Weekly Recap: New Staff, International Women’s Day, HR1…

Sign up today! DPVA’s 2019 Pat Jennings Training

Last year, the Democratic Party of Virginia partnered with the National Democratic Training Committee to hold a full day candidate training in Northern Virginia as a part of the Pat Jennings Project. With over 100 people in attendance, it was an immense success. We are excited to announce to you all that we will be partnering with them again to hold another training on April 6th at Virginia Tech.

Topics we’ll be covering will include Communications, Field, Fundraising, Digital Organizing, and VAN. This is an amazing, and cost free opportunity for people who are interested in running for office to learn about the many different facets of a strong campaign.

What: DPVA Pat Jennings Project Training with the NDTC

When: April 6th, 2019 — All Day

Where: Virginia Tech

Hahn Hall North — Room 130

900 West Campus Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24601

Click here to sign up for the Pat Jennings Project Training

2018 Pat Jennings Training, George Mason University

DPVA has two new staff members!

Ivana Hall, Political Director, Coordinated Campaign: Entering her sixth campaign cycle, Ivana has worked with the DPVA on past Coordinated Campaigns in 2017 and in 2018 as a Regional Director for Senator Tim Kaine in South Hampton Roads. Ivana’s other campaign experience includes work in New Hampshire and Dallas, Texas, where she was born and raised. Prior to her work as a political operative, Ivana interned and worked with HIV/AIDS non-profits in North Texas that provide funds to organizations providing services to those living with the disease, a cause that has been very near and dear to her for over 10 years. Email: ihall@vademocrats.org

Justin Jones, Finance Director: Justin joined the DPVA after serving as the Communications Director for the Abigail Spanberger for Congress campaign which flipped a seat that no Democrat had won in 50 years. A California native, Justin began his political career working on state and local races in San Francisco. He is a former Legislative Staffer to a San Francisco Supervisor and founder of the United Democratic Club, one of the largest Democratic clubs in San Francisco. Beyond politics, he is a huge history buff and has an avowed green thumb. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Henrico and are hoping to get a furry pup this year! Email: justin@vademocrats.org

The Virginia House Democratic Caucus, Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, and the Democratic Party of Virginia have teamed up with MobilizeAmerica to provide local and CD committees the event and volunteer management platform at no cost.

The Virginia Democratic Party has partnered with MobilizeAmerica to provide county parties and state legislature candidates the events and volunteer management platform at no cost to you.

MobilizeAmerica can help maximize your field and digital programs, all while saving you time and energy.

Why use MobilizeAmerica?

  • Recruit more shifts: Mobilize allows you to customize an events feed with easy to share event links where volunteers can search and sign up for your campaign events.
  • Collaborate: Hundreds of other progressive organizations around the country are using the MobilizeAmerica platform, and their volunteers are always looking for organizations to volunteer with. Our platform allows you to collaborate and connect with them to tap into new volunteer audiences every day.
  • Automatic Confirmations: MobilizeAmerica sends out automated confirmation emails and SMS texts to volunteers registered for an event. On average campaigns using MobilizeAmerica see a 30% decrease in flake rate.

Interested? Fill out this form and the MobilizeAmerica team will create your account, and will be in touch with next steps! We will also be holding a training on Thursday, March 14th with Mobilize staff to walk through how to use the Mobilize dashboard! To sign up for the training, email katie@vademocrats.org.


Meet the new Veterans and Military Families Caucus Chair: Derek Kitts

Derek Kitts is a native of Southwest, Virginia. After 24 years in the US Army, including multiple combat tours, he returned to Christiansburg, Virginia. After running for Congress in 2016, he remained involved with the Democratic Party before being elected Chair of the Democratic Veterans and Military Families Caucus. He looks forward to working with Democrats across the Commonwealth on Veterans issues and supporting Democratic Veterans as they run for office.

First Annual Taste of the 7th

One Night. One Fabulous Feast.

The Taste of the 7th is a community event sponsored by the Goochland and Powhatan Democratic Committees and featured special guests DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, and Gene Rossi, former candidate for Lt. Governor.

The event was held at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian and is designed to provide guests an opportunity to try new cuisine by showcasing restaurants from across the 7th District, as well as a silent auction, special guests, candidates, and a Distinguished Service awards program.

