We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday spent with family and friends, filled with memorable moments and invigorating, soul-fortifying laughter and conversation.
But did you notice how quickly Thanksgiving gave way to the “Shopping Season”?
In the frenzy that accompanies the unofficial start of the Christmas season, the “Spirit of Giving” can transform into a hyperawareness of prices and sales; and into a focus on material wealth above all else.
First Black Friday, then Cyber Monday… and you are overwhelmed by a barrage of advertising aimed at you and your children.
All of this degrades the true spirit of the holiday, don’t you think?
Thankfully, #GivingTuesday gives us a chance to reflect on how much our lives intersect with others every day.. Celebrated across the globe, and in the U.S. as of 2012, it is a Day that Celebrates Volunteerism and Charitable Giving rather than the acquisition of material goods.
Here is your chance to to spend your dollars on something meaningful.
In Richmond, The Alliance for a Progressive Virginia fights for issues that matter to us all, and has been doing so for nearly six years. It’s good to know you have an organization here, in the center of Virginia, standing up and fighting for Progressive Values, especially now, in these uncertain and anxiety-ridden times.
APV has stood up for clean energy and the environment against Dominion Power and the energy extraction companies that want to cling to the profits of the past while preventing the Commonwealth from leading the way in adopting the technologies of the future.
We’ve stood against bigotry of all kinds and we’ve voiced our concerns at the General Assembly and before Congress, pushing for the rights of minorities, women, the LGBTQ community and the disabled. We fight for justice: equal rights under the law, and for lives free from discrimination and attack.
Here in Richmond, we’ve proudly joined with other activists to scuttle plans for “white elephant” deals like the Shockoe Bottom Stadium and the Boulevard sellout.
We work for a fair deal for Richmond families and, in particular, for a school system that serves every student.
We’re in the midst of our fall fundraising drive and are hoping to raise at least $500 dollars this #GivingTuesday. These are hard and frightening times, the recent election has shaken us all. Now more than ever, we need to join together and stand strong! Won’t you stand with us this #GivingTuesday?
The election is finally upon us. For this we are sure everyone is grateful. As we go to the polls we want to point out once again that the Alliance for a Progressive Virginia does not endorse candidates. As a progressive organization we certainly lean towards candidates whose policies are closer to ours. Many of our members will be voting for Mrs. Clinton in the presidential race and many will be choosing third party candidates. While we do not endorse any candidate at the national level, we feel comfortable in calling on voters to reject Mr. Trump on Novemeber 8th. There isn’t enough room here to fully illustrate the many ways in which Trump fails to meet even the lowest minimum standards for any public office, let alone that of President. Trump represents a dangerous and deeply corrosive strain of American politics that dates back decades if not longer. A defeat for Trump in November will not end this fight by any means but it is vital if we want even a chance for serious, Progressive change in America.
Due to recent court rulings the boundaries of several Virginia Congressional districts have changed. When federal courts ruled that Virginia politicians had gerrymandered several districts in order to create “safe” segregated seats for a handful of Democratic congressmen and permanent majorities in the rest of the state’s 11 total districts, it meant that boundaries had to be moved to make contests more equitable and it opened up the opportunity for more liberal candidates to seek and win elections in what had been impossible seats. APV urges you to check out your district voting status and inform yourself about candidates running in your area. In particular the 4th district where the absence of a gerrymandered vote has left the seat open. If you need to check your polling location or learn more about the races, go here.
Below is some information on each Virginia Congressional race. Currently Republicans control 8 of Virginia’s seats in Congress while Democrats control 3. This is in a state that has voted state wide for two Democratic Senators, Warner and Kaine. 3 of the last four Governors have been Democrats and currently every state wide office is occupied by Democrats. Virginia hasn’t voted for a Republican for president in a dozen years and as of this writing most pollsters have removed Virginia from “swing” state status and consider it safely Democratic blue. The opportunity to pick up seats in the House of Representatives and to turf out reactionary conservative Trump Republicans is manifest in this election cycle. As Progressives we have an obligation of vote in these important down ballot races.
House of Representatives, Virginia
Wittman, Rob* (R) incumbent
Rowe, Matthew (D)
Wittman supports Trump and has aspirations to run for Governor next year.
Rowe is a city councilman from Bowling Green
Taylor, Scott (R)
Brown, Shaun (D)
Congressman Scott Rigell (R) chose not to run for reelection.
