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Elevating Women in Politics, from Galax to Gainesville

December 2021

NWPC REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES: CLASS OF 2022

Congratulations and welcome to NWPC-VA’s incoming Regional Representatives! These four women will be your contacts and lead our regional cohorts as we gear up for GA 2022. Learn more about them in the following bios.

Karen Campblin, Northern Virginia

A strong community advocate, Karen is the current Sully District Representative on the Fairfax County Tree Commission and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations. She is a graduate of the Emerge Virginia program. 

Karen is the Environment and Climate Justice Chair for the Virginia State Conference NAACP and the Co-Director of the Green New Deal Virginia Coalition. Karen provides resources and support to local communities to address environmental injustices, promote efforts to improve quality of life and health, and advocate for transformative policy and program changes. She is also the Co-Chair, Transportation for the Sierra Club, Virginia and believes addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector is a crucial link towards building sustainability and equity in our communities. Contact Karen at va.nwpc@gmail.com with “Karen” in the subject line.

Eileen Davis, Central Virginia 

From being part of the advocacy team that delivered smoking ban legislation in Virginia restaurants, to Medicaid Expansion, to the rights of all women to access equitable working conditions, pay, FMLA, and Women's Health, to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, Eileen has been an on-the-ground advocate in Central Virginia for decades. She was a co-founder of Women-Matter, which became VaRatifyERA, which after the Virginia General Assembly ratified the ERA, became nationally focused as VoteEqualityUS. 

She is a Leadership Metro Richmond alumna, an Emerge Virginia alumna and board member, Nursing Instructor at JSR Community College, a member of NAACP State Health Committee, and a board member of Richmond Behavioral Health. Contact Eileen at va.nwpc@gmail.com with “Eileen” in the subject line.

Meredith Dean, West/Southwest Virginia


Meredith Dean has been working with and for women in Southwestern Virginia for over 30 years. In that time, she has co-founded four nonprofits dedicated to the safety, security, health, and well-being of women and families in Appalachian communities, including Appalachian Women of Action and Healthy Floyd. She has taught Appalachian Studies and Ecological Ethics at Virginia Tech and Radford University, with Master’s Degrees in Education and Rural Development from UVA and Antioch, graduate theological study at Drew, and a B.A. from Davidson. Meredith’s family roots go back eight generations in Carroll and Wythe Counties, and she lives with her husband and son in Floyd County. In her spare time, she hikes, swims, gardens, and spends as much time outdoors as possible. Contact Meredith at va.nwpc@gmail.com with “Meredith” in the subject line

Yvonne Lewis, Tidewater Virginia


Yvonne J. Lewis matriculated from Howard University in Washington D.C. where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1971 and Master of Arts in 1973. She notes that she is a “Washingtonian” and grew up there during the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. She has always taken an active role in her community. Mrs. Lewis has served as a member of the Virginia Beach Community Service Board, the Virginia Beach Re-Entry Council, African American Round Table, the League of Women Voters-SHR, and her Community Civic League. She is a Golden Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a member of the Virginia Beach Alumnae Chapter, as well as serves on the Delta Sigma Theta South Atlantic Region Team. She has done tireless work on behalf of the VAratifyERA campaign. Yvonne is a member of the Virginia African American Advisory Board. She believes “Love one another is our greatest command.” Contact Yvonne at va.nwpc@gmail.com with “Yvonne” in the subject line.

#WATCHWOMEN LEAD

During recent oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health (aka the Mississippi abortion case), Justice Sotomayor was a powerful voice for the women of this country, at one point asking, "When does the life of a woman, and putting her life at risk, enter the calculus?"  Furthermore, she spoke to the historical record regarding the recent ideological shift in the court with "Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?" 

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009, is the first Latinx and third woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is known among the other justices for her integrity, honesty, fairness, and ethical principles. We are grateful to have her on the bench, championing the right of US women to exercise bodily autonomy and reproductive choice.  

A decision in the case is expected by summer. Visit our website for updates and resources on this fight: www.nwpc-va.org

NETIZENS WRAP-UP

During our recent screening of the documentary Netizens, highlighting the malevolent forces of technology and their uses against women, we were reminded how much we have become desensitized to unsolicited viral abuse. 

We all understand what indecent exposure is and how it works–online, on our phones, as well as in person. It is time for NWPC-VA to stand up and educate our fellow Virginians that the cell phone sized loophole in Virginia’s law can and should be fixed. As Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian noted in the film, “Just because you're not seeing it, doesn't mean it's not happening."

Check out our ADVOCACY TOOLKIT to see how you can help push the Unsolicited Lewds Bill over the finish line! Watch our social media for calls to action during the General Assembly

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

January 11, 11:30 a.m.: VLAW General Assembly Legislative Review 2022 

Remember the Inaugural Women's Equality Summit in 2020? The event kicked off with the Women's Skydiving Network. VAratifyERA Director Kati Hornung and NWPC-VA President Andrea Miller then led the session in which eight legislators shared bills related to women and equality.  

This year NWPC-VA will hold a similar summit on Zoom–without the skydivers. Five legislators each will present a bill related to women and equality and recommend actions from NWPC-VA.  We strive to build public support and increase awareness around issues and legislation which are important to Virginia women. We are inviting legislators from each side of the aisle to encourage women in elected office to work together to build a better commonwealth for women and families.   

Make sure you register to learn how you can raise your voice during Virginia’s General Assembly 2022. 


January 12:  General Assembly Begins

The 2022 session convenes. This is the last day to file legislation creating or continuing a study. Prefiling ends at 10:00 a.m. Click here for a Calendar of Key Dates for the 2022 General Assembly Session.

 

SHOW UP FOR GA22!

