Tonight was our traditional end of semester dinner. We enjoyed tacos at Brazos, as well as one final chance to see everyone before the summer. We look forward to seeing everyone in the fall to keep Virginia blue!
We were honored to host the annual VAYD convention in Charlottesville this past weekend. This year's convention was the largest in recent memory, with nearly 300 attendees. It was a privilege to be joined at various points in the weekend by Senator Kaine, Governor Northam, Attorney General Herring, and Minority Leaders Saslaw and Toscano.
We'd also like to congratulate some of our members who were elected to positions within VAYD this weekend. These include:
Chris Hopkins, VAYD membership Director
Brett Curtis, College Caucus Chair
Avery Gagne, Faith Caucus Vice Chair
Joseph Dennie, Southside Regional Caucus Chair
Matt Frank, Southside Regional Caucus Vice Chair
We'd like to thank everyone in the Virginia Young Democrats organization for their help, and for allowing us the opportunity to host. We look forward to turning the energy displayed this weekend into electoral success in November.
This week we were honored to welcome Dr. Bill Antholis as the speaker at our meeting. A UVA grad, Dr. Antholis currently serves as the Director of the Miller Center at UVA. During his speech, he presented the Miller Center's research on the first year of a President's term. This was insightful as it contextualized the Trump administration thus far. Dr. Antholis described Trump’s presidency as “at a crossroads” and likely to rewrite the relationship between the President, his party, and the electorate. With the amount of rhetoric used in political discourse, this presentation of actual data about the first year of President's term was insightful.
Unfortunately, UVA closing facilities due to snow meant that we had to cancel our previously scheduled meeting featuring Professor Gerald Warburg as a speaker. However, we didn't let the snow go to waste! Many of our members enjoyed the snow on the Lawn, with some partaking in a snowball fight. With many students stressed due to midterms, this was just the remedy.
Today we returned from Spring Break by holding a phone bank for Conor Lamb's Congressional campaign in Pennsylvania. Our members were excited to engage in campaign activities for the first time since the historic state elections in Virginia in 2017, and wish Mr. Lamb luck in his upcoming special election.
Tonight we welcomed Shelly Simmonds to our weekly meeting. Shelly spoke with us about her personal experiences in Virginia politics, starting with leading the PTA at her daughter's school and most recently featuring a race for the Virginia House of Delegates decided by drawing a name from a bowl. She also spoke about the importance of registering voters and increasing turnout in future elections. We can't wait to see what the future holds for Ms. Simmonds!
We're currently in the process of collecting signatures to ensure Senator Kaine is on the ballot in the fall. Our members have been all over Central Grounds over the past week to ensure this is accomplished quickly and efficiently. Considering the Republicans that have announced their intention to run against Senator Kaine, it is absolutely vital to ensure he is in the best possible position going into the fall.
Today we welcomed Adjunct Professor James Todd to speak at our weekly meeting. A UDems favorite, Professor Todd spoke about the 25th Amendment and determining presidential fitness to serve. We look forward to having Professor Todd join us in the future.
Tonight we were joined by our first speaker of the semester, Lauren Mims. Lauren attended UVA for her undergraduate degree, and is currently working on her PhD in the Curry School. She is also the former Assistant Director of the White House Initiative for Education Excellence for African-Americans. While filling that role, she designed and hosted student summits, led White House and DOE briefings, and highlighted the stories of Black students who were multiply marginalized, including those with physical or intellectual disabilities. Hearing about her work in the Obama Administration and her current work on her PhD made for an interesting evening.
Today members attended the 5th District Candidate Forum held in Downtown Charlottesville. It was great to hear from all four candidates about their visions for serving our district. We are confident that no matter who is the nominee, they will be well equipped to take on Tom Garrett in the fall.