For the Week of 6/16/2017
This week’s primary elections in Virginia made national headlines as many watched to see how voters and the political parties would handle the deep divisions that followed Donald Trump’s election. Additionally, many are paying close attention to see if Democrats’ continued success in recent legislative special elections along with the party’s record-breaking candidate recruitment levels in Virginia will be a bellwether for 2018 midterms. The biggest takeaway from Tuesday’s primary? Democratic women owned the election as they fought for representation in the Virginia House of Delegates. This November, women will make up more than half of Democrats’ general election slate with a record-breaking 40 Democratic women on the ballot. Check out DLCC’s latest Medium post on the state of the election!
2. She is transgender. He proposed a ‘bathroom bill.’ They’re running against each other in Northern Virginia.
On Tuesday, Danica Roem’s victory in the Democratic primary for Virginia House District 13 set up what could be an historic election. Danica, a journalist with a passion for improving the lives of Virginians, will face 13-term conservative extremist Del. Bob Marshall. If Danica succeeds in defeating this entrenched incumbent, not only will she become the only openly transgender state legislator in the nation, she will also unseat one of Virginia’s most anti-LGBTQ legislators. Del. Marshall sponsored Virginia’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage (which remained in effect until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such amendments unconstitutional) and he proposed a “bathroom bill” similar to North Carolina’s controversial and discriminatory HB2 legislation. Although Del. Marshall has held his seat for over two decades, the increasingly purple 13th district was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 with almost 55 percent of the vote. DLCC congratulates Danica on her success and looks forward to supporting Virginia Democrats as they fight for state progress.
With support for Republicans’ top-secret American Health Care Act in the “subbasement” nationwide, state Democrats are once again taking important policy making decisions into their own hands and working to protect Americans at the state level. As Republicans’ health care bill threatens to leave millions uninsured while covering less and raising prices on the poor and the sick, a recent poll found that not one state supports the AHCA. Republican U.S. Representatives have already been branded by their votes and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to vote on the bill before mid-July. Senators from the reddest states in America will be carefully examining their reelection prospects (and hopefully the very real concerns of their constituents) before putting party before country. Meanwhile, state Democrats in Nevada, California, and New York are leading the charge to ensure all Americans – regardless of income, gender, or preexisting conditions – have access to crucial health care coverage.
Delaware Democrats made history this week when Gov. John Carney Jr. signed legislation making the state the first in the nation to ensure access to safe and legal abortion in the event Roe v. Wade was overturned. While campaigning, Donald Trump pledged to overturn the landmark ruling if elected to office. State Democrats responded to this threat by introducing legislation to protect a woman’s right to choose. While the Democratic-led Illinois Legislature has approved an abortion rights bill, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has vowed to veto it. In New York, Assembly Democrats passed similar legislation but it is currently stalled in the Republican-controlled state Senate. However, state Democrats will continue to resist Trump’s extremist agenda while working to protect reproductive health and health care in general.
Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” women wearing long red cloaks and white bonnets filed into Ohio’s statehouse on Tuesday to protest anti-abortion legislation. The bill, Senate Bill 145, would institute a ban on the most common method for second-trimester abortions. Earlier this year, “Handmaids” in Texas protested similar legislation and several other anti-choice measures. The Guttmacher Institute has warned that these bans can disproportionately affect women who already struggle to obtain access to safe and legal abortion care and would force doctors to “substitute the ideology of lawmakers for their own professional medical judgement and the preferences of their patients.” Efforts like this demonstration shed light onto the dangerous legislation proposed by state Republicans in GOP-controlled states. DLCC commends these women in their efforts to stand up for women’s rights and reproductive health.