From the Virginia Chapter of Voters of Tomorrow, “the leading youth voting organization in the Commonwealth.”
Voters of Tomorrow Virginia Chapter Completes First Youth-Focused Endorsement Process in Commonwealth’s History
8 of 13 endorsed candidates prevail in primaries
ARLINGTON, VA – The Virginia Chapter of Voters of Tomorrow announced today the completion of the first YOUTH-FOCUSED Primary Campaign Endorsement Process in the Commonwealth’s history. As a part of this effort, VOT VA endorsed 17 candidates for the Virginia General Assembly over the past two months. We are proud to report a majority of our endorsed candidates –— including eight who survived difficult primary campaigns (in some cases against long-time incumbents) — will be their party’s nominees in the General Election this November.
In 2023, VOT VA took a large step forward in our efforts to affect change in the Commonwealth. Early in the primary campaign VOT VA invited candidates to fill out and respond to brief inquiries in a Google Questionnaire that addressed issues of importance to Young People and Gen Z. If candidates wished to be considered for an endorsement in the June 20th Primary, we asked them to complete their questionnaires and submit them by Monday, May 1st.
Our endorsed “YOUNG PEOPLE’S CHOICE” candidates were chosen based on a clear rubric of responses. We publicized our endorsements on our social media platforms and in the press. We also provided campaigns with endorsement graphics and quotes supporting their efforts on behalf of young people for use in social media.
“Our team had dozens of candidates to choose from in this first round, but we focused on candidates with a proven record of fighting for equality, justice, and ensuring that young people have a voice,” stated VOT Virginia Chapter Co-President Aaron Lopez. “We are committed to supporting candidates that are excited about engaging with young people and the Gen Z vote – and who will support the policies we care about.”
“Young people are prepared to get active and excited over a candidate who is prepared to serve their community and look out for the interests of young people,” stated VOT Virginia Chapter Co-President Elijah Lee. “More importantly, during this cycle we look forward to helping targeted candidates organize phone and text banks, canvass events, social media campaigns, and more.”
Our VOT VA team was proud to endorse the following 12 victorious “YOUNG PEOPLE’s CHOICE” candidates for the Virginia General Assembly prior to the June 20th Primary Election:
- Rae Cousins – Candidate for the House of Delegates – District 79
- Susanna Gibson – Candidate for the House of Delegates – District 57
- Stella Pekarsky– Candidate for the State Senate – District 36
- Saddam Salim – Candidate for the State Senate – District 37
- Creigh Deeds – Candidate for the State Senate – District 11
- Sam Rasoul – Candidate for the House of Delegates – District 38
- Lashrecse Aird – Candidate for the State Senate – District 13
- Angelia Williams Graves – Candidate for the State Senate – District 21
- Suhas Subramanyam – Candidate for the State Senate – District 32
- Ghazala Hashmi– Candidate for the State Senate – District 15
- Danica Roem – Candidate for the State Senate – District 30
- Marcus Simon – Candidate for the House of Delegates – District 13
We were also proud to endorse these five strong champions for young people who, unfortunately, did not win their primary elections:
- Victor McKenzie – Candidate for the House of Delegates, District 82
- Paul Berry – Candidate for the House of Delegates, District 7
- Susan Hippen – Candidate for the House of Delegates, District 96
- Heidi Drauschak – Candidate for the State Senate, District 35
- Ben Litchfield – Candidate for the State Senate, District 27
We will be making considerably more endorsements prior to the 2023 General Election this November.
During the past several weeks, the Virginia Chapter of Voters of Tomorrow organized phone banks for candidates, including State Senate candidate Creigh Deeds and State Senate candidate Angelia Williams Graves. Our members also took part in several canvassing and GOTV events across the Commonwealth of Virginia for candidates such as Lashrecse Aird and Stella Pekarsky.
It is our goal, over the years to come, for Members of the Virginia General Assembly to pride themselves on engaging with the youth vote and Gen Z – and highly value earning the support of our community.
With a presence in over 25 states and volunteers in all 50, Voters of Tomorrow is the largest civic engagement, political empowerment, activist, and advocacy organization in the nation led by and focused on the issues that matter to Gen Z and young people. Working in coalition with other Virginia-based progressive issue and youth groups, the Virginia Chapter of Voters of Tomorrow has had a great deal of success in recent years. We’ve held weekly Webinars on major issues, worked with Members of the General Assembly to develop and pass legislation, organized and helped coordinate student protest rallies across Virginia, engaged with the media, and regularly lobbied Congress and the Virginia General Assembly on, among other things, sensible gun violence prevention, abortion access, protecting LGBTQ+ students, election protection, and youth civic engagement.