We Need To Be Better

Virginia District 18 – 2017

Tuesday was a good day to be a Democrat, in Virginia. I spent the day driving over a 100 miles to as many polling locations as I could. I spoke with everyone, Republican and Democrat during my stops. I experienced a range of responses from open hostility and aggression to friendly hugs. Here’s what I learned …

We need to BE better. We need to DO better.  Percentage-wise, Democratic turnout in District 18, in comparison to Republican turnout,  was up. But this number won’t turn us Blue. I know I’m preaching to the choir but we need to make this choir bigger.  So, how do we do this? Let’s talk business.

My Republican opponent, Michael Webert reported that between April 1 and June 1,  he raised a total of $10,000 from only three (3) people, 2 family members, and four (4) companies.  $6,000 cash came from his mother and grandmother. On the other hand, during the same period, I raised $3,500 cash all from forty-eight (48) people.  Webert is a formidable opponent by virtue of his unlimited access to family money and corporate coffers.

I don’t like this system, in fact it’s one of the reasons I decided to run for office, but I can’t change it unless I can compete, and for that we need money. If you know me, you know I can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I’ve spent my career in the music business doing just that with passion, hard work and creativity. I bring those attributes to the people of District 18. I know I will never win the money battle against a wealthy, entrenched Republican. But, I can win the race if we are focused, smart and pool our resources.

As local Democrats in Virginia, the tide is turning and people are ready to listen to what we have to say. They want change. But we need to have the tools to reach them. I need you to partner with me and help me raise money. For example, $100 gets us 20,000 impressions locally on Facebook, $50 gets us 500 color handouts, $25 pays for gasoline for a day of driving to knock on doors, $10 gets us 200 business cards, etc., etc. All amounts matter, all amounts count towards winning.

I really want to thank all of you who have already donated, some of you multiple times, to get my campaign started. Now, we have to REALLY start to Rock n’ Roll to get out the vote.

We can win if we get MORE VOTES. There’s no secret sauce or silver bullet to a Democrat winning in District 18. It’s all about getting people to the polls on November 7th.

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Virginia – Singing for Votes!


Your 1st chance to be heard is this Tuesday, June 13th. Please vote in the Primary.  I’m not on the ballot because I won the nomination in the caucus. But — you can help us WIN on November 7th and turn #18 BLUE by donating to the campaign now.

People frequently ask what my strategy is, where the votes will come from. The truth is we need votes from ALL areas of District 18 to beat Webert and the Republicans.  One of the biggest hurdles we must overcome is teaching people that they can vote THIS YEAR in Virginia.  So I took a song from one of my favorite rock stars, Johnny Cash, and wrote new lyrics for District 18. If I missed your town, send me an email.

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I’ve Been Everywhere In District 18

I’ve been making my way, around the 18th District lines
Talking to people, you know it’s almost Election time
Driving down the road on route 229
I ask girlfriend in which town I should be focusing my mind
She said, “aw Honey don’t you understand?”
Tristan you’re Democrat, you need every vote in this here land

I’ll go everywhere man
I’ll go everywhere man
From Skyline down to Midland
Culpeper to up to Delapane
Woo the 18th’s Gerrymanned
I’ll go everywhere

I been to
Warrenton
Bealton,
Arlie, Opal, Rectortown
Upperville is such a thrill
The horses jumping chasing hounds
Doulas in Zulla, I got some folk in Atoka
Yeah you can drive up to Paris, go to The Plains for a mocha
Markham, Marshall, Hume, Ada and Orlean
New Baltimore, Old Tavern see what I mean

I’ll go everywhere man
I’ll go everywhere man
From Skyline down to Midland
Culpeper to up to Delapane
Woo the 18th’s Gerrymanned
I’ll go everywhere

I been to
Front Royal
Linden
Apple Mountain Lake
All of Warren County do the
Shenandoah shake
Down in Culpeper
Been to Elkwood, Rixeyville,
South Wales, Kelly’s Ford,
Waterloo, how do you do?
Catalpa up to Jeffersonton
All around the District we’ve been having some fun

I’ll go everywhere man
I’ll go everywhere man
From Skyline down to Midland
Culpeper to up to Delapane
Woo the 18th’s Gerrymanned
I’ll go everywhere

