It all came down to one ballot, a tie, and two names in a bowl.
Shelly Simonds might not have been the name drawn that day, but she was the one who inspired thousands not give up on a more progressive Virginia. Because after the election, voters in the district and beyond showed their support. And Shelly kept on fighting.
“Every vote counts.”
Across the district, Shelly connected with her supporters through mutual disappointment. She learned more about the district, the issues, and the voters. She started blogging and telling her story. How her opponent out-raised her by thousands of dollars, and she still received more votes. What changed after 2017, and what didn’t.
“I didn’t feel alone. We all knew that any of us could have found that one vote, so finding it next time will be a team effort.”
Shelly is still passionate about Virginia politics, and the community where she and her family have built their life. She’s still a teacher, a parent, and an entrepreneur dedicated to making this district great. And of course, she’s still ready to serve as its delegate. That hasn’t changed.
What has changed is the electoral map.
Newport News was affected in 2011 by racial gerrymandering that created split precincts and mass voter confusion. Voters in this district are young, energized and want action on issues like gun safety and criminal justice. Now that the lines have been redrawn, many will be voting for the first time. If elected, Shelly will continue to fight for fair and non-partisan redistricting.
“Our tied elections should be decided by a special election, not a drawing.”
When Shelly’s name wasn’t drawn out of that bowl, the GOP- majority in the House of Delegates failed to pass any legislation on:
The Equal Rights Amendment
Education, funding for school counselors which was in the Governor’s Budget
Firefighters getting workers compensation for cancer (Cancer Presumption bills)
Clean Energy, more homegrown solar power with the “Solar Freedom” bills
Gender equity, passing anti-discrimination laws in housing and public employment
The Equal Rights Amendment, gender equity, and anti-discrimination laws
Funding for school counselors, an issue in the Governor’s Budget
Cancer Presumption Bills for Firefighters (workers’ comp for cancer)
“Solar Freedom” bills and other clean energy solution