Post Election Thoughts

November 11, 2016

As we continue to process our thoughts and feelings about this election, the most important thing for each of us to be aware of is that in this election, our votes mattered. Every vote cast in this election had an impact. For Republicans this is very evident in their election of Donald Trump to the presidency. For the rest of us, it is more difficult to see, but our impact was there.

In case you haven't heard, across the nation, four very amazing women were elected to various offices. Catherine Cortez Masto is first Latina elected to the Senate and Nevada's first female Senator. Thanks to California, we will have, for the first time since 1999, a black woman in the Senate. Tammy Duckworth, who has been a very respected member of the House of Representatives, was elected to the Senate. Ilhan Omar was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and is our nations first Somali-American legislator.

Locally, in the City of Harrisonburg, and across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Democrats turned out and made an impact in so many important elections. The City saw the election of two Democratic members of City Council: Deanna Reed, the first African-American woman to ever hold a seat on the Council in the city, and Richard Baugh. Paul Somers missed being elected by only about 300 votes. Some wonderful people including Deb Fitzgerald and Nick Swayne were elected to the city's School Board. In the City of Harrisonburg, Kai Degner received ncearly 57% of the vote. While it wasn't enough to secure him a victory across the district, you turned out and made a statement that we are tired of Bob Goodlatte’s acceptance of corporate donations and ignoring issues important to people here in Virginia's 6th Congressional District.

Statewide, there was a proposed amendment to the Commonwealth's constitution that would have been disastrous for organized labor. It would have taken our state's awful "Right to Work" law and dirtied our constitution by enshrining it there. Because people turned out and made a statement, the amendment was overwhelmingly defeated, receiving just over 46% of the vote.

We have a long four years ahead of us. We will have a president who will not care about our issues, a Congress that will not represent our concerns, and potentially a Supreme Court that will fail to uphold rights that we hold dearly. This is not a time to give up. This is not a time to lose hope. We must fight. Next November, the Commonwealth will elect a new governor, a new lieutenant governor, and a new attorney general. There will be seats in the House of Delegates and the State Senate on the ballot. This is not the time for complacency. This is not the time for inaction. We must register voters. We must volunteer. We must vote.

In our beautiful nation, in our Democracy, sometimes our candidate doesn't win, but there is always another election around the corner. There is always a chance to try again. There is always another opportunity to win. Just because we did not win the presidency did not mean that we did not have victories, and it certainly does not prevent us from winning in the future. We have so much at stake. Do not quit now.