We are happy to give credit where credit is due. Governor Bob McDonnell, with the support of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, issued Executive Directive One, re-affirming the position taken by Governors Kaine and Warner, that Virginia hires the best talent regardless of whether that employee is gay or straight. Within hours, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reversed years of anti-gay demagoguery and applauded Governor McDonnell's "tone." Today was a success-story, and we are honored to have played a leading role in pressuring the Governor and the Attorney General to retract their earlier words.
But Actions speak Louder than Words. As Attorney General Cuccinelli carefully avoided pointing out in his somewhat vague statement: the law remains the same. The Virginia Code still does not protect GLBT Virginians from discrimination in the workplace, public or private. Governor McDonnell should do more than say the state won't discriminate against gays: he should work to make it law. We call on Governor McDonnell to pledge that he will introduce and support legislation codifying protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender state employees. Governor McDonnell's earlier decision to retract protections for GLBT state workers, along with Attorney General Cuccinelli's earlier letter to Boards of Visitors, expose the fragile nature of Executive Orders and Directives. If Governor McDonnell means what he says - and we sincerely hope that he does - than he must promise to guarantee protections for GLBT state employees in law.
Ken Cuccinelli has gone too far. He and Governor McDonnell have embarrassed Virginia and are going to steer jobs and talent away from Virginia if they don't change their tune. Our Board President, Sean Holihan, has released a video statement, calling on Virginians to join us in a few specific actions, including a Facebook Day of Action on March 12th. His full comments are below the fold.
This Blog Post is written by Virginia Young Democrats Disabilities Caucus Chair, Dan Davis
I've known Delegate Marshall for nearly 20 years and I'm sure he regrets saying that. I think those are wrong and offensive comments. We should do everything we can for young children that are developmentally disabled and provide the best safety net that we can through state government.
- Governor Bob McDonnell, "Ask the Governor," WTOP Radio, February 23, 2010
Virginia Young Democrats calls on Governor Bob McDonnell to honor his rhetorical commitment to "the best safety net" services for children with disabilities by canceling his draconian budget proposals slashing funding for home and community based services.
When Governor McDonnell appropriately condemned the appalling remarks of Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) for suggesting that children with disabilities were punishment for the actions of their parents, he verbally endorsed doing "everything we can" to provide these children with the "best safety net through state government." Yet McDonnell's laudable rhetoric is inconsistent with the stark reality that his budget endorses draconian cuts to home and community based services and related programs which these children and their families rely upon.
As Delegate Robin Abbott (D- Newport News), mother of a young adult with a disability, said recently while referencing Marshall's hurtful words, and McDonnell's devastating budget, "More important than words or rhetoric are the actions we take." Budgets are moral documents, which reflect a leader's values and priorities. And as a moral document Governor McDonnell's budget is quite disturbing: He proposes eliminating 6,000 self-directed home and community based services waiver slots for children and adults with disabilities, while cutting Medicaid eligibility and slashing funding for related supports that children and young adults with disabilities rely upon to live independently in the community.
While Bob Marshall's words are extraordinarily hurtful to children with disabilities and their parents, Bob McDonnell's budget is far more harmful, threatening to devastate the services and supports families have come to rely upon and to deprive young people with disabilities of their opportunity to pursue educational and career opportunities in their communities.
Fortunately, the Democratic -led Senate takes a different approach, prioritizing the preservation of community services, while minimizing painful cuts to Virginia's young people with disabilities and their families. To honor his commitment to a safety net and dignity for children with disabilities and demonstrate his respect for their lives and dignity, Virginia Young Democrats calls upon Governor McDonnell to use opportunity of the budget negotiations to reach an accord with Senate Democrats and ensure that we do not balance the budget on the backs of people with disabilities.
As many of us are aware, Virginia has not been among the friendliest states for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. With Governor Robert McDonnell and Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli at the helm of Virginia's government, along with a conservative House of Delegates, Virginia has chosen to stay behind as our sister states have advanced equality among all of its citizens.
Since his Inauguration, Governor McDonnell has refused to follow former Governors Kaine and Warner by being inclusive in his non-discrimination Executive Order. Even worse, Attorney General Cuccinelli has implied that he will not tolerate known homosexuals in his office.
