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Vote for Alex Mejias on Tuesday

Hey folks!

There is a Democratic Primary this Tuesday for the 70th House District, and I’m supporting Alex Mejias.

Straight up – I have great respect for Delegate McQuinn as a person, and for her years of public service. If she continues to serve, we are in good hands.

I have an excitement, though, for Alex’s candidacy and potential.

I think we have a special opportunity here to elect Alex. He is a blend of young, educated, aware, and committed that would make him a great representative for and of the area.

I like that Alex has made an intentional commitment to the city and to the neighborhood. He is raising a family here, and has young daughters growing up as neighborhood children.

Even though I am a non-religious person myself, I admire Alex’s involvement in East End Fellowship. This is great community within our larger community, with a key tenet of racial reconciliation.

I see Alex’s candidacy as an outgrowth of his desire to be civically engaged. He wants to make the world a better place, and he is both idealistic and practical enough to make things happen. Last year, Alex organized Businesses for Black Lives, a conversation between local business leaders and law enforcement around issues of race and policing. This led to the formation of the Business Coalition for Justice, aiming to address these issues on a practical level and on a policy level. He also volunteers at the Richmond City Justice Center, organizing worship services for offenders in the facility.

I love that Alex is both a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a musician.

The son of a Puerto Rican and the grandson of a Haitian immigrant, I think Alex’s candidacy offers our community an opportunity to vote for a future that reconciles so many of the issues that have dogged Richmond for decades.

– John Murden

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48 comments

Montserrat 06/11/2017 at 10:00 AM

John,
How does being the son of a Puerto Rican and the grandson of a Haitian immigrant make Mejias a good candidate? We can discuss his qualifications for the office and professional background but his mixed race background is supposed to convince us of what exactly? That he’s a conciliatory figure? That he’s a mixed race messiah who’s going to solve Richmond’s deep race/class schisms? I call bullshit on this racial politics of representation. The majority of Afro-descent folks in the Americas are mixed race. Hell, I’m Haitian, Cuban and French. Should I run for the office? Come on John.

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ray 06/11/2017 at 10:15 AM

Endorsing candidates?

Your site, your right but also a slippery slope…

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Dubois2 06/11/2017 at 10:25 AM

Point by point:
— Since it appears we are doing testimonials, I truly have to disagree. My personal experience with Mr Mejias is… that he is no reconcilitor. And suggesting that a mixed race heritage makes a person a conciliatory figure….. Huey P Newton or Ward Connerly anyone?

— Racial issues have been an integral part of Richmond culture for centuries, not issues that have dogged the city for decades.

— the east end fellowship is strong where we live, in the upper Chimborazo area. They are famous on the street for protecting perpetrators from “the system” even when the perpetrators are doing some truly nasty stuff, regularly and without pause. And I’m talking protecting adults who directly and purposefully create the familiar constellation that breaks our communities again and again — kids/heroine/cocaine/guns/violence. It may also be worth noting that the victims of these crimes are predominantly black and poor.
If that’s what Mr Mejias is about, then for the first time, I’m voting for Dolores McQuinn.

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EastEnder 06/11/2017 at 10:51 AM

He’s active in the East End Fellowship?

I guess I’m going to do more research on McQuinn.

While the East End fellowship have been involved in some good works, their idea of racial conciliation, as espoused by many of the members I’ve spoken with, is deeply problematic and disturbing.

I’ve witnessed them make excuses for violent drug dealers because they’re “black and poor.” Pretty simplistic logic…

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Dave Seibert 06/11/2017 at 12:09 PM

Alex is good people.

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Neighbor 06/11/2017 at 12:40 PM

Not necessarily surprising to see negative comments on CHPN, but it’s disappointing to see such hateful language being espoused about a guy who is a legitimately good person. My family has been positively impacted by Alex’s family, and he’d be a great representative. I think John lays out a pretty clear case for why Alex would represent part of our neighborhood well, it’s the things he has DONE not just his race.

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Neighbor 06/11/2017 at 2:01 PM

I’d love to hear more about the candidates’ positions on our local schools and school choice. I know this is a city issue but evidence as public schools as a priority would go a long way for me. Thanks for your insightful thoughts.

