Home 2023 Elections Video: “Friday Power Lunch” Talks with a Slew of Democratic Senate, House...

Video: “Friday Power Lunch” Talks with a Slew of Democratic Senate, House of Delegates and Commonwealth’s Attorney Nominees

The nominees talk about their "superpowers," how they won their campaigns, how important it is for Democrats to win in November!


With the Democratic primaries over and nominees selected for this fall, the “Friday Power Lunch” folks are busy introducing us to some of the key candidates. See below for video  and highlights from this past Friday’s “Power Lunch,” with comments by:

  • Saddam Salim (D-SD37)’s campaign manager Laura Stokes: “I think it’s important to build community around a candidate as a part of a campaign…the way we treat people as part of participating in our campaign really affects not just the feel of the campaign, but if you get that guy elected it’s like your first foray into constituent services. People come away feeling heard, they feel respected, they feel a part of something. And that helps sustain you when you’re in elected office…So it’s not about just volunteer and then I’ll never see you again, it’s about creating a community a community that lasts beyond an election…We kind of knew coming into it that we were always going to be out outspent – you know, Chap Peterson had almost a million dollars. And you know, just coming into a race like that, people would say, well you can’t win when he has so much money. So we we got to a place where we were just like okay…how much money is it going to take just to get the message out? We don’t need, we’re not going to have a war chest, it’s…not gonna happen…so what is the minimum amount we can have in order to do what we want to do? And we really tried to be very smart about the way we spent money, because you know we didn’t have a lot to play with so we had to be very strategic.”
  • Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-SD11): “An election’s that’s as close as the one I’ve been through, everything mattered….We had the best turnout in the state…I was real proud of that, real proud of the fact that we were able to get people excited and get people going all over the district out to the polls. But good times aside, what our emphasis has to be now is none of this counts if we don’t close the deal in November. We have to elect Democratic majorities in the House and in the Senate, we have to hold the Senate, we have to take the House in order to keep this Governor and his allies from rolling back all the progress we’ve made over the years. Everything we fought for is at risk, so there’s not much time for glad handling or slapping on the back. We’ve got to get… back to work, get back on the trail, get money raised, make those calls…we’ve got to do the work because…we owe the people too much.”
  • Russet Perry (D-SD31): “This seat is so critical and important this year, the 21st most-Democratic seat in the state,so we’ll be that majority-making tipping point seat…So much on the line this year, what happens with abortion and every other thing that we have worked so hard for in the Commonwealth is on the line in the seat this year. I’m running against the son of a Republican billionaire who has Glenn Youngkin’s backing, to try and come in and buy the seat to make sure that we lose that Senate majority. So there couldn’t be more at risk here, more at stake out here in Loudoun County.”
  • Sen. Dave Marsden (D-SD35): “This year the elections were won on core Democratic values of making sure that a woman has the right to make her own decisions, about whether she wants an abortion or not, the fact that we need to maintain the gun safety laws…the environment…our voting rights…It was just great to see the turnout, it exceeded what I thought it would be and I think it’s a good precursor…”
  • Trish White-Boyd (D-SD4): “I am a member of Roanoke City Council, have been on city council for almost five years, served as vice mayor. And you know when this seat, when Senator Edwards used to be 21…this seat was always blue, no competition…everybody was comfortable…and then it got redistricted and now we’re lean an R plus one…It is not about the money, it is about the voters and how we turn them out. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do here in Southwest Virginia. Because this is the only seat west of Senator Deeds that is Democratic, and if we lose this seat we have no Democratic representation out here…I am in rural Virginia, it is Southwest Virginia, and…we just don’t have a lot of money out here, but what we do have…is the motivation and the grassroots.”
  • Suhas Subramanyam (D-SD32): “The bad news is that I’m seeing a lot of misinformation coming from Republicans when it comes to what’s happening and what’s being taught in our schools…what they think are wedge issues in our communities…and I would love to see us put together some sort of rapid response…Let’s get out our vote for sure.”
  • Angelia Williams Graves (D-SD21): “I think it was Trish that said she served on city council and was a vice mayor; that is absolutely my story. And so I’ve been on city council, served as vice mayor, served now in the House and going to the Senate. For me, it was just a reaffirming moment, because a lot of times all we hear are the complaints from people and what’s not right, what’s wrong…But it was very reaffirming for me that people appreciated the body of work that I provided over the last 13 years and that felt really good….This is the first time Norfolk has had an all-Norfolk senate seat in more than 35 years…we haven’t had that since before Yvonne Miller.”
  • Stella Pekarsky (D-SD36): “For me, one of the big takeaways is that community matters, just like Laura said. This was a basically new district that I represent the majority…that I’m already as a school board member, that I’ve worked in for over two decades. And people really at the doors were looking for somebody who was representative of them, somebody who had deep ties to the community, somebody that they knew and trusted, would be there if they had issues, where they wanted to talk to folks and people were really energizing their networks. There was a lot of relational organizing –  my PTA moms came out, my teachers came out, people that I have had ties with for decades were bringing out their friends and telling them, hey look, we trust her, we need to get her elected. And as a result, we saw a bump of 25 percent turnout in this district over the Governor’s primary in 2021. So when we talk about how do we inspire people, how do we get people to come out and vote…the secret sauce is you elect people from communities that have ties in these communities, that people want to come out and vote for.”
