Accomack County & Northampton County Democratic Committees
The February ACDC meeting was a busy and eventful evening. We are gearing up for the Nov. 2019 elections and candidates are already visiting and getting to know the members.
Phil Hernandez is running for Delegate for the 100th District against Rob Bloxom. He is a native of the Hampton Roads, attended the College of William and Mary, and worked in the Obama White House as an intern, and eventually became a civil rights attorney whose mission is criminal justice and all workers' rights. He is running because we need to coordinate VA and Federal agencies to establish sustainable sources of energy, and address clean air and water, climate change, broadband and smart investments in people.
Donald Hart and Reneta Major spoke about their new positions as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Accomack County Board of Supervisors, their plans for reelection and addressed clean air and environmental concerns for the county. Reneta said she supports better school boards; she is active on A-NPDC, Transportation Board, Aging and Social Services boards. She believes the BOS needs more diversity.
Several candidates for Accomack Board of Supervisors spoke to the members including Vanessa Johnson (District 3) and Miriam Riggs (District 7). Accomack School Board candidates Lisa Johnson (District 3) and Ronnie Holden (District 7) also made brief remarks.
Willie Randall, a well known local businessman, announced his intention to run for the VA State Senator District 6 seat. He talked about his reasons for running, his qualifications and his policy proposals for the district which includes Accomack County (All), Mathews County (All), Northampton County (All), Norfolk City (Part), and Virginia Beach City (Part), Randall will be running against incumbent Sen. Lynwood Lewis who has represented Accomack County as 100th District Delegate from 2004-2014 and as a District 6 Senator from: 2014- Present.
The March 2019 ACDC Meeting will be at 6 pm on March 6 at the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Building, 19056 Parkway Road, Melfa, VA 23410. Click here for map to meeting address. The committee normally meets on the First Wednesday of each Month @ 6 pm. Check out the ACDC website and the Facebook Page.
The February meeting of the NCDC addressed the committee's plans and agenda for the coming year. The featured speaker, Phil Hernandez, gave an excellent presentation. He is a Democrat and former Obama White House staffer who will be running for 100th District Delegate in the November election.
The next NCDC meeting on March 5th will feature Charlene Gray, Northampton Commissioner of Revenue, and HD-100 candidate Phil Hernandez. The April 2nd NCDC meeting will feature Northampton County Sheriff David L. Doughty, Jr.
The March meeting will be held at 7 pm on March 5 at the Northampton Social Services Building, 5265 The Hornes, Eastville, VA 23347. Click here for map to meeting address. Normally the NCDC meets on the First Tuesday of each Month @ 7 pm. Check out the NCDC website and the Facebook Page.
What do the local Democratic Committees do? The purpose of both the Accomack and Northampton County Democratic Committees is to elect Democratic candidates to public office and to expand the Democratic electorate. Local committees are the backbone of the state and national Democratic Party. Democratic candidates rely on local committees for many tasks, including registering voters, contacting voters, getting out the vote and staffing the polls on Election Day. These grassroots efforts are essential to the election of Democrats and expanding our electorate.
Your local Democratic Committee serves as the bridge between grassroots activists and our candidates and officeholders, providing the organizational voice and support it takes to win elections. The role of the party and its leaders has evolved to include helping coordinate our candidates’ campaign efforts with the Democratic Party of Virginia not only during the traditional campaign season, but also through year-round party building and organizational activities and direct candidate services.
There are two levels of Committee Membership: Voting Member and Supporting Member. Voting Membership is for those who can attend meetings and be involved quite regularly. Supporting Membership is for those who can only ocasionally be involved in our activities, but wish to support the Committee.
It is truly a crazy time to be in Richmond for General Assembly Session. While there is a lot happening unrelated to legislation, we still must govern. With Crossover on February 6, we have hundreds of Bills to debate and vote on before we receive the House’s Bills and direct them to Committee. We are also reviewing the Senate and House Budgets that were just released.
The week kicked off with an incredible day at the Capitol; teachers, students and public education advocates descended on Richmond to share their stories and ask their legislators to prioritize public education. We have seen successful #RedforEd movements in other states, and I am hopeful that we will see significant changes related to public education both in the final Budget and in legislation. In my view, these should include the desired pay increase for teachers, funding to enable the change of the student-to-guidance counselor ratio and investments to address major infrastructure issues in our rural and urban school districts. I was visited by educators, students, parents and public school staff from across the 6th Senate District, including the Kiptopeke Elementary PTA. It was a treat to be able to take their group on the Senate Floor and I hope to be able to do the same for groups visiting from the Eastern Shore in the future.
