Since launching my campaign for the 33rd District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, I have spoken with voters across the political spectrum.
One recurring theme is the degree and extent to which voters in the 33rd District want real advocacy and a genuine voice in Richmond. Voters want a representative who is accessible, responsive, and willing to listen to them regarding everyday problems and longer-range policy positions. They also want a Delegate who will advocate on their behalf.
From the very beginning of my campaign, I have argued that “good governance is grounded in good judgement.” For a representative democracy to work, a Delegate must be vested in actually communicating with his or her constituents. From my conversations with voters, it is clear that most people have had little or no interaction with my opponent. I am reminded of a voter who recently emailed me to ask when I would be coming to her part of the 33rd District to discuss issues. In response, I did what seemed perfectly natural — I picked up the phone and called her. We had a terrific conversation. She closed our discussion by saying, “I want to thank you — you are the first candidate or elected official who has directly contacted me — ever.”
I believe elected officials have an obligation to actively engage and communicate with constituents regardless of party affiliation. It should not be a surprise that the words “communicate” and “community” are closely related. Without effective communications, you cannot build community. Implementing a regular communications channel seems simple enough, and yet it has been lacking in our district for nearly a decade. Much like his inability to get any legislation passed, or deliver results of any kind to our district, holding regular public forums to communicate with constituents is clearly not something Dave LaRock is interested in pursuing.
So, here is my pledge to all constituents in the 33rd District: When elected, I promise to hold monthly forums so that I can share information as well as listen to the ideas, suggestions, and concerns of residents regardless of whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. I have said from the beginning that I will always lend an open ear and an open mind to the people I represent. Establishing an ongoing dialogue with voters across the district is long overdue and something that I will implement on Day 1 in office.