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.