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Progressive Group In Richmond Launches PAC To Fund Candidates For Local Office

Photo courtesy of Richmond For All
Photo courtesy of Richmond For All

Seeing local politics in Richmond as a pipeline for higher office, one progressive group is starting a political action committee to provide money to grassroots candidates. 

Richmond For All started fundraising this year for its Richmond For All Action Fund. They’ll provide endorsements and campaign donations to progressive candidates running for mayor and city council. While the group is still working out its platform for candidates, cofounder Kristin Reed said they will require the people they support to reject corporate money. 

“We’ll ask all of our candidates to not take any money from Dominion Energy or any of its core constituent individuals, people like Tom Farrell,” Reed said.

Richmond For All might also ask candidates to reject cash from Amazon, which has pumped more than $200,000 into state politics over the last two years. In addition to its planned HQ2 in Northern Virginia, Amazon operates a fulfillment center just outside of Richmond. The company has come under fire for the working conditions in some of these centers.

The PAC currently has around $600 on hand, but the group plans to do a large fundraising drive in the coming months. All of its money comes from individual donors.

Most PACs operate at the federal and state level, raising money from private donors and funneling it to candidates or elected officials that support a specific agenda. Local PACs are more rare. 

Reed said Richmond For All sees their action fund as a natural extension of the work done by other progressive groups in state and local politics. And because many of Virginia's most powerful politicians have gotten their start in Richmond, she said it’s important candidates have more support.

“If we don’t grow grassroots, progressive candidates at the local level, we are never going to have them at the state level,” Reed said. “Very few people are elected for their first position as a state delegate, a state senator or governor. People come up through local politics.”

Richmond For All is planning to start funding candidates for the upcoming city council special election. Eight candidates are vying to represent the 5th District, which includes Carytown, Randolph neighborhoods and parts of the Southside. They’ll replace Councilman Parker Agelasto for the last 13 months of his term.

The group has sent out a candidate questionnaire focused on five key issue areas: tax increment financing, democratic governance, public education, policing and housing accessibility.

“We want people who are going to defend the democratic process from the ground up, whether it’s a good faith City Council that’s actually doing well-attended district meetings or committees that are actually reaching out to the community and trying to build grassroots movements that are changing governance for the better,” Reed said.

Reed said Richmond for all will take the answers and produce a candidate scorecard. Anyone who earns 100 percent will receive a donation and advertising. 
 

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