Our followers may remember that we were active in the Virginia state legislative elections in 2017 as part of a strong network of local grassroots groups. We succeeded in getting several amazing Diversity Declaration champions elected, many of them running in deep red districts! However, the Virginia legislature as a whole hung on to a very slim, one-vote margin in Republican hands.
We’re back and ready to elect even more great diversity champions in Virginia, as well as supporting the re-election of some of our amazing 2017 candidates. We’d like to introduce you to two NEW DD champions, and get you as excited as we are about supporting them!
Joshua Cole, in House District VA-28, was a 2017 Democratic candidate for District 28 of the Virginia House of Delegates. Josh is a longstanding ally to our fight for equity and inclusion. He serves on Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent’s Equity, Diversity and Opportunity Committee, and is the President of the Stafford County. Josh also recently received an endorsement from former Attorney General Eric Holder and his National Democratic Redistricting Committee and this endorsement is so appropriate. Josh lost his race in 2017 largely due to voting irregularities.
Our other new champion is Qasim Rashid in Senate District VA-28, overlapping Josh Cole’s House District and those of some of our other Prince William faves: Elizabeth Guzman, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Hala Ayala. And just as they did in 2017, he’s seeking to flip a district that has been in Republican hands for a long time. Qasim is a longstanding human rights and civil rights activist, and has been an active representative of Virginia’s Muslim community, and champion for the rights of all religious minorities. He is also a longstanding activist on civil rights, immigration rights and women’s rights.
This is a great time to focus on Virginia. The Democratic share of seats in the Virginia House of Delegates is expected to increase due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 17, confirming new boundaries for 25 GOP-gerrymandered districts. Virginia is one of only four states with legislative elections in 2019. All 140 seats in the House and Senate are on the ballot. If each of us do just a little bit, we can get these great champions elected and help change the face not only of politics in Virginia but, as we build a diverse bench, the future politics of our country.