Good Governance

The candle is burning

In this campaign, I've made it a priority to write to you every Friday, sharing "behind the scenes" glimpses of the campaign trail.

So often, politics feels very removed from everyday life, and it's been important for me to hold space to remind you (and myself!) that I am just a human doing my best to fight for what's important.

In that spirit of honest and transparency, here is a graphic representation of my life right now:

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The election is 25 days away, and everything is happening at once. We're knocking on thousands of doors, attending 2-3 events per day, figuring out yard sign distribution, tracking the whereabouts of thousands of postcards being written by volunteers, and prioritizing and re-prioritizing task lists that never seem to get any shorter.

And of course, I'm still trying to raise the final $7,400 we need to fully fund our mail program.

It's overwhelming. And I could use your help.

Can you make an online contribution of $50, $100, $250 or $500 today?

Make Your Donation Now

Every donation gives me a little breathing room: to knock 10 more doors, squeeze in one more event, or perhaps even (gasp!) sit down for a meal with my family.

You, dear reader, will carry me through these last three weeks, and I am so appreciative.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU,
Jennifer

PS -- I've promised my kids that on November 6th, they can stay home from school and we will watch movies in our pajamas all day and eat as much popcorn as our bellies will hold. If you have recommendations for family-friendly movies that we can stream on Netflix, please let me know!

We can't afford for the media to ignore this election

In the last few months, our campaign has knocked on thousands of doors, talking to voters about what's at stake in the upcoming election.*

In general, people are thrilled to hear that there is a Democrat on the ballot (for the first time in six years!). But they are also asking the question: Why am I not hearing about this election in the news?

It's true. Local news organizations have decided to opt out of covering this election--and it's a disservice to our community.

For example, take a quick peek at WFXR's Local Election Headquarters and WDBJ7's Election page, neither of which have ANY recent stories about the elections happening in Lynchburg, Bedford, Campbell or Franklin.

The best way to change that is to call the news stations and say:

"Why are you not covering the General Assembly races this year? Your role is to provide us information on local issues and events. We need to hear about this election and where the candidates stand. I'm particularly interested in [XXXX]. Do your job!"

Please take 10 minutes to call the following news organizations TODAY and make your voice heard:

  • News and Advance: (434) 385-5400

  • WFXR: (540) 344-2127

  • WDBJ7: (540) 344-7000

  • WSET: (434) 528-1313

If enough people call, they WILL take notice. And every additional campaign story they feature in the next few weeks will reach voters and increase turnout. It's how democracy was meant to function!

In the meantime, our campaign continues to plug away. In particular, we need to raise another $15,650 to fully fund our mail program. Sending mail to every Democratic voter in the district is key to getting good turnout -- especially in our more rural regions where it's harder to reach voters at their doors.

Can you make an online contribution of $50, $100, $250 or $500? Will you email 10 of your friends and ask them to donate too?

Make Your Donation Now

One other option to consider: write a Letter to the Editor (LTE) of your local paper sharing why you are supporting our campaign. The best letters to the editor are just a couple of paragraphs long, tell a personal story, and then link it to the larger issue of the election. See examples here, here, and here. We're happy to help you craft an outstanding LTE. Just contact us here and we'll be in touch!

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

* Raising the minimum wage, generating more healthcare competition (and therefore lower prices), passing the ERA, expanding Virginia's involvement in renewable energy, protecting our LGBTQ neighbors from housing discrimination, implementing universal background checks for gun purchases, expanding rural broadband so that our counties can complete, raising teacher pay and investing in our schools, and So. Much. More.

Charity vs. Justice

For more than a decade, I've been involved in various community non-profits: as a volunteer, as a donor, and sometimes as a board member.

I'm proud of the work I've done: coaching local entrepreneurs, advancing public art projects, facilitating anti-poverty initiatives, advocating for kids in the child welfare system, and (my kids' favorite) fostering dozens of puppies and kittens until they were big enough to be adopted.

But I would be remiss to think that my involvement in charitable causes is enough.

Charity is a stop-gap measure, a way to help our neighbors when they fall through the cracks. But it is not a substitute for laws, policies, and institutions that give people a fair shake from the start.

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We desperately need leaders in Richmond who will reckon with the big question of justice.

This is not about creating a welfare state where Virginia taxpayers foot the bill for the work that our local community organizations do now. Rather, it is about methodically and ruthlessly removing barriers that keep families from thriving here and across the Commonwealth. And it is about investing in people and communities, so that every person has the opportunity to flourish -- regardless of their race, their gender or their zip code.

I'm out there, every single day, talking to voters, meeting with community leaders, and hearing from our local non-profits. The need is significant, but it's clear: we can do better for our families and for Virginia. But we're going to need new elected officials in the General Assembly -- the old ones just aren't getting the job done.

Will you help us win this race with a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100? Your donation this week goes straight to paying for postage: we have more than 400 handwritten postcards waiting to go in the mail once we purchase stamps.

Make Your Donation Now

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

PS -- I feel obliged to give a little pitch for the Lynchburg Humane Society foster program. Fostering kittens is SO VERY EASY and you get to see little faces like this!

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Your electricity bill is set to increase by $400 a year

A new report came out yesterday confirming what people all across Virginia already know: Dominion Energy has stacked the deck against consumers. And the General Assembly happily passed the laws (written by Dominion lobbyists) that now prevent us from getting a fair shake.

