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Elevating Women in Politics, from Galax to Gainesville

 January 2022



Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, I am analyzing what’s standing in my way of progress in all areas of my life. After years of seeing the same goals roll over year after year–unaccomplished–it’s time for a change.

When the NWPC-VA thinks about how to galvanize women and our allies, we also need to analyze our obstacles and how we can remove them. 

Our 2021 forum on resilience among women running for office, The Power of Women's Resilience: The Secret Sauce in Politics, still remains a benchmark for our organization. The event brought together several female candidates who had not “won” one of their elections, and they discussed their lessons learned. From that conversation, we learned the importance of acknowledging women’s fears of not “winning” and removing the obstacle of fear to get more women to run for office.

Another barrier for women who want to increase their political participation is the lack of mentorship. While there are several training programs available, long-term mentoring and real-time advice is critical, especially for first-time candidates. Moving forward, the NWPC-VA will provide more mentorship opportunities for women, for new candidates and for those who have completed a campaign or leadership training program.

Working to shift existing paradigms has helped me think differently about personal and organizational challenges and provides more clarity about the specific path to accomplishing my goals.

Sometimes the weight of gender inequity and the disparities in women’s political engagement can be too much to bear, and it seems as if we will never have equal rights.

Yet, we have reached a significant moment on our journey toward full equity for all women, and your voice is needed to remove barriers in our way. This month’s newsletter highlights where your advocacy is critical today on the ERA, unsolicited lewds legislation, and several key bills. 

How can you take your political participation to the next level, and what’s standing in your way? You might just find that your answer can be found … within yourself. 


Krysta Jones, 2021-2022 President

National Women’s Political Caucus-Virginia

NWPC-VA Membership Discount

Greetings members, NWPC-VA is excited to share the 2022 membership discount with you! Beginning January 10, a regular membership ($22 off the standard $99 membership fee) will be $77 until 11:59 pm on January 31, 2022!

To join or renew, visit the “Join Us” section of our website. Scroll down to the red asterisk (Membership Level) and select the button of your choice. We also would be delighted to receive contributions for gift memberships for students and/or those in economic need.

Please note, it has come to the board’s attention that some members are being sent dues renewal notifications from our old platform, Action Network. NWPC-VA currently operates off of the Wild Apricot platform. PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE AND DO NOT RENEW THROUGH ACTION NETWORK!

If you have already renewed through Action Network (including automated debits), please contact VP of Finance Robbin Warner at Thank you for your cooperation while we work to eliminate this issue.





Congratulations and welcome to NWPC-VA’s new board! These women will lead our committees and organization into GA 2022 and beyond! The board is anxious to continue NWPC-VA’s work of making the lives of Virginian women and their families the best that they can be.

In 2022, we will continue to strive to meet our goals: 

  • Increase women's participation in the political process

  • Increase the number of women in elected and appointed positions

  • Support candidates who support women

  • Draft legislation that centers on equality and the needs of women

Learn more about them in the following bios

Krysta Jones, President

Krysta Jones successfully represented two associations for eight years as a registered lobbyist, and served as the Director of Outreach for two Members of Congress. In 2006 she founded Virginia Leadership Institute (Vote Lead Impact) to increase African American participation in the political process.

She has previous experience leading local campaigns in the Northern Virginia area, which were great opportunities to learn the foundations of field operations, utilize community ties and existing relationships, understand the local political party structure, and work with political consultants. For the last 14 years Krysta has run Vote Lead Impact, which educates Blacks about the political process. This has allowed her to hone her skills recruiting candidates, and operationalizing various training methods, but also understand the value of having diverse representation among our elected officials. 

Laurie Buchwald, VP Records

Laurie is a previous member of Radford City Council, where she served for eight years. That was the beginning of her service in politics, and knowing that community service is a natural stepping stone to elected office, she was inspired to help other women become involved. She has served on the regional and state boards of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, the Board of Main Street Radford, the Planning Commission, and the New River Watershed Roundtable, among others.  In 2015 she ran for Delegate in the 12th District of the House of Delegates.  Despite not winning that race, she was prompted to become even more involved in efforts to elect women to office. She formed Elect Women SWVA which led to an appointment to the Board of Virginia's List, to the Central Committee of the DPVA, and the Democratic Women’s Caucus.

Jennifer Gaylor, VP Communications

Jennifer Gaylor has been the VP of Communications for NWPC-VA since January 2021. She is also the social media director for VoteEqualityUS, a non-partisan group that is working to certify the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to that, she worked with VARatifyERA for 3 years on their social media team. Jennifer is also the President of the Board of Directors for the Winchester SPCA.  

Jessica Kujala, VP Development

Jessica was an Americorps Service Volunteer for a middle school in Wilmington Delaware. She began her career in event planning with Events of the Heart, a non-profit organization raising awareness about Women's Heart Health through the power of theater.  

After the birth of her second child, Jessica felt the true depth of the inequalities that exist in our society.  She discovered VaRatifyERA when THE BUS came to town. When the IScream for Equality tour came to town she signed up immediately to be an organizer. She has been the VP of Development since 2021. 

