Dear friends,

I can’t believe we only have three weekends left before the election. I guess summer really is over.

Now that everyone is back and settled into the post-summer routine, we’ll be restarting these emails. As always, please send suggestions on how this can be most helpful.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation – VAYD Style
What a summer! After the primary, we started organizing for the joint campaign, canvassing neighborhoods and registering voters.

At the end of August, I went on a 6 day - 1,761 mile road trip all over the Commonwealth from the Eastern Shore to Bristol. I registered voters with the YDs at VCU and the JMU Dems; had dinner with the UDems and YDs at RadfordU; coffee with the VTYDs, ODU Dems and HS caucus chair and a game night with the UR College Dems. I had lunch with 5 former VAYD presidents, beer with a YD serving on a Southside school board and attended my first Acres of Dems. I even got to attend the launch of the Roanoke Young Democrats. Thanks to Jamie, Morgan and Alexsis for joining parts of the road trip. Check out #YDRoadTripon Twitter for all the pictures.

This fall, we worked with the NextGen campus organizing program to register students to vote on campus. Quick shout-out to all the NextGen staff, interns and campus organizers who are also VAYD or chapter officers! Our high school chapter also registered seniors and other 17-going-on-18 voters to vote for their first time.

We started knocking doors in our communities for the statewide ticket, vulnerable incumbents and local candidates ready to knock out Republicans. One highlight was the joint event with the LGBT+ Democrats supporting Danica Roem (VAHD-13)

Two weekends ago, we hosted our second policy summit on gun violence, in partnership with the Young Democrats at Virginia Tech. We hosted speakers from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action and the Women’s Resources Center of the New River Valley. After the summit, we canvassed for Chris Hurst (VAHD-12) and knocked for more than 500 doors!

Last weekend, the Northern Region Young Democrats made more than 500 calls in support of Delegate John Bell (VAHD-87) and Jennifer Carroll Foy (VAHD-02) and hosted a fall picnic.

… and that’s what we did on our summer vacation.

Fight Back (your advocacy portal)
Right now, the most important thing we can do on the issues that matter to us is elect Democrats! Join us for our upcoming canvass events!

  • Canvass & cookout for VanValkenburg (VAHD-72) on October 21st at 3411 Cox Rd, Henrico. We are kicking it off at noon. Shout out to our partner chapter, the Metro Richmond Area Young Democrats!
  • Canvass for Kathy Tran (VAHD -42) on November 5th at 6116 Rolling Rd, West Springfield. We are kicking it off at noon and we’ll be joined by the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle Democrats! Shout out to our partner chapters: Fairfax Young Democrats and George Mason University Democrats!
  • Join the Hampton Roads Young Democrats for one of their regional canvasses.

The Battlefield

Democrats need to win in November; let’s keep Virginia blue. Go knock doors, make calls and get out the vote!

Non-Virginia Battle Field

Republicans effectively control 68 of 99 state legislative chambers, remember Nebraska has a unicameral legislature – weird. Since Election Day 2016, Democrats have flipped 8  legislative seats, seven in Trump districts: Senate districts FL-40 and OK-44 & House Districts: OK 46 & 75, NH-Rockingham-4, Carroll-6 & Belknap-9 and NY-9. Daily Kos has a great spreadsheet of all the post-Trump special elections.

Note, Democrats failed to pick up any of four special Congressional elections but we did better than expected in Kansas and South Carolina. Archie Parnell, who’s special was the same day as Jon Ossoff’s, did basically the same margins in SC-05 with very limited outside support. Thankfully, he’s running again in 2018. Also, stay tuned for details on upcoming special Congressional elections in PA-18 and OH-12.

Innovators (your new idea portal)
Earlier this year, I announced a grant program for local chapters. This summer, we received applications and will be funding programs at seven VAYD chapters. Congratulations to the NOVA Community College Democrats; Roanoke Young Democrats; University Democrats at UVA; University of Richmond College Democrats; Young Democrats of Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro; Young Democrats at VCU and Young Democrats at William and Mary on their GROUND Game grants.

 Stay tuned as we share their great ideas. Start thinking about ideas to submit for Q1 funding in 2018. We’ll be releasing details after the Election.

 A Few Shout-outs/Announcements

Welcome to our three newest chapters, the Roanoke Young Democrats, Hampton University Democrats and Young Democrats at Radford University. We now have 47 chapters throughout the Commonwealth.

Congratulations to our Treasurer, Eugene Chigna, on being named Metro Richmond Area Young Democrats’ member of the month.

Read this great piece from UDems President, Brett Curtis, and UDems member, Jackson Sample, on Jill Vogel’s long career on anti-LGBT activism.

Congratulations to our Secretary, Graham Weinschenk, on his appointment to the DNC Youth Council!

Social Media Fodder

Since Trump’s election, Democrats have been flipping state legislative seats left and right.

This is what happens when Republicans are left in charge.

Jill Vogel is NO friend to the LGBT community.

Trump has found a way to cost sick people more money for their healthcare.

Trump’s healthcare plan is especially bad news for rural communities.

Mark your calendar

Help elect a Young Democrats to the General Assembly by canvassing for Schuyler Van Valkenburg(VAHD-72) on October 21st. Afterwards, we’re hosting a cook out.

Join us for our final GOTV on November 5th in support of Kathy Tran for Delegate (VAHD-42).

I know it’s already on your calendar but here’s another reminder: Election Day is November 7th.

Be sure to sleep and maybe eat a salad on November 8th.

Democratically yours,

James Lewis
President, Virginia Young Democrats