In addition to many visits and advocacy days at the Capitol, my legislation has been relatively successful in moving through the Senate. Last week I discussed several Bills related to local issues on the Eastern Shore, all of which made it out of Committee. This past week each also passed unanimously on the Senate Floor, as did my Bill related to Groundwater withdrawal within the Eastern Shore Ground Management Area. This legislation – SB1599 – is critical for the Shore and I am pleased to see it be so readily embraced by my colleagues and well-received by those back home.
The final week before Crossover also saw the hearing of SB1559, my Bill to expand C-PACE Loans to include resiliency within the parameters for loan distribution. C-PACE stands for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and relates to financing for green energy upgrades. Many states have seen their C-PACE programs become more robust over recent years and this legislation should help in giving our C-PACE program here in Virginia stronger. It will also enable our
region specifically to access another resource to make lasting and necessary commercial improvements to ensure our buildings and businesses are not only more energy efficient, but also more resilient – a critical need as we make every effort to adapt to and find solutions for coastal flooding and sea level rise. This Bill received strong support from both the business community and the environmental community; it passed unanimously out of Committee and the full Senate.
There was much conversation during the beginning of the Session around a set of Bills related to casinos and gambling; as it stands, these Bills, including my Bill pertaining to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and their potential Norfolk casino, were all rolled into Senator Louise Lucas’ Bill and will head to a study to be completed by 2020.
Editor's Comments on a couple of important bills under consideration
HB2790 - Absentee voting; no-excuse in-person available beginning on second Saturday immediately preceding election. Allows for any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot in person beginning on the second Saturday immediately preceding any election in which he is qualified to vote without providing a reason or making prior application for an absentee ballot. The bill makes absentee voting in person available beginning on the forty-fifth day prior to the election and ending at 5:00 p.m. on the Saturday immediately preceding the election. The bill retains the current provisions for voting an absentee ballot by mail or in person prior to the second Saturday immediately preceding the election, including the application requirement and the list of statutory reasons for absentee voting. http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+sum+HB2790
SJ306 - Virginia’s state senate last week unanimously approved a constitutional amendment that, if ratified, would remove unfair partisan advantage from the state’s congressional and legislative map drawing process. The amendment, SJ306, would create an advisory commission to draft maps and establish state-level protections for communities of color. https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/virginia-state-senate-throws-unanimous-support-behind-redistricting-reform
Also, a federal court on Thursday, Feb. 14th, approved new district boundaries for the Virginia House of Delegates that were drawn by a court-appointed expert and are likely to benefit Democrats in November’s state election.
The U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Virginia voted 2 to 1 to finalize the map, which would put six Republicans into districts that would probably become majority Democratic, according to an analysis of recent elections by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) has said he will appeal the ruling to the SCOTUS, however the current ruling is in effect immediately. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/federal-court-oks-virginia-redistricting-plan/2019/02/14/2c2832a0-3090-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html?utm_term=.541ba3e5ebda
Northampton County Sheriff David L. Doughty, Jr. announced his intention to seek re-election for a third term. He began his career with the Sheriff’s Office as a Jail Deputy in 1994 under Sheriff Wayne Bradford. In 1996 he was promoted to Patrol Deputy and in 1998 to Criminal Investigator. In 2002 he was promoted to Chief Deputy and served in that position until December 31, 2010. Doughty was appointed Sheriff January 1, 2011 after the retirement of Sheriff Jack Robbins.
Doughty is a 1989 graduate of Northampton High School and received his associate degree in 1991 from Virginia Tech. He is the son of Peggy and Paul Rogers of Cape Charles and the late David L. Doughty, Sr. of Willis Wharf. His wife Cathryn Doughty has worked for 29 years as a teacher and coach for Northampton County Public Schools.
Kathryn Sorenson will lead Luria’s team as Chief of Staff, where she will oversee all legislative, messaging, and constituent-service operations in Washington and in the district offices. A native Virginian and veteran of the Virginia political scene, Sorenson served as Campaign Manager for Elaine Luria for Congress from launch day to Election Night. Sorenson is a graduate of American University.