Tonja Roberts, VP Policy

Tonja Roberts is the outreach director for VoteEqualityUS which is a grassroots campaign advocating to make gender equality the law of the land. She has volunteered as a voter protection advocate for over 15 years serving as an inside poll observer. She has a B.A. in government from the University of Virginia and a JD from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the National Bar Association, the International Bar Association, and International Focus, Inc.  She has served on parent advisory boards for Halifax County School District. Her passion is advocating for human rights to include immigration rights (particularly family reunification), quality education for all and safe housing opportunities with a focus on veterans.

Robbin Warner, VP Finance

Robbin co-founded in 2017 to help volunteers write postcards to get out the vote in Virginia. She is also the events director for Network NOVA.  As a small business owner, a non-profit executive, and an event organizer, Robbin felt confident stepping into the role of VP of Finance. She is familiar with campaign finance laws and nonprofit tax rules. And, most importantly, she is dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected positions in Virginia.

Katherine White, VP Endorsements

Katherine White is a feminist trailblazer and a proud Ohio State Buckeye alumna. Since the first Women’s March in 2017, Katherine has become an activist in the grassroots movement in Virginia. 

Katherine is dedicated and passionate about empowering women and girls through education, collaboration, and partnership. A believer in volunteering to make a difference, Katherine uses her talent, skills and expertise to effect change. A lover of learning, her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies at Ohio State University and Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit studies at George Mason University (2017). She is an honorary member of The National Society for Public Affairs and Administration (Pi Alpha Alpha) and an active member of the American Association of University Women.

Robin Whitley, VP Membership

Robin J. Whitley is a native of Wilmington, DE and a graduate of North Carolina State University. She has been employed with the City of Suffolk for 27 years in the Water Quality Division of Public Utilities as a Quality Control Lab Technician. She considers herself a social/political activist and works within her church, First Baptist Mahan and her community to educate and spread awareness about issues that affect and impact Suffolk, the commonwealth and the nation.  She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Suffolk Alumnae Chapter where she currently serves as the Social Action Co-Chair and with Program Planning Development, Fundraising and Media Relations. She works with the planning committee for Virginia Organizing, is part of Women United, The League of Women Voters and chairs her church's political awareness ministry as well as a 112 Youth Worker. 


Meet Delegate Irene Shin! 

On January 12th, Irene Shin was sworn in as the Delegate for the 86th House District, becoming the first Korean American woman to serve in the House of Delegates. A resident of Herndon, Irene has been involved in public service in Virginia since 2014. She currently works as Executive Director of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing civic education and engagement across the commonwealth.

Irene is the daughter of Korean immigrants. Her father is a small business owner, and her mother is a homemaker and a home caretaker for those with health problems who require assistance to live independently. When Irene was 16, her father had a serious health problem. Because her family did not have health insurance, he had to travel to Korea to receive life-saving surgery. This was a formative experience for her, which has propelled her involvement in public life since. As a delegate, she believes we need to protect and expand the Affordable Healthcare System in Virginia, protect families by passing Universal Pre-K, Universal Paid Sick Leave, Universal Paid Family Medical Leave.

On the day of her swearing in, Irene wore her family’s hanbok (traditional Korean dress) to “honor their sacrifices and legacy, and I hope it will serve to remind us that diversity makes our commonwealth great.”



Save the ERA!

What to do now: 

  1. Send a letter to the Department of Justice before March 4 when the US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit begins hearings on the ERA (sample here).

  2. Call Senators Warner and Kaine and thank them for their support of SJRes1, and to encourage their colleagues to pass it. 

  3. Sign the petition here  before March 4 to compel the DOJ to rescind the Barr memo, which prevented the Archivist of the United States from adding the ERA to the Constitution

A brief history:

In January 2020, the last three states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment filed suit in the US District Court of the District of Columbia when the Archivist of the United States failed to add the ERA to the Constitution as the 28th Amendment: Commonwealth of Virginia, State of Illinois and the State of Nevada v. David S. Ferriero

In July 2020, Winston & Strawn LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of more than 50 women's rights organizations (including the NWPC), also in the DC Circuit. Led by Linda Coberly, Partner and Chair of the ERA Coalition’s Legal Task Force, the brief urged the court to compel the Archivist of the United States to officially publish the now-ratified amendment to the US Constitution. 

In March 2021, the court dismissed the suit saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, and the deadlines for ratifying the ERA had expired (Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada ratified after the 1982 deadline.).

In May 2021, the Commonwealth of Virginia, State of Nevada, and State of Illinois appealed the dismissal to the US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit.

This month,13 amicus briefs were filed in the DC Circuit. The federal government’s brief is due March 4.


Lobby for Women’s Issues 

Welcome to GA2022! NWPC-VA recommends the following bills which support our mission. Please call or write your representatives and ask them to vote for the bills listed below. Include the bill number and title when reaching out. If you are unsure of who represents you in the state legislature, you can check at addition, please note that specific bills require specific actions.