Distinguished Service Honorees:
Dr. Bowles (posthumously) — Goochland
Steve Fleming — Goochland
Frances Broaddus -Crutchfield — Powhatan
Josephine Goodman — Powhatan

Arlington Democrats March Breakfast: Equal Rights and Women’s History

This month’s breakfast at the Busboys and Poets Shirlington restaurant in Arlington focused on Equal Rights and Women’s History. The distinguished panel of speakers highlighted the need to enact the Equal Rights Amendment:

  • Susan Swecker, Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia;
    - Margo Horner, Chair of the VA 8th Congressional District Democratic Committee;
    - Katie Cristol, Arlington County Board Member; and
    - Christian Dorsey, Arlington County Board.

Don’t miss next month’s breakfast on April 3. This meeting will feature a debate between the Democratic candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington and Falls Church. An overview of volunteer opportunities and upcoming events will also be given.

Chairwoman Swecker delivering remarks at the Arlington Democrats Monthly Breakfast

March 8: International Women’s Day

During Women’s History Month and on International Women’s Day, thank you to all the courageous women across Virginia that help build a stronger, fairer, and more inclusive Commonwealth!

GOVERNING Magazine March 2019 Edition: Women in Government featuring VA Delegate Lashrecse Aird

To read the full issue, click here.

House Democrats just passed a slate of significant reforms to get money out of politics (Vox)

House Democrats officially passed their massive anti-corruption and pro-democracy reform bill known as HR 1 on Friday. The bill passed on a final vote of 234 to 193.

The sweeping bill is aimed at getting money out of politics and increasing transparency around donors, cracking down on lobbying, and expanding voting rights for Americans by implementing provisions like automatic voter registration.

As they passed the bill that was their first priority of the year, Democrats were in a celebratory mood.

“HR 1 restores the people’s faith that government works for the public interest, the people’s interest, not the special interest,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It is fundamental to our democracy that people believe that actions taken here will be in their interest. That is what this legislation will help to restore.”

But the bill is already dead on arrival in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed he won’t bring it up.

“This is a terrible proposal; it will not get any floor time in the Senate,” McConnell told reporters on Wednesday. He said he instead wants to focus on banning the practice of “ballot harvesting,” where volunteers collect filled-out ballots and drop them off at polling places to be counted. McConnell referred to the state of California — where ballot harvesting is legal — suggesting the practice could be why House Republicans lost so badly in the state during the 2018 midterms.

Democrats were under no illusion that HR 1 would get a welcome reception from Senate Republicans or President Donald Trump, but they hope the message they are sending is one the public buys — that money and corruption in politics should be eradicated.

“It is a fight we will not end until we win it,” Pelosi said, adding, “we can save a lot of time by the Senate just agreeing to a vote.”

There’s some evidence to back this up. Recent polling from the PAC End Citizens United found that 82 percent of all voters and 84 percent of independents said they support a bill of reforms to tackle corruption.

HR 1 is Democrats’ attempt to deliver on that promise.

Here’s what’s in the final bill that Democrats passed

HR 1 covers three main planks: campaign finance reform, strengthening the government’s ethics laws, and expanding voting rights. Here’s the important part of each section, briefly explained.

Campaign finance

  • Establishing public financing of campaigns, powered by small donations. Under the vision of the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), the federal government would provide a voluntary 6–1 match for candidates for president and Congress, which means for every dollar a candidate raises from small donations, the federal government would match it six times over. The maximum small donation that could be matched would be capped at $200. The most substantial change to HR 1 is this program now won’t be funded by taxpayer dollars as originally planned; instead, it will come from adding a 2.75 percent fee on criminal and civil fines, fees, penalties, or settlements with banks and corporations that commit corporate malfeasance (think Wells Fargo). Democrats are using this idea to push back on Republican attacks that taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing campaigns.

“You’re saying look, these big industries that lean on our democracy and are also breaking the law — it’s very appropriate to take a tiny little piece, put it into a fund and say, ‘That’s how we’ll give more power back to everyday Americans,’” Sarbanes told Vox. “We’ve got some big corporations out there who are probably going to keep getting in trouble and having to settle cases, so I think it will be an ongoing and sustainable source.”

