BADASS Briefing, August 25, 2023

28 mins read

Dear Friends, 

Abortion is on the ballot. Six states that had abortion ballot measures in 2022 sent a resounding message in support of abortion rights. Earlier this month in Ohio, voters came out in record numbers to support abortion. Republican candidates, aware of these defeats, are trying to avoid discussing these issues on the campaign trail while seeking office to take away women’s reproductive rights legislatively.Right here in Virginia, Governor Youngkin has said he will pass all abortion bans that come across his desk.  Don’t let your friends and neighbors get hoodwinked. Did you catch Markus Schmidt’s comprehensive article on​ Why Democrats are struggling in rural Virginia? Join Friday’s Power Lunch where we will dive deep into abortion rights in rural Virginia and talk to rural Democratic Candidates, as well as those on the ground for abortion rights in rural Virginia. Please take the Action Items.  The more we work together, the bigger we will win!  Send yours along.  ALL IN,Stair PS: Please encourage all to join the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington on Saturday – You can also sign up to go with the NAACP.

Friday Power Lunch
Abortion Is On the Ballot
August 25, 2023, 12 NOON ET

This week on the Friday Power Lunch (8-25-2023), we will discuss how abortion is on the ballot this election. We will start with a conversation about a local zoning ordinance replicated in states around the country that has made its way to Bristol, Virginia to BAN an abortion clinic on the Virginia – Tennessee border. We will hear from two board members of the State Line Abortion Access Partners,a collective of local activists fighting to protect reproductive rights in Appalachia and beyond, Cheryl Wade Hanzlik (President) and Kimberly Smith (Vice President),on how the local community is fighting this ordinance brought in from outside forces.Rev. Laura M. George, Executive Director of The Oracle Institute, will join the conversation to discuss a different type of ordinance brought to Grayson County from outside sources that is based on the 1875 Comstock Act. Rev. George will discuss how this ordinance is purposely being tested in a Blue area to get to the Supreme Court. We will then talk to 3 candidates in rural districts on how they are addressing women’s reproductive rights on their campaigns:

  • Jade Harris, Candidate for Senate District 3
  • Emily Scott, Candidate for Senate District 1
  • Jennifer Woofter, Candidate for House of Delegates District 52

Join us on Friday where we talk about what it means that abortion is on the ballot in Virginia.REGISTER

Access to abortion in Virginia is threatened at the state level, and now there’s an attempt to declare Grayson County, VA an “Unborn Sanctuary.” Grayson County is located in the southwestern part of the state, where rural Republicans are prey for anti-abortion extremists.The proposed Criminal Ordinance was drafted by the Federalist Society and Texas Right to Life. The ordinance would:

  • Ban the receipt of abortion medication (i.e., Plan C) through the mail;
  • Penalize (fine and/or jail) anyone who assists in providing this care; and
  • The Grayson County Board of Supervisors is entertaining a proposed Zoning Ordinance that would ban abortion clinics in the county. 

Our friends in Grayson County are asking for our help in several ways:

  • Sign the petition: Reject Grayson County’s Anti-Abortion Ordinance! The petition campaign, created by the Peace Pentagon and Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance, states in part: “This local ordinance was drafted by the Federalist Society and Texas Right to Life for the purpose of sowing division and confusion for people seeking abortion care in rural southwest Virginia…”
  • Sign and share the Advocates’ Letter of Support to the Grayson County Board of Supervisors.  The letter explains that local bans will further decrease access to healthcare and disproportionately affect marginalized communities. Please add your signature or your group’s signature by Labor Day – Sept. 4 (Signatures will be accepted on a rolling basis until the December 14th Public Hearing in Grayson County.)
  • Interested in speaking at this hearing on behalf of your group? The Pro-Choice Grayson County alliance is requesting participation at the December 14th Public Hearing. Please contact Rev. Laura George, JD: (Laura notes: “Mark Dickson of Texas Right to Life has spoken before the Grayson BOS, so our members should be allowed to speak as well.”)

