Virginia AFL-CIO launches "Labor In Session" website

The Virginia AFL-CIO last week launched a new “Labor In Session” website (Click here) as the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session started. “We must take full advantage of this moment to push a robust pro-worker agenda focused on moving Virginia from the worst state for workers to the best,” said Julie Hunter, Virginia AFL-CIO Campaign Manager. This website is designed to help empower union activists and allies to advocate for legislation that expands the right to organize, protect workers and raises wages. Activists can find and contact their State Senator and Delegate, take rapid action on legislation as it moves through committees and floor votes, and sign up to help lobby for labor at the General Assembly. The website also provides updates and talking points.

Resolution Calling for the Repeal of the so-called "Right to Work" Law

WHEREAS Virginia has been rated the worst state for worker rights two years in a row by Oxfam; and

WHEREAS income inequality has been increasing dramatically in Virginia and nationwide; and

WHEREAS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone;” and

WHEREAS unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and increase total compensation including benefits such as paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, by about 28% while reducing the gender and racial pay gap; and

WHEREAS in “right to work” states, annual wages are $1,558 less on average than in non “right to work” states, with lower health benefits and pensions and less safety on the job; and

WHEREAS the so-called “right to work” law does not give anyone the right to a job, but instead, in effect, reduces wages, health care, retirement security, and on-the-job safety for all workers; and

WHEREAS repealing the “right to work” from the Virginia Code would allow Virginia workers to organize for better working conditions and family-sustaining wages; and

WHEREAS one of the core values of the Democratic Party is to support worker rights, particularly the right to join and form unions;

WHEREAS repeal of the anti-worker “right to work” law is the best way to send the message that Democrats support economic justice for working people;

Therefore BE IT RESOLVED that:
The Loudoun County Democratic Committee asks the Virginia General Assembly to repeal the misnamed so-called “right to work” law in the 2020 legislative session.


LCDC Statement on Impeachment

Lissa Savaglio
Chair Loudoun County Democratic Committee

Leesburg, VA Dec. 8th, 2019 – It is a sad and somber day in our nation’s history whenever the need for impeachment arises. We believe that the removal of a president is not something to be undertaken lightly, but should be done with care and justice. The founders created this process to ensure that no one was above the law and that our great nation would not fall into the hands of foreign interests. America is a country based on rules, principles, and integrity. These values are not Democratic or Republican but American to their core. We have been the leading nation to uphold these values in the past, and now more than ever we need to ensure that we continue to govern by the rule of law.

The world is watching. We must set an example and show that the United States of America doesn’t just talk about democracy, but is committed to democracy. This should not be a partisan issue nor should it be political; however, that is exactly how it seems to be turning out. You cannot argue with facts, and no matter what others may think, “alternative facts” do not exist. The facts that the witnesses have brought forth are deeply troubling and need to be addressed. President Trump’s defiance of the law in asking a foreign government to investigate a political rival has made impeachment necessary. The Loudoun County Democratic Committee urges members of Congress to continue to fulfill their constitutional responsibility and hold him accountable.

The Diverse Classroom Library Initiative

By Charlotte McConnell, LCDC Member – November 9th, 2019 – At the start of this school year, LCPS unveiled its Diverse Classroom Library initiative. These books are not mandatory or apart of the core curriculum. They can be used in lessons if there is a direct tie to the subject matter. These books were selected by LCPS staff using the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Diversity Book List and Mackin’s Identity Inclusive Texts Rubric. This was done to ensure every student in LCPS has access to books that reflect their lived experiences.

Some of the books in the Diverse Classroom library have already been available to students in LCPS’s libraries. Offering them in the classroom gives students more choices for free reading. As students enter middle and high school, their interest in reading declines. Reasons for this are lack of time, preference for electronic devices like cell phones and gaming systems, and lack of choices in reading materials. Giving students easy access to books and more variety in the materials available to them can increase the amount of time students spend reading.

People have been giving public comment regarding these books over the past few months. There are people who object to profanity and depictions of sexual activity in these books. However, the biggest objection is over LGBTQ+ content. When you object to a book like Heather Has Two mommies, you are really objecting to same-sex marriage. The reality is there are students who attend LCPS who have same-sex parents and they do not see themselves included in our schools. There are students who attend LCPS who identify as LGBTQ+ and face bullying and are afraid to live their authentic lives. If you want to see a reduction in youth suicide, homelessness, teen pregnancies, and bullying, we must cultivate an LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming environment in our schools.