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Montserrat 06/11/2017 at 2:14 PM

I don’t think the criticisms are hateful. When I read John’s endorsement, I see Mejias as someone who has been involved in the Business Coalition for Justice and who has created worship services in the Justice Center. I would love to discuss his qualifications and positions on critical issues. I don’t see how John’s mention of his mixed race heritage has anything to do with the position he’s running for. If anything, it reads super weird.

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mary 06/11/2017 at 2:34 PM

Last month Chelsea Clinton said “…I think we all have a responsibility to not stay silent now. I think we have to speak up and use whatever platforms we have and certainly social media is part of that.”

So far comments here haven’t reached the heights as recently expressed by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillebrand when she hit an idea from a politician she doesn’t like: “No, fuck no.”

CHPN is about as social as media can get so speaking up is a good thing.

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Rick Tatnall 06/11/2017 at 3:16 PM

Montserrat, while in no way speaking for John Murden, I would like to qualify why the racial background information provided by John about Alex Mejias is relevant and not super weird. Race is a really important factor in the 70th District and Mr. Mejias’ opponent, Delores McQuinn, has made a career of playing the race card, although she only considers one race. The 70th District and the entire Richmond Region is becoming more multi-racial and multi-cultural and I believe John was trying to make the point that Mr. Mejias has the background to truly understand the racial complexities of his District.

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John M 06/11/2017 at 6:31 PM

@Montserrat & all – To clarify, Alex’s mixed-race background has value to me in that it’s so recent, that he’s close to the immigrant experience. His family wasn’t here 2 generations ago, yet they’ve come here and done well.

Also, like Rick sort of gets to above, this both puts Alex in many checkboxes and outside all of that at the same time.

It comes down to that he’s a young, smart man with an open heart. I like him a lot as a person, and think he’d be very good at the position.

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Eric Huffstutler 06/11/2017 at 7:22 PM

Picking up on one of the girls signs “Jesus Loves Everyone”, I have yet to find anything on his web page or online about his stance on gay issues?

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Eric Huffstutler 06/11/2017 at 7:23 PM

Of course I mean that this includes all of the LGBTQ community 🙂

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Clay Street 06/11/2017 at 7:57 PM

Anyone can explore the legislative history of Delegate McQuinn here and decide for themselves if she is a truly representative official for her constituents via the legislation she has sponsored, or if someone new may be worthy of a shot at representing the 70th:

https://www.richmondsunlight.com/legislator/dlmcquinn/

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Alex Mejias 06/11/2017 at 9:47 PM

First, I want to say thank you to CHPN for their endorsement, I have a lot of respect for this site, so this means a great deal to me.

I wanted to post a few thoughts to answer some of the questions from this thread – but I think many of these topics would be worthy of a larger conversation, which I am happy to have anytime.

On public schools, I am an RPS parent, so our local schools are incredibly important to me. We need to come together as leaders, parents, teachers, and community members to make sure that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education in Richmond. I’d like to see our public school teachers get a raise statewide. I will work to fix the state funding formulas that have resulted in a decrease in funding for RPS schools. We also need to find solutions for kids with mental health issues, English language learners, and at-risk kids, particularly in the county schools. It will be a balancing act though, as the 70th represents three different school districts (RPS, Chesterfield, and Henrico), each with a unique set of challenges.

I am a supporter of the LGBTQ community, gay marriage, and will work to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

For those in the neighborhood who would like to talk more in a casual setting before the Primary, I will be watching Game 5 of the NBA Finals tomorrow night at 23rd and Main starting around 9pm. Come join me, and I’ll do my best to answer all your questions.

Thank you for your consideration, this has been an incredible and humbling process. I would be honored to serve this community.

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Catherine Illian 06/11/2017 at 10:22 PM

I have known Alex for 20 years. I respect the research he has done on what issues he would like to propose in the GA and appreciate the leadership he would bring to such topics as criminal justice reform and looking more closely at the funding formula for public schools. In short he has done his homework around issues that would directly affect his constituents and what he could do to serve them as a delegate.

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Corey Widmer 06/12/2017 at 8:24 AM

Apart from having a deep grasp on the issues facing our region, Alex is man of tremendous integrity . We would be well served with him as our delegate.