Keep reading to hear how Virginia might lose hundreds of high-paying jobs because of anti-gay Republican policies...
Young Democrats Call for Bob Marshall's Resignation Over Disgraceful Comments
Using disabled children and their families as a political prop for his extremist Republican agenda is out of line
Richmond, VA - Virginians are shocked and outraged at the recent comments made by Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall and the Young Democrats will not stand by idly while such statements are made. State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas says disabled children are God's punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy, the Staunton News Leader reported today.
"Bob Marshall's recent apology does not correct what he has done," said Dan Davis, Disability Caucus Chairman for the Virginia Young Democrats. "Del. Marshall should stop using disabled children and their families as a political prop for his extremist Republican agenda. We are deeply offended and demand that he resign his position as a Delegate in the Commonwealth, our Commonwealth."
In recognizing the negative effect of such disgraceful and offensive language on all disabled youth across the country, VAYD's parent organization, the Young Democrats of America, joined in calling out Bob Marshall and asking for his immediate resignation.
(Thanks to the Young Democrats for all they do. Also note that Sen. Whipple's letter quoted in this blog includes the Senate Dems new You Tube channel [here www.youtube.com/vasenatedems]. - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)
Senator Whipple sent out an awesome letter talking about the great things that the Senate Democratic Caucus is doing to show the Governor the best way to govern Virginia. The full letter is below the fold...
This Spring, the Virginia Young Democrats are working hard to impact legislation working its way through the the General Assembly. Our Lobby Day is coming up Monday the 22nd, and our legislative fellows - part of our 2010 Spring Program- are working hard to help our majority in the Senate hold the line against Pass The Buck Bob.
After helping Senator Dave Marsden pull off an upset win in the 37th Senate District special election earlier this month, the Virginia Young Democrats are rockin' and rollin'! Below you will find more information on our Lobby Day, our Convention, our work to keep the 41st House District blue, and our Commonwealth Club. More after the jump...
Virginia Young Democrats make over 14,000 voter contacts in critical victory
In-kind organizers, volunteer force critical to victory
Centerville, VA - Delegate Dave Marsden has just won the special election to fill the senate seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. The district was represented by a Republican in the state senate for 8 years and carried by Republican Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. The seat is now in Democratic hands. The Virginia Young Democrats (VAYD) contributed two in-kind organizers to the campaign after Delegate Marsden was the only Democrat to file. In the past five-and-a-half weeks, VAYD organizers Trent Armitage and Mary Kate Aylward and scores of VAYD volunteers combined to make well over 14,000 voter contacts in this race. The margin of victory for Senator-elect Marsden was less than 350 votes.
This winter, the Virginia Young Democrats have hired two organizers to help Democrat Dave Marsden in his race to fill Attorney General-Elect Ken Cuccinelli's open State Senate seat in southern Fairfax County. Mary Kate Aylward, the Virginia Young Democrats 2009 Organizer on the Bouchard campaign this fall, and Trent Armitage, former State Director for the non-profit group My Rural America, have hit almost 6,000 doors and phones since starting December 1st! VAYD - along with some of our America Votes Partners - is participating a big canvass on Saturday the 19th at 10am in Centerville. You should join us! Need convincing? Mary Kate sent along this dispatch:
We had some folk who got the information late and wanted to apply. To be fair, we decided to keep the application process open for everyone! The new deadline is the 21st of December! Cross-posted at http://www.vayd.org/2010LegislativeFellows
Permalink: http://www.vayd.org/2010LegislativeFellows Position: Virginia Young Democrats Legislative Fellow
Stipend: $400 - $600 pending hours worked
Application Deadline: Extended! December 21st, 2009 Requirements: 15-20 Hours per Week, January 12th through March 13th
Qualifications: Must be able to work in fast paced environment, think on feet, and follow deadlines. An interest in the inner workings of politics and the legislative process is a must.
Description Rarely does an opportunity like this arise for young people to play such an active role in policy. The Young Democrats and the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses have joined forces to provide a fellowship program where young people can become experts on an issue area and work closely with elected officials during the General Assembly session.