There is a Loudoun based group that has been fanning the flames of this issue in the hope of influencing our school board elections. This group is being supported by Family Watch International, which promotes traditional marriage. The Southern Poverty law center has designated Family Watch International as a hate group because of it’s anti-LGBT views. Robocalls were made across our county claiming Democratic candidates for school board support pornography in our schools. On Nov. 5th, voters rejected this false narrative by electing 7 Democrats to the Loudoun County School Board. But that has not stopped the conversation around diverse books in our schools.

Some have argued that these books are available at the Loudoun County library and that should be sufficient. Our public library system is one of the reasons I love living in Loudoun. I recently participated in their Strategic Plan Community Retreat where I learned that our library has difficulty serving households with an annual income below $80k/year. They also fall short in serving people who are of middle and high school age. Other barriers to accessing our public library is lack of transportation and internet access.

We have heard from librarians and students how meaningful it has been to finally have books available in their school that mirror their own lived experiences. Some of these books have given students the language they need to discuss abuse that they have experienced or something they are struggling with and feel alone. These diverse books will also give students a window into lives that are different from their own which can increase empathy, compassion, and understanding.

The ACLU Virginia recently sent a letter to LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams and School Board Chairman Jeff Morse. In the letter, they said “The First Amendment does not allow the government to get rid of or limit the use of books or ideas because they are controversial, unpopular, or offensive. Purging certain books from school libraries because some parents do not like them is government action favoring the opinion of some parents over others. Passing judgments, applying labels, and red-flagging educational materials that might prompt uncomfortable but insightful discussions are activities that do not belong in our public schools. In fact, bending to the will of any number of vocal parents could lead to a narrower and narrower list of books for students to read on a more and more homogeneous set of topics, adversely affecting the rights of those students and parents who want a more expansive and inclusive reading list from which to choose.”

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Thank You Loudoun Democrats

Loudoun County Virginia, November 5th, 2019 – The people of Virginia awoke this morning to a new reality. A reality where women will be treated as equals. A reality where criminals will no longer be able to purchase weapons of war to terrorize our schools, movie theaters, churches, and synagogues. A reality of inclusivity for all people regardless of the color of their skin, their sexual / gender orientation or their religious affiliation. A reality where our schools prioritize the needs of children over decreasing the tax rate by a couple of pennies. The people have spoken loudly and clearly and have insisted that Virginia join the majority of America in the 21st century by MANDATING policies that just make sense. This morning Virginians awoke to find themselves living in a Blue State.

You made this happen. The countless volunteers who knocked on a stranger’s door and announced, “My name is … and I represent the Loudoun County Democrats.” You, who called people and asked your neighbors to please come out and vote in record numbers in an “off-off year” election. You, who wrote postcards imploring people to support the candidates of the Democratic Party and reject the gun lobbies and other special interests that act against the will of the people. You, who woke up at 4 a.m. to set up and staff ALL of the precincts across Loudoun County to hand out sample ballots and elect our endorsed candidates. Thank you to all of the unions such as the 602 Chapter of Steamfitters, the SEIU, the International Association of Firefighters and the Brotherhood of Carpenters without whom this would not have been possible. Thank you to the thousands of volunteers across hundreds of grassroots organizations that came out to volunteer. Thank you to 350 Loudoun, Mothers Demand Action, Indivisible, NOVA Grassroots, and MANY others We would also like to thank the NAACP and League of Women Voters for energizing, educating and informing the residents of Loudoun County on the local issues that really matter. To the thousands of everyday, ordinary Americans that came out to volunteer and to make their community a better place — we say THANK YOU. Thank you for making Virginia a better place to live, to grow up, to raise a family, and to retire. Thank you for making Virginia and America a safer place. Thank you for all of your time and your effort to turn Virginia Blue.

And THANK YOU to our amazing candidates and elected officials. Thank you for being decent, honest people with integrity whom we could stand behind and support. Thank you for representing the best of Loudoun County. Thank you for organizing and operating the best campaigns. Thank you for your campaign staff and volunteers that enabled this historic victory.

The real story of Virginia can be told through the diversity of our elected representatives. We not only flipped the House, the Senate, the School Board and the Board of Supervisors — they now better represent both men and women with diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. We elected the first African American woman to the Soil and Water Board and the first Indian American to the General Assembly. Our elected officials look like us, speak like us, share our religious views, and have a wide range of ethnic backgrounds like us, and REPRESENT Loudoun County.