  • Saddam Salim (D-SD37): “It’s really about community…I said during the campaign, the whole thing is five percent about me and 95 percent about the people and the issues they really care about. So that’s what it’s been about and we’re not going to stop that, I’m not going to change my philosophy. At the end of the day, what I do should benefit my constituents, the Commonwealth and all Virginians. And when we say all Virginians, whether you’re here or in Richmond or in Danville, it should all be impacted, not just Northern Virginia or other parts of the Commonwealth. So that’s what I’m looking forward to. And we’re going to keep doing the same type of work that we’re doing, bringing more people in. Wherever I can be so that we not only retain our Senate majority, add an extra seat. Wherever I have to be for the House side so that I can go and knock doors for somebody else and say, oh, let’s get…the House back, let’s get them an extra couple seats. And if we’re out there doing the same thing that we did here, that is possible, because Glenn Youngkin is going to get an arsenal with the way the Supreme Court has been going right now, and that’s his ticket to do whatever he wants, so we have to be able to fight back.”
  • Nadarius Clark (D-HD84): “We know what’s on the line we know what’s at stake and we know why it’s so important to be a team to collectively come together to help help out each other…We have to make sure that we’re each other’s support system…We have to stick together because we know what’s on the line. Legislation is a team sport; a lot of times people don’t understand that, but it’s a team sport. And we have to stick together, we have to make sure that we’re going to deliver affordable housing, accessible health care and affordable health care; we got to make sure that we’re going to combat this gun violence pandemic, that we’re that we’re seeing that were that we’re investing into mental health, that we’re making sure our schools are fully funded, making sure teachers are paid what they deserve is so much the list goes on and on.”
  • Amy Laufer (D-HD55): “I think…as House of Delegates and Senate candidates, we need to make sure that we’re helping down-ballot races – our Board of Supervisors, our school board races…It’s going to be important that we all win, because they are going to be attacking on every single level. And I think really important to Democrats is abortion; abortion is a top issue – when you decide to have a family, that really makes you reflect on your health care, your housing, your schools, everything else about your community. And we need to make sure that we’re talking about having women deserve rights, they deserve privacy, and…they deserve to decide when they’re going to have a family.”
  • Adele McClure (D-HD2): “First and foremost, I want to thank every single person on this call for everything you’ve done to get folks elected, and also thank and congratulate all the candidates who won, those who ran, I know it’s not easy. I am the Democratic nominee in Arlington, second house district. I’ve been running for 18 long months, so I had thousands of conversations with people in our communities who are concerned about their fundamental rights being taken away, who are concerned about mental health, lack of access to child care. And we will not back down, we will continue to stand up for them and their fundamental rights and all the necessary services that we need to get our community. So I’m very hopeful that we’re going to flip the House, grow our majority in the Senate. And I don’t have a general election opponent, so I’m all in and ready to work with all of you to raise as much money as possible and continue to mobilize and get out on these doors and win back the majority.”
  • Bonita Anthony (D-HD92): “Bonita Anthony down here in Norfolk in Chesapeake with the new HD 92…I think my superpower right now is collaborator…Here in Norfolk…and pretty much in the Hampton Roads area, we have some serious races so even though we don’t have an opponent for November, we’re not resting on our laurels. We are all in to make sure um that Senate District 21 is covered with Angela Williams Graves. We’ll make sure that House District 94 with Phil Hernandez is covered… HD 97 with Mike Feggans is covered…when we go into Chesapeake we’re gonna make sure that HD 89 with Karen Jenkins is covered. So we’re all in, we’re gearing up, we’re going to be knocking doors. The feeling here is there’s a lot of voter apathy here in this area, but I think the audacity of the SCOTUS and all those things that are happening has really shaken people, they’re really fighting for public education and making sure that we fight against economic disparity. So I think we can gear up more volunteers to make sure…that we build up that support in the majority in the House and then hold that blue line in the Senate. So we’re all in.”
  • Susanna Gibson (D-HD57): “I will never ever ever doubt my ability to do something. I will put my work ethic up against pretty much anyone’s. And I will start off not knowing what I am doing, but by god I will work and work and work until I am the best. And I’ve come quite a long way and that is my superpower – I never doubt my ability to do anything. And then thinking about really why I won, you know I’ve been a nurse practitioner here in the Greater Richmond area in Henrico for 15 years. So not only am I involved in my kids’ school and in the fitness community, I have a lot of patience. 15 years is a long time, and I’ve bent over backwards to do anything and everything my patients need for 15 years…I have to say my patients, I cannot tell you how many people came in and said I saw you on TV…can I have a sign…They would come into clinic. And so again, community organizing and just having been present and really having a long history of helping people in every way I think is my superpower.”
