Metro Weekly

Danica Roem earns progressive group’s endorsement for Virginia House seat

Roem is the first transgender candidate endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Danica Roem – Photo: Facebook.

The first out transgender candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates has netted a prominent endorsement ahead of November’s election.

Danica Roem is seeking the Democratic nomination to take on the infamous anti-LGBTQ Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas).

Roem, running in Virginia’s 13th House District, has earned one of six endorsements from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee — given to statewide or state House candidates in the Old Dominion.

“It’s wonderful to receive the endorsement of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a great organization that has relentlessly pushed the Democratic Party forward in a bold, progressive direction,” Roem said in a statement.

“With the PCCC’s partnership, I will fight for a fairer future for working families in Prince William County, Manassas Park, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. And we can accomplish that while working to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth for everyone, no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship or who you love.”

Running on a platform focused on transportation, economic development, and education, Roem announced her intentions to challenge Marshall in January. Marshall, who has been in office since 1991, is an outspoken social conservative and has been criticized for his obsession with LGBTQ-related issues.

He is best known for proposing a “bathroom bill” restricting transgender Virginians’ ability to access public restrooms earlier this year, and for the now-defunct constitutional amendment that bears his name, which once prohibited same-sex couples from marrying in Virginia.

Roem, who faces off against Andrew Adams, Steven Hansen, and Mansimran Kahlon in the Democratic primary on June 16, is the first out transgender candidate to be endorsed by the PCCC.

The PCCC regularly invests money to help support progressive-leaning Democrats for political office, and is currently in the first stages of a project to flip Republican-leaning legislatures by 2020. If successful, this would give Democrats a chance to redraw district lines during the processes that follow the decennial census, allowing them to “undo” gerrymanders that have placed the party permanently in the minority.

This year, the organization is active in Virginia and New Jersey, the only states with state House and gubernatorial elections in 2017. But Virginia will likely take up more of the PCCC’s resources and time, as New Jersey’s legislature is already under Democratic control.

PCCC’s Virginia Political Coordinator Teddy Smyth will be coordinating with candidates to help mobilize voters ahead of the June primary and November general election. The PCCC will also launch a fundraising campaign later this week, and will hold candidate training on May 20 to teach its Virginia candidates the best campaign practices needed to win their seats.

The PCCC also endorsed five other candidates: Lawyer and political activist Justin Fairfax, who’s running for lieutenant governor; Chris Hurst, running for the House of Delegates in the Blacksburg area against Del. Joseph Yost (R-Pearisburg); Elizabeth Guzman, running in Prince William and Fauquier counties against Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge); Jennifer Carroll Foy, running for an open seat in Prince William and Stafford counties; and Schuyler VanValkenburg, running against Del. Jimmie Massie (R-Henrico) in the Richmond suburbs.

“These six bold progressives represent the diverse future of the Democratic Party, and their election would be a clear rebuke of [President] Trump’s radical, anti-worker agenda,” Stephanie Taylor, one of the PCCC’s co-founders, said in a statement. “In every decision since assuming office, Trump has sided with big corporations over working families — betraying his own voters and creating a environment where Democrats can win in conservative and swing districts across the country. The PCCC is proud to be endorsing Justin, Danica, Chris, Elizabeth, Jennifer and Schuyler for office and thousands of PCCC members are fired up to donate and volunteer.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com