Elevating Women in Politics, from Galax to Gainesville

JULY 2022


Dear NWPC-VA Members,

Lately, circumstances are such that every time we turn around, something is changing, and often for the worse. When it comes to women and women’s lives, we have been on the defensive, preciously trying to guard ourselves from those who wish to strip us of our very humanity. 

What gives me hope are the women and femme people to our left and right, linking arms, ready to stand together, and fight–whether it is at a protest or on a school board or in a state legislature. All of that energy and time spent fighting can be exhausting. But it is necessary. We are as strong as those activists to our left and right. 

I just started the book, The Genius of Women, by Janice Kaplan. It details how brilliant women have been overlooked throughout history and recounts their indefatigable attempts to push through.  It also made me think of just how many wondrous things we could be discovering, how many iconic pieces of music we could be composing, or how many medical breakthroughs that we could be making if we weren’t having to fight the seemingly endless fight to assert our rights to simply be.  

I wonder.   

Jennifer Gaylor, 2021-2022 Vice President of Communications

National Women’s Political Caucus-Virginia 


Our July Member Spotlight shines on Anna Bradley!

A founding member of NWPC-VA, Anna collaborates with many inspiring activists she met through VAratifyERA’s successful campaign. Also involved in the social action initiatives of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Anna advocates for economic justice, especially with respect to how wealth inequality limits the self-determination of low wage workers, impacts climate change, and is a threat to democracy.

Born in Roanoke, Anna spent part of her childhood in Europe as an Army brat. Her earliest memories of social action were seeing her church and community organizations support Black students when Prince Edward County closed public schools to resist integration. After completing college and her MBA, she later earned a Master of Divinity at Vanderbilt. Her work as a consultant for socially responsible investing and shareholder advocacy allowed her to combine her passions for faith and business. 

Anna is strengthened by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition: “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard nor superficial, it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”




The Virginia Community Policing Act of 2020 is a major achievement in improved transparency on police interactions with the public. Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services maintains a publicly accessible database of the number of traffic stops organized by reason for stop, along with demographic information on the person being stopped. It also indicates where police used physical force or where force was used on the police during traffic stops, starting with 2021 data. The data shows that 31 percent of stops in the last two years have been African American drivers. African Americans are 20 percent of the Virginia population according to the 2020 Census.

Currently the database shows a dramatic decrease this spring in traffic stops from 85,000 per month to 17,000. Yet there appears to be a time lag in the reporting process. NWPC-VA contacted Joe Boelsche, Research Analyst, Criminal Justice Research Center to clarify, and he responded that there is a delay in inputting the data received from the Virginia State Police. With time, the data will be corrected.

However, one thing is already clear: stops have decreased slightly due to 2020’s HB5058, now law, which limits the reasons for which a police officer may make a stop, excluding some equipment violations and the smell of marijuana. In the 2020-2021 period, equipment violations made up 11 percent of all stops. The next year they decreased to 9 percent (Consistently, 85 percent of all stops, by contrast, are for traffic violations).  In addition, just this year in 2022, the legislature passed HB750, forbidding quotas on arrests and traffic stops which require sheriffs, police officers or state police to make a certain number of citations, summons or arrests within a given time period. Such quotas often had been used as the basis of promotion of police officers.

Members who are interested in whether over-policing of communities of color declines over time, want to see the effect of this new law or like to stay informed on Virginia traffic policing practices will find this database useful.

Last month Gov. Youngkin appointed 5 new members to the 9 member Virginia Board of Education. The board has significant influence over the commonwealth’s public education system, including statewide curriculum standards, high school graduation requirements, state testing and assessment programs, and teacher recruitment. 

Among the new board members are Suparna Dutta of Fairfax, the co-founder of the Coalition for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, who has been an outspoken opponent of recently enacted eligibility criteria for school admissions, and William D. Hansen of McLean, President and CEO, Building Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to financing and providing operating assistance to charter schools. Youngkin’s appointees are likely to give the board a more conservative slant.

The new members fill 3 vacancies and 2 seats with terms that expired. All 5 of appointees will serve 4-year terms (Read more in this Virginia Mercury article.). Youngkin also made key appointments to the State Council for Higher Education and Boards of Visitors at 15 Virginia universities.

In additional news, the “parental choice” bill, SB 656, took effect earlier this month. It requires the Virginia Department of Education to issue model policies for school boards on how they are to provide notice and review procedures to parents regarding instructional material deemed as “sexually explicit content.” Though this law may not explicitly censor books, it promises to be problematic with its vague language and is likely to limit the range of materials available to teachers and librarians. It is part of a trend in legislation and lawsuits by spearheaded by ultraconservative Republicans against the freedom to read including but not limited to the recently defeated “divisive concepts” bills (HB 787 and SB 570) and invoking a little-known obscenity law to try to block school libraries and private bookstores from making two books available to minors.