  • Karen Keys-Gamarra (D-HD7): “I’m going to take the liberty of [the] previous speaker and say I have two [superpowers]…The first is I really love being a team player and having that opportunity to connect with the community…it just energizes me…and the other part is once I connect with people, I love to engage in laughter and it happens a lot, and when people start to really connect and have those conversations and you laugh together you start to have a bond, I think…It brings me joy even talking about…Why I won, I really credit the community; we have a very engaged community that did a lot of research. A lot of people were torn; we had some really tough choices in House District seven. But we had a lot of opportunities to do forums and things of that nature and I think that people they were really engaged in paying attention. I know that this was not an easy choice, but I think the community really came through in terms of really figuring out what they wanted in terms of representation. I think my background as a school board member, the importance of public education in this debate, I think was a big part of it because people recognized that I had already been in the front lines.”
  • Rozia Henson (D-HD19): “My superpower is my personality…my personality got me a long way on the doors, but also being honest with the voters. So there were some voters that said, hey I see you on my Ring camera when it was snowing, you’re back again, what are you back again for? And it’s like hey, yep, I needed your signature to get on the ballot, now I need your vote. And then they’re like, well I’m so undecided, so I’m like okay well, I’m going to circle back with you a few more times until I know your decision. So it got to the point where before I could even get to the door they’re like Mr. Henson, I’m voting for you, go away, go to the next door. So just having that personal experience in the district and because house district 19 is a new District… what I was telling them is like hey, we’re dating, so until you warm up to me and we’re warming up to each other I have to continue coming around until you’re comfortable with me. And since then it’s been a great experience. One of my future constituents gave me a book, so I have to read two chapters of this book and then report back to her. So it’s like little things like that in House District 19 that a lot of the constituents are looking forward to.”
  • Kannan Srinivasan (D-HD26): “Greetings from Loudoun, I’m very excited to be here, thanks to every one of you. My superpower is my love and what I’ve learned from the grassroots. My wife and I have been very active in Loudoun for years…knocking on doors…It was the knocking on doors, being at the doors constantly…made the difference. And I think that comes from our love for all of you and what I’ve learned from every one of you…the most important aspect of a campaign um is voter contact and you do it in many ways, but one of the powerful impactful way is the grassroots.”
  • Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj: “…congratulations to everyone who went through the primaries and obviously prevailed…really for withstanding the battle, and then obviously the successes. And then I want to have a shout out for my colleague Parisa for not only winning the primary but winning it so well that they’re not even going to have a general, so that’s the way you deliver for your community…I am Buta Biberaj and I am the incumbent Loudoun County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. What…I learned from the primary was honestly just the fact that we just don’t know what we’re going to be presented with. So our opponent was an opponent, but the influence that we had was actually from the Republican Party as far as how they were interfering with our election as we saw within Northern Virginia. So that was a new flavor as to how we’ve you know we have to navigate these things, because we didn’t know what was going to happen. We had gotten wind  who was supporting her, but just didn’t know when it was going to come in. And it came in publicly…late in the process. But it was very interesting being at the polling stations and seeing people that you know, not to want to say that you prejudged somebody, but you’re looking at them you saying, you don’t have my values, like I don’t even know why you’re in this lane, I think you need to get back in your little car and go home. But it’s one of those things that that’s where they were looking at is trying to influence that. Then they put it on their websites, suspending all Republican rules, it’s an open primary, go out and vote and these are the individuals we want you to vote for. And you start thinking like whoa, how…do you anticipate that and that’s the part that it’s hard to anticipate, but you have to be three steps ahead…and watching your back…We had a very good team…I thank my team very much and then our community; our community rose up to the challenge, you know it was literally a call to arms, we need everybody to go into the polls we need everybody to call their friends to bring a friend… My superpower is not even mine personally, it’s my community’s; they have always risen to the occasion.”
  • Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “My superpower is authenticity…I can’t be somebody that I’m not even if I try. And so everything that I was talking about in terms of hope over fear…I genuinely have this sort of wild idea that that I can help change the world. And everything that I was saying in terms of policies and things that we’d done were true, and I wasn’t sort of pretending to be one thing and sort of like playing a sleight of hand. And I think that what I learned in this election is that if this was a referendum on criminal justice reform… the voters spoke very very clearly…in favor of hope over fear, and very clearly that there’s hope, that we can rehabilitate kids over the fear that incarceration is the only solution, and that we can support our brothers and sisters who suffer from mental illness instead of punishing them. And hope that a rise in crime doesn’t always need to be met with overpolicing. And we can be smart on crime rather than just tough on it. And that jurisdictions like Buta’s and Steve’s and mine…we can all take steps towards progressive reform…and not worry about the backlash. And the backlash has been with recalls, it’s been with judges overstepping their roles, it’s been…even police really like stepping out of their lane and and deciding that they’re going to start making policy by what they arrest for and what they don’t arrest for and what they tell the community. And so for me, I’m just sort of seeing the ability of the community to see what was authentic and to see what was real and to see through this idea of messaging reform but not really being a reformer and to be able to tell the difference was really heartening.”


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