Taylor is a state delegate, he defeated the erstwhile Randy Forbes who jumped from his former 4th district after the above mentioned court rulings made it actually competitive. Forbes, who has managed to do almost nothing since he first was elected to Congress in 2000, outspent Taylor, a former Navy SEAL by as much as 10 to 1 but without success.
Ms. Rowe has run unsuccessfully for City Council and the House of Delegates in the past.
Marty Williams (R)
Robert “Bobby” Scott (D) incumbent
Scott is a longtime member of Congress from a district which had been drawn by Republicans to make it safe for Scott who is African American, while making several surrounding districts safe for conservatives. Scott welcomed the court ruling and the slightly more competitive race this year. Scott’s name is often floated to replace Senator Tim Kaine if he is elected Vice President this November. Williams is chairman of the Chesapeake Planning Commission.
Wade, Mike (R)
McEachin, Donald (D)
When Forbes fled his former district to unsuccessfully run for Scott Rigell’s empty seat in the 2nd District, he opened the door for state Senator Don McEachin to make the move up to Congress. Should McEachin win, the game of musical chairs will continue as his State Senate seat comes open. Wade is the Sheriff of Henrico county.
Garrett, Tom (R)
Dittmar, Jane (D)
With the retirement of Republican Congressman Robert Hurt, the 5th District seat is open in 2016. The 5th is a sprawling district running from the suburbs of Northern Virginia to the North Carolina border. Garrett is a deeply conservative State Senator while Dittmar is a former Albermarle County supervisor. More here.
Goodlaitte, Bob (R)
Degner, Kai (D)
Goodlaitte is the incumbent and has been in Congress since 1992 and sits in positions of power on several important Congressional committees. Degner is the former mayor of Harrisonberg. More here.
Brat, David (R)
Bedell, Eileen (D)
Brat is the incumbent who famously upset Eric Cantor in 2014 while Bedell is a local lawyer. The 7th was redrawn this year and may be less of a Tea Party stronghold than it has been recently. More here.
Hernick, Charles (R)
Beyer, Don (D)
The 8th is in the liberal heart of Northern Virginia and Beyer, who has a 2 million dollar war chest compared to his opponent’s 68 thousand seems a safe bet to be reelected. More here.
Griffith, Morgan (R)
Kitts, Derek (D)
The 9th is a traditionally deep red seat in the far west of the state and Griffith, who was Republican Majority leader in the House of Delegates before moving up to Congress several cycles ago seems a lock for reelection.
Comstock, Barbara (R)
Bennett, LuAnn (D)
Comstock is the incumbent in a NVA, ex-burb seat that has trended Republican but could move either way in a presidential cycle. Right now it is a toss-up. A vote in the 10th will have real impact. Comstock is a former member of the House of Delegates in her second term in Congress and Bennett is a real estate executive.
Connolly, Gerry* (D)
Connolly, the incumbent is running unopposed in this heavily Democratic NVA district.
Here in Richmond we have experienced a long campaign with candidates for every open office from mayor to school board up for a vote. APV has cosponsored a series of forums in the city to allow the community to get to know the candidates and their positions, we hope this has been helpful. Let us remind you that if no candidate for mayor manages to win 5 of the city’s 9 districts outright on November 8th, there will be a run-off election, usually in the first week of December. There are 6 candidates for Mayor so this is a distinct possibility. Here are links to each of the candidates.
Mayor of Richmond: Jon Baliles has withdrawn from the race and thrown his support to Levar Stoney.
There are several state wide initiatives on this year’s ballot:
HJR 490: Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Virginia by Adding in Article I a Section Numbered 11-A, Relating to the Right to Work
This is the “Right to Work” constitutional amendment. It passed in 2014 and must pass again this year to become part of the Virginia constitution. APV opposes this amendment.
For better or worse, mostly worse, Virginia has been a “Right to Work” state since 1947. The move to enshrine this law in the state Constitution, much like the embarrassing anti same sex marriage amendment pushed through several years ago is an attempt by a dwindling but still powerful conservative political class to build a firewall against further progress. Once in the Constitution, it is much harder to get bad laws like this out, and this is a bad law.
