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When do you stand up and fight for your beliefs?

When I’d found out the Equal Rights Amendment never made it into the Constitution and my two children were unequal in our Constitution, I knew I had to act. I worked hard for months on both local and statewide efforts to get ERA ratification up for a vote in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Fast forward six months and my very own delegate prevented it from going to the floor for a vote. I could not let that stand, and launched my campaign to oppose my delegate, then Majority Leader Todd Gilbert. It was an uphill race from the start – a crimson district, an unopposed delegate for 12 years, and no money of my own to launch my campaign.

My campaign was not so different from many that are run in conservative districts throughout Virginia. That’s why the endorsement and financial support from the Competitive Commonwealth Fund was a game changer. It gave my uphill campaign its first big boost. We all like supporting a winnable race but, in Virginia, there are many ways to win. I lost the election but I helped Virginia flip the House of Delegates. When we run Democrats in red districts, our opponents are compelled to spend time and money on their campaigns. Those are resources that might otherwise be doled out to more competitive races. But the win is bigger than time and money, it’s also about hope. As a rural Democrat, hope for change was crushed by the lack of candidates. My race gave people hope and, in return, I gained their trust and support. My most memorable donation was $20 from a dear lady who had scrimped to come up with $15 more than her usual $5 donation. In my district, that spoke volumes and she remains one of my greatest supporters.

You can help transform Virginia politics. It doesn’t matter whether it’s $5 or $5,000, both are vital and both will empower candidates like myself to run in these critical races. Over time, we can paint more of Virginia blue so that we ultimately have a deep and sustainable majority. I found my voice by running for office. I hope that donating to the Competitive Commonwealth Fund will give you a new voice as well.


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