Keynote Speaker: Delegate Marcia Price

16587303_1132086923566725_395503884721587965_oMarcia, affectionately known as “Cia”, was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. She graduated from Warwick High School in the Peninsula’s first graduating class of the International Baccalaureate Program, receiving the full IB Diploma and Advanced Studies Diploma.  She attended Spelman College and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. She also received her Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Howard University.  More recently Price completed some coursework toward her Master of Divinity Degree at Howard University. With each program, she focused on learning as much as she could in order to return home to make a positive difference.

Price worked as a special assistant in the Virginia Liaison Office under then Governor Mark Warner and as a regional coordinator for the NAACP This Is My Vote! Campaign for voter registration, education, and mobilization.  After what was supposed to be a month long internship at a dental office, Price enjoyed a career of dental office administration and management because she was passionate about helping people get the care that they need.

In September 2015, Marcia started VA-BLOC, a non-profit focused on “building empowered communities” through voter engagement, civic involvement, and leadership development.  As director, she leads community organizing efforts in the areas education, criminal justice reform, economic justice, mental health, environmental justice, and women’s rights with an amazing team.

Also, Marcia preaches and gives inspirational speeches at events to help awaken congregations to the needs of the community.  Further, she has been active in local and state campaigns, supporting progressive and hardworking candidates.

Marcia is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church and has been active in organizations like Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., People to People, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and Young Professionals Advisory Council.  She currently serves on the Board for Habitat for Humanity serving the Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg.  She previously served on the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center Advisory Board and the Newport News Commission on Youth.  Marcia also served previously on the Virginia Council on Women, having been appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Marcia has received several honors, including scholarships and awards at Howard University, being inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society, and being named Greek of the Year twice for her Chapter.

On November 3, 2015, she was elected to represent the 95th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.  She serves on the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee (Subcommittee #1) and the Privileges and Elections Committee (Constitutional Subcommittee). She currently serves as the Chaplain of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.  Marcia is a member the Democratic Caucus, the Hampton Roads Caucus, the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the VA Democratic Black Caucus, and the Newport News Democratic City Committee.

She is a fourth generation resident of the Peninsula and she embraces her family’s legacy of service. Price strives to make a positive impact in the Peninsula community that has given so much to her.

Speaker Profile: Hon. Ralph Northam, Candidate for Governor

Northam for Governor Photo

Ralph Northam has served as an Army doctor, business owner, and lieutenant governor. However, the thing his friends and family would tell you he’s most proud of is his career fighting for children—as a pediatric neurologist and volunteer medical director for a pediatric hospice care facility, he knows children are the key to Virginia’s future.

Ralph grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and attended local public schools. When his school desegregated, many families sent their children elsewhere—but not the Northams. Ralph’s called his parents’ decision to continue to send him to integrated schools “one of the best decisions of my life.”

Later on, Ralph attended the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he graduated with distinction. While at VMI, Ralph was elected by his peers to serve as president of the honor court, charged with upholding the school’s honor code.

After VMI, Ralph was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army, where he served eight years of active duty and rose to the rank of major. Ralph did his residencies at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and he served as chief neurological resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital. As an Army doctor, he treated soldiers wounded in Operation Desert Storm.

When Ralph returned home, he began practicing pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. He established Children’s Specialty Group, his current medical practice, to provide expert pediatric care for patients. Ralph also served as assistant professor of neurology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he taught medicine and ethics.

For 18 years, Ralph has volunteered as medical director for the Edmarc Hospice for Children in Portsmouth, where he cares for terminally ill children.

Ralph ran for the state senate, then lieutenant governor, because he believes you can find ways to work together while still staying true to your core beliefs. Ralph approaches public service with the same passion he brought to his military and medical service—and he gets results.

Ralph uses his experience as a pediatrician to protect the health and safety of Virginia’s children, like passing legislation creating guidelines for school sports teams to deal with concussions.

As a proud Army veteran, Ralph helped protect Virginia’s veterans by expanding needed healthcare and access to job opportunities. As lieutenant governor, he supported efforts to functionally end veteran homelessness in Virginia.

Ralph broke years of gridlock in Richmond by creating bipartisan support for legislation banning smoking in Virginia’s public restaurants—a major victory for public health. Restaurant owners originally opposed his efforts but today many praise Ralph’s vision and willingness to take on entrenched special interests to do what’s right for Virginia.

As a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose, Ralph led the fight against the now infamous transvaginal ultrasound mandate, which would have required Virginia women seeking an abortion to undergo an intrusive and unnecessary procedure.

Ralph chairs the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, where he helped secure a federal grant to create up to 13,000 pre-K education spots for children in low-income families and advocated for greater access to prenatal care. He also chairs the Governor’s Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response and led a team tasked with identifying challenges and suggesting improvements to the state’s complex system of mental health services.

Working with the current administration, Ralph has been on the forefront of attracting new companies, creating jobs, and building a New Virginia Economy. Virginia has seen more than $1 billion invested in our state’s education system and new reforms to workforce development. This has led to a reduction in the unemployment rate, and 167,100 additional net new jobs added to the Virginia workforce. Right now, more Virginians are employed than at any other time in the commonwealth’s history

Ralph has balanced these efforts by calling for fiscal responsibility through government efficiency and balanced state budgets.

Ralph believes the key to Virginia’s success is creating an economy that gives every Virginian the opportunity to succeed, in every part of the state–no matter who, no matter where. That means building the best workforce in the nation, promoting fiscal responsibility and efficiency in government, and investing in growing industries like biotechnology, drone research, and cybersecurity.