Now that General Assembly 2022 is just around the corner, show us the ways you #showupforGA!

There are many ways to advocate in the coming months. 

    •  Advocate in person in Richmond
    • Contact your delegate or senator
    • Go to a town hall in your city or region
    • Host a postcard party with your friends

WE WANT TO SEE YOU IN ACTION! Post photos of yourself and your friends from past General Assemblies on social media and tag NWPC-VA! 

There will be plenty of bills we’ll be watching, so make sure you follow our social media accounts and SHOW UP for GA22.

 

 

Virginia has a history of gerrymandering, especially racial gerrymandering. In 2020, after years of advocating for reform by activists as well as several key court cases after the 2010 census, Virginia voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that sent the post-census redistricting process to a 16-member commission. Instead of having electoral districts drawn by the politicians in power in the General Assembly, the new Redistricting Commission is split equally between sitting legislators and citizens. Eight are Republicans, and eight are Democrats. This year was the first year the commission operated.

The newly created Virginia Redistricting Commission offered greater transparency to the process and attempted to work in a bipartisan manner. Commission meetings included public hearings and input from voters. After four months of meeting, however, negotiations broke down in October, days before the commission was supposed to turn in the new maps for the state House and Senate districts. The commission failed to submit a plan, thus turning the redistricting process over to the Virginia State Supreme Court.

The court appointed two Special Masters, Bernard Grofman (D) and Sean Trende (R), to draw  maps for congressional and state legislative districts by Dec. 19. The resulting draft maps were submitted on Dec. 8 to mixed reviews. The Supreme Court of Virginia held two virtual hearings on Dec. 15 and 17 to give the public a chance to comment. NWPC-VA VP of Endorsements Candy Graham spoke at the hearing on Dec. 17. She highlighted several issues with the Special Masters’ maps, included below along with other concerns. Many thanks to Candy for the time and energy she spent on her testimony.


Issues of Concern with the Special Masters’ Map (aka Dec. 8 Map):

splits up communities of common interest across the commonwealth—e.g. suburban communities in Chesterfield County were redrawn into rural communities to their south and west (proposed District 5) rather than paired with similar communities in Henrico; the military community was split into US House District 2 and 3 in Hampton Roads; this works in opposition to most public comments, in which Virginians voiced interest in keeping our communities together;

• places two Black state senators, Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) and Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) in the same new district and may be a violation of the Voting Rights Act;

• moves Reps. Spanberger (D-District 7) and Luria (D-District 2) out of the US House districts which they now represent and also redraws lines which threaten the incumbency of Rep. Wexton (D-District 10); this development fails to take incumbent addresses into consideration as per the commission’s criteria; it also creates the possibility of leaving Virginia with no female incumbents in Congress in a fraught political climate;

favors maintaining communities of interest in white rural areas (along the Blue Ridge, in Appalachia—Districts 6 and 9) over those in Northern Virginia and southeastern Virginia, where the 2020 census notes the commonwealth’s greatest population growth (8% overall minority growth and 8.9% Black growth; Black voters are now 20.9% of the Commonwealth’s population);

Elias Law Group (associated with Democracy Docket) are suing on behalf of their client James Farkas, a Virginia voter who successfully challenged the General Assembly’s unconstitutional racial gerrymander of the congressional map in 2011. A new map has been proposed, the Farkas Map, which would retain the districts of all three incumbent congresswomen and address the racial disparities of the map proposed by the Special Masters. NWPC-VA supports the Farkas Map. Follow the latest developments at https://www.vpap.org/redistricting.

CALLS TO ACTION

  • Voice your support for Roe v. Wade and reproductive rights in Virginia: Abortion rights activists and some House leaders are calling for the General Assembly to gather in a special session before the 2022 General Assembly convenes on January 12. Legislators who would like to see reproductive rights codified in the state constitution have the power to call lawmakers back to Richmond with 48 hours' notice because the General Assembly never formally adjourned a summertime special session (called to allocate federal coronavirus funding and elect judges). Phone your representative today with a vote of confidence to reconvene the General Assembly Special Session to codify Roe v. Wade for Virginians.


    • Advocate for the federal Build Back Better Act: On November 19, the House of Representatives passed the Biden Administration’s $1.75 trillion spending package, the Build Back Better Act.  With historic levels of funding for the care economy, the House bill:
    • lowers the cost of child care so working families don’t pay more than 7% of their income on care for their youngest children
    • provides universal preschool for every 3-and 4-year old in America and increases Pell Grants for working families and apprenticeship programs for education beyond high school

    • lowers the costs of elder care, health care, and housing

    • extends the expanded Child Tax Credit

    The Senate has promised to revise elements of the bill. Contact Senator Warner and Senator Kaine to lobby for the above-mentioned items to remain in the upper house’s version. The National Women’s Law Center has this handy tool for reaching out.



     
    • Advocate for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA): This bill prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It passed the House with significant bipartisan support and was reported out of the Senate HELP committee by a vote of 19-2. But it won’t get to President Biden’s desk unless the Senate passes the bill. Ask your senator to co-sponsor the PWFA and push for its swift passage. A message can be sent via the ACLU’s Take Action page
     
    • Advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment/28th Amendment: Time to sharpen your pencils and join our friends at the ERA NC Alliance to send postcards and letters to Christopher Schroeder, who has been appointed to lead the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S.  Department of Justice. This gives him the authority to direct his team to revoke the 2020 memo that prohibited the National Archivist from certifying and publishing the ERA, despite the amendment meeting constitutional requirements when Virginia became the 38th and final state needed to ratify on January 27, 2020. Please take two minutes to write a notecard to urge Mr. Schroeder to rescind this memo and encourage your friends to do the same!


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