August 1, 2018 Press Releases and Announcements

Democratic Party of Virginia Launches “Mission First” Program To Mobilize Veteran and Military Families in Key 2018 Races

by DPVA Press Office

Marine Veteran Roger Dean "R.D." Huffstetler to chair initiative focused on organizing veterans and military families in crucial VA congressional districts

RICHMOND – The Democratic Party of Virginia today announced the launch of Mission First, an organizing program to mobilize veterans and military families in a number of competitive congressional districts across the commonwealth.

Mission First field organizers will use a mix of cutting-edge field organizing techniques with traditional relationship building to mobilize Virginia's veterans and military families.  Rather than treating military families as a political football, the project will elevate their voices and priorities and connect them with candidates who understand and champion their issues. Whether it is re-integration into civilian life, mission readiness, or access to quality healthcare, Mission First is driven by the conviction that Virginia's veterans and military families deserve better.

Mission First will be chaired by Roger Dean “R.D.” Huffstetler, a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and will be directed by Asher Smith, an Air Force spouse.

Following an unsuccessful congressional campaign in VA-05, Huffstetler refused to sit this election cycle out, approaching the DPVA about collaborating on a project to elect candidates that are true champions of veterans and military families.

"Virginia is home to over 750,000 veterans and military families, and they have a lot at stake in this November's election.  This organizing program will allow us to engage directly with these brave Virginians as we work to elect representatives to Congress that reflect their values. The Democratic Party of Virginia could not be more excited to make sure our heroes’ voices are heard,” said DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker. 

"When my race for Congress came to an end in May, I knew that we still had more work to do,” said R.D. Huffstetler.  “Just because you get knocked down doesn’t mean you stop moving forward. In the Marines, we were taught to always put the mission first. This is why I am so excited to partner with the Democratic Party of Virginia to help organize veterans and military families across the commonwealth. Our service members and their families deserve better representation in Washington, and I aim to do everything I can to make sure that happens.”