Home 2024 Elections Video: “Friday Power Lunch” Features Democratic Candidates for Congress Across Virginia

Video: “Friday Power Lunch” Features Democratic Candidates for Congress Across Virginia


See below for video from today’s Network NOVA “Friday Power Lunch.” Today was a chance to “meet these Virginia Democratic Congressional Candidates running in the June 18 primary”; each candidate got a “hot minute” to talk about themselves, so there wasn’t a chance to go into any detail or ask any questions, but still, at least you can see and hear the Democratic candidates for Congress from across Virginia in one relatively short sitting. Enjoy!

VA1Leslie Mehta (“I’m motivated by service. I’ve been a lawyer for over 20 years and I’m proud to have served as the former legal director of the ACLU of Virginia. I’m also a mom – a mom who lost her 5-year-old daughter to a severe and rare disease and then channeled that grief back into passing federal legislation co-sponsored by Representative Abigail Spanberger, who has now gone on to endorse my campaign”) and Herb Jones (“What makes me a champion of Democratic values are, #1, my values are freedom, democracy, truth and justice. I’ve demonstrated my commitment to these values…throughout my entire life through service…I’ve worn the uniform of the United States Army officer for 30 years; I’ve LED soldiers in peace and in war; I’m a disabled combat veteran; I was awarded the Bronze Star for my service in Iraq”)
VA2Missy Cotter Smasal (“I’m the candidate who will beat Jen Kiggans in November. I’m a Navy veteran; I served as a surface warfare officer during Operation Enduring Freedom…I am committed to protecting and defending our abortion and
reproductive rights, our voting rights and our democracy. I’m the DCCC Red-to-Blue candidate that signifies the campaigns that are key to a Democratic majority, and I was the first challenger in the country to earn Hakeem Jeffries’ personal endorsement I’m also endorsed by…the entire Virginia Congressional Democratic delegation”) and Jake Denton (“I’m a constitutional law and civil rights attorney. The day I decided to run for Congress was the day that I realized the Supreme Court was going to grant Donald Trump’s appeal that he’s above the law; this argument is a dagger at the heart of our constitution”)
VA5Gloria Witt (“I value faith and family, justice as well as community building. Three decades of corporate leadership experience, a small business owner and four decades of community service. What drives me – our rights and freedoms are under attack and I wanted to re-energize disappointed voters, particularly African-American men”)
VA6Ken Mitchell (“To me, integrity is what it’s all about; I believe that defending and keeping our democracy is based on the common shared belief that we must always choose to do the right thing for our country and for our fellow Americans. I know it’s not always easy to do the right thing, but right now it’s the most important thing that we can do in November – we must vote people with integrity and who are strong enough to do the right things when things get tough. We must reject those who do whatever it takes to stay in power. Our democracy depends upon it.”)
VA7Andrea Bailey (“I am running for [CD] 7 and my favorite word is servanthood with a little caveat of faith…what that means to me is taking a little girl from St Louis, Missouri raised by a single parent, but in a four-generation home who taught her
the value of voting, who taught her the value of good health care, who taught her the value of just fighting for your community no matter what. And so I bring that to the table as a veteran’s wife, 23 years in the Marine Corps serving nationally and internationally. And I’m running for this race to save our democracy, to bring back those servant entities with the Democratic strong arm to make sure that we are serving our community while we’re fighting for our democracy”); Margaret Franklin (“I am running because I understand the challenges that working families face. I grew up in a single-family household where my father raised my sister and I when my mother passed away from colon cancer. From there, I understood the challenges that he faced with regards to health care costs and so I’m pushing to reduce health  care costs, to expand access to healthcare, also focusing on education, public safety and of course women’s reproductive health. I’m running for this office because I have the experience from working on Capitol Hill for eight years in both the House and the Senate and also I’ve been effective on the local board…”); Elizabeth Guzman (“The very reason I got involved in politics was to defend our Democratic values when Republicans in Prince William County passed a racist policy targeting people like me and my family. I led the effort to repeal it and help flip the Board of Supervisors and the school board. The 2016 election of Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric was a turning point. My son, born and raised in Virginia, feared we may have to leave our home. Seeing his fear ignited a fire in me to safeguard our freedoms. That is why I ran for delegate in 2017…I flipped a seat held by Republicans for 26 years by double digits. I introduced over a 100 bills in Richmond…”); Briana Sewell (“My word for our campaign is commitment – a commitment is a promise, and as your next congresswoman I am committed to supporting an assault weapons ban; I am committed to fighting for reproductive freedom; I’m committed to ensuring that our farmers and small businesses have the resources that they need and investing in an economy that works for all. And I am committed to protecting an environment and our open space. But most importantly I’m committed to listening to the needs and the desires of the seventh congressional district and representing the vision in Washington”); and Eugene Vindman (“I’m a husband, a father, a vet, an immigrant – my family came to this country, five of us, we had less than $800 in our pocket and I’m proud to say that now I’m living the American dream. I spent 25 years in the Army. I stood up to Donald Trump; I reported his corruption and that threat to democracy is not over yet. And so I’m fighting to preserve democracy, protect reproductive rights and get the politics out of the classroom. I’m proud to have been endorsed by The Washington Post recently and I’ve put together really a  humbling grassroots campaign. So I’ll pause there and reserve the remainder of my time for Memorial Day to remember those veterans that are not with us.”)
