A letter from Tristan Shields

Tristan Shields

I want to congratulate Laura Galante for Delegate on her victory today in the 18th District Democratic primary. The road moving forward will be tough, but she will have the support of the Democrats in Culpeper, Fauquier, Rappahannock and Warren counties, including mine. We are at a time where the stakes are high for democracy in Virginia. The Virginia legislature will be playing a crucial role both for our state and the nation. I truly hope she can flip the District blue in November.

On the campaign trail, candidates are asked many questions about many problems. To me, there is only one problem at the core that we can’t ignore. Our political system is badly broken. We can fix our environment, we can fix income inequality, we can fix education. But we have to demand real solutions from our leaders. We also have to put our time, effort and creativity on the line. To quote Dr. King, “There is no deficit in human resources, the deficit is in human will.” Democrats need to have a candidate for every public office in every deep red area in Virginia for every election. We cannot have Democratic deserts in Virginia and expect any substantive change. I encourage anyone and everyone who cares about their community to run for office. It’s tough, you’ll probably lose, but losing is what teaches us to be winners.

Thank you to everyone who donated their time and money to my campaign and everyone who voted for me. Please keep following me because I will remain active in the civic and political space. However, I will be bi-coastal for a while, splitting my time between Rixeyville and Silicon Valley where Stephanie is now working for Facebook. Again, thank you for everything and see you soon.



Laura Galante wins House of Delegates Democrat primary

The following article is courtesy of the Rappahannock News. Read full article on Rappnews.com.

Laura Galante

We have final results in the race for Rappahannock County’s seat in the Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Party primary. Laura L. Galante has won by a wide margin.

The voting breakdown in Rappahannock:

Tristan D. Shields
Laura L. Galante

Rappahannock News contributor Patty Hardee reports the district breakdown:

Jackson: Shields 24. Galante 35 Chester Gap: Shields 9. Galante 4 Flint Hill: Shields 7. Galante 45 Stonewall-Hawthorne: Shields 15. Galante 54 Hampton: Shields 21. Galante 84 Piedmont: Shields 23. Galante 74
Absentee: Shields 1. Galante 27

And the district-wide vote:

Tristan D. Shields
Laura L. Galante

She will challenge incumbent Republican Michael Webert in this general election this fall. And the results of all of Northern Virginia’s primary’s are also in. Details from our colleagues at InsideNoVa here.


Political Civility: Talking to People Who Disagree with You — a note from our chair

In the Library on Tuesday April 23, Meg Heubeck told a crowd of 25 or so, “We need to bring back the political center.” Director of educational outreach at the UVA Center for Politics, Heubeck held a training workshop for constructive conversations across party lines.  

Even though animosity has shrunk that center since the mid-1990s, Heubeck said, some 80 percent of us actually still identify somewhere between the extreme right and left. However, the 24-hour news cycle, and our tendency to look for information that confirms what we already think, locks us into a kind of hunter-gatherer political tribalism.  

But, said Heubeck, we can train ourselves out of it. “Remember that each of us loves our country, our community, and our families,” she said. And everyone has a voice. “That’s at the core, those American values. That’s what we’re protecting, even in a diverse community.” 

The friendly crowd of two dozen participants spanned the political spectrum from conservative to liberal, according to organizer Bob Burney. They broke into small problem-solving groups to test those voices. A simple question—what is the greatest challenge to the future of Rappahannock?—brought a gamut of answers and a prescription for positive citizenship.  

First, we need to get to know our neighbors. Ask them about their experiences. Learn how government works. Identify areas of similarity. Be prepared to compromise toward a consensus.  

“Bring your brain,” said Heubeck, “and be ready to be nice to people. Then listen with both ears.” 

Heubeck praised organizations like the National Institute for Civil Discourse, Unite America, No Labels, and Common Cause for bridging the political divide in America and bolstering its political center. For more information, contact Bob Burney, BurneyRG@me.com

–Mary-Sherman Willis, RCDC Chair