I was fortunate today to have the opportunity to knock on doors for Elizabeth Guzman, a candidate for the House of Delegates in the 31st HOD District which encompasses parts of Prince William County and Fauquier County in Virginia.
Many of the political changes in the southern and western parts United States are embodied by the shift seen in Prince William County, which has morphed from a bellwether exurban populace that frequently was on the right side of a close election to an essential part of the new blue Virginia firewall. When he won election as Governor in 2005, Tim Kaine barely carried Prince William County. When he won election as Senator in 2006, Jim Webb barely carried Prince William County.
But Obama carried the county by 15 points in each of his two wins and Hillary Clinton’s margin was even larger: 19 points. Yet locally, the old conservative guard remains very much in charge, thanks to off-year elections for state and municipal offices, where turnout is abysmal (not that our turnout for national elections earns us international bragging rights).
One member of this old guard is Corey Stewart, the Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and the Virginia chairman for Donald Trump’s campaign. Despite being fired from that role for a public dustup with Trump campaign staff and the RNC, Stewart remains committed to Trump. It’s likely because they both possess intensely bigoted and backwards views about immigration.
Before Trump was calling Mexicans rapists, Stewart saw his county diversifying and attempted to crack down on human rights. In 2007, he shepherded a measure through the Prince William Board of Supervisors that directed officers to check residency status of anyone arrested for a crime and attempted to deny all public services to undocumented immigrants. The Supervisor that introduced the bill called it “the first step toward taking back our community.”
Enter Guzman, a Peruvian immigrant to the United States and a proud community member. She exemplifies the amazing work ethic immigrants bring to our country and her success after moving here is no accident. I found voters very receptive to her message of unity and true equality. I found their values more in line with hers than with Corey Stewart or Donald Trump.
My hope is that residents of the 31st District will find their way to the polls on June 13, 2017 to vote for her in the Democratic primary and then again on November 7, 2017 to put a Virginian in office who reflects the opportunity and positivity within our American community.