This week’s newsletter reflects on Tuesday’s election results which saw Democrats maintaining control of the Virginia Senate and flipping control of the House of Delegates; we also commemorate Veterans Day and highlight select community engagements and events from this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and for staying informed.
Election Night, Tuesday, November 7, was an incredible night for Virginia’s Democrats and for Virginia. I thank Richmond and Chesterfield voters who expressed, through the ballot box, their support for both me and for the priorities for which our Democratic caucuses continue to fight: high quality public education, safe and legal abortion access, gun safety, our environment, voting rights, housing affordability, and so much more. I am humbled by the support and truly honored to continue to serve as state Senator representing Richmond and Chesterfield County.
During this campaign, while talking to voters at their doors or at town halls and various events, I continued to listen to concerns and priorities. Voters asked that Virginia’s General Assembly focus on what unites us and what truly matters – and not on the distractions of cynical, divisive rhetoric and manufactured culture wars.
Voters spoke about the need for:
We’ve made incredible progress in the last four years, and we still have so much to do. We will continue to fight for our collective future and for a Virginia that is more equitable, more just, and more compassionate.
Saturday, November 11, was Veterans Day. On Veterans Day and every day, we honor the individuals who have served our country, both domestically and abroad. I attended the Chesterfield County Veterans Day Ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Building at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds in the afternoon. Our keynote speaker was truly inspiring: Brigadier General Patricia R. Wallace, the first woman to lead the U.S. Army’s 80th Training Command in its more than 100-year history.
Virginia is home to over 730,000 veterans, or nearly 10% of our Commonwealth’s adult population. Our military servicemembers and their families make tremendous sacrifices to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Among these sacrifices are the serious physical and mental health concerns that we must address, as well as economic and employment concerns such as housing insecurity, lack of jobs training and opportunities, and increased risk of suicide. This upcoming 2024 General Assembly session provides us with opportunities to continue to address these issues through legislative action, and I am hopeful that we will be able to move forward on these priorities.
Highlights from Community Events & Meetings
In the days leading up to the election, I continued to knock on doors across the district. While out canvassing in the Dale District, I saw many signs for our newly-elected Chesterfield County School Board representative–elect Dominique Chatters. While on the doors, community members consistently emphasized the importance of funding our public schools, increasing access to behavioral health and mental health services, and ensuring all families have access to jobs that pay living wages.
We started off early on Saturday, November 4, which was the last day of early voting across the Commonwealth. Alongside my campaign staff, we greeted voters from across Chesterfield County, many of whom expressed their gratitude for early voting opportunities on the weekends.
Saturday afternoon was somber, as I joined Delegate Rodney Willett, members of Richmond City Council, friends and loved ones of Shawn Soares for an honorary street dedication at the corner of West Main Street and North Madison Street in Richmond. All who knew Shawn spoke of his kindness and his remarkable achievements at such a young age. His absence is felt keenly in all of the circles in which Shawn was actively engaged: state government, environmental advocacy, the Democratic party (including Young Democrats), and much more.
As a part of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) on Sunday, Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, Delegate-elect Debra Gardner, and I joined New Virginia Majority for a canvass launch in Chesterfield. Efforts of organizations like New Virginia Majority, their staff, and their volunteers were crucial in maintaining Democratic control of the Senate and flipping the House of Delegates.
On Tuesday, November 7, I visited numerous polling locations throughout the district and had a wonderful time talking to voters. The polls had a steady stream of voters, from dawn to dusk, and connecting with so many residents was wonderful. We had volunteers at every polling station, and I thank them for their dedicated efforts in helping voters understand who was on their ballot.
On Election Night, we watched results with both Chesterfield supporters and with the Joint Senate and House Caucuses. The success in keeping Democratic majority in the Senate and in flipping the House means that we will be able to move forward effectively in protecting safe and legal abortion, voting rights, public education, our environment, and much more. I thank my wonderful campaign team and volunteers for their hours of effort in ensuring the success of Election Night.
On Friday, I attended the Virginia Counselors Association conference. I was very honored to be recognized with a Legislator of the Year award by the VCA. During this past session, I collaborated with the VCA to pass legislation that enabled Virginia to join the Interstate Counseling Compact.
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