Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Newsletter - May 19, 2019

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Watch my kickoff speech!

Video: Del. Mark Levine – History Proves 2019 Virginia Elections Are the Key to American Democracy After 2020
Blue Virginia

Learn about the Rainbow Democrats Extravaganza

Rainbow Fundraiser Reminds Virginia That Elections Matter
Falls Church News-Press

Lots of news on my pivotal role in the renaming of Jefferson Davis Highway.
(This isn't even all of them.)

Virginia Agrees to Let Arlington Rename Jefferson Davis Highway
Washington Post

Jefferson Davis Highway Name Changed in Arlington

JUST IN: State Transportation Officials Approve Jefferson Davis Highway Renaming
Watch my CTB testimony.

Jefferson Davis' Name to be Removed from Segment of Virginia Highway
Fox News

Jefferson Davis Highway to Be Renamed Richmond Highway in Arlington
NBC Channel 4, Washington

Name of 'Racist Traitor and Slaveowner' Jefferson Davis to be Stripped from Virginia Highway
Washington Examiner

Jefferson Davis Highway Slowly Going Away
Outside the Beltway

Jefferson Davis Highway No More: Transportation Board Confirms Name Change By October

Inflammatory Highway Name Retired in Favor of a Somewhat Prosaic Replacement
Fairfax News

Virginia Renames a Major Highway Named After Confederate President

Jefferson Davis Highway Will Be Renamed By October

Is Jefferson Davis Hwy. name change just first domino in Virginia?

And one local story...

Lost Boy Cider to renovate vacant warehouse, open Alexandria’s first Virginia Farm Winery-licensed production facility
Augusta Free Press

Lost Boy Cider Opening June 2019 in Alexandria
Port City Wire

Gov. Northam Announces ‘Lost Boy’ Craft Cidery in Alexandria
The Zebra


On the website,
 via email,
 on Facebook,
 or on Twitter.

Or by mail and phone:

Richmond Office:
Pocahontas Building
900 East Main Street, Suite E208
Richmond, VA 23219

Alexandria Office:
301 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

Thank you to everyone who came to my Campaign Kickoff at Metrostage!

For those who missed it, we strived for something different. A dozen constituents and other Virginians took the stage to talk about a wide variety of local and statewide projects we'd worked on together to make Virginia better. My profound thanks to the folks who took the stage to share our stories together. I was proud to work with each and every one of you. As you'll see, it takes a village to make real change.

People raved about the format. It must have been interesting. I'm told even my Republican opponent showed up to witness it! But he didn't have to do that. We filmed the entire thing. So if you missed it or arrived late or had to leave early, I'm providing a complete video of the entire event.

I ended the campaign event with a brief Call to Action, which I hope you'll watch by clicking below. I discuss why the Election of 2020 is a great historic moment, with strong elements from the other great American turning-point elections of 1800, 1860, and 1932.

Every two or three generations, we come to a crossroads in American democracy, where we choose a future of greater freedom or greater darkness. Each election, we have chosen democracy over dictatorship. But sometimes, it's a close decision, and there's no guarantee we'll make the right choice. The Election of 2020 will be remembered in history as the time we reclaimed our country or the time we descended into autocracy.

And Virginia in 2019 is the key to America's future in 2020.

American history proves we are at a turning point.
Please watch my kickoff speech above and let me know if you agree with my analysis of the times we are in.

Blue Virginia found my kickoff speech noteworthy enough to devote an article to it.

The 2019 campaign is about far more than me. While I respectfully ask for your vote against my Republican opponent, my focus has always been on Mission 51: securing a Democratic majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. As I argue above, we are fighting for such basic American values as freedom of the press, equality under the law, and allowing ordinary people to have a chance at the American Dream. 

We are fighting against massive misinformation, white supremacy, dangerous inequality of wealth with half of America living paycheck to paycheck, and the President's open encouragement of violence and civil strife. With a corrupt and compromised President openly appealing to the nation's worst enemies to rig our elections, accepting foreign bribes, cheating on his taxes, and obstructing justice to cover up his misdeeds, the 2020 Elections will determine our future. And Virginia will be the beacon for other states for follow.

Virginia is the only state where we can flip the House and the Senate in 2019. America is looking to us in Virginia to set the marker. So the success of Mission 51 is critical.

