These are tumultuous days politically — weatherwise as well, but that is for another column.
When news is breaking out of Washington at lightning speed and we are in a whirlwind of primaries and elections (yes, I am up for re-election too), it is difficult to focus on anything except cable news. But even in the midst of all this, neighbors are still being neighborly, students are still graduating, and voters are still voting — and voting is critical now.
Many people are angry at the statements and decisions being made by President Trump and Congress. I am angry too — angry and appalled at the callousness on display — angry and appalled at the bigoted violence that is more and more prevalent. Angry and appalled at the irresponsible, selfish and tone-deaf behavior of many of our elected officials.
No, I am not going to tell you to look on the bright side. Keep paying attention to all of the almost overwhelming input coming at us 24/7. Why? Because this is a democracy and citizens have a responsibility; you have a responsibility to work to bring about change. As someone famous once said (Saul Alinsky?), “Be the change!” and “The only way out is through.”
There are several new nonpartisan political action groups forming in response to the current pervasive dissatisfaction in the air. NoVA Women’s Network and Indivisible are the two most active in this district. I have spoken with both groups about the workings of our state government and how to get involved right now in ways that make will a difference. OneVirginia2021 is mounting a strong campaign of education and advocacy about the redistricting process and the seemingly insurmountable state and federal problems that gerrymandering has brought us. Each of these groups welcomes new faces and new ideas. You will be surprised by how many of your neighbors are already involved.
I will meet with any group, large or small, to discuss civic action and state government. This is a nonpartisan appeal. Please invite me at [email protected]
We must work very hard now to build a future for Virginia in which all votes count and all voices are heard. Why does the Virginia House of Delegates need your attention now? (The Senate is not up for election this year).
Because now there are only 34 Democrats out of 100 Delegates in the House. Clearly, this severely lopsided composition does not promote serious policy discussion and allow for all constituents’ voices to be heard. The only difference that 34 Democrats can make to floor vote outcome is to be able to uphold a Governor’s vetoes. This is an important power, no doubt; and we need to ensure that all 34 of those Delegates return in 2018. But 34 out of 100 does not influence Committee membership and therefore, not influence which bills are heard and ever voted upon. If seven new Democratic Delegates were to be elected, Committee membership would be dramatically changed and opened to more transparency and scrutiny by all Virginians. Many people speak of the value of a Democrat/Republican balanced Legislature — I agree. Now we have a hugely unbalanced Legislature and you can change that!
Get involved in your future!
Delegate Kory represents the 38th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She may be emailed at [email protected]