by Stair Calhoun, Traci Franssen and Candi Graham
When Abigail Spanberger beat Dave Brat and then won re-election 2 years later, Chesterfield County turned from magenta to a pinker shade of purple. This year we plan to add more blue to that purple. (For more analysis on the shift in big diverse suburban/urban jurisdictions between the 2000 and 2020 elections, read Lowell’s piece from earlier this summer).
Senator Ghazala Hashmi and soon-to-be Delegate Debra Gardner will soon be representing big chunks of Chesterfield in the 2024 General Assembly.
A special election in 2022 gave the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors a second Democrat, Mark Miller, along with longtime incumbent Jim Holland. Now Lindsey Dougherty is prime to win another seat in the Bermuda District. Jennifer McClellan won 9 of the 13 precincts in Chesterfield’s Bermuda magisterial district, and the stats from the 2022 elections show Bermuda was the closest to going blue with minimal campaigning that year.
After all that is going on in Virginia and nationwide, there has never been such interest in the school board as there is this year! Voters at the doors are universally concerned with the teacher shortage and inability to attract and retain qualified teachers for all open positions. Too many parents have experienced school buses dropping off their kids at 6pm, 2 hours after scheduled drop off.
Fortunately, Chesterfield County has a full slate of excellent School Board Candidates:
- Dot Heffron, incumbent running for reelection in the Clover Hill District who stood strongly during her first term for school safety and higher funding including increasing teacher salaries by 25%.
- Traci Franssen, public education advocate and small business owner of her own logistics company, running to be the school board representative for the Matoaca District to ensure common sense policies that put ALL kids on the path to success safely and respectfully. Matoaca is quickly growing, and both new and old residents deserve schools that are responsive to their needs.
- Dominique Chatters has been active in her kids’ schools as PTA president and other positions and can be seen at almost every school board meeting, and supervisors’ meetings and public hearings, concerned with public schools. Dominique is most likely to flip the school board in Dale District, where Jim Holland (D) has won Supervisor for many terms.
- Antonia Saunders, autism and special education advocate and mental health professional will bring her intimate knowledge of the unique challenges faced by families with special needs to the board as the next member from the Bermuda district, primed to flip this year along with Lindsey Dougherty in the supervisor spot..
- Laurantt Lee, educator and historian who was among the first black children to integrate Midlothian schools is now running to be among the first black women to sit on the Chesterfield County School Board as the next representative from the Midlothian district.
Add to Youngkin’s extreme-right education policies, his lack of attention to gun violence occurring on his watch and his stance on abortion rights – all of which go against the wishes of the majority – there is energy among Chesterfield Dems that is usually only seen in presidential elections.
We must help voters learn which districts they’re in after redistricting, get them literature that shows the Democratic candidates as well as nonpartisan supervisor and school board representatives and Constitutional offices,, provide early voting information, and work like mad to Get Out The Vote. When We Vote, We Win!