Political Note #60 Jennifer Carrol Foy VA HD 02

Jennifer Caroll Foy is a graduate of VMI. That alone is news. She is one of the first African-American women to graduate from the Virginia Military Institute. Graduating from VMI is a demonstration of her courage and persistence, qualities she continues to demonstrate in her work. A public defender in Arlington, she has started a Foundation to support children in foster care. No small challenge for her, VA 02 is a 95% white district. She does have one surprise advantage. Although the recount forced her to have a late start in the general election, her Republican opponent had a later start. He is a substitute, required because the original Republican candidate falsified his educational credentials.

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Political Note #55 Shelly Simonds VA HD 94

A former teacher and current member of the Newport News School Board , Shelly Simonds stepped in as a substitute Democratic candidate for District 94 of the Virginia House of Delegates. Having lived in Spain, Costa Rica, and Chile, she is a fluent Spanish speaker. Her recent focus has been at home -- her family, her business, and her politics. She has been managing her family's real estate investments. She served as president of a middle school PTA which was followed by her successful campaign for the school board. She wants to help Newport News retain the last large piece of waterfront property and help the city make it a waterfront park.

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Political Note #54 Hala Ayala VA HD 51

Hala Alaya is a risk taker. She is a candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates District 51. Moved by her experience in the Women's March on Washington, she resigned from her federal job and submitted papers as a candidate. A local of minority-majority eastern Prince William County. She still lives there. Her father had both Salvadorian and North-African roots. Her mother was Irish and Lebanese. She began her working life as a single mother -- in service jobs; living without health insurance. She was eligible for Medicaid. “Medicaid saved my son’s life." Hala Ayala's way out was to join the Coast Guard. She joined in 2008. She was on a trajectory. She enrolled in an online program at the University of Phoenix and completed the requirements in two years. She earned promotions to become an INFORSEC Specialist (IT Security). She persisted and became a cyber specialist program analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. She quit that job to run for Delegate.

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Political Note #53 Annette Taddeo FL SD 40

Annette Taddeo was born on an American military base in Colombia. She is the daughter of an American World War II and Korean War fighter pilot and a Colombian mother. At age seventeen, Annette Taddeo immigrated to the US on her own. She put herself through college on her own. She married psychologist Eric Goldstein, converted to Judaism, and has a family of his two children and one child of theirs. She founded LanguageSpeak, a language services company that offers translations in over 240 languages. Diversity Business describes LanguageSpeak as one of the top 100 small businesses in Florida and one of the top 500 Hispanic owned businesses in the United States. She has been a power in the Democratic Party. Chair of the Miami Democrats, she helped create Hispanic Democratic Clubs and initiated candidate recruitment in south Florida toward the goal of gaining seats in the Florida legislature. In 2013, the Democratic National Committee appointed her to leadership positions.

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Political Note #52 Kathy Tran VA HD 42

Kathy Tran and her parents fled Vietnam as boat refugees when she was just seven months old.* Although many other countries offered them asylum, they waited 13 months for the United States to accept their application. For Kathy’s family, this country has always represented hope, opportunity and freedom. She has devoted her career to ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. She began her civil service career at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2003. During her 12 years of service, she served in numerous leadership positions. She went on to work at the National Immigration Forum, one of the nation’s leading immigration advocacy organizations. There, she advocated for policies that prepare immigrants in the workforce to reach their full career potential.

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Political Note #45 Jacob Rosencrants OK HD 46

Jacob Rosencrants has spent his life in Oklahoma. He was born in Oklahoma City and grew up in Norman. His is a graduate of Norman High School and the University of Oklahoma in Norman. His children attend Norman Public Schools and he is a middle school and high school history and social studies teacher in the Norman Public Schools. His focus is to restore funds to support public education and to reform the criminal justice system. He particularly targets the privatization of prisons and jailing drug users instead of providing rehabilitation.

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Political Note #44 Kevin Cavanaugh NH SD 16

Kevin Cavanaugh is a strong Democratic candidate. Senate District 16 includes two wards in Manchester, where he has been an alderman for a year, plus four neighboring towns. He has been an employee in telecommunications for a firm that provides long distance telephone service, data, Internet, broadband, television, business communications solutions and fiber services. His avocation has been in youth sports and community service. He has coached high school football coach and is a regular youth league coach in hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball. His political life has been through the electrical workers' union. He is an officer of his local and, in the primary and the upcoming election, has gained union support from throughout the state.

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Political Note #39 Elizabeth Guzman VA HD 31

Virginia Guzman came to this country from Peru as a single mother looking for a better future for her daughter. She found exactly that. Her story is an American immigrant success story. If elected she would be the first Hispanic woman in the Virginia House of Delegates. Initially, she worked three jobs. With enough English to pass as bilingual, she moved on to private and public sector jobs requiring both languages. She earned a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree and became Division Chief for the Department of Community Human Services in Alexandria. She became involved in politics, devoting herself to changing the public perception and legislators and law enforcement's perception of immigrants.

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Political Note #38 Danica Roem VA HD 13

Eight or twelve years ago, Danica Roem would have been an impossible candidate -- not just because of the way Virginia's voting habits have changed, but even more profoundly because she is transgendered. She would be the first transgendered person elected who was open about her status. A former journalist, she won awards from the Virginia Press Association seven times for her writing in two small newspapers. She describes two former Prince William representatives, one a Democrat, the other a Republican as her ideal of how legislators should do their work: You didn't have to agree with them on every issue to see that they worked hard to build consensus, govern with a results-oriented approach and reach across the aisle to build a better Manassas.. .

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Political Note #37 Kathryn Allen UT 03

Kathryn Allen grew up in the California desert far to the east of Los Angeles riding motorcycles and horses. She was both an athlete and a student -- playing varsity tennis and graduating as salutatorian. She had a sample of politics as a college senior -- working to support her Congressman's widow's campaign to replace him. he successful campaign led to a couple of jobs, but she ultimately returned to her interest in medicine. As a doctor in Utah, she was active in her professional organization and was moving toward retirement when 2016 happened. She urged her congressman to lead an investigation of Trump's ties to Russia. His unresponsiveness on this issue and his unwillingness to allow speakers other than himself at a health care focused Town Hall, led her to plan a run for congress.

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