August 8, 2017 News & Press Releases · Press Releases and Announcements

70 Democrats Attend Pat Jennings Project Training for Local Candidates

by Katie Baker

70 Democrats Attend Pat Jennings Project Training for Local Candidates

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – As part of DPVA’s Pat Jennings Project, about 70 people attended a day-long training for candidates for local office on Aug. 5 in Charlottesville.

The National Democratic Training Committee, in partnership with DPVA, sponsored the training.

Among those attending were candidates, campaign staff, and others considering running for election or re-election to local office. The participants cycled through workshops that focused on field, fundraising, data, digital, and communications.

Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker and House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano, offered opening remarks.

“We were thrilled to welcome so many participants to our Pat Jennings Project training for local candidates,” said Chairwoman Swecker. “The Pat Jennings Project signifies our renewed commitment to Democrats who seek to serve at the local level –  from school boards, to town and city councils, to Constitutional officers. By investing in candidates running in local races, we are building a bench of diverse women and men who will serve their communities well and perhaps even run for the General Assembly or statewide office down the road.”

“We must build our party from the ground up, not the top down,” said Leader Toscano, who previously served as mayor of Charlottesville. “As former mayor of Charlottesville, I can personally attest to the important policies made at the local level – from economic development projects to environmental initiatives such as city recycling and sustainability. I am extraordinarily proud of the city Charlottesville is today, which is very much a testament to the power of local government and our citizens.”

“My team at the National Democratic Training Committee was honored to help train DPVA’s next generation of leaders,” said Kelly Dietrich, the organization’s founder. “We commend the Democratic Party of Virginia for ensuring that candidates running for every level of government have the support they need to win.”

Former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington, Charlottesville City Council candidate Amy Laufer, and Emerge Virginia’s executive director Julie Copeland advised candidates during a lunchtime panel.

The Pat Jennings Project is named for Virginia’s former Ninth District Congressman who emphasized the importance of electing Democrats “from the courthouse to the statehouse to the White House.”  Jacqueline Smith, who was elected Circuit Court Clerk in Prince William County in an April special election, was the Pat Jennings Project's first victory of 2017.

Photo Caption: Participants in the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Pat Jennings Project broke into small groups to practice their elevator pitches during a candidate training held in Charlottesville on Aug. 5. The Pat Jennings Project is DPVA’s initiative to recruit and train candidates for local office.