What is your background? Why did you get involved in politics?
My background is in issue-based and electoral organizing. I see political change as the fastest way to help the most people. I worked on the Clinton campaign in North Carolina last year, managing a team of organizers across eight rural counties. Before that, I helped run NextGen Climate’s campus program in New Hampshire, where I’m proud to say the youth vote helped swing the 1,017 vote difference for Senator Maggie Hassan. I got my start organizing for fossil fuel divestment at Middlebury College, where I first saw how people standing together could successfully fight injustice. Then I learned how we could go beyond holding leaders accountable and replace them with progressive champions, and I was hooked.
What are some ways you evaluate a candidatesa�� chances of success?
I look for a track record of community leadership and a commitment to work hard, fight for progressive policies, fundraise aggressively, and run a field operation that will talk to enough voters to win.
Youa��ve been attending a lot of Democratic committee meetings around the state. What are you seeing and hearing?
People are fired up across Virginia. Every meeting is overflowing with people. Democratic committees across the state are scrambling to find larger meeting spaces. There are more contested primaries in Virginia than ever before. So many people were inspired to run to fight against Trump’s hateful agenda. We can channel this energy into a landslide win in November.
What are some Virginia races-to-watch for progressives?
The Governor’s race will be hard fought. Tom Perriello has come out swinging on progressive issues, including his bold stance against the Atlantic Coastal Pipeline. I’m watching over a dozen House of Delegates seats that could flip from red to blue. The Democratic candidates across the board are stellar. I was impressed by Jennifer Carroll Foy, who is running in District 2 (Prince William and Stafford Counties) and spoke movingly about the need to defend our undocumented neighbors from ICE raids.
Schuyler Van Valkenburg is working hard enough to win in Henrico County (HD-72), and the contrast between him (a progressive schoolteacher) and his opponent (a pro-voucher, DeVos-style Republican) couldn’t be more stark. I am also keeping an eye on Danica Roem and Mansimran Kahlon in Prince William County (HD-13), Chris Hurst in Blacksburg (HD-12), and Tilly Blanding and Kathy Tran in Fairfax County (HD-42).
What is one fun or wacky moment from the campaign trail so far?
Tom Perriello sipping on Diet Coke, parrying questions at his Richmond Town Hall, as the placards on the wall behind him fell off, one by one.
Whata��s the best way for a Virginia candidate or activist to get in touch with you?
Please reach out! Call or text me at 706-414-7475 or email me at TeddyS@BoldProgressives.org.