NOPE Meeting Notes - July 24, 2019

New Members – Orientation

Many, at least 12, new attendees listened to Laurie and Kathy’s orientation that included the NOPE history, our mission, and goals. NOPE’s principal mission is to defend democracy by flipping red districts to blue. Fundraising is our central method for achieving our goal, but there are opportunities to participate at many levels through important and necessary actions, such as canvassing and post-card/letter writing.

Why come to NOPE for the first time? Several said that they had donated to NOPE in the past or canvassed, but now felt that it was time to do more. A representative from Congressman Raskin’s office came to learn about NOPE and how we plan to support candidates in Virginia in 2019. One new attendee asked how we do fundraising and if we have events or other activities to raise money. (No, we use emails to friends!) Another liked the idea of a meeting and asked how often and regularly we get together. (Every month!)

Laurie concluded by passing out the NOPE information sheets and NOPE’s 2018 and 2019 slate of candidates for fund raising.

Welcome

Joanna opened the meeting with a welcome and asked new members to tell us where they live.

Introduction to the Virginia 2019 Elections

Debra got underway by telling the story of how NOPE came together with 10-15 people and then became involved in the 2017 elections in Virginia. In 2019 Virginia could become an all-blue state and we’re determined to make that happen. Two seats in the House and two in the Senate are needed to take back the General Assembly. The 2020 election is coming up, but state and local elections are critical to democracy. NOPE has selected a “Democratic Dozen,” candidates for whom we are raising money and supporting to flip Virginia blue in 2019.

Joanna introduced Alfonso Lopez, Minority Whip, from the 49th District in the VA House of Delegates and gave us a history of his impressive credentials, accomplishments and service.

House of Delegates Minority Whip, Alfonso Lopez

Alfonso thanked NOPE on behalf of Virginians for all the work we’ve done. The 2019 election is an “off off election year” when Virginia elects its entire House and Senate. Because of this, voting participation can be as low as 27% and turn-out is critical. In 2018 turnout increased and there were victories for progressive candidates, candidates who have made a direct difference in Virginians lives with improvements such as better health care and higher teachers’ salaries. The recent Supreme Court decision on gerrymandering has significantly altered district lines. Many powerful Republicans now find themselves in Democratic districts and the chance to flip the House of Delegates in Richmond is excellent. Alfonso asked for our continued support. He reviewed a list of candidates who need our support now: Josh Cole, Nancy Guy, Alex Askew, Phil Hernandez, Sheila Bynum-Coleman, Larry Barnett, Rod Willett, Wendy Gooditis, Hala Ayala, Kelly Fowler, Clint Jenkins, Karen Mallard, Starla Kiser, Lindsey Dougherty, Martha Mugler, Dawn Adams, Shelley Simonds, and Dan Helmer.

Many of these candidates are already part of NOPE’s Democratic Dozen and we may switch candidates in and out as the campaigns unfold. Alfonso closed by telling NOPE that Virginia has a national megaphone this year. Democrats in Virginia have a chance to be a bell weather for the nation.

Fundraising Strategy

NOPE’s fundraising is an opportunity to defend democracy and we do it with peer-to-peer emails. No fundraising events. Since 2017 NOPE has raised $302K by asking others to “join me” in supporting candidates likely to flip seats red to blue. Laurie told us about the Giving Circle, how it works, and why we should be enthusiastic to join.

Canvassing and Postcards

Carol is gearing up for canvassing! She promised to make it easy and fun with opportunities for canvassing both near and farther into Virginia. More details to come. Ruby organized 500 GOTV postcards for Dan McCready in North Carolina last week. Postcards will be key in the coming months. Stay tuned for more postcard writing times and places to support the 2019 candidates.

Dori had two principle messages for NOPE: 1) there will be canvassing in North Carolina for Dan McCready on election weekend, September 10, and 2) an announcement of the launch of Silver Spring Progressive Action (SSPA). Silver Spring Progressive Action kicked off with 26 people and has a growing email list. The North Carolina special election is being held due to voter fraud and irregularities in 2018. Also, remember to send an email to Amy McGrath to encourage her to run for Senate and defeat Mitch McConnell. Don’t forget to contribute to the “Ditch Mitch” effort.

Local Priorities

Nick from the youth-oriented PAC Blue Future is organizing students to get involved in the fight for social change in 2019 and 2020. He is connecting Democrats from schools in the District and elsewhere to participate in the Virginia elections. Note: the Democratic Party does not fund college Democrats! NOPE can help to mobilize students by offsetting expenses and offering carpooling for canvassing.

Joanna and Betty summarized the activities coming up for Neighbors Rising, DC Neighbors for Racial Justice, DC Statehood, and Herd on the Hill. Details on a Fourth of July protest on the mall is still to come, but Joanna indicated that Code Pink is working on it. Finally, NOPE now has business cards, book marks and stickers and a revised and improved web site! The swag be available for purchase next time.