Stop Gender Apartheid – the Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls!  We need your support, especially at this crucial time to ensure that the US, UN, and all member states continue to deny recognition to the Taliban, designate gender apartheid as an international crime, and highlight the pressing need for humanitarian assistance. We must stand with Afghan women and girls and continue our unwavering support in their fight for human rights. We cannot be silent. In solidarity, Ellie Smeal and Makhfi Azizi.The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is looking for a Virginia Elections Canvasser. More info here and application herePostcards4VA has a new resource for postcard writers, a directory of postcard writing groups in Virginia. The purpose of the directory is to help existing and potential postcard writers find nearby writers. We know that writing with friends is more fun and productive. In this inaugural edition, there are over 20 groups listed. View the directory – GET YOUR GROUP LISTEDSchool Board Candidates Need Our Support!  The Virginia Grassroots Coalition Education Working Group put together a list of school board races of interest, with the candidates who are in need of help if they are going to defeat their MAGA opponents.  The criteria for making it onto a list of high priority candidates needing attention include factors such as: the seat has the potential to flip a school board or school board seat in our favor,  the candidates are running against far right extremists, and the seat is in a locality with long term potential to build municipal-level power. There are additional factors listed in the table, and candidates are classified into 3 categories according to priority and how they were nominated. They all need funding, and they need it now, not later.  Also, they could use volunteer help with canvassing, postcard writing, and phone banking.  Also, since the ballots will not list D or R by school board candidates’ names, it is important for us to get involved at the polls to hand out sample ballots because people will not know who is who. Contact Marianne with any questions:

Medicare for All.Democratic Socialists of America, NoVA  and Grassroots Alexandria are working to get a resolution passed by the Alexandria City Council.Our Revolution Virginia and Tenants and Workers United are also part of this local coalition. The goal of this effort is to contribute to a national effort demonstrating support for M4All. They are now close to success in Alexandria, which would be the first place in Virginia to pass a resolution, and are now looking at Arlington. Please contact Jonathan and Scott if you are willing to help with this effort in Arlington. They are specifically looking for expertise on the Arlington legislative process. Jonathan Krall, and Scott Gruber,

Mountain Valley Pipeline. The Supreme Court recently lifted the stay so MVP has started destroying SWVA’s environment by continuing to build the pipeline. The MVP is facing greater scrutiny since Congress mandated permits be issued for them to resume work while exempting the MVP from judicial review. Many articles have been published questioning the economic need for the MVP and expressing concern about the integrity of the pipe. One article concluded that the MVP would be a phantom pipeline with only 35% predicted capacity. A powerful way to amplify that the MVP is in trouble is to call for a Senate Finance Committee hearing to investigate MVP’s partners: Equitrans Midstream, NextEra Energy, Con Edison, Alta Gas and RGC Resources.  Please use this easy email portal to contact Senators to demand a hearing. Campaign Finance Reform. Money Out Virginia is anticipating 5 campaign finance bills and have identified champions for all of them. In addition, they hope that candidates and voters check out the good governance scorecard which, when filled out by candidates, signals their commitment to transparency and accountability to citizens. 

Save Urban Parks: Fishburn Park, Roanoke, VA
Should the proposed rezoning application go through, Roanoke City is basically giving aways an acre of Fishburn Park and an historic house that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars rezoned commercially for only $10! This sweetheart deal is for a privileged white couple, so they can use the equity to launch their private business on this property where they could have a bar/restaurant in a pastoral, residential area that isn’t near other commercial businesses. Read more about the racism behind the Fishburn Park deal: valuable urban public parkland and an historic house from being destroyed for a commercial development! Now more than ever, we need to protect our public parks and green spaces to prevent urban heat islands and to help with flood resilience. Wherever you live please use this one click action to send an email to the Roanoke City Council to save Fishburn Park. 

Gender Equality in the Constitutionsign the petition put together by Grove fellowship students at Hunter College in New York City to demonstrate for the ERA. Read the Ms. Magazine article that explains in more detail why signing the Petition is important.



