This Sunday I had the pleasure of hosting the Late Autumn Launch of the Blue Wave, a coalition of grassroots activist groups who dedicated themselves to changing the composition of the House of Delegates in the 2017 election. They succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations by electing so many new Delegates that the number of Democrats and the number of women in the HOD nearly doubled. They proved that every vote counts and every voice makes a difference. They proved that informed, active citizens can change the face of their government.
This coalition enabled us to pass Medicaid Expansion legislation and offer healthcare to at least 300,000 working, yet uninsured, Virginians. The passage of Medicaid Expansion also freed up hundreds of thousands of dollars in our budget, allowing us to fund critical needs such as education, mental health, and transportation. Governor Northam’s Medicaid Expansion bill-signing ceremony on the Capitol steps this summer was an historic moment and I was proud to be a part of it.
This coalition also supported my bill, HB83, which mandated that menstrual supplies be available to all incarcerated women in Virginia at no cost. I am proud to say that HB83 passed both houses of the General Assembly unanimously and now is officially in the Code of Virginia.
After these successes, grassroots advocates are energized and ready to keep the Blue Wave momentum strong and focused on important issues coming up in the 2019 General Assembly session. Legislation such as the Equal Rights Amendment bill which I filed in the 2018 session. Even though it was not heard as a part of any Committee’s agenda and never made it to the floor for a full House vote, many folks who were uninvolved became inspired to make this their cause. I have joined those ERA advocates in my commitment to the passage of the ERA in 2019. It is time to finally bring equal status under the law to women in the Commonwealth.
As a community organizer trained in the Saul Alinsky method, I am excited by the grassroots groups who are tireless in their pursuit of progressive change. We have more tough obstacles to overcome in support of improving the quality of life in Virginia; but I have confidence that together, we will make it happen.
Delegate Kory represents the 38th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She may be emailed at [email protected]