We are just two seats short of gaining a 51-seat Democratic majority. In the House's 400-year history — the longest of any democracy in the New World — we have never held a progressive majority. We have the opportunity, for the first time in four centuries, to do that this year. But we need your help.

Eleven Days to Extravaganza!

All Democrats and the entire Rainbow community are invited to my annual LGBT+ talent show,
an evening of humor and song, storytelling and karaoke, partying and politics.

With our Progressive Majority, we will finally pass the anti-discrimination bills that failed every Session I've served in the General Assembly.
All are welcome, straight and gay, young and old, whether you are cis, trans, non-binary, an ally, or any other color of the rainbow.
This is the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that began America's gay revolution.

So you'll hear from Don Davenport, who was in the Stonewall Inn on that fateful day 
police invaded to arrest the patrons and the patrons (many in drag) fought back.

And of course your standard mix of lesbian comediennes, trans rock and rollers,
gay singers, and personal coming out stories (including my own!) 

This is not your standard political fundraiser. 
We're putting on a fabulous show!
Reserve your ticket now to avoid surcharges on May 30.
Give more than the minimum to get special gifts, like pocket US and Virginia Constitutions.

Victory in Arlington!

Bye Bye, Won't Miss Jeff Davis High!*
*Apologies to Don McLean, who wrote "American Pie"

This week, the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) voted unanimously to remove "Jefferson Davis" from Route One in Arlington. The road will be renamed "Richmond Highway", its name in Alexandria since the beginning of this year and in Fairfax for over a century.

The name change will happen no later than October 1. It was going to happen on October 1, but at the Arlington County Board's public hearing, I argued it could be done even sooner, and the County Board listened to my request and agreed to make the change no later than October 1. With the road currently having two names on the Arlington/Alexandria border, the vast majority of businesses on Route One have lamented lost tourists, confusion among GPS systems, and some conventions not booking at Route One hotels because of their aversion to honoring the President of the Confederacy. So the sooner we get the name changed the better! I'm currently lobbying the Arlington County Board to have the name change done in the summer instead of waiting until October. You may want to email them as well.

I have been working on this since one of my Arlington constituents, Patrick Bogenberger, first spoke to me about it in 2015 (before I was even a Delegate). Patrick talked about how we did it at the Kickoff, and he was there with me on Wednesday for the official vote.

Click picture above to watch Patrick Bogenberger discuss our efforts to rename Jefferson Davis Highway

Patrick and I did not do this alone, and I want to publicly thank many others:

First, to Attorney General Mark Herring and his staff, for listening to my legal argument and having the courage to issue a formal legal opinion to the effect.

Paul Friedman, Patrick Bogenberger, and I each hold a page of Attorney General Mark Herring's formal opinion,
written in a letter to me at my request, that Arlington and the CTB could change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway without requiring a new law from the Virginia General Assembly.
I'm honored to have the only original copy of the letter. Ask me to see it sometime!

Second, to the Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, Katie Cristol, Matt de Ferranti, Libby Garvey, and Erik Gutshall. They all moved swiftly and decisively as soon as the Attorney General's opinion was issued to pass Arlington's request through to the CTB.

Third to Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine, who chairs the CTB and worked with me from the moment I called her — before the opinion was issued and all the way up to the decision on Wednesday — to make the process run smoothly and every member of the CTB for voting (unanimously!) in favor of ridding Jefferson Davis from Arlington.

Fourth, to Governor Ralph Northam, whom I lobbied personally for the cause, for listening carefully and writing a letter to the CTB in support of the name change.

And above all, I want to thank Patrick Bogenberger, who has long championed the name change. He didn't bring me an issue to fix. He brought me an issue that we worked together on to fix. Without Patrick's advocacy, I fear we'd all still be driving down Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington. Click here to watch Patrick tell the story of how this all happened.

Watch my comments before the Commonwealth Transportation Board

Mission 51: Underway!!

Thank you to everybody who came out in support of my campaign and Mission 51.

We ate. We drank. We laughed. We cried.
And we heard from people like you about issues we've been working hard to fix during my time in office.

I love how engaged and committed our community is — lots of you came early and packed the foyer of MetroStage!

