Ninth District Congressional Primary Candidates Certified

I was happy to be one of several Democrats from around the Ninth District who met at the Highlands Democratic Resource Center in Abingdon to count petition signatures for Anthony Flaccavento and Justin Santopietro, who will be on the ballot in the June 12th Democratic Primary in the Ninth District, which includes Bristol Virginia, and most of Southwest Virginia. This is the first Democratic Congressional Primary in the Ninth District in my long memory!

The news release on the Ninth District website says, and I can personally verify, that both candidates have been reaching out to voters across the district for months, and that it is apparent that people are recognizing the genuine care they have for folks in the district and the serious issues we face.

Democrats across the Ninth are energized and excited about these candidates! I hope that you can come out and meet them and get to know them if you have not already. Check out our April calendar newsletter that will be posted tomorrow for opportunities to meet the candidates. If you want to be included in notifications on the calendar, meetings and candidate visits, send e-mail to


BVDC Calendar for March

March is here!
It is time to check your voter registration if you have changed addresses or need to update any of your voter registration information. You can check or update your information, find out who is on the ballot, and get lots more information about elections at Virginia Department of Elections. We have three elections this year, two elections before the big one in November. Those elections are important, so be sure they are on your calendar!
  • Local election on May 1, 2018, with three seats on City Council and 3 seats on the School Board open. April 9, 2018, is the deadline to register to vote in the Local Election.
  • Primary election on June 12, 2018. May 21, 2018 is the deadline to register to vote in the Primary. The primary is the election in which Democrats and Republicans will choose their candidates for the November General Election. Democrats have two people on the ballot in the primary, Anthony Flaccavento and Justin Santopietro. The winner will be on the ballot for the Virginia Ninth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Morgan Griffith. You can find these folks on Facebook, or meet them personally at two more forums, March 24 (Martinsville, Carmen Forman moderator), and April 21 (Wytheville, David Bailey moderator). In addition, there are many events scattered around the district, as Justin and Anthony are both working very hard to meet you. Visit their websites and take a look at their calendars to find an event near you. Here is their contact information on line:
    • Anthony Flaccavento Make a donation or volunteer here. Anthony has visited the Bristol Virginia committee, and has scheduled an open house for his campaign HQ in Abingdon on Tuesday, March 6th, at 188 E. Main, across from the Washington County Courthouse. Open House is scheduled from 11am-1 pm and 5pm-7pm. For more information, visit the link above or call (276) 781-6742. You are all invited to the Open House!
    • Justin Santopietro Make a donation or volunteer here. Justin will be present at our next meeting of the Bristol Virginia Committee, Monday, March 12 at 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse, 497 Cumberland St., in Bristol, VA. You are invited to attend and bring your friends who are voters in the Virginia 9th District.
New in our Virginia 9th District: Highlands Democratic Resource Center, 407 E. Main St., Abingdon, VA, 24210. Open House for the new Resource Center is March 11, 2018, at 3:00 p.m., hosted by Washington County Virginia Democrats and Scott County Democratic Party. You are invited!
Keep up with our Tennessee friends, their candidates and elections: the Democrat Resource Center2700 South Roan Street, Suite 440, Johnson City, TN 37601, 423-282-2081. The Tennessee DRC is open five days a week from 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.
Here are our regular Bristol events for March 2018:
  • Monday, March 12: Committee Meeting at 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse, 497 Cumberland St., in Bristol, VA. Bristol VA Democrats are encouraged to attend, even if you are not members. Agenda: At this meeting Justin Santopietro speak and respond to questions. If you have not met Justin, please come out and get to know him. His name will be on the ballot in the Democratic Primary, June 12, 2018.  New agenda items may be added before the meeting date..
  • Saturday, March 17: Breakfast with Democrats, at 9:00 a.m. at the Golden Corral, Exit 7 in Bristol, Virginia. Good food, great conversation, no agenda, guests welcome. Attendees pay separately for breakfast. Check the Facebook page near the date to see if there will be special guests.
  • Monday, March 19: TN-VA Democratic Social at around 5:00 p.m. at the State Line Bar and Grille, 644 E. State St., Bristol, TN, 37620. This is an informal meeting of Democrats, Progressives, Liberals, and our political friends and cousins. Attendees order and pay for food and/or drinks individually, but the conversation is free.

Come out and join us in March!

VA Ninth CD Candidate Forums – save the dates!

Times and locations have yet to be announced, but there will be four candidate forums with the candidates for nomination for Virginia’s Ninth District seat in Congress. Save these dates so you can attend one or two of the forums:

  • January 27 (Pennington Gap, Justin Soto moderator),
  • February 24 (Clifton Forge, Sen. Creigh Deeds moderator),
  • March 24 (Martinsville, Carmen Forman moderator),
  • April 21 (Wytheville, David Bailey moderator).