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) found that in 2018 Dominion Energy pocketed $277.3 million in overearnings — money collected from customers in excess of the monopoly’s allowed profit level — according to a report released today. Due to legislation backed by Dominion lobbyists in 2015 and 2018, the SCC cannot compel the monopoly utility to refund this money to customers or lower base rates to prevent overearnings in the future. The SCC’s report also found that household customers’ bills will increase by $32.60 a month in the next four years.

“Virginians are already overburdened by their energy bills and this report shows why — Dominion overcharged consumers in Virginia by $277.3 million last year and a whopping $1.3 billion since 2015. Given that one in ten evictions in Virginia are for delinquencies under $340, it is clear our energy bills play a part in this yet Dominion wants to increase its profit levels and our monthly bills even more,” Gilmore said. “This latest attempt to increase its rate of return is a greedy money grab by Dominion that has nothing to do with energy investments that would improve the lives of Virginians struggling to pay high energy bills.”

How does Dominion get away with this, year after year? One reason is clear: they donate millions of dollars to political campaigns. My opponent, for example, has taken more than $31,000 from Dominion Energy (and another $20,000+ from Appalachian Energy).

We deserve elected officials who will fight for our communities, not simply vote for laws that benefit corporations who write the biggest check.

Our campaign has publicly pledged not to take any contributions from publicly-regulated utilities like Dominion Energy and Appalachian Energy. That means we rely on individual people like you to help us raise the necessary fund for campaign essentials: like yard signs, postcards and postage, and a living wage for our small campaign staff.


We have until Saturday at midnight before our next filing deadline. Can you help us close out August with a bang by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

I'll be out knocking doors in Franklin County all today and tomorrow, reaching rural voters at their doors in areas that have been ignored for far too long. Your support allows me to get out there, and I appreciate it.

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

PS -- Thank you to everyone who participated in our donation matching challenge last week. We raised just over $600 in three days, $500 of which will be doubled by a generous donor. Woot!

Aren't the candidate's kids off-limits?

This week we ran a Facebook ad targeted to reach voters all across the district. One of those ads featured a photo of my family: Bill and me, with our three kids in front.

We woke up the next morning to comments like this:

I know I am going too get stomped on an yelled at but why has she hot the children dressed like they r on Little House on the Parie

Now, I am prepared to take on a lot of nasty comments from social media trolls -- it comes with the territory when you run for office. But my kids are just beginning to navigate the world of social media. They were going to see this comment and feel hurt and embarrassed. And no mom wants that.

I wanted to respond in a variety of different ways (some of them with some very colorful language). But in the end, here was my reply:

There are families going bankrupt from outrageous medical bills, people worried about losing their jobs, kids going to school in overcrowded classrooms, and politicians who don't bother to show up and fight for what our community needs. Forgive me if it's hard to take your criticism about my children's sense of style seriously.

When I decided to run for office, we talked together as a family about how some people might choose to be mean, or rude, or hateful. And how the internet made it easy to say stupid things. You have given us a great example to mull over at our family dinner tomorrow.

Why am I sharing this?

First, I want to give you a little taste of why good people don't run for office (besides the long days and the endless fundraising and the knocking on doors in 95 degree heat). It's because as soon as you step out into the public arena, people feel like they can criticize not just you, but your family.

Second, I want you to know that I am committed to keeping my eye on the ball. As a Delegate, I won't be drawn into personal spats, mud-slinging or name-calling. Yes, I will call out bad behavior, but I will stay relentlessly focused on policy. There is too much work to do, and we can not afford to be sidetracked.

My kids write a thank-you note for every donation we receive. As they gear up for a note-writing party tomorrow morning (complete with pancakes, so sorry if your envelope is sticky!), I would love if they saw your name on our list of supporters for the week. Will you send a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

These are the moments when I can really feel the community support behind this campaign, and behind my family.

Thank you for fighting alongside us,
Jennifer

PS -- When I talked to the kids about the nasty comment above, I had to explain what "Little House on the Prairie" was. They were highly offended once they understood, but also asked if we could watch a few episodes. Now they are calling me "Ma" and giggling uproariously.

Who's Working for You?

Every day of this campaign, I get the chance to demonstrate the kind of delegate that I will be: engaged, listening, and working relentlessly to find solutions to our most challenging problems.

Take Thursday. I spent the day in the district talking with people about practical ways we can improve life here – including:innovative financing to help our small businesses grow,reforming Medicaid practices so that families with special needs kids can get better access to adaptive technologysimple ways that Central Virginia can get more federal funding when natural disasters strike. I’m running for the Virginia House of Delegates because I’m tired of elected officials who don’t show up except to cut ribbons, complain about the other side, and occasionally fill out the crowd at press conferences.

We deserve better from our representatives.

If you are frustrated with elected officials who choose to spend their time in PR stunts (or are completely off the radar!), then please donate to our campaign as we fight for change.

Your contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 this week will go straight to the cost of printing a “walk card,” the simple piece of literature we give to voters when we talk to them at events and at their doors. Each one costs about 50 cents – which means that every $10 you give will help us reach 20 voters.

Make Your Donation Now

If you can’t make a donation at this time, that’s okay too. This campaign is fighting for every single person in the district, not just those who can write a big check.

Thank you for believing in this campaign. Together we are going to do great things, and I’m privileged to work alongside you.

Warmly,
Jennifer Woofter