By David T.S. Jonas
For me, 2021 is shaping up to be the most talented class of Democrats ever to run for Lieutenant Governor.
I’ve been fortunate to work with several of them, and there’s no candidate I wouldn’t be thrilled to support and hustle to get elected in November. It’s a bounty of riches we should be celebrating.
The nominal role of the Lieutenant Governor is to serve as the President of the Senate and to break ties, but in reality, it’s the soft power of the Lieutenant Governor that matters most. At a time when Virginia’s Senate is often the barrier on issues like paid leave, gun safety, civil rights, and energy affordability, we need a leader in the Senate who can build coalitions and push forward on our shared priorities.
Let’s also be clear that Virginia’s Lieutenant Governors have a funny habit of becoming Representatives in the House, U.S. Senators, Governors themselves, and even Vice Presidential candidates. As a party, we’re handing out one of the most important promotions we can offer.
And the candidate who has earned that promotion is Del. Elizabeth Guzman.
Consider just a few items from her resume and list of accomplishments:
- Guzman won a crucial swing seat in 2017 and helped fuel the Blue Wave that would give Democrats a trifecta in 2019 (as did fellow LG candidate Del. Hala Ayala). She’s proved she can win in the swing districts we so desperately need in 2021 and beyond.
- Guzman is well-liked and popular in every corner of the Democratic Party. She held leadership roles in both the Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns. She’s a fighter, bold on policy, but also works well with her colleagues and with stakeholders. That’s not easy to do.
- Guzman’s story as a Peruvian immigrant who put herself through Northern Virginia Community College to eventually become a senior administrator in local government is precisely the kind of story we need to be elevating as a party.
- Guzman brings excitement and grassroots energy to everything she does. You feel a real and tangible energy when she addresses an audience. 2021 could be a close election with Trump gone, and we need that kind of pizazz on the ticket.
- Her legislative accomplishments and leadership on paid leave, worker’s rights, immigrant rights, education, and one issue in particular speak volumes to me. The agenda she would pursue in statewide office is very, very exciting.
- I’ve met Del. Guzman in person five or six times, and she is always attentive, focused, gracious, and humble. She strikes me as a fantastic human being—which doesn’t matter to everyone, but it does to me.
Again, we have such an extraordinary set of candidates to choose from. I’ve been particularly impressed with the campaigns of Del. Sam Rasoul, Del. Hala Ayala, and Sean Perryman, who each boast the kind of resume and vision needed to be one of the leaders of our party.
But for me, there’s one candidate we need most in this Lieutenant Governor role to help guide the Democratic Party in Virginia, to help center this ticket in 2021 around working families, and to be ready to be Governor on day one.
And that’s Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. I’m proud to endorse her.