Candidates for a fellowship will apply for a committee assignment and if chosen will work closely with the Caucus Whip or Committee Chair of the committee. This fellowship is unique because it allows young people to be an active part of the legislative process and interface directly with lawmakers. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, attending all assigned committee and subcommittee meetings, following legislation through the committee process and through the legislature, monitoring amendments to legislation, keeping track of who is in favor and against legislation, observing meetings between legislators and lobbyists (both constituent and professional), drafting correspondence to constituent contacts on legislation before your committee, preparing background briefing information daily for legislation up for votes on the floor of the General Assembly, taking visual record (pictures) of your experience and reporting about your work on the VAYD blog, and other duties as assigned.
There are 20 fellowship positions available. Each comes with a $400-$600 stipend. Candidates must be able to commit to 15-20 hours per week, January 12 - March 13. Availability and flexibility will be weighted equally to qualifications and references during the selection process. Any questions should be emailed to Toby.Quaranta@vayd.org.
Deadline The deadline to apply has been extended to Monday, December 21st at 5:00 p.m.
How to Apply Submit an application to Toby.Quaranta@vayd.org with the following information:
Cell Phone and Home Phone
Preferred Chamber (House/Senate)
Preferred Committees (List Three; click for the list of House and Senate Committees )
Include answers to the following in your application:
Briefly describe your qualifications and knowledge of the subject areas of the three committees you chose above.
What do you believe is the most important issue that passed one of your committees of choice during the 2009 General Assembly Session? (You can use the list of House and Senate Committees to see legislation that was "Reported Out" of committee )
What is the most important issue facing Virginia in the 2010 General Assembly?
Briefly tell us more about yourself: Where you're from, your interest in politics, etc.
How would participation in the Fellowship Program help you achieve your goals for the future?
Please provide 3 political/professional/scholastic references
Are you an active member of a Virginia Young Democrats Chapter? If so, which one?
What is your availability January 12 - March 13? (Do you have any planned vacations? Are you available Monday/Wednesday/Fridays, or Tuesday/Thursdays? Etc.)
It's not easy to pick up and dust off after a tough fall. This election was a tough one for Democrats in Virginia. In spite of an unprecedented effort by the Virginia Young Democrats and Democrats all over the Commonwealth, we lost. Even with this loss, however, we have a lot to be thankful for:
Virginia Young Democrats Make Huge Impact on Election In spite of a tough environment, you and our 10,000 members across Virginia made 135,300 voter contacts. This HUGE number played a significant role in some of our victories in the House of Delegates races. You can read about our 2009 Election work here.
Health Insurance Reform Over the summer and into the fall, Young Democrats in Virginia and across the country wrote letters and made phone calls to their members of Congress in support of Health Insurance Reform. We know that it is our generation, our friends and our siblings, that suffers under the high costs of the current health insurance system. It is wrong to make young people choose between paying for health insurance and paying for rent. It is wrong to expect young people to pay extraordinarily high premiums when they could be paying off college debt or saving up to buy their first home. Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass health insurance reform. Just this weekend, the U.S. Senate voted to allow debate to move forward. Senators Webb and Warner both voted to move forward on debate of the bill. You can call them now to tell them why you support Health Insurance Reform, or you can use the AFL-CIO's Action Center to send them an email.
With Election 2009 behind us, VAYD is already getting ready for 2010. This weekend, a group of members of VAYD's executive board met in Arlington at the ACDC Headquarters to go over plans for the coming year. First on our agenda: Legislative Fellows for the House and Senate Democratic Caucus, and (building on our work in NOVA this past cycle) organizers for the Special Senate election in Fairfax.
The Virginia Young Democrats hired 12 full-time organizers for the critical 2009 Gubernatorial and State Legislative elections. Our organizers had two, simultaneous goals: get large numbers of volunteers incorporated into the campaigns, and identify new members and volunteers as a way to build our membership for future elections.
By The Numbers 12 full-time paid organizers
700 Staff Hours
Thousands of Volunteer Hours
135,300 Voter Contacts
"In every targeted race across the Commonwealth, the Virginia Young Democrats had a presence and they made a difference," said Delegate Ken Plum, chair of the House Democratic Caucus. "With our key Delegates races often being decided by less than a thousand votes, the work of these Young Democrats makes a big impact." The Virginia Young Democrats made a huge impact statewide.
