become “a religion … not based on science.”
– Drennan opposes red flag laws and said “he is opposed to further gun regulations and said the Constitution and the right to bear arms is under assault.'”
– On redistricting reform, he said ““If you don’t like the way they drew those boundaries … then vote them out. That’s what elections are for…I don’t want to see politicians get off the hook by saying, ‘we turned it over to a non-partisan commission.’”
– On the Supreme Court decision related to religious symbols on public land, he said that it “is just one victory in the decades-long war against radical secularists who are trying to drive all religious expression from American life. They will not stop, they cannot be accommodated, and so they must continue to be defeated, in the courts, and in the public square.”
Drennan would be one of the most conservative members of the Republican caucus. We cannot let him get elected. We need to keep up the canvassing and calling to voters in the 87th to make sure Suhas wins on November 5th.
Contact the campaign here.
That’s it for Volume XV. I encourage you to review this email and past editions to find a candidate or candidates whom you would like to support with your time or financial resources.