1.  Implicit Bias Training Bill: HB1105/SB 456 Practitioners, licensed; continuing education related to implicit bias and cultural competency.  

House: Delores L. McQuinn (chief patron, D, HD-70), Christopher T. Head (chief co-patron, R, HD-17); Senate: Mamie Locke (D, SD-2) Requires all practitioners licensed by the Board of Medicine to complete two hours of continuing education in each biennium on topics related to implicit bias and cultural competency. 

Take action: Our members have been asked to provide testimony on the day the bill will be reviewed by the Health and Education Committee. Written testimony from patients and medical professionals is preferred and can be submitted to Resources on disparity in Black maternal and infant outcomes can be found here. (For reference, this the bill about which Dora Muhammad from Virginia Interfaith spoke to NWPC-VA on January 11.)

2. Family Caregiver Tax Credit Bill: HB291 Family Caregiver Tax Credit; creates a nonrefundable tax credit for family caregivers.

House: Sam Rasoul (chief patron, D, HD-11), Wendy W. Gooditis (chief co-patron, D, HD-10), Eileen Filler-Corn (chief co-patron, D, HD-41), Candi Mundon King (chief co-patron, D, HD-2); Senate: Jennifer B. Boysko (D, SD-33)

Creates a nonrefundable income tax credit for taxable years 2022 through 2026 for expenses incurred by an individual in caring for an eligible family member, defined in the bill, who requires assistance with one or more activities of daily living, also defined in the bill. The credit equals 50 percent of eligible expenditures incurred by the caregiver up to $1,000. In order to qualify for the credit, the family caregiver must (i) not receive any compensation or reimbursement for the eligible expenditures and (ii) have federal adjusted gross income that is no greater than $100,000 for an individual or $200,000 for married persons. The bill requires the Tax Commissioner to establish guidelines for claiming the credit and provides that any unused credit may be carried forward by the taxpayer for five taxable years following the taxable year for which the credit was issued. The bill is a recommendation of the Joint Commission on Health Care. 

Take action*THIS JUST IN: HB291 passed unanimously out of the subcommittee! Thanks to all of our members who reached out to their delegates.*  Contact the members of the Finance Committee to voice your support: Robinson (Chair), Fowler (Vice Chair), Orrock, Ware, Byron, Freitas, McNamara, Campbell, R.R., Walker, Runion, Wiley, Durant, Watts, Keam, Sullivan, Murphy, Hudson, Willett, Scott, D.L., Mundon King, Simon, Bennett-Parker. (For reference, Del. Sam Rasoul spoke to NWPC-VA on January 11 regarding this bill.) 

3. Unsolicited Lewds Bill: HB 334 and SB493: Sexually explicit visual material to another; unlawful dissemination, penalty.

House: Kelly K. Convirs-Fowler (chief patron, D, HD-21); Carrie Coyner (chief co-patron, R, HD-62); Senate: Jennifer L. McClellan (chief patron, D, SD-9), Jennifer B. Boysko (chief co-patron, D, SD-33)

Provides that any person 18 years of age or older who knowingly transmits sexually explicit visual material by computer or other electronic means to another person 18 years of age or older when such other person has not requested or consented to the transmittal of such material or has expressly forbidden the transmittal of such material is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250 for a first offense and not more than $500 for a second offense or subsequent offense. 

Take action: Our members have been asked to help spread the word with postcards. We have postcards printed and NWPC-VA needs members to send them out. Can you identify some members in your region to write and send them?  We will mail them the postcards ASAP. Check out our advocacy kit too: (For reference, Del Kelly Convirs-Fowler spoke to NWPC-VA on January 11 regarding this bill. Sen. Jennifer McClellan, the bill's chief Senate patron, held a press conference with Comms VP Jennifer Gaylor and Payton Iheme, Head of the Americas Public Policy at Bumble.)



January 27, 12 p.m.: Rise Up for the ERA 

On the two-year anniversary of the Equal Rights Amendment’s ratification by the final state, Virginia, join the ERA Coalition to rally in Washington, D.C. for a more just future for ALL! The day begins at 12 with the Rally at the White House (also live streamed at At 1:30 p.m., a delegation of volunteers will march to the Department of Justice and at 2:30 p.m. will deliver a signed petition (Add your name here.).  Share your photos and follow the action on social media with #RiseUp4ERA.


February 2, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.: Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Alliance Legislative Advocacy Day 

VSDV Alliance will hold their annual day of advocacy in early February at the General Assembly, promoting policies that will help prevent violence and ensure conditions where every person has the opportunity to thrive. The organization will guide discussions in investing in prevention, reducing offender access to firearms, expanding access to trauma-informed healthcare for survivors and many other issues important to advocates and survivors.  Register on their website.  To see a list of this session’s priorities go to this handy PDF.

NWPC-VA Events Redux

ICYMI–would you like to catch up on VLAW (Virginia Legislative        Agenda for Women)? Check out the videos from our previous events, including the VLAW General Assembly Legislative Review 2022, on our website at

We've Got Merch!

Show the world your sassy NWPC-VA style!

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