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PEOPLE-FIRST POLITICS

Del. Sam Rasoul is a proven leader when it comes to building trust, connecting with grassroots organizers, and showing up for Virginians. He’ll bring that same hustle and bold leadership to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

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WINNING THROUGH COALITIONS

Politics has a diverse range of voices that make it easy for us to fracture into our own silos. But division isn’t effective over time, and it leaves out important voices. That division is why we’ve only slightly moved the needle on issues like universal health care, broadband access, and saving our environment. Our efforts deserve accolades, but we still have much more work to do. 

 

Party building is an opportunity to address our shortcomings. By letting our values drive our strategy, we can build trust among voters while enacting a legislative agenda that empowers all Virginians. We need to take our future into our own hands and enact a long-term strategy to continue shaping an equitable Democratic Party.

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HOW TO DISCUSS

  • Building goodwill and trust is a full-time job. The Democratic Party should exceed expectations when it comes to voter outreach. Sam’s Democratic Promise program communicates our value of helping Virginians while building trust with them. Expanding the program to all Democratic Committees would drastically change public perceptions about the Party while uplifting people across the Commonwealth.
     

  • Early investment in candidates poises us for future success. Democrats can’t win a district if there isn’t a Democratic candidate. We need to identify and mentor potential candidates early so they’re tactically and strategically equipped to run for office. 
     

  • Winning on the ground requires hustle and innovation. People want their representatives to be proactive, not reactive, in their public service. We can’t run away from inconvenient fights or only speak up when it’s easy. We need leaders who enact bold legislation that reflects our values. 
     

  • When they go low, we go high. Voters crave authentic communication. They want to be respected. They want to know why a candidate is running and whether they share values. Being transparent and accessible requires hustle, but neuroscience proves it’s well worth the effort. Swapping outdated negative campaign tactics with a positive model is more effective, and elevates the conversation between us and our opponents.
     

  • Empathy is stronger than divisiveness. Neuroscience has proven that humans trust each other based on perceived shared values. Hostility toward the other side only creates more divisiveness among ourselves. We can expect attacks and baited narratives, and we should prepare for them accordingly. Knowing when to fight, ignore, and engage with adversaries is key. Radical empathy allows us to ignore low-level distractions, leaving us with more capacity for high-level interaction with voters.

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POLICY SOLUTIONS

BUILD A DEEP BENCH

“One of the first things that he taught me was that as leaders, we should strive to lead in a way where we are doing the most good for the most number of people.”

– Del. Lashrecse Aird (Petersburg)

 

“Sam has been consistently available as a mentor, and as someone that I could work with and collaborate with.” 

– Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (Richmond)
 

  1. Find And Mentor Future Candidates. It’s impossible to win when you’re not in the game. That’s why Sam made it a priority to mentor up-and-coming Democrats across Virginia. Ten years from now, we won’t be able to run competitively in districts where there isn’t a candidate pool. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will help identify potential candidates – especially women and people of color. Showing up in these districts lets voters see that Democrats haven’t forgotten about them, and it strengthens relationships between coalition members.
     

  2. Fostering Goodwill Year-Round. Democrats need to exceed expectations that voters have for us as a party. We need to build goodwill and trust consistently and deliberately. That’s why Sam launched Democratic Promise, a program where volunteers call their fellow Virginians and ask if they need help. In the four years since, more than 1,000 people have been connected with government services to get the help they needed. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will expand the program and continue helping Virginians statewide.
     

  3. Empower All Our Candidates And Committees. When Sam saw the barriers nominees face when they’re in less traditionally competitive districts, he launched the Impact Center to help fill the gap. Since 2016, the Impact Center has trained more than 2,000 candidates and organizers. Participants learn about the neuroscience behind values-based campaigning and using emotional intelligence to build stronger relationships. Sam’s plan as Lieutenant Governor will provide local Democratic Committees with tactical training for VAN and NGP while incorporating elements of the Impact Center to the party’s campaign wing.
     

  4. Streamline Common Resources. Early engagement with voters is crucial for any Party-level operation, whether it be voter registration or a policy rollout. This requires collective infrastructure to be easily accessible and up-to-date. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will ensure there is a mechanism for Democratic nominees and committees to access resources like updated press lists, grassroots organizer contacts, donor information, and polling data.  

 

WINNING WITH COALITIONS

 

  1. Invest In Our Grassroots Coalitions. We can’t win by ourselves. To succeed in the long-term, we need to focus on strengthening our relationships with and invest in grassroots organizations. This includes making their voices heard, giving them a seat at the table, and finding creative ways to help them grow. We need to find common ground between our diverse members without sacrificing their identity. In his eight years as Delegate, Sam successfully unified dozens of organizations under common goals. This work led to meaningful policies like the Green New Deal Act. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will continue investing in these relationships and create an easy, accessible path to welcome new allies along the way. 
     

  2. Register Voters Early And Often. As we learned from Stacey Abrams’s campaign, the key to expanding our base is a deliberate, unprecedented investment in early voter registration, organizing, and turnout. We need to move beyond our traditional “likely voters” lens. This involves treating “low-propensity” POC voters with the same attention we give to other voters. Sam’s been an aggressive proponent of expanding voting access as a Delegate, and this year he co-sponsored legislation allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote in General Elections. One of Sam’s first actions as Lieutenant Governor will be to support programs that register voters. 
     

  3. Fight For Vulnerable Incumbents. Keeping a Democratic Majority will require prioritizing incumbent protection in targeted districts. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will create a Long-Term Strategy Director position that will identify vulnerable districts where we can increase voter turnout by building goodwill and trust.
     

  4. Demystify The Political Process. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, COVID, and #MeToo, Democrats are in a unique position to bring people into the fold. An easy and effective way to do this is crowdsourcing. In 2017, Sam launched “You Write the Bill,” a participatory lawmaking session where everyday Virginians brainstorm bill ideas and learn to lobby for them in the legislature. The program has been wildly successful. Several YWTB bills have become laws, and the program built strong relationships with community leaders and even inspired one participant to run for local office. Sam used a similar approach to the People’s Platform. Sam will take our ideas and fight for them as Lieutenant Governor.