Hey Everyone!! :-)
I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. It's about a victory for the voters in Virginia and a politician that perfectly illustrates why elections matter. The state senator discussed in this video is emblematic of the problems in our political system, and the solution that the people of Virginia used is one that we can apply elsewhere, as well.
Last November, the people of Virginia sent a loud message to their state's elected representatives when they voted in more Democrats to their House of Delegates than had served for almost 30 years. The Democrats didn't quite manage to take the majority, but they did reduce the Republican majority to one, the same number majority that the Republicans hold in the Virginia Senate. What's more, this upset included some truly stunning progressive victories in several traditionally deeply conservative districts. And Virginia's state legislators heard that message from Virginia's voters clearly.
How do I know? Because, last week, the Virginia Senate finally approved a budget, which had already passed in the House of Delegates, that included an acceptance of the Medicaid expansion offered under Obamacare. This change in policy, which the Republican-controlled state legislature had been stubbornly refusing for 6 years, will give an estimated 400,000 more Virginians access to healthcare.
These are people who work, and so hadn't previously qualified for Medicaid, but who don't make enough money to afford health insurance and whose employers don't offer health insurance. In other words, 400,000 hard-working citizens of Virginia who couldn't go to a doctor when they were sick. Think about that. Almost half a million people in a single state will finally be able to see a doctor when they need one. Because of one, single election.
Because after last November, enough Republicans in Virginia's state legislature saw the writing on the wall and decided to give the people what they wanted. Why? Because, next year, every single member of Virginia's House of Delegates and every single member of Virginia's Senate will be up for reelection. The entire state legislature will have to earn their place again, and they are all painfully aware of this fact. And enough of them decided they didn't want to face their electorate with empty hands on their next go-round.
That's the power of the people. And that power doesn't just reside in Virginia. The same kind of policy shifts can happen in any state; all it will take is for the people of those states to go out and make their voices heard on Election Day. And, fortunately enough, we all have that opportunity this year.
Right now, over the next couple of months, primaries are happening. In fact, seven states have their primaries tomorrow, June 5, 2018. And, in many ways, the primaries are almost more important than the general election because this is the chance for people to choose which candidates will get to run in the general election in November. And then, on November 6, 2018, every seat in the US House of Representatives and 1/3 of the seats in the US Senate are up for grabs.
My advice? Don't give your power away. Instead, use the power that's given to you and cast your vote. If enough of us do that, we can send just as loud a message to DC as Virginians sent to Richmond. And if we unite and speak together, they will hear us.