[Bio from www.ralphnortham.com]

Speaker Profile: Tom Perriello, Candidate for Governor

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Born and raised in Charlottesville, Tom Perriello has a track record of results fighting corruption, expanding economic fairness, and promoting reconciliation in conflict zones and communities back home. He has been a teacher, a non-profit executive, a Congressman, and a diplomat. Tom is the youngest of four children of Linda and Vito Perriello. His parents and his parish taught him the ethic of service and the value of a purpose-driven life.

Tom began his career working on environmental issues, and later helped to create and lead faith-based organizations working to reduce poverty, advance racial reconciliation, and address climate change.

Moved by the terrible atrocities of Sierra Leone’s civil war, Tom moved to West Africa in 2001 to support courageous women and former child soldiers, demanding peace and accountability for the worst warlords. He then served as Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone that forced brutal Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to peacefully surrender power. Inspired by these advocates, Tom continued supporting peace negotiations and transitional justice efforts in conflict zones around the world, including work in the Balkans, Darfur, and Afghanistan.

Increasingly concerned with our own democracy back home, Tom launched a long-shot bid for Congress in 2008 and had the honor of serving Virginia’s Fifth District. Tom earned a rare A+ from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Action Fund for his tireless work on the Veterans Affairs Committee, including efforts to reform the VA and implement the new GI Bill.

Taking office during the worst economic crisis in modern history, Tom fought hard for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to prevent a depression and invest in hard-hit communities around Virginia.

He helped to leverage over $580 million dollars of public and private investments in broadband, education, clean energy, and small business development, much for communities too often left behind.

He served on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, demanded tougher consumer protections and accountability from Wall Street, and successfully passed a $2,500 tuition tax credit that makes college and community college education more affordable.

He also supported and defended the Affordable Care Act, holding a record number of town hall meetings across Central and Southside Virginia.

After losing reelection, Tom chose to keep fighting for struggling families. As CEO of Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund and Counselor for Policy at CAP, Perriello championed solutions on inequality, voting rights, immigration reform, sensible gun safety, women’s rights, and family leave. He fought for “middle out” economic policies in Virginia and around the country, understanding that growth comes from the purchasing power of the middle class, not a few trickles from the top.

In 2014, Tom was asked to lead the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), an executive review of State Department and USAID operations that encompass 80,000 employees and over $50 billion in annual expenditures. Tom’s work culminated in “Enduring Leadership in a Dynamic World,” a document that set out plans to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of civilian operations and modernize use of data, diagnostics, and design.

It emphasized the increasing strategic importance of inclusive, job-rich economic growth, climate change, and corruption to understanding how countries operate and impact our national security. These reforms have advanced family-friendly leave policies, investment in training, and flexible teleworking programs for civil and foreign service professionals.

In July 2015, the Obama Administration appointed Tom as Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, where he worked to prevent mass atrocities and supported the emergence of peaceful, democratic societies. Working in strong support of Congo’s Catholic bishops, Tom’s diplomatic efforts helped to produce an historic New Year’s Eve agreement on December 31, 2016, that lays out a path to the first peaceful transition of power since the country’s independence in 1960.  This transition should turn the page on decades of fighting that has resulted in the deaths of more than five million civilians in the Congo.

Tom has taught courses on transitional justice at the University of Virginia School of Law and University of Sierra Leone, and is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.

[Bio from www.tomforvirginia.com]

Speaker Profile: Justin Fairfax, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor

Norfolk, Virginia Skyline with River at Dawn

Growing up, Justin didn’t have much money, but he was surrounded by family love and spiritual wealth. After his parents’ divorce, Justin, along with his hardworking mother and three older siblings, moved into his grandparents’ house in inner-city Washington, DC, until his mom could save enough to buy her own house across the street, and just a few doors down from aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The neighborhood had transformed from a close-knit middle-class community to one ravaged by a growing drug epidemic, increasing violence, and dwindling economic opportunities, so Justin learned early on how fragile the future can be, watching the lives of many friends and neighbors unravel in the face of unexpected challenges because they didn’t have the same strong network of support.

 

Defying long odds, Justin’s mom put all four of her children through college – and two through law school. Justin received scholarships to Duke University, where he graduated with a degree in Public Policy Studies, and Columbia Law School, where he was selected for the Columbia Law Review.

As Justin grew up, he felt determined to re-pay his spiritual debt by dedicating himself to public service – to help others gain access to the kind of opportunities he had to pursue his American dream, no matter where they start in life.

During his career, Justin has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, developing a keen insight into solving the challenges that face Virginia families today.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Deputy Coordinator of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, Justin saw the power that law enforcement and criminal justice reform can have to keep communities safe, while providing appropriate second chances, saving hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and changing communities and lives.

 

As a small business owner with his wife, Dr. Cerina Fairfax, DDS, he understands the importance of strengthening and diversifying Virginia’s economy. And as a father of a young son and daughter, he knows how important economic stability is for our children’s future.

The challenges Virginia families face today are unprecedented – when one bad life event can turn into a cascade of failures. Justin believes it doesn’t have to be that way. As Lieutenant Governor, Justin will work every day to build the foundation of economic and educational opportunity that every Virginian deserves and that will make our Commonwealth an even better place to live, work, raise a family, and grow a business.

[Bio from www.fairfaxforlg.com]