Virginia Young Democrats Congratulate United States House of Representatives, Congressmen Moran, Scott, Connolly, and Perriello for Historic Vote American People, Young Generation to Benefit from Access to Affordable Healthcare and Long-Term Savings
Washington, D.C. - The Virginia Young Democrats (VAYD) are excited to congratulate the United States House of Representatives and Virginia Congressmen Moran, Scott, Connolly, and Perriello for their votes in support of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
"We applaud the House's vote to pass health care reform in a way that reduces our deficit and ensures choice, access, and affordability in our health care system," said Antonio M. Elias, Vice President for Issues of the Virginia Young Democrats. "We are especially proud of Congressmen Moran, Scott, Connolly, and Perriello for their vision and their vote."
The Virginia Young Democrats are a statewide organization for Democrats under the age of 36. With 51 chapters and 10,000 members, the Virginia Young Democrats are the premiere volunteer organization for Democrats in the commonwealth. This year, the Virginia Young Democrats have hired 12 organizers to work on the statewide races and in key legislative districts. The Virginia Young Democrats made over 135,000 voter contacts in the 2009 election cycle.
It's a regular text that goes out to VAYD's Organizers, Chapter Leaders, and Volunteers - just a check-in to make sure that Young Dems know that the work they do is important. I thought that I would post some of the responses!
Congressman Perriello (D-Awesome) came out and rallied the Young Democrats at the Arlington County Democratic Headquarters. With over 30 phone bankers, the Virginia Young Democrats added almost 2,000 voter contacts to their total!
What we've done so far, What we've got coming up!
30,000 Doors Down, 30,000 to go
What an election year! It has been a weird electoral season - an influx of cash and energy for Republicans, Olympia Snowe becoming a friend (or is she?), and a volunteer base that is exhausted from last year's election work - but we're still kickin' butt! This year, the Virginia Young Democrats set out to hire organizers to supplement the field programs of the campaigns. We have also worked hard to set up regional invasions to boost the voter contact being done by our organizers and the campaigns. Between the work being done by our chapters, the work being done by our organizers, and the work done through our regional invasions, and the Virginia Young Democrats have hit 30,000 doors across the state. Not a bad number, and about half-way to where we want to be. Below is more information on what we've done so far, and what we're doing to hit those remaining, critical 30,000 doors for our statewide and delegate candidates.
Nothing sings to Young Democrats like an invasion. Young Dems get excited when they meet other Young Dems. We get excited by large groups. By putting people in areas that overlap with targeted House districts, Invasions are a great way to excite our volunteers and connect our people to the campaigns in a savvy, exciting way. Our invasions in Newport News, Hampton Roads, Albemarle, Charlottesville, Richmond, McLean, Blacksburg, Stafford, South Riding, and Lynchburg are only the invasions we've done up and to this point! Check out our VAYD Invasions below.
(I am promoting this very short diary in the hopes that you get a timely reminder. Note: These events are now today, Wed. If you live near either, please show your support! Also note the UVa event is, apparently, for students. - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)
Senator Deeds has been all over the state in his quest for the Governor's mansion. Today, the Senator was touring schools in Harrisonburg and Winchester. As Governor, he will institute the Virginia Forward scholarship to assist students with tuition who commit two years of public service to the Commonwealth. The information is below.
CHARLOTTESVILLE - CONVERSATION WITH STUDENTS. Sen. Deeds will join a group of students and faculty from the University of Virginia to discuss his plans to increase access to higher education. Deeds' plan will create 70,000 new degrees over the next 10 years.
When: 1:45 PM
The Curry School of Education
Ruffner Hall - G004C
405 South Emmet Street
What a weekend!!! About 150 Young Democrats came out to canvass and knock on doors with their local YD chapters, filling nearly 200 shifts for local Delegates and the Statewide Democratic Slate. This weekend's canvassing resulted in 12,000 doors knocked!!!
In Hampton Roads, local VAYD chapters and a coalition of D.C. College Democrats launched their first joint campaign invasion of the 2009 election year. Forty-two D.C. College Democrats traveled to Hampton Roads where they were joined by local Virginia Young Democrats to canvass for Robin Abbott, Del. Bobby Mathieson , and the statewide slate of Democratic candidates. Over 10,000 doors were knocked throughout the course of the weekend in Hampton Roads alone. Check out the picture of Governor Kaine, Robin Abbott, and some of the 78 Young Dems who came out to canvass!
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