WASHINGTON, D.C.— People For the American Way board member Alec Baldwin today visited three campaign locations in Virginia to help get out the vote for Democratic state legislative candidates. In Midlothian, Baldwin joined dozens of volunteers and campaign staff at the home of a supporter of 11th District state Senate candidate Amanda Pohl.
“This is what’s going to flip the 11th District,” Pohl said, referring to the large crowd. “It takes strong women to get work done here in Virginia,” she said, adding, “We need to make things better. We need to make life better in Virginia and we can do that.”
“This is one of the most exciting races that’s going to make a difference not just in this district, not just in Virginia but around the country,” PFAW President Michael Keegan told the crowd. Like the other candidates being supported by Baldwin and PFAW at today’s events, Pohl is endorsed by PFAW’s Next Up Victory Fund. The Next Up Victory Fund backs young, progressive candidates running for elected office. This year, the Next Up Victory Fund is supporting 40 Virginia candidates in a year in which the General Assembly could flip from Republican to Democratic control — making a significant difference in state politics and sending a strong message ahead of the 2020 races.
Pohl is running against an incumbent, Amanda Chase, who has incited criticism for incendiary statements opposing gun safety measures and for a verbal tirade against a police officer over a parking spot. Chase criticized Baldwin’s visit ahead of his arrival; at the event, Baldwin revealed a roll of quarters he jokingly said was for Chase, so that “If she loses this job she can go and find all the parking spots she needs.”
Baldwin praised Pohl as someone who “exemplifies what you want in a public servant.” He then joined a group in going door-to-door in the neighborhood to canvass on behalf of Pohl.
At a second stop, at the Leeland Station clubhouse in Fredericksburg, Baldwin appeared on behalf of District 88 House of Delegates candidate Jess Foster, 28th District House of Delegates candidate Joshua Cole, and 28th District state Senate candidate Qasim Rashid.
Foster told attendees her work as a defense lawyer for children in the juvenile justice system persuaded her to run. “Kids can’t thrive if their families are in distress. And sometimes it’s because Mom doesn’t make equal pay for equal work, or maybe Dad doesn’t make a living wage and can’t pay all of those bills,” she said, adding that she would use her advocacy skills on behalf of the people of Virginia.
Cole urged the crowd to get out and vote. “We are standing on the verge of history,” he said. “We are standing on the verge of transformation, and it’s relying on all of us getting out to vote on November the 5th.”
Rashid thanked the crowd for investing time in supporting the campaign. “The fact that each and every single one of you are here on a rainy and cold day to help us flip this legislature to pass a living wage increase, to ratify the ERA, to ensure protection for women and the LGBTQ community against discrimination, to make sure that human decency and the power of the people is what rules the legislature and not the power of corporations, that means something,” he said.
Baldwin told the group that flipping the legislature was vital. “It’s going to be good not only for the people of the state of Virginia, it’s going to be good not only for Virginians,” he said, because of the chance to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. “In my lifetime, that’s become necessary. That’s become something that we have to do,” he added.
A legislature under Democratic leadership is expected to pass the ERA, making Virginia the 38th state to do so and putting the measure on the road to becoming the law of the land. Virginia’s Republican-led legislature has defeated the measure in the past.
At a third stop, Baldwin joined PFAW board member and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta in campaigning for Dan Helmer, candidate for the House of Delegates in District 40. Baldwin arrived with pizza for a crowd of volunteers.
“Everything you want embodied in a candidate you have in this man right here,” Baldwin said of Helmer, noting that Helmer was both a veteran and Rhodes scholar.
Helmer said his top priorities included health care, reproductive rights and gun safety. “When we win, it means that the thousands of Virginians I meet with preexisting conditions have access to quality affordable healthcare,” he pledged. “We’re going to pass laws so that you don’t feel like you have to wear the body armor I wore in Afghanistan just to go shopping at Walmart.”
Huerta closed the program by leading the crowd in chants of “Yes we can” and “Si se puede.” She urged volunteers going door-to-door for Helmer to ask others they meet to join them. “We know that we can actually make this happen,” she said.
About the Next Up Victory Fund
People For the American Way’s Next Up Victory Fund helps young progressive candidates win races for state and local offices across the country. Our goal isn’t just to help make sure progressives win key offices in the short term: we want to build a deep bench of progressive candidates well positioned to control state legislatures, win statewide, and run for federal offices in the years and decades to come. We’re committed to winning the elections that will lead to progressive outcomes that reflect our true American values and the American Way.
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.