Gov. Youngkin has appointed former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to lead the Office of Regulatory Management, a new office created by executive order and tasked with cutting state regulations by 25 percent.  

Wheeler’s new appointment is part of the Youngkin administration’s pro-business plan to “reduce the regulatory burden” in the commonwealth. Youngkin’s record on environmental issues has been troubling so far, including but not limited to plans to end Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with Executive Order Nine and appointing representatives to the Air Board that have a history with polluting industries.

In February, Virginia Senate Democrats voted unanimously against approving Wheeler to be the commonwealth's top environmental official, noting his history as a coal lobbyist and his rollbacks of environmental protections implemented under former President Obama’s administration. The last time the Senate rejected a gubernatorial cabinet nominee was 2006. Youngkin has found a way to hire Wheeler anyway. These developments, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s recent judgment against the Environmental Protection Agency, are significant concerns for the cleanliness of Virginia’s air and water. Read more details in Dogwood.

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters’ 2022 Conservation Scorecards are now out. See your legislators' voting records on environmental issues here. The scorecard also includes a rating for Gov. Youngkin



Tell Congress: Protect Our Right to Abortion

Contact your representatives now and continue to demand that they recognize and uphold our fundamental right to abortion. You can use this tool from the National Women’s Law Center

Tell Congress: Support the Right to Contraception Act

On July 21, the House of Representatives passed the Right to Contraception Act in a 228-195 vote. This legislation codifies the fundamental and constitutional right to contraception, including access to birth control pills and emergency contraception like Plan B. The bill now moves to the Senate. In addition, Sens. Duckworth (IL), Hirono (HI), and Markey (MA) have filed a similar version originating in the Senate. Contact Sen. Warner and Sen. Kaine and tell them you support both pieces of legislation.

Write Postcards for the ERA with Vote Equality

In November, Nevadans will vote to add a state level ERA. Help reach voters with their postcard campaign:https://voteequality.us/postcards.

Learn More About How to Act on the Climate Crisis

Earlier this month, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin closed the door to passing historic climate investments through budget reconciliation in Congress. However, there are still several key steps President Biden can take toward a livable climate without Congress, including rejecting new fossil fuel infrastructure projects and better enforcing existing clean air standards. Learn more from this summary by Evergreen Action. Use this tool from Earth Justice to submit comments on ending federal leasing for offshore oil and gas drilling.


The following positions on the Board of Directors are open for nominations: President, VP of Communications, VP of Records, and VP of Finance.  The elections will be held at our September meeting, with each 2 year term beginning in 2023. Please contact us with nominations



Black maternal mortality is a nationwide crisis. According to the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Black women in Virginia are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than other women. Birth in Color RVA is one organization in Virginia that is working to eradicate this crisis. This month, we would like to highlight its executive director, Kenda Sutton-El!

Ms. Sutton-El co-founded Birth in Color RVA, which works with other organizations and stakeholders to break down systems that perpetuate implicit bias and harm to Black pregnant people. With a bachelor’s degree in health science and background in holistic nutrition, Lamaze education, and Doula training, she is involved with several committees and task forces in the Richmond area;  Ms. Sutton-El is the chair of the Virginia Doula Taskforce and the Greater Richmond Maternal Child Health Taskforce. She also helped to establish Black Maternal Health Week in 2019 to shine a light not only on the challenges Black women face in Virginia, but also to outline what can be done to address them.  

NWPC-VA is very excited to speak with Ms. Sutton-El during our What We Owe Black Mothers event on August 5, so that our members can learn how we can be part of the solution. As stated on Birth in Color RVA’s website, “[Kenda] firmly believes that until every woman is safe before, during, and after childbirth, we have not done our job as a society.”



the Environment in Virginia

With the recent SCOTUS decision against the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions as well the State Water Control Board’s permitting of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project and the Youngkin administration’s stated plans to curb regulations by 25% (See our Legislative Priorities section.), this month we felt compelled to revisit the state of the environment in Virginia.

In Virginia, federal and state laws for air, water, renewable energy, and land protection are administered by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). It was established in 1982 and has a central office in Richmond and 6 regional offices with approximately 800 employees. The DEQ works in tandem with 3 regulatory boards composed of citizens appointed by the governor. DEQ administers the regulations and permits as approved by the boards. The boards are the State Air Pollution Control Board, State Water Control Board, and Virginia Waste Management Board. Virginia’s drinking water is monitored by the Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water (ODW), also with a central office and 6 field offices.