VA9 Karen Baker (“My opponent has had seven terms and he’s done nothing for the district. My word today and my word every day is service – I gave 30 years of service to the federal government as a lawyer and a judge; I’ve given my time and my whole life to service, also as a nurse in a small rural hospital. What I want to do is share with my district that you can do something. There’s a lot of disappointed voters, a lot of voters who think that nothing will do any good. Of course they’ve had this man here for 14 years who’s done nothing. But I want to show them that I will work for them and we can do this, we can make change – and if we get out and vote we’ll do it.”)
VA10Jennifer Boysko (“I am someone who leads with my heart and with my values. I’ve been able to get a lot of stuff done – I’ve passed 62 bills in my time in the General Assembly and I do that without bullying other people, without manipulating people and without cutting deals…You know who I am…that’s what you get. And I will always work collaboratively with people, I’m the recognized champion on reproductive rights in the Senate”); Marion Devoe (“I am the barrier shielding the Virginia voters
from career politicians; I myself I’m not a career politician, I am a public servant and have been for over 30 years. I’m also the only real Vietnam combat veteran in this particular run. So I’m advocating for affordable housing, women reproductive rights, gun violence prevention…I’m running for Congress to make life better for all Americans, not just that 1%”); Eileen Filler Corn (“I’m running for Congress because now more than ever we need women on the front line defending our rights and our freedom…my mission has always been to protect our families. As the first woman to be Speaker, I took on Republicans, I led the charge to roll back extreme right-wing abortion restrictions, I protected our democracy, holding election deniers accountable. Now it’s time to take that fight to Congress, to codify Roe and protect our democracy. We need a leader with the courage and the knowhow to hit the ground running on day one, someone proven effective, tested and a leader like me – I believe I’m that candidate”), Dan Helmer (“…serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, I saw what happens when extremists trample on people’s rights, which is why after the attacks on January 6th, I wrote the bill to ban January 6 insurrectionist from serving in office. And when extreme Republicans sought to deny access to safe and legal abortion, I led the effort as our campaign’s chair to successfully flip the House for the first time in 60 years when the other party had the governor’s mansion…I am proud to be standing up to make sure we fight to protect ourselves against threats to our democracy, protect our rights against attacks by extremists, make sure we keep dangerous weapons off our streets”); Krystle Kaul (“I’m the only woman from Loudoun who’s running in this race. I am the daughter and granddaughter of Indian immigrant…I was a former director at the Department of Defense in the highest civilian rank, I broke a lot of barriers to get there. I work closely with Secretary Mattis, but I stepped down when I was under the Trump Administration and I saw MAGA extremism taking over and I am running to fight back against that…I’m a national security Democrat, I have spent my life protecting this country. I want to fight for reproductive health freedoms, having worked…gun safety having lived in conflict zones and fighting MAGA extremism”); Mark Leighton (“I’m a librarian, I am a longtime Democratic volunteer. Let me tell you about my ambition for this seat – I think the best politicians are the ones who are thought leaders, the ones who are pushing a policy agenda and that’s what I aspire to in this role…This is one of the most politically sophisticated districts in the country and I think we should be a thought leader and we should elect somebody like that”); Michelle Maldonado (“These unprecedented attacks on reproductive rights, contraceptive care, voting rights, DEI, affirmative action, our environment, all of those things are unacceptable. And we have fires all around the world – the Middle East, the genocide in Sudan, Haiti; we need people who can day one come and help bring skill sets that navigate polarized places and bring people together, have extreme and deep technical experience which I do through the AI and the new and emerging technologies…This is a moment in time where we need people who understand this 360 to help our nation and our people”); Travis Nembhard (“…son of two Jamaican immigrants…I’m running to build pipeline for the next generation of leaders. I bring a broad swath of experience despite being the youngest candidate in the race – a former judge, former financial regulator, former legislative counsel, Assistant Attorney General and working on various civil rights matters as well…I have experience running last year in a House of Delegates race; thanks to many of you on this call and your support there, we had outperformed  expectations…we’re going to need someone who can inspire the Black community”); David Reid (“I decided that I owed something back to the nation that had given me so much; that’s why I joined the Navy in 1988, why I ran for delegate in 2017 and why I’m now running for Congress in 2024. All of those life experiences inform who I am as a person and who I am as a delegate”)
VA11Gerry Connolly (“I’ve been a leader in Congress making sure that the Ukrainian people have the resources they need to fight depraved Russian aggression…standing up for free people around the world is a core value of our party and indeed what makes us Americans, and we can’t give into to those who offer false choice between securing essential services for our constituents or standing up for Ukrainians – we can and must do both…I’m the only candidate in this race with a clear record of fighting for women’s reproductive rights, gun control. recruiting and electing scores of Democratic women here in Virginia, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and standing up to Donald Trump. I was proud to share my experience on January 6 right here with you on this forum just days after the tragedy, and I’m proud to have been one of the architects of turning two of Virginia’s largest localities blue. And I’m proud to have been named the most effective member of Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking…”)

The Democratic candidates who weren’t there today include: Gary Terry in VA05; Carl Bedell and Clifford Heinzer in VA07; Atif Qarni, Adrian Pokharel and Suhas Subramanyam in VA10; Ahsan Nasar in VA11.


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