From emergency room nurse – and now House of Delegates candidate in HD55 – Kellen Squire:
I’ve spent the last two years on the frontline fighting COVID. I’ve had to witness the hard truth behind the proverb “Tomorrow is never promised to anyone.” I’ve had to comfort too many grieving families. Watched too many sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers never go home again. Watched my colleagues, the very community servants who protected us from the brunt of the pandemic, be demonized, victims of a billion dollar campaign to undermine their hard work and sacrifice, all in the name of partisan politics. Watched as the very rights of the people we fight for day and day are violated- and be threatened myself for standing up to protect them.
It’s clear I can’t sit on the sidelines any longer. So I’m not. I’m standing up and running for the Virginia House of Delegates.
This won’t be my first time running for office. In fact, many of you may remember that I ran for this very seat in 2017, against the very same incumbent. While our 2017 campaign sadly came up short on election day, in a year where the control of our legislature came down to a film canister, and Medicaid Expansion passed by a single vote, I was damn proud of the “sacrifice fly” we hit to help get our other “runs” across the Commonwealth on the board.
But this time, it’s going to be very different. Non-partisan redistricting means that for the first time in decades, the maps in the Charlottesville area were drawn fairly; compact lines around established borders and communities of interest. It’s shifted what was an R+20 district that stretched halfway across the state to a compact one a full thirty points bluer than it was when I ran in 2017.
Yep. You read that right. An almost entirely rural district that is now D+10. You see, despite what you hear from the flyover columnists in the New York Times, who go out searching for Trump diners to write articles about, Democrats can run and win by large margin in rural America if we’re given half a chance.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
It’s not going to be easy. Governor Youngkin already promised the incumbent- the very same one I ran against in 2017, who announced his first run for this district when Bill Clinton was still President- whatever resources he needs to try and take us down, lining up fossil fuel magnates willing to write six-digit checks at a time. With the Republican majority hanging on by a mere two seats, they intend to do whatever it takes to keep this seat in their hands.
In fact, it’s already started. One of the Governor’s ex-campaign staffers already went after my kids, finding and posting pictures of them online. Mocking a five-year old’s physical appearance and encouraging his followers to come up with “the best insults” they can is beyond reprehensible- all it means is that they’re terrified of what our campaign has the ability to do- and they know the only way to go after us is through stochastic terrorism.
It’ll only get worse as time goes on, too, as they get more and more desperate. Because they know what we know: we finally have an election where hard work will make all the difference. Where a redneck ER Nurse, a blue collar night shift worker, can run as an unapologetic progressive, fighting to bring positive change for working Virginia families, and win hands down in a majority rural district. Where we WILL be one of the two seats needed to wrestle control of the Virginia House of Delegates away from the Republicans.
There’s a real chance we’re going to have elections again this year in Virginia. Thanks to Trump’s census screw ups, we didn’t get map data until it was way too late- so it looks like we may well have to run this year AND next year. Either way, I can’t afford to let dark money wash across this district unchallenged- I’ve got to get to work, now.
So I’m asking you to stand with me. To be the vanguard of change in rural Virginia. To prove wrong every single person who sneered that running in “unwinnable” districts was folly, who said that recruiting candidates, building a bench, and investing in election infrastructure wasn’t important. To fight for rural America as an unapologetic progressive.
Join me today, and let’s bring progress to Virginia- together.
Kellen Squire is an emergency department nurse from Barboursville, Virginia, and a candidate for the 55th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Donate to, volunteer for, or get the word out about our people-powered campaign, today!