In recent years, the Air Board has come under criticism for poor communication with the public and failure to fully evaluate projects for environmental justice impact, like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Water Board has also been the subject of controversy, such as its handling of groundwater use on the Eastern Shore. A 2021 audit by the State Inspector General’s office found that the ODW uses inconsistent standards to enforce potential problems. With Youngkin appointees now making up majorities on these boards, environmental regulation is likely to be less robust and more pro-business than during the previous administration.




August 1, 8:00 p.m.: NWPC-VA Tidewater Region Monthly Meeting (Online)

Register Here

August 3, 6:30 p.m.: NWPC-VA Membership Monthly Meeting (Online)

Register Here

August 5, 12:00 p.m.: What We Owe Black Mothers (Online)

Join NWPC-VA for this conversation with Virginia legislators Del. Jackie Glass, Del. Sally Hudson, Del. Shelley Simonds, and Kenda Sutton-El, Executive Director of Birth in Color RVA regarding the American tragedy of Black maternal mortality.

Register Here

August 9, 4:00 p.m.: NWPC-VA Endorsements Monthly Meeting (Online)

Register Here

August 10, 7p.m.: NWPC-VA Central Region Monthly Meeting (Online)

Register Here


August 12 & 13: Come see NWPC-VA at Network NOVA’s Women Summit (In-Person/Online)

Chat with one of our members to see how you can get involved to Elect More Women in Virginia!  And get some sweet merch, too. More information and sign up here:  
Register Here

August 16, 4:00 p.m.: NWPC-VA Events and Development Committee Monthly Meeting (Online)

Register Here

August 31-September 12: Vote Equality US Artists4ERA Exhibit at Laurel Ridge Community College/Middletown (In-Person)

The Artists4ERA collection educates Americans of the “done but not published” status of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The art depicts diverse groups and communities, including LGBTQIA+, Black women, women of color, and indigenous peoples so all Americans see themselves in our 28th Amendment (Equal Rights). With the help of notable artists like Shepard Fairey, Chuck Sperry and Tracie Ching, the collection includes updated visuals for a 21st century gender equality movement. Laurel Ridge is located at 173 Skirmisher Lane Middletown, VA 22645. Check here for updates.


September 6, time TBD: Northwest Region Meeting (In-Person)

The Northwest Region plans to start with quarterly in-person meetings, beginning in September. During the interim period, the hope is to have everyone stay involved in committees and schedule small group events to introduce potential members to NWPC-VA. Supplemental monthly Zoom meetings will be added this fall. Questions? Contact Holly Huddle at va.nwpc.northwesternrep@gmail.com.

September 13-September 24: Vote Equality US Artists4ERA Exhibit at Germanna Community College (In-Person)

The Artists4ERA exhibition continues in September at Germanna Community College, 10000 Germanna Point Dr, Fredericksburg, VA 22408. Check here for updates.

September 21, 6:00 p.m.: Salon Series in September (Online)

Mark your calendars now for Wednesday, September 21! The next book in our Salon Series takes us back in time to the individuals who led one of the largest and longest movements in American History.  The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World by Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts will remind us of the strategies, stunts, and optics that seem oddly familiar today. Together we will be inspired to continue our mission with NWPC-VA and fight for the women in Virginia.

Register Here


Did you miss the first meeting of our Salon Series? 

Catch up with the video via YouTube https://youtu.be/EQ6hQ3pNcTQ OR check it out from our website here https://nwpc-va.org/past. Don’t forget to join us in September!

September 25- October 3:Vote Equality US Artists4ERA Exhibit-Laurel Ridge Community College/Fauquier (In-Person)

The Artists4ERA exhibition continues at Laurel Ridge Community College/Fauquier Campus, 6480 College St, Warrenton, VA 20187. Check here for updates.



First Black American Honored in Congress’ Statuary Hall

Mary McLeod Bethune is the first Black American to have a state statue in the hall, a chamber in the Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. Representing Florida, she replaces Confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith. Ms. Bethune was an influential leader, educator, and civil rights activist. Learn more about her life and work on the University of Florida’s website and in this fascinating Twitter thread by journalist Michael Harriot.

Navy’s Blue Angels Team Selects First Female Pilot

For the first time in its 76-year history, the US Navy’s Blue Angels aerial demonstration team will feature a female pilot. Lt. Amanda Lee, of Mounds View, Minnesota, was selected this month and will report to the Blue Angels for training in the fall. Currently based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, she is assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106. She’s a 2013 ODU graduate and goes by the call sign “Stalin.” The Blue Angels are a key part of the navy’s community outreach and a recruiting tool.


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