Thank you to Congresswoman JENNIFER WEXTON, State Senators JOHN BELL, BARBARA FAVOLA, and JENNIFER BOYSKO; House Delegates WENDY GOODITIS, DAVID REID, KATHLEEN MURPHY, KARRIE DELANEY, IBRAHEEM SAMIRAH and SUHAS SUBRAMANYAM for providing the leadership and guidance needed to bring about real change in Loudoun County and across Virginia and the United States.

A very special thank you to PHYLLIS RANDALL, Chairwoman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and BUTA BIBERAJ, Commonwealth’s Attorney for all of your organizing, fundraising, and campaigning to make this happen for us in Loudoun County. Thank you to the Crew and the Firefighters for getting it done!

Thank you to our new and returning MAJORITY members of the Board of Supervisors: Phyllis Randall, Chairwoman; NEW member Juli Briskman of Algonkian; NEW member Mike Turner of Ashburn; NEW member Sylvia Glass of Broad Run; Kristen Umstattd of Leesburg; and Koran Saines of Sterling.

Thank you so much for our new and returning MAJORITY members of the School Board: NEW member Denise Corbo representing all of Loudoun County At-large; NEW member Atoosa Reaser of Algonkian; NEW member Harris Mahedavi of Ashburn; NEW member Ian Serotkin of Blue Ridge; NEW member Leslee King of Broad Run; NEW member Beth Barts of Leesburg; and Brenda Sheridan of Sterling.

Thank you for keeping the focus on the natural resources of Loudoun County on the Soil and Water Board John Flannery and Michelle Thomas.

We also need to thank Justin Hannah, Sri Amudhanar, and Kannan Srinivasan for fighting extremely difficult countywide races for Sheriff, Commissioner of Revenue and Treasurer, respectively. These races were always going to be the most difficult, and they clearly indicate the path ahead for Loudoun County Democrats. These positions are critical to Loudoun County residents in terms of governance, and we will be fighting for them in the future. You will be hearing their names and seeing their signs again!

To all of our candidates who did not win, you represented the best of Loudoun County. To Ronnie Ross, Mavis Taintor, Tia Walbridge, Forest Hayes, Sree Nagireddi and Zerell Johnson-Welch we love you and believe you were the better candidate! You fought difficult battles, sometimes against multiple opponents or dug-in incumbents. We will be there for you in the future as you were there for us in 2019.

The Loudoun County Democratic Committee would also like to specifically thank Chairwoman Lissa Savaglio for challenging us to knock on over 20,000 doors. When they said it could not be done, she did it. And Precinct Operations Chair Jackie von Wodtke, who wrangled over 500 volunteers to staff ALL 98 precincts, and ALL of the shifts at the three absentee polling locations over the last few months. You, alongside all of the members of LCDC, have shown us the strength and the power of the Democratic Committee in Loudoun County. You have challenged us, cajoled us and begged us to do our best, and the members have risen to meet the challenge. To all the members and volunteers of the LCDC, THANK YOU for making Loudoun County the amazing place it is today to live and work, and to grow up, raise a family and retire!

Democratic Party of Virginia Unanimously Passes Resolutions in Support of 100% Clean Energy, Green New Deal, $15/Hour Minimum Wage

BlueVirginia, September 21st, 2019 – Great stuff; just three days after Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Chair Susan Swecker announced that the party would no longer be taking campaign contributions from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power, DPVA today unanimously passed resolutions endorsing the “Green New Deal Virginia” and a “net-zero carbon emissions” clean energy economy for Virginia by 2050. In addition, the DPVA unanimously passed a resolution in support of a $15/hour minimum wage for Virginians. Read the Article >>

Stray Bullet Incident

Contact: Lissa Savaglio
Chair Loudoun County Democratic Committee

Stray Bullet Incident

Hamilton, VA, September 10, 2019 – Due to insufficient county ordinances, unfortunately, Loudoun County is yet again dealing with another stray bullet incident as a result of reckless shooting of guns in our neighborhoods. We, at the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, are thankful that the woman who was struck by a bullet yesterday only sustained minor injuries and wish her a speedy recovery. It is a miracle that the numerous stray bullet incidents that have occurred in Loudoun County have only resulted in minor injuries and property damage. The county can no longer wait to address the negligent shortcomings in our county shooting ordinances. If we fail to make the needed changes, we are inviting a tragedy.

The Republican members of the Board of Supervisors have consistently blocked simple changes to our ordinances that would have made us safer. They have blocked the following changes:
● Increasing the no-shoot zone around homes; and
● Increasing the no-shoot zone around roads; and
● Requiring owners of backyard shooting ranges to install safety berms or other impermeable barriers; and
● Extending the no-shooting area in the county west of the Suburban Policy Area.

