Personal Thoughts of the Chair
It is with great sadness and pain that I add my thoughts to yet another gun violence tragedy. Memorial Day is a day in which Americans remember and honor the brave servicemen and woman who gave their lives defending our country. In Uvalde Texas, Buffalo, New York and over our entire country, this Memorial Day weekend will also be remembered as the days we mourned the slaughter of 19 children, two of their teachers and those who were innocently shopping for their families just a week ago.
As a parent, grandparent, and a teacher, I have attempted to place myself in the shoes of those who directly suffered this horrible loss. This, of course, is not possible. One can NOT understand such a loss without their own firsthand experience. However, we must take this gun violence personally because the next person slaughtered may be your son, your daughter, your father or your mother. We, as a people, must take action, sustained action, to address this cancer that has sadly become part of our culture.
As a nation we have made great strides to make our country a “more perfect union” that was envisioned by our founders. The Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements are but a couple of the successful movements (still far from perfect) that serve as examples of progress that can be made. Gun violence must be elevated to this level if we hope to make meaningful changes.
This November, we have a clear choice for Congress. Our duly elected “representative”, Ben Cline, has fought even the most benign common sense gun legislation that a strong majority of Americans support. In contrast, Jennifer Lewis is ready on day one to support and introduce common sense gun legislation. She understands that this legislation must not be viewed in isolation but in combination with other contributing factors such as mental health.
We must act now! We can’t wait until November! If we hope to collectively make changes, we must become engaged and proactive. Protests, marches, political activism, talking to our neighbors and yes (at times) civil disobedience must be tools in our arsenal if we hope to end these massacres. Remember, only white landowning men would be going to the polls this November if “We The People” had not taken sustained action during these great Civil Rights movements of the past (and present).
Staunton City Democratic Chairperson
May 30, 2022
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Statement on the Events of Jan. 6th 2021
The Staunton Democratic Committee unconditionally condemns the act of insurrection committed inside the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021.
Our nation is built on a promise that the transfer of power between our leaders be a peaceful process. Sadly, instead of peace, insurrectionists acting on the false claim by Donald Trump that the Presidential election was stolen and on politically advantageous innuendo from Congressman Ben Cline and other Republican politicians, breached and took control of the United States Capitol. Instead of peace, guns were drawn on the House of Representatives floor. Instead of peace, hallowed halls were damaged, and elected representatives’ offices ransacked. Instead of peace, many were injured, lives were lost, and blood was spilled on the floor of the Capitol Building.
These events were horrifying, but not surprising. The combination of Donald Trump constantly lying, pushing conspiracy theories, and inciting his followers to violence, along with his political allies supporting his proven lies made this inevitable. Congressman Ben Cline supported and propagated the false narrative of a stolen election and continued to do so, even after seeing what his actions helped cause, by voting hours after the attack to object to and eventually discard the lawful, certified electoral votes of the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
For these reasons, the Staunton Democratic Committee demands Ben Cline’s resignation or his removal by the House of Representatives as Virginia’s 6th District Congressional Representative. We also demand our local, state, and federal political representatives, if they have not already done so, to publicly condemn the violent actions of January 6th and immediately cease the false claim of a fraudulent presidential election. We further call for Donald Trump, the perpetrators of the insurrection, and the politicians who willingly ignored the danger Donald Trump presented to all of us, to face consequences be they legal or political.
Lastly, to anyone reading who continues to support Donald Trump and his enablers: This committee and its members are not your enemies. We are your fellow Americans who care deeply about these United States of America. We must be united in truth, love, and empathy.
The Staunton Democratic Committee
January 8th, 2021
Statement on the Events of Jan. 6th 2021
Domestic terrorists at the 45th President of the United States’ encouragement stormed the U.S. Capitol and attempted to overthrow our Government. The continued conspiracy theories and outright lies from Trump and his Republican allies have directly lead to this violent insurrection.
I call on local Republican organizations to join us in condemning this act of terrorism. There must be swift justice for those who aided and abetted these treasonous actions, including our 6th District Representative Ben Cline. Those elected officials who have openly supported the Trump administration - John Avoli, Ronnie Campbell, and Chris Runion need to denounce what happened in D.C. yesterday and acknowledge Trump’s culpability in the attempted coup as a sign that they stand to represent the People and not an administration hell-bent on destroying our Democracy.
We ask that all patriotic and loyal citizens participate in Democracy by demanding that our elected officials hold these traitors accountable. We will not relent until justice is carried out.
While encouraged by Tuesday’s victories in special elections in the VA House of Delegates and the Georgia Senate run-off, and knowing that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will soon lead a new Democratic United States Government, we know we must be vigilant. This is the job of patriots.
January 7, 2021
Statement on MRRJ dated March 3, 2021
The Waynesboro Democratic Committee strongly opposes any expansion of Middle River Regional Jail:
Mass incarceration is a public health crisis. Incarceration harms inmates, families and communities. Incarceration can lead to job loss, housing insecurity, and trauma for children of incarcerated parents. Being incarcerated can exacerbate or even cause mental health conditions. Jail expansion is a long-term, permanent investment in mass incarceration.
Expansion of this jail would perpetuate and grow racial injustice. Currently, 22% of inmates at Middle River are Black. Just 6% of residents of the communities of Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Augusta County and Rockingham County (the five jurisdictions that use Middle River) are Black. If we invest in a bigger jail without analyzing the reasons behind our current racial disparities, we will be investing in growing these racial disparities.
Overcrowding should be solved by reducing the number of people we incarcerate, not building a bigger jail. Despite being a low-crime region of a low-crime state, our incarceration rate is already double the national average. We don't need a bigger jail, we need to enact common sense criminal justice reform to reduce the number of people we are incarcerating.
Waynesboro Democratic Executive Committee
Statement on the Events of Jan. 6th 2021
As the nation and the world watched the events of January 6th 2021 there first came a flood of disbelief from many Americans. Then the reality that a sitting president full of ego, fueled an insurrection at the Capitol of the United States. While we have watched baseless falsehoods spread and create division in this land, we must face the truth and come together in agreement to demand accountability.
Adding insult, there are those like 6th district Representative Ben Cline who has supported President Trump’s rhetoric and helped to fuel this unrest. This cannot be accepted any longer, we call for his resignation as he is not currently representing ALL his constituents. Now is the time to send a stark message to those in office who consider themselves above the law and operate outside of the law, where average citizens dare not tread. The fact that there is no evidence of widespread fraud, seems not to deter those who follow the President.
We the Democratic Committee of Waynesboro, stand in agreement with Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, that there must be swift action to uphold the constitution of the United States. It is time to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald J. Trump from office; if this is not done immediately, we also support the removal of President Trump by Articles of Impeachment. It is a tragedy that this loss of lives has come from within our own borders. We stand for Democracy, we stand for the people and we demand that all elected officials uphold the constitution.
Waynesboro Democratic Committee
2021 Executive Board
January 8, 2021