As a young, Muslim-American activist, I work tirelessly to support candidates who stand up for issues of equality, equity, and fairness.
In the era of President Trump, I can’t afford not to.
Across our country, this President has emboldened people who used to hide their hate deep within their hearts to wield it publicly.
Look no further to Pittsburgh, Charlottesville, and New Zealand where acts of hatred have led to the loss of innocent lives.
To say that the stakes are high is a vast understatement.
2019 presents a unique opportunity. We have a chance to take back the General Assembly and prove once and for all that Virginia has no place for President Trump’s dangerous rhetoric.
We’ve rejected his candidacy once in 2016, his policies in 2017 when we elected 15 new progressive Delegates, and in 2018 when we flipped three congressional seats. And we’ll do it again this year.
But first, we have to get through the June primaries.
And in order to take back our majority, I’m proud to support Senator Dick Saslaw to make our dream a reality.
That’s usually where people hear the proverbial record player scratch. People within my community hear that I’m working to send Senator Saslaw back to Richmond, this time as Majority Leader, and often wonder why.
Why is it that I’m working for Senator Saslaw, instead of his opponent who also happens to be Muslim-American? How could I not be supportive of her?
Simply put: I value a track record of accomplishment over a list of hypothetical promises.
The issues both candidates are championing in this race are pretty similar. Teacher pay and education investments. Gun violence prevention. Environmental concerns.
But peel back the first layer, into the nuance, and the true differences start to come through.
One candidate says teacher pay should be increased and that we must invest in the education of future generations.
The other got a 5% teacher raise through a Republican-controlled General Assembly and millions into the budget for financial aide for college students.
One candidate says we must do more to prevent senseless gun violence.
The other has gotten the endorsement of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has carried bills designed to implement universal background checks, to raise the minimum purchasing age for a firearm, and ban mechanisms designed to increase the rate of fire of a gun.
One candidate says we need to be mindful of climate change.
The other has forced Dominion to produce 5,000 megawatts of solar energy and has Virginia poised to be a leader on the use of renewable energies.
And it doesn’t just stop there. From the minimum wage to redistricting reform and women’s rights, Senator Saslaw has been a stalwart champion.
That’s the choice that voters have to make. A campaign promise by a challenger? Or a record of accomplishment by an incumbent?
I’ll take the incumbent and the track record any day