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ray 06/12/2017 at 8:36 AM

If you don’t win, Alex, I hope you will consider a future run for City Council.

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Go Warriors 06/12/2017 at 11:29 AM

Based on his NBA fandom alone, he has my vote

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AL 06/12/2017 at 11:36 AM

@ Alex Mejias

Thank you for your clarity on your views of the LGBTQ community/equal rights. That is huge for me.

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Jen 06/12/2017 at 11:52 AM

Delore McQuinn has done some good things, but she became Speaker Howell’s lap dog when he placed her on the House of Delegates appropriations committee. I also think she’s kinda corrupt and found it pretty suspicious when Alex’s campaign office was broken into.

I’ve met and spoken with Alex on different occasions. I believe he’s got a lot of heart, integrity and vision for making Virginia a progressive state. I support him 100 percent.

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Bill Conkle 06/12/2017 at 12:39 PM

John Murden’s endorsement carries a lot of weight with me.

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N. 35TH ST 06/12/2017 at 5:47 PM

I will be voting for Alex tomorrow based on his thoughtful responses on this thread and others as well as his position on the issues. Our district is fortunate to have him.

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Kay9 06/12/2017 at 9:00 PM

Sorry, I vote Republican…it’s important that we get a Republican Governor back in Virginia. Virginia has suffered under McAuliffe’s policies.

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Clay Street 06/12/2017 at 9:59 PM

Since we’re talking about elections, I’d like to share a link to a piece on a candidate on a down-ballot race that’s still really important–Sheriff of city of richmond.

Antoinette Irving is challenging Sheriff Woody in the primary tomorrow, please check this out so you will be informed about your options for Sheriff–if you are concerned about issues at Richmond city jail and schools-to-prison pipeline, this is relevant.

Antoinette grew up in Creighton and has a long career as a LE officer. In this brief interview piece she reflects on growing up in public housing and discusses legacies of HUD and RRHA policy changes, talks about paths toward engaging at-risk youth and opportunities involved with restorative justice (the idea that you don’t punish and throw away).

http://bluevirginia.us/2017/06/no-race-small-homework-richmond-sheriffs-democratic-primary

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MHB 06/12/2017 at 10:08 PM

Hear, hear #24, not everyone in this community is voting Democrat.

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E 06/13/2017 at 8:26 AM

Republicans get my vote! 🙂

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John M 06/13/2017 at 9:04 AM

@MHB – That is very true. Based on the 2016 results, just over 9% of the 7th District votes Republican

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crd 06/13/2017 at 9:19 AM

@25 Clay Street, Thank you, Irving has my vote!

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Mary 06/13/2017 at 10:13 AM

#24 – From all the pictures I’ve seen and the face-to-face encounters, McAuliffe’s in a hair competition with the President..Truly bizarre do! Does anyone know if the gov’s hair is his own or was it store-bought?

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EastEnder 06/13/2017 at 10:25 AM

@ Clay Street,
Thanks for the information on Irving. I appreciate it.

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Leslie Moore 06/13/2017 at 11:27 AM

Alex got my vote when I talked to him about the inequities of the State Funding Formula for public schools. This is a major issue which is unlikely to be solved in one term, but I know that Alex will bring it to the fore. Although we are retired with grown children, this issue is hugely important to us for the sake of the children of the city.

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E 06/13/2017 at 12:58 PM

#30 – No offense, but hairstyle is not relevant in politics.

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Mary 06/13/2017 at 2:33 PM

#33 – That’s one of the funniest statements I’ve read since Donald Trump started campaigning and democrats went crazy about his hair.

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E 06/13/2017 at 3:58 PM

#34 – Call me old fashion, but I was under the impression politics are about policies. I tend to disregard people’s shallow criticisms about how someone looks as relevant political commentary. To each is own.

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mary 06/14/2017 at 9:45 AM

#35 – That does seem a bit “old fashion.” For instance, long ranking democrat Chuck “can’t keep my glasses up” Schumer stated in a video just a couple of days ago how important the President’s hair is, telling Trump “You have great hair, nobody has better hair than you…” (Although I still think Virginia’s governor might run a close second hair wise but way down near the bottom policy wise.)

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