Editor: I wanted to make a few clarifications regarding the 2019 Campaign kickoff that was organized by Phyllis Randall and the Loudoun County Democratic Committee. There have been a few letters written by people who did not attend the event. I was proud to be there to support the wonderful people who have stepped up to run for office.
Having recently run for office, I know that it is not an easy decision to make. Running for office takes time away from your family, your hobbies, and might require time away from your job. As a candidate, you must attend events in your community while missing out on personal social events. You must also educate yourself about the issues to create a platform while fundraising and informing people about the election. First time candidates are at a disadvantage because they lack the name recognition and fundraising network that incumbents already have in place.
2019 is a big election year because we will be electing our Board of Supervisors, School Board, Constitutional officers, House of Delegates, and state Senate. The year before our Presidential elections suffers from the lowest voter turnout. In 2015, we saw 29.1 percent of voters across Virginia casting a ballot. In 2016, voter turnout was at 72.5 percent. Every election is important, but our local elections are the ones that impact us most.
There was no introduction of “hand-selected” candidates. The event did introduce candidates who have completed the necessary paperwork to qualify as candidates. It was stated numerous times that additional candidates are welcome and encouraged to run. How could there be “hand-selected” candidates when people in attendance will be facing off in primaries this June?
During the event, I spoke with someone who is thinking about running for office. I was happy to let him know about a few resources he should take advantage of to help him make his decision. I was also thrilled to introduce him to our Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, because his name is also Justin.
As Renss Greene stated in his Dec. 3 article, the Loudoun County Democratic Committee has “found candidates for 13 of the 22 seats up for election.” We are excited to see so many people stepping up to run for office and would be delighted to see more people throw their hat in the ring. This is absolutely something to celebrate because more people are engaged in local politics.
I believe primaries make the Democratic party stronger. Primaries help to increase voter turnout and have an impact on the issues being discussed. After the 2017 Gubernatorial primary, we saw Ralph Northam pick up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour because Tom Perriello campaigned on this issue.
If you are interested in running for office and would like to run as a Democrat, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is not required but it will only benefit you and your campaign to get to know the people who are working to help elect Democrats in Loudoun County.
Charlotte McConnell, Sterling