MLK Celebrations


These area events are on the calendar, celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr Day and the legacy of Dr. King:

  • Thursday, January 11, 4:30 and 6:00 pm: Unity Project, a conversation about community and diversity at Bristol YWCA.
  • Friday, January 12 at 5:30 pm. Movie, Hidden Figures and  “Talk Back”. E&H Wiley Auditorium.
  • Saturday, January 13, 1:30 pm: Annual MLK March from Charles Wesley UMC to Abingdon UMC
  • Saturday, January 13, 2:00 pm: Annual MLK Celebration at Abingdon UMC
  • Sunday, January 14, Lee Street Baptist Church, 4 to 5:30 pm
  • Sunday, January 14 Emory and Henry College Memorial Chapel, 6-9:00pm. Tunnel of Oppression
  • Monday, January 15, Kingsport, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  Parade participates will need to assemble at 11:15 a.m. at the intersection of E. Sevier & Center Street (Rikki Rhoton Allstate Insurance Co.’s Parking Lot). Kingsport:  11:30 Parade, lunch at community center, 6 pm candlelight vigil.
  • Monday, January 15, Johnson City 12:30th a 1:30 celebration at Greater Love Church.
  • Monday, January 15, Bristol The Legacy Lives!  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration. Bristol TN/VA will hold a community-wide march and celebration on Monday, January 15 in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The Legacy Lives will begin at 1:30 pm with gathering at the YMCA, Bristol TN or First Christian Church, Bristol VA.  The groups will walk to the Bristol Trainstation, meeting under the sign for photos before entering the station. A program will begin at the Trainstation at 2:30 featuring video interviews, readings from Dr. King, and music.  Refreshments will follow.  Handicap and senior parking will be reserved in the Trainstation parking lot. Call the YWCA, 423-968-9444 or email  for more info.
  • Monday, January 15 at 9:30am. MLK keynote speaker for Emory and Henry. E&H MCA Kennedy-Reedy Theater – other workshops and events follow on that day.

Calendar for January 2018

Hello, Everyone!

Again, thank you to all who attended the reorganizational caucus! We have our membership and officers for the 2018-2019 term, as listed in an earlier post. Our committee remains small, and new membership interest is still welcome.

Many thanks to Anthony Flaccavento for coming to be with us at our last regular committee meeting. We had a good turnout and a lively discussion, and there is energy behind his campaign for U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia 9th District. Make a donation or volunteer here.

Congratulations to our new Virginia team, Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring. They know that we expect great things! In addition, we elected many Democrats to the legislature this past November, which is hopeful news for Medicaid expansion in Virginia!. In May 2018 we will have an opportunity to elect local officials who will work on issues important to Bristol residents, and in November 2018 we will re-elect Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate, and elect a Democrat to represent the Ninth District in the U.S. House of representatives.

Here are our events for January 2018:

  • Saturday January 6: Thank you to VA 9th CD Chair Deb Baum for this information. “We’re celebrating our 2017 election victories just before the events in Richmond on the 13th. Proceeds to support the election (and re-election) of Democrats in Virginia’s Fightin’ 9th CD.”
    • dress: blue jeans & ball gowns (casual to dressy)
    • Saturday, January 6, 2018 7-10 pm
    • Virginia Ballroom – The Community Center of Abingdon (300 Senior Dr NE, Abingdon, VA 24210; map, click here)
    • tickets $25/person, click here, other contribution levels appreciated (ticket includes admittance, appetizers & light fare)
    • cash bar (wine & beer)
    • flyerclick here
    • Facebookclick here
  • Monday, January 8: Committee Meeting at 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse, 497 Cumberland St., in Bristol, VA.
  • Saturday, January 13: Ralph Northam Inaugural Ball in Richmond, VA. Before they sell out, click here to buy your tickets to Governor-elect Northam’s Inaugural Ball on Saturday, January 13, at 8 p.m. in Richmond! They’re going fast, so hurry! 
  • Monday, January 15: TN-VA Democratic Social at around 5:00 p.m. at the State Line Bar and Grille, 644 E. State St., Bristol, TN, 37620. This is an informal meeting of Democrats, Progressives, Liberals, and our political friends and cousins. Attendees order and pay for food and drinks individually, but the conversation is free.
  • Saturday, January 20: Breakfast with Democrats, at 9:00 a.m. at the Golden Corral, Exit 7 in Bristol, Virginia. Good food, great conversation, no agenda, guests welcome. Attendees pay separately for breakfast.

Thank you for your responses to the Calendar e-mail! Hope to see you at one of our events in January!