  • Supporting a constitutional amendment to end Citizens United.
  • Passing the DISCLOSE Act, pushed by Rep. David Cicilline and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, both Democrats from Rhode Island. This would require Super PACs and “dark money” political organizations to make their donors public.
  • Passing the Honest Ads Act, championed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Mark Warner (VA) and introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA) in the House, which would require Facebook and Twitter to disclose the source of money for political ads on their platforms and share how much money was spent.
  • Disclosing any political spending by government contractors and slowing the flow of foreign money into the elections by targeting shell companies.
  • Restructuring the Federal Election Commission to have five commissioners instead of six, in order to break political gridlock at the organization.
  • Prohibiting any coordination between candidates and Super PACs.


  • Requiring the president and vice president to disclose 10 years of his or her tax returns. Candidates for president and vice president must also do the same.
  • Stopping members of Congress from using taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment or discrimination cases.
  • Giving the Office of Government Ethics the power to do more oversight and enforcement and implement stricter lobbying registration requirements. These include more oversight of foreign agents by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
  • Creating a new ethical code for the US Supreme Court, ensuring all branches of government are impacted by the new law.

Voting rights

  • Creating new national automatic voter registration that asks voters to opt out rather than opt in, ensuring more people will be signed up to vote. Early voting, same-day voter registration, and online voter registration would also be promoted.
  • Making Election Day a holiday for federal employees and encouraging private sector businesses to do the same, requiring poll workers to provide a week’s notice if poll sites are changed, and making colleges and universities voter registration agencies (in addition to the DMV, etc.), among other updates.
  • Ending partisan gerrymandering in federal elections and prohibiting voter roll purging. The bill would stop the use of non-forwardable mail being used as a way to remove voters from rolls.
  • Beefing up election security, including requiring the director of national intelligence to do regular checks on foreign threats.
  • Recruiting and training more poll workers ahead of the 2020 election to cut down on long lines at the polls.

Republicans are already trashing the bill

The Trump administration and Senate Republicans had made their opposition to HR 1 known well before it was passed. McConnell has attacked the bill in op-eds and floor speeches, and the Trump administration issued an intent to veto the bill on Tuesday.

The White House’s statement characterized HR 1 as federal overreach that would “micromanage elections” and “chill free speech.” As for the bill’s ethical reforms, the Trump administration (itself plagued by numerous ethics scandals and a revolving door of White House officials) said the bill had a number of “well-intentioned but misguided ethics reforms for Government officials.”

Democrats, in turn, have expressed incredulity at Republicans’ arguments, saying the majority leader openly embracing making it harder for people to vote isn’t likely to win his party elections in 2020, especially given the strong backlash toward Trump and Republicans in 2018.

The reason the bill is so comprehensive is that Sarbanes, Pelosi, and other top Democrats know that America’s elections issues go far beyond Trump, and they want to demonstrate they are committed to doing something about it that goes beyond talk.

Sarbanes expressed to Vox a need for Democrats to “walk the walk, and we’ve got to walk it quick. To say to the public, from this point forward, if you give the gavel to lawmakers who are interested in being accountable to you, this is the kind of change you can expect to see. If you like this, give us a gavel in the Senate and give us a pen in the White House.”

What does Congress have to say?

2019 Train the Trainer Program

The Best Practices Institute is excited to announce the launch of our 2019 Train the Trainer (T3) Webinar Training Program!

T3 is a free six-week, twelve-part webinar course, covering all aspects of grassroots campaigning. This program seeks to expand the skills of progressive activists and volunteers, by ensuring that comprehensive training is free and accessible for Democrats all over the country. Register for T3 today, and help us take our country back in 2020!

Click Here to Register

T3 trainings are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET, from April 16, through May 23. The deadline to register is Sunday, April 14 at 12:00 a.m. ET.

Participants must complete all twelve sessions in order to receive certification. All training sessions will include a skills test to track retention and participation. Trainings will be recorded and made available following each session via a weekly wrap-up email, delivered on Fridays.

CLICK HERE to submit your registration for the 2019 T3 Training Program! Registration will close at 12:00 a.m. ET, on Sunday, April 14.

Upcoming Events

To get your event added to the DPVA website and the newsletter, email digital@vademocrats.org with event details!