Tyrone Bratton will serve as Legislative Director, where he will advise Congresswoman Luria on congressional votes and help execute her legislative agenda. A former resident of Virginia Beach, Bratton previously served on Capitol Hill as a HillVets Fellow and Military Legislative Assistant for Congressman Robert A. Brady (PA-01). A Duke University doctoral candidate, Bratton holds a master’s degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach. He founded LaughItOff Comedy, a veteran owned and operated clean comedy experience featuring comedians from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Chris Carroll will serve as Communications Director, where he will spearhead all of Congresswoman Luria’s messaging operations, from press relations to social media and beyond. Carroll has served five years as Washington-based Press Secretary for Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05). A Chattanooga native and a graduate of East Tennessee State University, Carroll was a political reporter and Washington correspondent for the Chattanooga Times Free Press before he began his career in government.
Erin Carter will serve as Outreach Director, where she will helm all outreach initiatives and ensure Congresswoman-Elect Luria’s office is connected to the Second District’s people and priorities. Carter will be representing Congresswoman-Elect Luria throughout the district, and will be a liaison to government, business, and community leaders. A graduate of Norfolk State University, Carter previously served as an outreach representative for U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. Carter also assisted in legislative issues that impacted the Hampton Roads region.
Dave Wickersham will serve as District Director and Military Liaison, where he will lead the team’s efforts on constituent services and interface with service members, veterans, and military families. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Wickersham served 26 years in the Navy as a nuclear-power-qualified Surface Warfare Officer, culminating in his command of USS ROSS (DDG-71), homeported in Norfolk. Wickersham served on the Joint Staff and at U.S. Fleet Forces Command before retiring as a Captain. He has led ships through repair and modernization periods in four local shipyards, and is a leader of Boy Scout Troop 1 in Norfolk.
Kate Fegley will serve as Scheduler, where she will manage Congresswoman Luria’s daily agenda. Fegley grew up a member of a military family and has called Coastal Virginia home for the past decade. A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Fegley holds a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University.
Jonathan Gerstell will serve as Legislative Assistant, where he will track congressional legislation and work with constituents to advance important Coastal Virginia priorities. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Jonathan previously worked on campaigns in Illinois and was a legislative intern in the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04).
Dominque Wardell will serve as a Legislative Assistant in Washington, where she will track congressional legislation and work with constituents of Coastal Virginia to advance the priorities of the district. A native Virginian, Wardell has worked on Capitol Hill for more than five years. Previously, she was a Legislative Aide with Senator Harry Reid and an Executive Assistant and Scheduler for Congressman Cedric Richmond. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Wardell holds a master's degree in Public Policy from Drexel University.
Juanita Williams will serve as a Caseworker in Virginia Beach, where she will provide constituent services. A retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, Williams served 24 years as an Aviation Machinist Mate. Williams managed 17 commands as the Alcohol and Drug Control Officer (ADCO) for Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic. Williams has lived in Virginia Beach since 1998 and attended Bryant & Stratton College, where she completed her associate degree in Human Resources.
Caleb Smith will serve as a Caseworker on the Peninsula, where he will provide constituent services and represent Congresswoman Luria at events on the Peninsula. Smith studied Political Science at Christopher Newport University and received an associate degree from Thomas Nelson Community College. Smith has lived on the Peninsula for 24 years.
Virginia Hagerott will serve as Legislative Correspondent in Washington, where she will document, research, and draft responses to constituents regarding legislative topics. Previously, Hagerott worked on Capitol Hill as a Staff Assistant for Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Hagerott earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Maryland and was born to a Navy family in Norfolk. She and her two siblings were raised by a U.S. Navy Captain who was sent on multiple deployments from Naval Station Norfolk over the years. Hagerott’s personal experience in a military family stationed in Norfolk strongly motivates her to serve the families of the Second Congressional District.
Jonah Kim will serve as Staff Assistant in Washington, where he will handle and oversee administrative responsibilities such as U.S. Capitol tours, flag requests, and special projects. Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications at the Pennsylvania State University, and he gained valuable Capitol Hill experience interning in the offices of Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Brendan F. Boyle.