“Right to Work” was built to protect management against organized labor by making it harder for unions to organize and easier for bosses to fire activists and control shops. In the years following the end of the Second World War, conservatives feared and resented the growth and power of the labor movement, especially in southern states where the potential of organized black workers threatened the “Jim Crow” system of systemic, government sponsored segregation and oppression. Today Right to Work is often used to suppress labor organizing, especially among immigrant and traditionally low wage service workers. Right to Work is a vestige of an older time that needs to be repealed not codified.
Right to work laws make workers less safe on the job.
The occupational fatality rate in the construction industry is 34% higher in right to work states than in states without such laws. For every 1% increase in unionization rates, there is a .35% decline in construction fatality rates.
From the Northern Virginia Labor Federation.
Businesses do not look at right to work laws as a deciding factor in determining where to locate.
- Research has shown that companies in the booming technical industry prefer areas with a strong union presence because of the highly skilled workforce that union training programs develop and provide.
- In 2010, manufacturers ranked RTW 16th among factors affecting location decisions.
- Workers do not choose to relocate because of a state’s right to work laws. National data show that most people move from one state to another to find more affordable housing, to meet family needs, to retire, to move to or from college, to access better weather, or for any myriad of other reasons unrelated to work. 
To a large extent, globalization and bad trade deals have rendered RTW useless.
- In the 1970s and ‘80s, corporations may have moved to RTW states in search of lower wages. After NAFTA and other trade deals became the status quo, corporations looking for cheap labor overwhelmingly looked overseas to places like China, Mexico, or Indonesia instead of RTW states like Virginia or South Carolina.
- Since NAFTA, right to work states have lost a higher percentage of manufacturing jobs to overseas competition than free bargaining states.
-  Center for American Progress. Right to Work 101. February 2012.
-  Area Development. January 2011.
-  Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. November 2010.
-  Economic Policy Institute. Issue Brief #326. 2/7/2012.
-  Center for American Progress. Right to Work 101. February 2012.
An Act to Provide for the Submission to the Voters of a Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of Virginia Adding in Article X a Section Numbered 6 – B, Relating to Real Property Tax Exemptions
“Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried.”
APV sees no reason for this amendment. While we value and gratefully acknowledge the service and sacrifice of fallen first responders, we oppose carving out a special status in the Virginia Constitution for the families of this group. This sets a potentially ruinous president and there are clearly other ways to help these families short of a constitutional amendment. One might ask if this special status might not be extended in the future to others in our community whose sacrifice is surely just as valuable: teachers, nurses, librarians, social workers, journalists… Where would it stop? Fallen first responders should be honored and their families sacrifices acknowledged, but this can be done without bringing the constitution into it.
Mr. Trump has threatened to deploy so called “poll watchers” on Tuesday to “monitor” specific locations where he alleges voter fraud may occur. Considering the violence that has surrounded his campaign and the effect Mr. Trump’s incendiary rhetoric has had on some of his supporters, we strongly urge you to be alert to attempts to intimidate and or suppress your right to vote. If you feel this has occurred or you are witness to it happening to others, please call our friends at the American Civil Liberties Union, in Virginia at 804-644-8080 or nationally at 866-OUR-VOTE. The right to vote is sacred, don’t let yours be taken away.
April 7th, 2016
Big night at the candidate forum held last night at Virginia Union University. We are very proud that two of the people running for mayor are also APV members. Lillie A. Estes and Farid Alan Schintzius both did a great job of outlining intelligent, Progressive options for the City of Richmond going forward. Either’s election would mark a sharp divergence from the current machine politics that have dominated this area for almost a decade.
Coverage from The Richmond Times Dispatch
UPDATE: As of the filing deadline of June 14th three APV members are on the ballot for the November elections.
Ms. Lillie Estes has withdrawn from the race.
Mr. Farid Alan Schintzius is running for Mayor
Mr. Charles Diradour is running for City Council
Ms. Kirsten Gray is running for School Board
We wish them all the best.
In 2016 the Alliance for a Progressive Virginia will be back at the Virginia General Assembly fighting for our basic Progressive values of social justice, economic fairness and good government. APV sponsors and works to pass legislation on topics such as women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality, common sense gun laws, clean energy and the environment and justice system reform. APV is an all volunteer organization with a dedicated staff who sacrifice their time and energy during the session to give your values a voice in Richmond. Please help us do this important work in 2016.
UPDATE: This drive has ended successfully! Thank You for your support.