In the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election, the word "resist" has become the mantra of the political left. I affirm this call to resist, but we must be clear on what it is we are resisting. We must resist and speak out against lies and false narratives, such as the notion that immigrants are murderers and rapists. But I believe that we must not resist or demonize people. As Michelle Obama said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.” The character of our resistance matters. Our political leadership must boldly advocate against false narratives and for the truth, but with respect and dignity.
Our political and governmental institutions are in desperate need of reform. Partisan gridlock, unprecedented levels of gerrymandering, and a lack of access to political influence and opportunity has left countless Americans disillusioned and disengaged. Corporations and super PACs, unfettered by contribution limits, claim their seat at the table. I believe that if our government is to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, our political leadership must reimagine and reform the rules of the game.
We must renew our political institutions by seeking out and welcoming new voters, new ideas, and new leaders. The silver lining of the 2016 Presidential Election is the massive wave of new activists and new candidates, like me. Rather than looking upon these new entrants to the political sphere with suspicion and judgment, I believe that our political leaders must make the most this moment. I am thrilled to count myself among the many first-time candidates running for office throughout Virginia. Competition is good, it drives creativity and innovation.