Tuesday August 29, 6:00 PM
Texting Tuesdays with Black Voters Matters
Whether you texted with Black Voters Matter before or are new to texting, this event is for you! Texting Tuesdays is an opportunity to learn about our latest text campaigns while taking action by texting residents across the US about the power that they have to make a change in their community. They were very successful in their recent efforts for Ohio. 

Thursday, August 24th, 5:00pm
Virtual Phonebank for Schuyler VanValkenburg
Join Team VanValkenburg for our virtual phone bank! We will get together virtually to talk about the calls we are making, and get started.

Thursday, August 31st, 5:00pm
Legislative Working Group Meeting
If you are interested in helping get legislation passed, please join the Legislative Working Group.  Email Luisa to join: Here is the timeline:Legislative Priorities by October 2nd for sign-on letters to legislators.Priority Bills by January 3rd for sign-on letters to legislators and to share at press conferences.Press Conference January 10-12th in Richmond. 

Thursday, September 14, 7:00 – 8:15pm EDT
NOPE Meeting with Abigail Spanberger
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger will explain Dems’ strategy for taking back control of the Virginia Assembly in 2023 and flipping the US House of Representatives in 2024. We’ll also hear from a state legislative candidate. Sign up now and invite a friend to join you.


Friday, August 25, 6:00-8:00pm
Celebrate Banned Books
Join a fundraiser to help VA Senate candidates Stella Kakissis Pekarsky and Saddam Azlan Salim, calling attention to what is on the ballot on November 7 in Virginia. Freedom to read, learn, speak and agency over your own body is on the ballot. We need to keep a strong brick wall (book wall) to stop the crazy bills that the GOP in VA plans to unleash! We need to get up, speak up, act up = VOTE! Not able to attend, out of state, you can donate at any level! Thank you!

Saturday, August 26th, 1:00pm
August Volunteer Opportunity for Rachel Levy for DelegateJoin the awesome team of Freedom Virginia and Rachel Runs for Us volunteers to in-person phone bank, digitally phone bank and canvass to tell voters about Rachel Levy, the mother, teacher and leader with a PhD in educational policy, who’s running for the House of Delegates in the 59th district, which includes Northern Henrico, Louisa, Ashland and Western Hanover. To join us in-person for phone banking or canvassing, RSVP at To join to phone bank virtually, hop on this Zoom

Saturday, August 26th, 9:00am
31st St. Canvass for Russet Perry in Loudoun
Russet Perry’s Race May Well Be the Deciding Race for the VA Senate! Come canvass with us in key neighborhoods! We will provide training. And we will make arrangements for canvassing partners and carpools, if you like. 

Monday, August 28 at 12 noon

Each rally location will feature speakers, skits and chants.
202 N 9th St, Richmond, VA 23219, corner of 9th St. and Grace St.
14085 Crown Ct, Woodbridge, VA 22193 Parking Lot 
333 Waterside Dr, Norfolk, VA 2351
Or, host a rally in your town –  RSVP HERE

The climate crisis is driving the record-breaking heat waves and the Canadian wildfires that have been clouding the skies and polluting the air all summer – and harming Virginians. WE MUST reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible. Let’s GET LOUD until Youngkin takes climate action seriously. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s latest attack on climate is now official. On July 31, the Dept. of Environmental Quality published the regulation which repeals the requirement for Virginia to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Youngkin initiated this effort when he assumed office in 2022. Join to continue the fight for climate action, and RALLY AGAINST THE REPEAL. Stand in solidarity for people, planet and climate action at the location closest to you.

August 28 – Sept 2
Shenandoah County Fair
Visit Shenandoah County Democratic Committee booth – candidates SD-1 Emily Scott; HD-33 Bob Smith. Rural committees almost always represented at county fairs. Tuesday, September 5, 5:00pmSenator Barbara Favola & Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger
Sen. Favola’s home in ArlingtonPlease join Senator Barbara Favola alongside special guest Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger at her home to support and expand the Blue Brick Wall. The stakes are high this year in Virginia, and we need your help to stop Glenn Younkin & his extreme agenda. We must continue to fight for abortion access, gun violence prevention, and climate change measures. All funds will help Democratic candidates for the State Senate in competitive races.