Reorganization 2017

The Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee invites Democrats registered to vote in Bristol Virginia to a Caucus for Reorganization on December 11th, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse. Details here. New and returning members will be elected to the committee for membership during the period from January 2018 through December 2019.

November reminders

The election pretty much erased all other matters from my mind, so I am sending the reminder early this month. First the election, then the reorganization, then the meeting dates in November:

The Election

Thank you to everyone who helped facilitating the election and supporting candidates! My appreciation of folks who give their time on Election Day grows each time I observe this process. I saw many of you at the polls as candidates, Officers of Election, staff workers, campaign volunteers, and voters. Many thanks to all who participated.

Congratulations to our state and local Democrats for strong campaigns and significant wins. We are returning a powerful team of caring and talented leaders to Richmond, along with a group of Delegates who will stand up for people. This election gives hope to Virginians on many issues, including among others health care, clean air and water, changing technology, adequate income from work, education of children and young adults, training for employment, fair representation in redistricting in 2021, continued advance of diversity and recognition and inclusion, and healing of divisions. Here locally we elected an experienced and capable person to the Commissioner of Revenue office.

  • Ralph S. Northam was elected Governor of Virginia.
  • Justin E. Fairfax was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
  • Mark R. Herring was re-elected Attorney General of Virginia.
  • Cloe Eva Barker was elected Bristol Virginia Commissioner of Revenue
  • Joe R. Mink lost his bid for Bristol Virginia Sheriff. A campaign loss is always disappointing, but we look forward to working with Joe in the future. We appreciate Joe’s willingness to serve and his courage in placing himself on the ballot.

We have much to be thankful for this holiday season, and we look forward to local elections in May for 3 Council seats and 3 School Board seats.


As we previewed in September, the Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee has a reorganizational meeting every two years in odd-numbered years, so we will be doing reorganization at our December meeting in 2017. The November meeting will include planning for reorganization, so we need all voting members to be present.

At reorganization we will elect new members and new officers in the committee. Our committee sends delegates to the regional, state, and national conventions and events, meets for social events and a monthly business meeting, organizes special events, hosts visiting candidates for state offices, and supports Democrats for local offices. We also cooperate with other local and regional organizations in support of candidates and issues. All Bristol Virginia voters who would like to work with us to nominate and elect Democrats are encouraged to attend and apply for membership. Reply to this e-mail if you have questions.

Meeting Dates:

  • Monday, November 13: BVDC Committee Meeting at 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse, 497 Cumberland St., in Bristol, VA. This is an important planning meeting, and we will need voting members to be present.
  • Saturday, November 18: Breakfast with Democrats, at 9:00 a.m. at the Golden Corral, Exit 7 in Bristol, Virginia. No agenda, guests welcome. Attendees order and pay separately.
  • Monday, November 20: TN-VA Democratic Social at around 5:00 p.m. at the State Line Bar and Grille, 644 E. State St., Bristol, TN, 37620. An informal meeting of Democrats, Progressives, Liberals. Attendees order and pay for food and drinks individually.
  • Monday, December 11: (tentative date, subject to change) Reorganization meeting at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse.

October calendar reminders and additions

Thank you to the folks who came out to Shanghai Restaurant in Bristol for our October meeting, and to the wonderful friends at Shanghai ( ) who took such great care of us in October!


Be sure to remember the TN-VA Social this evening, Oct. 16, at 5:00 at the State Line, and Breakfast with Democrats at Golden Corral this Saturday, Oct. 21 at 9:00 a.m. The Newsletter with more information is on the web page, through the link in the signature below.

Please attend the Meet and Greet for our local candidates, Cloe Eva Barker for Commissioner of Revenue, and Joe Mink for Bristol Sheriff. This will be Thursday the 19th at 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Bristol Public Library. There will be cookies and tea, and an opportunity to hear from and speak with the candidates about the needs of Bristol that they want to serve.

The Fish Fry – Advance tickets are required for this Sullivan County Democratic Committee fundraiser, and funds will go to elect Tennessee Democrats. The Fish Fry will take place at Warriors’ Path State Park, Saturday, Oct. 28th  at 4:00 p.m., and will be catered by PRATT’S BAR-B-QUE. Ticket price is $25.00. To get your tickets, call Jean Lusardi, 423-989-3953 by Thursday, Oct. 19.  Warriors’ Path State Park is located at 490 Hemlock Rd., Kingsport TN.

Thank you for all that you do for Democrats and for the community, and for being interested in our newsletter!

Voter Registration Deadline is October 16, 2017

RICHMOND, VA – The voter registration deadline for the upcoming Gubernatorial election is October 16th.  Successful registration enables all eligible Virginia voters to cast their ballot in the upcoming election on November 7.  To register to vote or update voter registration information:

  • By mail:  Applications must be postmarked by October 16th.
  • In-person:  Applications must be submitted by 5:00pmon October 16th.
  • Online:  Applications must be submitted by 11:59pmon October 16th.

