This endorsement is more lengthy than most but bear with me, I think it will be worth the effort.
Like many of you, I waited to make a decision of which candidate to support in the 7th District primary race until I had a chance to hear all of them speaking together in an open forum. Last night’s well-done Democratic Forum in Goochland was very helpful, and all three candidates spoke well. I’m delighted to provide enthusiastic endorsement for Helen Alli for the Democratic nomination for Congressional District VA 07.
All three candidates in this race have served our country with distinction, swearing to uphold our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. They are to be commended for this and I believe each would continue to do so if elected. Helen is a proud Army veteran. The threats to our national security now include tampered elections, threats from climate change, a healthcare crisis, dismantling of public education, a soaring deficit, the polarization brought about by an immigration crisis and the rise of white supremacy, the combined public health epidemics of gun violence and opioid abuse, foreign and domestic terrorism and crumbling infrastructure. These threats are coming not just from Russia, but from the policies and corruption of the current administration in Washington. These threats are greater and more extreme now than they have been in generations. Combatting them will require vigilance and courage and I believe Helen has the ideas, determination and passion to do so. She reminds me of a younger version of two of my personal heroes, Shirley Chisholm and Maxine Waters in this respect.
In addition to hearing her Forum statements last night, I’ve been to Helen’s website and studied the comprehensive and legally-binding contracts she has signed with Citizens Coalition for Democratization and the Contract for American Renewal. These are powerful documents, which I believe will become the standard for the future for progressive political candidates who promise campaign reform. The contracts outline clear progressive positions on the issues, including healthcare, jobs, economy, education, and the environment. Helen is an especially strong supporter for women’s rights and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. This contract has been signed by more than 200 political candidates nationwide, but Helen is the only candidate in this race who has signed it. I urge you to study it as well. I think you’ll see that the positions on issues outlined here are all positions that Democrats and moderates can support.
What makes Helen different then? Helen is the only candidate of the three with experience in local Virginia politics and community leadership. She has a proven track record of being able to sit down with diverse groups of people in Virginia who have differing cultures and ideologies and listen to them and find common ground. In doing so she has built bridges, not walls in the community and achieved change. In the polarized, highly-charged political/cultural climate we live in currently, and with the diverse populations living in the 7th District to consider, this experience will prove invaluable in the campaign and beyond.
Helen is also the only candidate who is a successful small business owner. She understands personally the struggles of middle class families to make ends meet and provide for their families. She understands the struggles of other small business owners to make payroll and pay taxes and she has ideas for how to grow small business in our community.
This next point is crucial. I think we can all agree that the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington which has resulted in these threats to our healthcare, jobs, economy, education, women’s reproductive rights, environment, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid can be directly traced to the huge effect of corporate influence on our legislators. Quite simply these legislators feel more obligated to the corporate interests who got them there and keep them there than the constituents they represent. The only way I see to change that is to elect representatives who demonstrate unequivocally that their only loyalty and accountability is to the voters.
I’ve heard the pledges that all three candidates would and would not make and I’ve studied the websites for all three candidates. Both Helen and Dan have pledged to not accept donations from Dominion or its executives. But Helen has gone beyond that. As a candidate, Helen has signed legally binding contracts with Citizens Coalition for Democratization and the Contract for American Renewal (CFAR) which includes an obligation to introduce and support campaign finance reform within her first six months in office. To me, that means Helen has demonstrated the highest standard of proof that she would be without corporate influence in Washington. That’s important to me.
So the question is, without big donations of corporations and their executives, can Helen win a race against Dave Brat in VA 07? I believe the answer to that is a strong “YES”. I believe that the candidate who connects best with the voters and what’s important to them is the one who will win. I believe that Helen’s personal magnetism, her ability to listen and engage, and her strong positions on issues will allow her to do this. We have seen in the successful 2017 races of Dawn Adams, Debra Rodman and Schuyler VanWalkenburg that even with small donations, having a vigorous grassroots campaign was able to power our Democratic candidates to decisive wins against incumbents with Big Money supporting them. We have seen that our grassroots efforts of postcards, canvassing, doorknocking and phone calls are what made this happen in 2017. I have no doubt that if we collectively put our minds, hearts, donations and time together again like this and support Helen with the same fervor in 2018, we can turn this Congressional District blue. And not only will we turn it blue, but we will turn it blue with someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in our area and isn’t beholden to any corporate interest.
I urge you to go to Helen’s website and read her position on issues as spelled out there. Study closely the CFAR and Citizens Coalition for Democratization contracts she has signed. See if you don’t agree with me that Helen will be a strong voice for the 7th District in Washington and that she is completely transparent about and committed to campaign finance reform. Then join me. Volunteer, donate and spread the word to you family and friends.
I have known Ms.Helen Alli for the past twenty years, and I can confidently state, that Ms. Alli is a person of great character, perseverance, honesty, and integrity.
Since I've known her, she has never made a commitment she didn't keep, nor a promise unkept. She has always, always been a fighter for the underdog and the underprivileged. Her devotion to serve those less fortunate is unwavering. I know that she seeks to add value to her community, the state of Virginia, and our country.
It is upon these attributes that I can without hesitation endorse Ms. Helen Alli for a congressional seat for the 7th district.