We discussed everything from fighting elder abuse to helping survivors of domestic assault and sexual violence, from standing up for working people to protecting African-American history, from environmental cleanup to criminal justice reform, from renaming Jeff Davis Highway to negotiating good deals for the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, and the good people who serve their local non-profits. Here's a complete video of the entire event. You can scroll through it to find discussion of an issue that concerns you.

I will be posting a series of vignettes offered by each speaker at the event in the coming days, weeks, and months leading up to the 2019 Virginia General Elections on November 5. My speech about the historical nature of the Elections of 2019 and 2020 is linked here and at the top of the newsletter.

Mary Hale, director of the forensic nursing program at Inova Fairfax Hospital,
spoke about how we worked together to ensure 24/7 access to medical, therapeutic, 

and forensics services for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse.

Being a Member of the House of Delegates is far more than a title. And it requires more work than the two-month session in Richmond every winter. This job is about helping people: sometimes that requires writing new laws to protect the vulnerable or stopping bills that would tax the poor to enrich the ... rich. But other times it requires listening to people and working behind the scenes to develop creative solutions not mentioned in the traditional job description.

To me, the value of this role as your representative is that I get the opportunity to improve your lives. I advocate on your behalf both down in Richmond and at home in Northern Virginia. Sometimes we change laws, and sometimes we change road signs. Sometimes we renegotiate a contract to preserve a 70-year-old Alexandria institution, and sometimes we work with state agencies to approve grant funding for those who need it most.

Being a Delegate is about more than writing laws and voting on bills. Being a Delegate — being your Delegate — is about helping you. And I'm honored to have the privilege of working every single day, doing what I can to serve you.

Some constituents like Sue Carruthers, deliver the best hugs whenever we meet!

Tony Rivenbark of Arlington asked me if I could be the wedding officiant for his uncle and bride.
Happy to! The wedding is next weekend.

Constituent and long-time supporter Florence King has called upon me twice now to protect the Alexandria Symphony and to speak at a wide variety of other community engagements.

Anne and Sam Ulm have been my supporters since I ran for Congress in 2014.
When I ran for Delegate in 2015, they were on my first campaign literature!

This handsome couple of Calynn and Colin Harris quickly got involved in Alexandria politics after moving here just a few years ago. Colin himself once ran for delegate in a very red district when he was just 22 years old!

Frank Anderson, Executive Director of the Fairfax Democratic Committee, notarizes my campaign filing papers every election. He spoke about our successful efforts this year to kill a bill that would have barred folks
with long-ago unrelated criminal records from ever serving as Virginia notaries.

The bill was flying through the Virginia Legislature unanimously until I discovered it and led the effort to kill it.

Hear all of our speakers, by clicking on the video above

Upcoming Events

Please Join Me!
(I personally participate in the events in red)

TONIGHT — Right Now!
(Sunday 5:00 - 7:00 pm)
Greg Parks Meet & Greet

The Alexandria House
400 Madison St., Alexandria
Tuesday, May 21
Noon - 1:00 pm
Richmond Fundraising Lunch
Credit Union House of Virginia
108 N. 8th St., Richmond
Thursday, May 30
7:00 - 10:00 pm
Mark's 3rd Annual Rainbow Dems Extravaganza
Freddie's Beach Bar
555 23rd St., Arlington
Sunday, June 2
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Mark's Monthly Meetup
Los Tios
2615 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Monday, June 3
7:30 - 9:00 pm
Alexandria Democratic Committee Board Meeting
Minnie Howard School
3801 W. Braddock Rd.
Thursday, June 6
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Blue Alexandria Dinner
The Westin Alexandria Old Town
400 Courthouse Square

It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.

Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District

P.S. Unable to attend the Rainbow Extravaganza?  That's OK.
We'll miss you, but you can still contribute to the cause.
This campaign is about more than defeating my Republican opponent in November.
This campaign is about Mission 51: gaining a 51-seat majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The Koch Brothers are giving millions to Republicans to retain their tenuous, undemocratic, racially gerrymandered majority. Can you chip in a few bucks to help us in the fight?
Have you noticed this newsletter has a ton of links?
Click on them. They all go to interesting places.
Every single newsletter literally takes me at least 6 hours to prepare. Often longer.
But they are labors of love.
I consider them just a necessary part of my service to you.