Weekly Recap: VA Dems mourn the loss of former DPVA Chairman and Delegate Alan Diamonstein, Cox ad distorts Bynum-Coleman statement…

Democratic Party of VA
8 min readOct 23, 2019

Democratic Party of Virginia Mourns The Loss of Former DPVA Chairman, Delegate Alan Diamonstein

RICHMOND, VA — Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker released the following statement today upon the news that former Delegate and DPVA Chairman Alan Diamonstein passed away:

“Last night we lost a Virginia political legend. Alan A. Diamonstein passed away at his home in Newport News with his wife, Beverly, at his side. For those who were fortunate enough to have had Alan in their lives as a friend, mentor, and counselor, you know how special that was. I was one of those people. He was still giving me advice and counsel until these last weeks, especially about how to win back the House of Delegates. Alan loved our Commonwealth and served Virginia for so many years in the House of Delegates. And he so loved the Democratic Party — serving as House Democratic Caucus Chair, State Party Chairman, Chair of the Southern Caucus of the Democratic National Committee and fundraiser extraordinaire.

Alan loved people and it showed — his passion for our Party’s values and principles played a key role in the resurgence of the modern Virginia Democratic Party. And he made it fun along the way. There are no words to convey how much he will be missed but today a grateful Democratic Party reaffirms our commitment to our Democratic values in his honor.”

Cox ad distorts Bynum-Coleman statement on police in schools (Politifact)

House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, has been running a TV ad accusing his opponent, Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman, of wanting to remove police from public schools.

The ad starts with a narrator saying “Sheila Bynum-Coleman said…” and cuts to a tape of the candidate saying, “We need to get the police out of the schools. Get the police out of the schools.”

Then the ad shows four “real moms, not actors,” sitting at a kitchen table, holding coffee mugs and disagreeing with Bynum-Coleman.

“That’s scary,” the first woman says. “I don’t want my kids in an environment where they’re not going to be safe.”

The second woman says police are “heroes.” The third says the officers are at schools “as an added layer of protection.” The fourth says, “I just want my daughter to be safe.”

The ad returns to the first woman, who says, “As a mom, I wouldn’t vote for Sheila Bynum-Coleman. I just wouldn’t.”

During much of commercial, there’s type on the screen saying, “We need to get the police out of the schools — Sheila Bynum-Coleman.”

Bynum-Coleman says Cox has distorted comments she made two years ago. So we fact-checked Cox’s ad claim.

The commercial cites as its source an Oct. 9, 2017 podcast interview of Bynum-Coleman by Marcello Rollando, a performing arts director and liberal activist. Bynum-Coleman was asked for her thoughts on the “school to prison pipeline,” the trend of a disproportionate number of black students being expelled from schools or arrested.

In a lengthy reply, Bynum-Coleman said many schools were relegating routine student discipline to on-site police and security guards. She did say “we need to get the police out of the schools,” as Cox claims in his ad. But the commercial omits Bynum Coleman saying in her next breath the officers are needed to provide safety.

Here are her expanded remarks:

“But now we have police in the school who are policing our children, you know we don’t want children to get into fights, we don’t want them walking into class late, we don’t want them being disruptive in the classrooms, but do we want to send them to prison?

“I think there’s an alternative here and I think we need to get the police out of the schools. The police need to be there for safety measures and to make sure the school is safe, not to incarcerate the children and deal with disciplinary actions, and that’s what’s taking place.”

A few minutes later, Bynum-Coleman said, “I think that the police should only be there to make sure the school is safer and secure. They should not have any dealings with disciplinary actions within the school.”

Rob Silverstein, Bynum-Coleman’s campaign manager, sent us an email calling Cox’s ad “incredibly misleading and deceptive, and it presents a clearly false impression of what she said.”

To read the full article, click here.

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.7%

RICHMOND — Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point in September to 2.7 percent and was down 0.1 percentage point from a year ago. In September, the labor force expanded for the fifteenth consecutive month by 10,132, or 0.2 percent, to set a new record high of 4,414,521, as the number of unemployed decreased by 3,555. Household employment increased by 13,687 to set a new high of 4,295,502. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which decreased to 3.5 percent.

“I am pleased to see the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate drop to its lowest point in more than 18 years, a clear signal that our economy is strong and our efforts to attract 21st-century jobs to Virginia are paying off,” said Governor Northam. “With more and more companies from diverse industries choosing to locate and invest in Virginia, we are showing the country and the world exactly why we are the best state for business. My administration will stay focused on creating economic opportunity so that every Virginian can share in our success, no matter who they are or where in the Commonwealth they live.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia has the third best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia is ranked third in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Colorado, Hawaii, and Utah.

