We are thrilled to introduce our first wave of candidates for 2023 — all running in Virginia!
Our first four candidates of 2023 are:
- Danica Roem (Virginia Senate District 30)
- Schuyler VanValkenburg (Virginia Senate District 16)
- Michael Feggans (Virginia House District 97)
- Joshua Cole (Virginia House District 65)
2023 is Sister District’s fourth cycle supporting candidates in Virginia, and this year is especially significant. After working hard to flip the House of Delegates in 2017 and 2019, Democrats lost the majority in the House of Delegates in 2021 by a total vote difference of 733 votes in the three closest districts. Now, we have a chance to flip the House back by picking up just three seats.
Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin – widely rumored to be considering a presidential bid – isn’t up for election this year. That means it’s also absolutely critical that we defend the Democratic majority in the state Senate and stop a GOP trifecta.
About Candidate Danica Roem
As the first openly transgender state lawmaker in the United States, Danica has become one of the few state legislators in the country with a national profile― she is a bit of a Sister District legend! Drawing on her experience as a local journalist, Danica is a meticulous policymaker who cares deeply about her constituents and the entire Commonwealth. She has also been an incredibly fierce advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in the face of atrociously discriminatory legislation and even personal attacks.
Sister District first supported Danica in 2017 when she ran for the House of Delegates, and we are thrilled to support her again in her bid for the State Senate this year.
This district is critical for Democrats to retain control in the Virginia State Senate. And, electing Danica to this seat would mean preventing her opponent, an ally and mouthpiece for extremist conservative groups, from gaining power in the State Senate.
About Candidate Schuyler VanValkenburg
Schuyler VanValkenburg is a father, teacher, Delegate, and candidate for State Senate. He is a History and US Government teacher at Glen Allen High and has served in the House of Delegates for the past six years.
As the foremost education expert in the House of Delegates, Schuyler has worked tirelessly to ensure that Virginia remains a leader in public education. He has also worked hard to pass common-sense gun safety legislation, protect reproductive freedom, expand access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, and increase access to the ballot box.
This district is a “make-or-break” seat to retain control in the Virginia State Senate. To prevent Virginia from becoming the next Florida or Tennessee, passing harmful and discriminatory legislation, we must stop conservatives from gaining the majority in the Senate. Further, flipping the 16th Senate District blue would mean removing a dangerous Republican from office who has been a champion of conservative policy and restricting reproductive rights.
About Candidate Michael Feggans
Michael Feggans was raised in the West Kempsville portion of Virginia Beach, the son of a career Norfolk public school teacher and the Captain for the Norfolk International Airport Fire Department. After high school, Michael immediately enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where his service included overseas deployments as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and being stationed in Guam. Michael retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service to become a tech entrepreneur back home in Virginia Beach.
An alumnus of VA Tech, Norfolk State, and UVA, Michael values and understands the importance of both traditional and nontraditional education. With the creation of the new 97th House District, he is stepping forward once again to provide a fresh voice and to continue serving the community he loves.
In 2021, Democrats lost the majority in the House of Delegates by a total vote difference of 733 votes in the three closest districts. Now, we have a chance to flip it back to blue by picking up just three seats, and Michael’s district is critical to making that happen.
About Candidate Joshua Cole
In 2019, Delegate Cole became both the youngest person and the first Black person elected to represent the Fredericksburg region in Virginia’s historic General Assembly―Sister District was proud to support him! During his time in the House of Delegates, Joshua put his expertise as a college Academic Advisor and public school behavior aid to use, serving on the House Committee on Education.
Outside of politics, the Honorable Joshua Cole is a Pastor and serves as the Chairman of the House of Clergy for the Union of Charismatic Orthodox Churches. An avid Star Wars and Marvel fan, Joshua is a husband and father dedicated to making the Fredericksburg area better for working-class citizens, parents, and the next generation, as well as attracting more businesses to the community that pays their workers well.
Stay Tuned for More 2023 Endorsements
Sister District does not endorse candidates running in contested primaries – and this year is particularly competitive! That’s why we’ll be announcing many more candidates after the Virginia primaries in June.
If you are interested in volunteering, stay tuned for ways to take action! Our teams around the country will be hosting virtual and in-person candidate meet & greets, fundraising events, and voter contact activities like phonebanking, postcarding, and canvassing.
We’re deeply grateful for this Sister District family, and we’re so proud to have you with us in this fight.