By BOB STUART
WAYNESBORO -- The election of Donald Trump as president and his first 100 days in office have jolted Democrats across Virginia and the country, the chairwoman of the Virginia Democratic Party says.
“It’s given us a new awakening,’’ said Susan Swecker, who said membership in local Virginia Democratic committees is burgeoning and said there is a surge in the number of Democratic candidates filing for fall Virginia House of Delegates and Senate races.
“I’ve never seen more enthusiasm and interest in House of Delegates races,’’ Swecker said.
While Trump has attempted in his first 100 days to fulfill campaign promises by defunding the Environmental Protection Agency and replacing ObamaCare, his budget proposal has gone further.
Swecker said the potential impact of the Trump budget is felt everywhere. The Trump budget cuts could affect Amtrak service in the Shenandoah Valley, funding for Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport and other agencies.
“He is gutting the Appalachian Regional Commission,’’ she said of the federal agency that promotes economic development growth in several northern and southern states, including Virginia.
“What is in there for hardworking Virginians?’’ Swecker asked of the Trump federal budget proposal.
Swecker said as a Democrat, she has yet to fully come to terms with last November’s defeat of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But Clinton won a resounding victory in Virginia over Trump.
And Swecker said the message from Democrats about Virginia is “we are open for business and for hardworking families.”
One of the other messages for Virginians and Americans regarding Trump “is that elections have consequences.”
The wakeup call administered by Clinton’s defeat has fueled Democratic Party membership across the commonwealth. So many people have become Democrats in rural Wythe County since last fall that the party had to move to new quarters. Other rural and urban communities are attracting new Democratic members.
“It is up to us to keep the public engaged and deliver the right message,’’ Swecker said. That message includes in part jobs for all.
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