“We continue to be proud that Virginia has one of the nation’s and our region’s lowest unemployment rates, but we must also remain focused on creating high-quality, family-sustaining jobs across every part of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The Northam administration is committed to ensuring we give every Virginian the opportunity to participate in our thriving economy.”

Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 66 consecutive months. For September, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 0.6 percent was less than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth was relatively unchanged in September at 1.4 percent.

“It is great that Virginia’s economy is doing so well,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Virginia’s workforce is second to none and we continue to be a national leader by providing quality, skilled labor to all our businesses.”

In September, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 25,600 jobs, while employment in the public sector increased by 300 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other two experienced employment losses.

Va. lawmakers say Trump administration turned student loan program into a ‘disaster’ (Virginia Mercury)

WASHINGTON — Virginia Democrats are leading efforts in Congress to stop the mass denial of student debt relief to millions of teachers, nurses, first responders and other public servants.

They’re pressing the Trump administration to fix the problem, while the Education Department is blaming Congress for a loan forgiveness program that rejects the vast majority of applicants.

The department’s mismanagement of a temporary expansion of the loan program has created “a disaster” for applicants, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and other Democrats wrote in a recent letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The Trump administration has “left public servants in the lurch again,” Kaine said in a statement. “It’s outrageous that they still can’t get this right.”

The outrage comes in response to a September report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) — Congress’ legislative arm — that found that 99 percent of program applicants have been rejected, including 570 of 585 from Virginia.

And of $700 million set aside for the program, only $27 million has been spent, the report found.

To read the full article, click here.

Gun policy gets its biggest political test in the Virginia Beach district that suffered mass shooting (Washington Post)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The ad begins with grainy footage of the municipal building, somber music and a woman’s voice: “May 31 started out like any other day,” Karen Havekost says, then describes walking out of the bathroom at work and seeing a gunman on a rampage that killed 12 people.

She slams her state senator, Republican William R. DeSteph Jr., for failing to “make a difference” on gun violence. The campaign ad — sponsored by DeSteph’s Democratic opponent, Missy Cotter Smasal — has stirred raw feelings in Virginia Beach, where almost everyone seems to know somebody touched by the mass shooting in the municipal building more than four months ago.

The tragedy has elevated gun policy statewide in this pivotal election year for the state legislature, with voters calling it the top overall issue in a recent Washington Post-Schar School poll. No candidate is pressing the topic more than Cotter Smasal, who thinks outrage over the mass shooting in her city will be key in turning a red-leaning district blue on Nov. 5.

National groups on both sides of the gun control debate have poured resources into the district, viewing it as a warm-up for next year’s presidential contest as gun violence continues to make headlines around the country. And Democrats see the race as a measure of how far they can go on election night in taking majorities in the state legislature, with Republicans defending narrow margins of 20–19 in the Senate and 51–48 in the House of Delegates, with one vacancy in each chamber.

“The key battleground is Virginia Beach. It’ll speak to the kind of night we’re going to have,” one Democratic strategist said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the party’s thinking.

To read the full article, click here.

Canvassing the Commonwealth

Over this past week, volunteers all across Virginia have been working diligently to get people out to vote!

Upcoming Events

To get your event added to the DPVA website and the newsletter, email digital@vademocrats.org with event details!

10/24 Strategy Sessions for Delegate Kelly Fowler

10/24 Virginia Beach Strategy Meeting

10/26 Get Out the Vote for Delegate Danica Roem in Manassas Park

10/26 Get Out the Vote for Democrats in Woodbridge

10/26 Get Out the Vote for Delegate Luke Torian in Dumfries

10/26 Get Out the Vote for Delegate Lee Carter and our Local Democrats in Bristow

10/26 Get Out the Vote for Delegate Elizabeth Guzman in Montclair

10/26 Get Out the Vote for Delegate Hala Ayala in Occoquan

10/26 Ronnie Ross, Mavis Taintor & Del. Wendy Gooditis Frederick County Canvass

10/26–11/5 Get Out The Vote Canvassing: King George, Westmoreland, & Caroline Counties

10/27 Debra Rodman and Rodney Willett Meet and Greet in Derbyshire

10/27 Canvass Launch with Del. Carroll Foy and Missy Cotter Smasal & Karen Mallard

11/2 Norfolk Democratic Committee Monthly Breakfast Meeting




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