Editor: It takes guts to take on the incumbent. Even more so during a global pandemic. But it was seeing the inequities COVID has amplified that inspired my friend Irene Shin to run for delegate. An individual’s personal ambition is not a reflection on anyone else’s worth, value, experience, or accomplishments. Primaries are good for democracy, running for office is not easy. Let’s have historic voter turnout for primaries this year.
I came to know Irene through the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project in 2017. I was struck by her enthusiasm, knowledge, and ability to communicate effectively. She is passionate about the issues and helping people. Her focus has been community building and civic engagement. She cares about people, is an empathetic listener and is a problem solver. (She told us the most moving story of registering Korean voters in LA. Not my story to tell, so ask her)
Irene is running a grassroots, people-powered campaign. She has roots in our community that the incumbent does not have and has not tried to build during his time in office. I have contacted his office on a few issues and received silence. (But I hear from my other reps)
Irene wants to represent our community and the incumbent wants to represent himself. He is his own biggest donor and has accepted money from Altria and AT&T. This is not acceptable in 2021 and was not acceptable in 2020 or 2019.
Irene understands Virginia history and the district that the inclement lacks. She has been ensuring Democrats are gaining ground across Virginia through the Competitive Commonwealth Fund, Virginia Civic Engagement Table, and CrowdPac. Irene can build the coalitions needed to pass a progressive agenda in the House of Delegates that leaves no one behind.
On the issues, I am impressed by Irene’s Ethical Virginia Campaign Reform Package. She wants to close Farmville, end Qualified Immunity, and supports our TLGBQ+ community. We need leaders who are progressive, vocal, and effective.
We need more women in office like Irene. The Virginia General Assembly is only made up of 29% women, we can do better than that. Please join me in voting for Irene Shin for HD 86 on June 8th. Early voting starts on April 24.
I think endorsements matter. I think it is also important for voters to consider who isn’t endorsing in primaries when an incumbent Democrat is being challenged. Primaries can make us better as a party, without excluding Independent voters. The incumbent won this seat in a special election that had little turn out. We have primaries for the top 3 on the ballot, I am glad we have a primary in the 86th to motivate people to get out and make their voice heard.
I am donating $50/month to Irene Shin for Delegate. I was not paid (or asked) to write this. I did support Kofi Annan during the primary for the 86th.
Irene was next to me that Election Day in the snow, asking people to vote for Kofi. Kofi may have lost, but Irene did not lose her love for our district. Irene is running a grassroots campaign for progressive and effective representation in HD 86 and deserves your vote.
Charlotte McConnell, Sterling