• blog / Jan 31 2018

    Pastor Wilson's War

    I spent Sunday morning at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church, just down the road from the old Shelton store and the historic freedman community of Union Hill. The church, clapboard and quaint, sits in the heart of Buckingham County. The African-American community is deeply attached to this place where many have ancestors, buried nearby, who first farmed here on their own land after slavery was abolished. The land is still graced with ancient barns, Jersey cows and groves of pine. 

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  • blog / Jan 04 2018

    Finding a place in Charlottesville

    In December, I sat with a group of young African-American men in Charlottesville. All have jobs. Some have multiple degrees. Some are supporting young families. One has a masters from UVA. He is an accountant and, like the other men in the room, feels squeezed by the high price of living in Charlottesville. "I don't know how to get a $500,000 house. I don't know who those houses are for, but it isn't us. We need everyone to have the same opportunity. That means having more big business in Charlottesville. Small tech firms aren't doing it."

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  • blog / Dec 10 2017

    The Human Chain

    Last Saturday morning I attended the Democratic Women's Caucus in Richmond. Many of the eleven newly-elected women bound for Virginia's House of Delegates were there including former journalist Danica Roem, our first openly transgender elected official.
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  • blog / Nov 26 2017

    13 Generations on the Land

    I sat down with a farmer and cattleman who is the 13th generation to own the family farm in Appomattox. His father still runs the place, as he says, "taking out loans and buying parts", and has successfully steered the transition from tobacco to livestock. The family has leased grazing land in addition to the 500 acres they have owned for centuries. Beef is an 8-billion-dollar industry in Virginia and the 5th District has the third largest cattle business in the state. As cattle have to eat, the biggest crop in Virginia is grass. There is a lot of discussion about what to do with old tobacco farms Southside and this family's move into cattle is a success story that speaks to both the family's desire to keep the land in agriculture and clear thinking about a thriving market. The farmer laments politicians' lack of interest in cattle. One former Congressman asked him, "Why should I care about cows?" and our current Congressman has proved less than interested in one of the biggest businesses in the district. "I can't get in to see him. We cattlemen are a pretty conservative group and yet his door is closed to us."

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  • blog / Nov 05 2017

    On the Road in Fluvanna

    I spent Halloween at the Fork Union Military Academy in Fluvanna County. The academy holds the annual Halloween candidates debate with state, local and Congressional candidates. We put up our yard signs outside the library and followed the cadets to chapel. The cadets are mostly from Republican homes and have had difficulty in school. They come to Fork Union for “discipline” as the librarian told me, and “focus.”

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  • blog / Oct 12 2017

    A Conversation with Susan Bro

    I spent Monday morning in Charlottesville with Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville on August 12th. Susan taught elementary school for eighteen years and I envy the students who were in her class. She is a woman who truly believes in justice for all. 

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  • blog / Oct 03 2017

    Let's stand together against senseless violence.

    It is hard to think of anything but Las Vegas today.  The gun issue, which is so divisive in Virginia, is regarded as a litmus test for politicians. I have been advised many times not to speak out against weapons. After Las Vegas, however, we all must speak up, together, against this senseless violence.

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  • blog / Sep 21 2017

    Updates from Route 29

    My campaign for Congress in Virginia’s 5th District is off to a great start. We are bringing on a mixture of young and seasoned staff, including veterans of Congressional and Presidential campaigns in the 5th, who know every inch of the district. We are waiting to hear from the Democratic committee whether we will have a convention or a primary. Either way, our approach is closest to the Obama model, a strong field operation. 

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