Any Virginian can check or update their registration information or register for the first time at the Department’s Online Citizen Portal, available at  Registered voters can also preview their ballot and request an absentee ballot through the website.  “The Department of Elections offers the convenience and security of online voter registration to make voter registration more accessible for our citizens,” said Edgardo Cortés, Virginia’s Commissioner of Elections.

To register to vote in Virginia, one must:

  • be a U.S. citizen
  • be a resident of Virginia
  • be at least 18 years old by the upcoming November 7general election
  • have had voting rights restored if convicted of a felony
  • have had the capacity restored by court order if declared mentally incapacitated.

In addition to registering online at, eligible Virginians may register at their local voter registration office.  Voters can find additional information about local general registrar’s offices at Voter registration opportunities are also available at DMV customer service centers and social service offices.

For more information about voter registration or casting a ballot in the upcoming general election, visit the Department of Elections website at or call toll-free at (800) 552-9745.

Note: The local voter registration office for Bristol Virginia voters is located at Bristol Virginia City Hall, 300 Lee Street, Bristol, Virginia.

Calendar for October

October is here, and we know that November is coming! We need to be ready for Election Day on November 7th. If you cannot be present to vote in your precinct on Election Day, be sure to vote absentee at the office of the General Registrar of Voters, 300 Lee Street in Bristol, Virginia. In-person absentee voting is in progress during the regular business office hours at the Registrar’s office.

If you will be in town on Election Day, we count on you to VOTE. Also, we hope that you will be involved in our activities at the polls. We need poll workers to hand out literature and sample ballots, and as usual we will be providing rides to the polls. Join us to support our candidates in this important election! Reply to this e-mail and let us know you want to volunteer on Election Day, and we will put you in touch with our organizer for poll workers and rides to the polls.

Remember to pay attention to our candidates, look at their positions on the issues, and contribute even a small amount to let them know that you are here. The state candidates, Northam, Fairfax, and Herring, are important to keeping our health care and protecting education and workers in Virginia. Our local candidates, Cloe Eva and Joe, are talented individuals with the skills and knowledge for the tasks of the offices they seek, and are the folks we need in these important Bristol positions.

State and Local Democrats on the Nov. 7 ballot in Bristol, Virginia:

  • Ralph S. Northam for Governor of Virginia
  • Justin E. Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
  • Mark R. Herring for Attorney General of Virginia
  • Cloe Eva Barker for Bristol Commissioner of Revenue
  • Joe R. Mink for Bristol Sheriff

Our scheduled meetings in October:

  • Monday, October 9:The Committee will meet at 6:00 for dinner, with meeting to follow at 7:00, at the Shang Hai Restaurant, 711 State Street in Bristol VA. The menu will be limited, as the Shang Hai is opening on Monday just for us! So please put this on your calendar and attend. This is the last meeting before the election, so we will be taking care of last minute details.
  • Thursday, October 12: Washington County Democratic Committee Meeting at 6 p.m. atThe Southwest Virginia 4H Center, 25236 Hillman Highway, Abingdon, VA 24210. More information is on their website at
  • Monday, October 16: TN-VA Democratic Social at around 5:00 p.m. at the State Line Bar and Grille, 644 E. State St., Bristol, TN, 37620. This is an informal meeting of Democrats, Progressives, Liberals, and our political friends and cousins. Attendees order and pay for food and drinks individually, but the conversation is free.
  • Thursday, October 19: Bristol Virginia voters are invited to a Meet & Greet with Cloe Eva Barker, candidate for Bristol Virginia Commissioner of Revenue, and Joe R. Mink, candidate for Bristol Virginia Sheriff, Thursday October 19th, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in the J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room at the Bristol Public Library, 701 Goode Street, Bristol, Virginia. These candidates will be on the ballot in the General Election November 7th in Bristol. Both candidates will present short introductions, and afterward voters may speak with them personally. Light refreshments and voter information will be available.
  • Saturday, October 21: Breakfast with Democrats, at 9:00 a.m. at the Golden Corral, Exit 7 in Bristol, Virginia. Good food, great conversation, no agenda, guests welcome. Attendees pay separately for breakfast.

Virginia State Candidates:

  • Ralph S. Northam for Governor
  • Justin E. Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor
  • Mark R. Herring for Attorney General

Bristol Virginia Local Candidates – Be sure to attend our Meet & Greet for these local candidates, October 19th, listed above!

  • Cloe Eva Barker for Commissioner of Revenue
  • Joe R. Mink for Sheriff

Hope to see many of you in October, at the Meet & Greet, and on Election Day November 7th.