The current ordinances pretend that Loudoun is a county that is as rural as it was 30 years ago. That is simply not the case as our population has grown from about 87,000 in 1990 to well over 400,000 today. We have changed as a county, and our ordinances need to change as well. “The time has come for Republican members of the Board of Supervisors to live up to their responsibility to work in a bipartisan manner with Chair Randall and Supervisors Umstattd and Saines to pass real protections for Loudoun residents,” said LCDC Chairwoman Lissa Savaglio.

In the last year, we have had multiple instances of stray shootings of occupied homes, including one that occurred during a baby shower last October. Yet as recently as February 2019, the Republican-led Board of Supervisors denied updating ordinances to match surrounding areas in Virginia because “it would be too expensive for homeowners,” even as law enforcement has been unable to charge anyone because the ordinances are inappropriate.

It is abundantly clear why the GOP refuses to update out-of-date ordinances; they care more about what the NRA wants than what will make Loudoun residents safer. Why do they follow the NRA’s lead? Perhaps it has something to do with the $215,000 the NRA has given to VA GOP leadership in 2019 alone.

Today we call on all elected officials in Loudoun County to work together to update our local ordinances and better protect our children, families, and community.

LCDC Statement on Trump’s Racism

With a president who prides himself on being controversial, we realize we can’t respond to every tweet.  Besides being a waste of time, it would be impossible. But we also realize there are times when it’s important to stand up and speak out. This is one of those times.

Let us be clear when we say that racism is an evil that divides our nation and makes us vulnerable to internal violence from white supremacists and external threats.  This vulnerability played out in real-time on the morning of Aug. 3 in El Paso, Texas.

Over the past two years, Loudoun County Democratic Committee members traveled to Charlottesville to face off against the KKK; we met with Delores Huerta to discuss the plight of the undocumented and abused workers; we protested at Dulles Airport in opposition to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban; and we regularly protest at his local golf course.  Those are just a few of the many ways we have demonstrated our collective outrage of his racist actions, policies, and comments. As a committee, we want to do more.

Just as we have many members who were born, raised and continue to live right here in Loudoun, many of our members were born abroad or have lived in other countries.  Many of our members have served as diplomats or soldiers. Collectively, these experiences have helped us understand that our county and country are great – not because we are a territory with strong borders and a massive military, but because we are a county and country made up of different cultures, languages, religions, and ideologies. Our diversity is what makes us great.

Over the past several weeks, the president has used the word “invasion” in more than 2,000 ads on Facebook and countless other media outlets. The use of that word is intentional. Its connotation directly contributes to the escalation in violence toward minorities. This is identical to language and context used in the manifesto written by the El Paso shooter.  As recently as August 9, his campaign doubled down and stated they would continue with the ad campaign. These words, in the context in which both the shooter and the president used them, are racist.

President Trump’s recent attacks on the city of Baltimore and Rep. Elijah Cummings are an assault on every African-American and minority in this country from Loudoun and Baltimore to Chicago and beyond.  These attacks were also racist.

Unfortunately, over the past two and a half years, there are many more examples we can point to. His inflammatory rhetoric has not only eroded the foundation of inclusion upon which this country was founded, it has weakened our economy and our standing on the world stage. Refusal to call out and denounce racism when and where it exists only serves to enable it.

Immigration formed this nation. Immigration grew and strengthened this nation. We are a nation defined by our diversity and a commitment to tolerance and inclusion. His recent acts are counter to what we believe is foundational to being American. We view these acts as not only racist but antithetical to what makes America great.

This statement by us is only the beginning.  In order to more effectively push back on this outrageous behavior, we need your support.  There are three key ways you can get involved:

VOTE: It’s not good enough to show up every four years.  It’s important to make your voice heard in every election, both primary and general, from town council to president.  On Nov. 5 you will have another opportunity to make a statement. We are going to resoundingly reject hate and racism with our votes.  We hope you will join us. You can view all of the candidates we have running for office on this page: Loudoun’s Local Democratic Candidates.

VOLUNTEER: If you can dream it, we need a volunteer to do it.  We have opportunities to canvass voters, make phone calls, hand out sample ballots, write postcards, and to support our candidates and our committee between now and November.

DONATE:  If you’re not able to volunteer your time, please consider donating money. Even a small gift helps.  A recurring gift of just $5 per month will help us reach 50 voters between now and November, and will help us combat racism on the state and local level. Donate Here!

Finally, we want the nation to hear us when we loudly and directly challenge the president to stop his racist attacks on people of color. Join us in making our voices heard through our actions. Vote with us for a more diverse, stronger America.