2015 Elections

The last week of elections, the EV Advocates team spent our days in the field, supporting EV PAC-endorsed candidates in their campaign efforts. The time we spent knocking on doors and making phone calls to rally Virginians all over the state to get out and vote was a worthy effort, and we were glad to have been part of the competitive races across the Commonwealth. We especially are proud to have worked towards the win for pro-equality Senator-elect Jeremy McPike in the 29th Senate District (Prince William County). You can view the Senator-elect’s EVA Candidate Questionnaire here. [caption id="attachment_8392" align="aligncenter" width="600"]James McPike Governor Tram Left to right: EV Advocates Director James Parrish, Senator-elect Jeremy McPike, Governor Terry McAuliffe, and New Virginia Majority Executive Director Tram Nguyen.[/caption] The Senate remains 19-21 and the power structure unchanged, leaving some people frustrated. However, Equality Virginia has a long history of bipartisan work and we believe these coalitions are the key to success. Our previous bills in the Senate have passed with support from both sides of the aisle, and this legislative session we will continue our work to maintain broad support for our bills. In the House, we are excited to have earned a net gain of 2 pro-LGBT Delegate-elects. While still a ways to go until reaching a pro-LGBT majority, this election represents a continuation in the trend of more LGBT-friendly delegates joining with each cycle. While General Assembly elections kept folks busy, the Fairfax County School Board also found its way into the voter spotlight. After an update earlier this year to their non-discrimination policy to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” under listed protections for students and employees, the Board faced intense pressure by the Traditional Values Coalition, a national hate group with a long record of anti-LGBT speech and activism. While EV PAC does not typically endorse candidates for local elections, after the outsider group TVC and a vocal minority began targeting Board members that upheld the non-discrimination policy updates, we knew we had to get involved. Despite TVC’s opposition and hateful rhetoric, the Fairfax County School Board retained a pro-LGBT majority by a 9-3 margin in the elections, including the addition of School Board Member-elect Dalia Palchik who opposed the incumbent Patty Reed. Whereas Reed voted previously against updating the non-discrimination policy to include gender identity, Palchik openly campaigned on a pro-LGBT platform and promises to uphold the policy updates. This election proves a solid majority that supports the updated non-discrimination policies exists, and this majority understands the importance of protecting gay and transgender teachers, employees and students. Discrimination and hate is never a family value and has no place in our schools. The election season may be over, but now it's time to roll up our sleeves and prepare our legislative agenda for the upcoming session. The EV team looks forward to another opportunity to change Virginia's laws and policies for the better, moving equality forward for our Commonwealth.