Tuesday, September 5th, 7:00pm
Limiting Campaign Donations: Challenges in passing state-level legislation
Let’s explore why it is so difficult to pass state-level laws on campaign finance reform. 45 states have caps on money coming into their elections but not Virginia, nor Oregon. Let’s discuss with national experts the challenges involved in passing and enacting common sense legislation limiting campaign donations. Organized by BigMoneyOutVA, we hope that this dialogue will enhance citizens’ understanding of the importance of enacting campaign finance reform in Virginia and lead to legislation limiting contributions, which adopts national best practices, passing the Virginia General Assembly which starts on January 10th, 2023.

Thursday, September 7th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Fundraiser for Russet Perry for State Senate
Please join Virginia Democracy Forward (VADF) and State Senators Jennifer Boysko and Barbara Favola in supporting Russet Perry for State Senate. This race is anticipated to be the most competitive district in the Commonwealth this year, and will likely determine control of the State Senate! Russet Perry is an attorney running for Senate District 31. As a former prosecutor and CIA officer, she is a career public servant who is ready to advocate for our community in Richmond. This seat is one of the most important races of 2023, and Russet’s Republican opponent, who just moved to the district last year, is the son of a billionaire.

Friday, September 8, 6:00pm-8:00pmBook and Basket Fundraiser featuring Jennifer McClellan to Support Chesterfield School Board Candidates
Come hear about the importance of having public school advocates on the Chesterfield County School Board School Board!

Saturday, September 9th, 9am
Network NOVA’s Day of Canvassing with Natan Mckenzie, Herb Walke and Traci Franssen
8112 Hillcreek Dr Midlothian, VA 23112
Join Network NOVA for coffee and canvass to help flip Chesterfield blue. Saturday, September 9, 7:30PM – 9:30 PMMason District Summertime Spin for a November Win!!Falls Church home of Holly Hazard & Rick ClaytonPlease join the Mason Dems for light refreshments by the Lake. Bring your tapping or dancing shoes to enjoy the music of the ’70s and support our Mason election efforts this fall.

Sunday, September 10, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Fabulous Fundraiser for Lily Franklin
Join Network NOVA, Stair Calhoun, Barbara Selig and Ed Addiss for an event in support of Lily Franklin, Candidate for HD 41. This will be a stunning fundraiser at Barbara and Ed’s home on Lake Barcroft with special guests Delegate Marcus Simon and Adele McClure.Lily Franklin is ready to be a legislator. She has spent the last 7 years fighting for the citizens of Southwest Virginia. She began as a staffer with Delegate Sam Rasoul and learned how to be a savvy outsider that can wrestle legislative victories to get work done. Lily developed a bill writing program that put local constituents in charge of the legislative process.  She assisted in writing legislation that resulted in a grant program for local food and farming infrastructure being passed and championed legislation to establish maximum contaminant levels for the cancer-causing & deadly “forever” chemicals in drinking water. Lily is ready. Lily Franklin wants to make the 41st District a place for folks to thrive in all stages of life. That includes students, working families, parents, and seniors. Read about her vision and meet her on the 10th!

Sunday, September 10th, 6:00pm
Virginia Grassroots Coalition MeetingEmail Luisa with agenda items:
Saturday, September 23,  9:45am – 3:00pm
WofA Day of Action – Canvass for Josh Cole with Swing Left
Join WofA and Friends on our Day of Action as we canvass for Joshua Cole and help area university students get to Fredericksburg to canvass for our amazing HD 65 Candidate Joshua Cole! Save the Date: Grassroots Weekends of Action:

  • Sept 30-Oct 1: Virginia Beach
  • Oct 1 –  VanValkenburg-Gibson-Willet in Richmond (with MOMS)
  • Oct 14/15 – overnight to VA Beach Monte Mason-Feggans & Hernandez (with MOMS)
  • Oct 28-29 Virginia Beach

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