I been to
Sperryville, Fletcher’s Mill, Flint Hill, Woodville, Rock Mills, Round Hill, Slate Mills, Amisville
Messed around in Viewtown, babbled in Scrabble, did some washing in Washington, broke the tap up in Chester Gap

Huntly, Massanova no it don’t get better
Than riding on a raft down the Rappahannock River

I’ll go everywhere man
I’ll go everywhere man
From Skyline down to Midland
Culpeper to up to Delapane
Woo the 18th’s Gerrymanned
I’ll go everywhere
I’ll go everywhere
I’ll go everywhere
VOTE Shields!

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If We Run Safe, We’ll Be Sorry

Vote Tristan Shields
Virginia District 18 – 2017

I was happy to see coverage of the upcoming Virginia House of Delegates race in the Jeff E. Shapiro article titled, “The House, a new ad and Howell’s nightmare,” from May 27, 2017. However, as a first time candidate myself (District 18, D), I have some different thoughts.

I think the question stemming from the deluge of Democratic candidates this year should not be “will they flip the house?”, but what effect will this have on civic engagement and the Democratic Party over the next 10 years? This is especially important in rural communities where Democrats have previously felt isolated but are now finding each other and organizing for political action.

There is no better way to learn about running for office than actually running for office. The current Democratic crop are young; bringing in new ideas and providing strong and diverse candidates. Even if these candidates don’t win their upcoming elections, they will run again in both competitive districts and races the Democratic Party of VA has all but given up on. This is something we haven’t seen in a long time.

As a Democrat running in a “safe” Republican district I know it is our responsibility on the local level to make the change we want. We are energized and in this for the long haul. No one asked us to do this, we are doing it for ourselves and our communities. This awakening is something much larger than “can Democrats flip the house?”; this marks a fundamental change in Virginia Values and the Virginia Way.

Politics of Coffee, Not Tea


A primary objective of the Trump administration/ Republican party is to push more responsibility to the states. They do this to keep the Freedom Caucus happy and to avoid having to make hard choices. We are seeing this again and again – the latest healthcare debacle, the attack on the EPA, etc. The result of this strategy is that major policy decisions directly impacting the lives of Virginians will be made at the state level. This is why the House of Delegates race in 2017 is critical to the future of Virginia.

We need more than just a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion. We need a functional and productive legislature that represents the best interests of all Virginians.  The rural District 18 must go Blue in November. Here are some of the things I stand for:

  • Education:  keep and put our public schools and universities on top. This means keeping local school boards in charge, access to affordable college, and especially for our District, a rural internet that works for students.
  • Healthcare: ensure all Virginians have access to healthcare. This means finally expanding Medicaid and being ready for whatever form of TrumpCare arrives at our doorstep.
  • Civility & Fair Elections: move political discourse to problem solving and abandon polarization.  Politics is the problem, not policy. Gerrymandering and campaign finance laws have created a monster that leaves the majority of rural Virginians in the cold, feeling their votes don’t matter.
  • Immigration:  develop  smart, strategic and thoughtful policies that help our small businesses, our local police and legal immigrants. Immigrants are essential for our economy.
  • Women’s Issues: today’s politics are all about women’s issues. You cannot have a conversation about work, healthcare, family, education and retirement without involving and listening to women.

There couldn’t be a more critical time to put Democrats in the House of Delegates. My opponent, Michael Webert, is Republican Tea Party “yes” man. Things will only get worse for Virginians if he is allowed to stay in office.  Be sure to sign up for my Vote Shields mailing list so you can learn more about my positions and campaign. And, of course, DONATE!

Make the Blue Ridge “BLUE”

As the letter puts it, “Given the Democrats’ recent streak of statewide victories, the question has been publicly muted — can Republicans still win statewide in Virginia?”

The VA GOP is running scared! Check out today’s investigative article from the Washington Post about Rural Virginia.

If the Republican strategy is to win Virginia this year by investing in registering 200,000 voters in our rural counties, you MUST help me capture new voters and get them to vote BLUE!  Help me reach these new voters in District 18 so we can turn the tide in Virginia — Donate now!