Henrico Democrats

Our 2017 Candidates


  • Caucus for House District 73 and Brookland Supervisor: April 29, 2017, 10am- 2pm | Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen, VA
    • Absentee voting will take place April 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Glen Allen Library
  • Caucus for House District 62: May 2, 2017, 3pm – 7pm | Glendale Ruritan Club in Henrico, VA
  • Primary election: June 13, 2017
  • General election: November 7, 2017

Click here for information on becoming a candidate. After reading the information, please contact Henrico Democrats to let us know that you plan to run for office in Henrico County.

Candidates who wish to qualify for a Democratic primary should contact the Chair of the Legislative Nominating Committee for their District to arrange delivery of the Declaration of Candidacy, Petitions of Qualified Voters, and Receipt showing payment of the primary filing fee. The window of delivery begins at noon on Monday, March 13th and closes at 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 30th.
Candidates who wish to qualify for a Democratic caucus should review the Call to Caucus and Caucus Rules. These documents will be available on this page at least two weeks before the filing deadline. Candidates should contact the Chair of the Legislative Nominating Committee for their District to arrange delivery of the required filing documents.
Here are the Legislative Nominating Committee Chairs:
56 – Bob Shippee – 804.325.9788
62 – Lisa Williams – 757.619.0440
68 – Ben Ragsdale – 804.330.3959
70 – Joyce Davis – 804.513.8976
71 – Tavarris Spinks – 804.350.5728
72 – Cheryl Zando – 757.814.9984
73 – Cheryl Zando – 757.814.9984
74 – Cliff Barnhill – 703.402.1394
Who are the 2017 Democratic candidates?

Governor (4 year term)

Lieutenant Governor (4 year term)

Attorney General (4 year term)


House of Delegates (2 year term, all 100 seats are up)

Henrico County is in 8 House Districts:

House District 56 (primary)

Melissa DartBiographyI have lived in Richmond for 24 years, attending University of Richmond as an undergraduate and VCU for my graduate degree. James and I moved to western Henrico 11 years ago and love raising our 3 boys, Leo, Peter, and Joseph here. I joined the Henrico County Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) which grew out of my support of our eldest, Leo who somehow manages ADHD, Asperger’s and seizure disorder without skipping a beat. I joined the SEAC for Leo as well as the more than 6,000 children in Henrico who receive Special Education. As part of SEAC, I help advise the local school division in formulating plans for improving the performance of children with disabilities in Henrico’s schools and the community.

I no longer feel like I can rest until I do everything within in my power for all families to have access to the healthcare, education and resources that they need to support themselves and and their families. That’s why I am running for the House of Delegates. With everything happening in our world and our community, I’m compelled to use my voice to speak for everyone, but most of all, for those who are not in a position to speak for themselves.

House District 62 (caucus)

MarksBiography: Tavorise has a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies & Sociology and a M.A. in Urban Affairs / Urban Planning with Graduate Certificates in Public Administration and Leadership in Crisis. He is an Alumnus of Norfolk State University, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and The University of Virginia.

Tavorise was born in Richmond and now permanently resides in Chester with his family and dog Peebles. Tavorise is an Army Military Intelligence Officer in the Virginia Army National Guard and employed as an employee of the Commonwealth. He has spent the last 10 years of his professional career in Emergency Management and Public Safety protecting the lives, property, and safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth and our nation. Tavorise says that “It’s one thing the Army has taught me and that is the duty to fulfill your obligations and to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them”. He feels that the District is in need of progressive change with an accessible, transparent and hands on representative.

Since making the decision to run, Tavorise has begun to knock on doors and shaking hands. He has been eager to listen to the concerns of the District while seeking input on changes they want in the community. Tavorise has pledged to protect women’s rights, promote criminal justice reform, fight for equal funding for schools, higher pay for teachers, improve infrastructure and transportation, as well as raising the minimum wage to $10.

House District 68 (primary)

House District 70 (primary)

alex-delegateBiography: Alex Mejias is seeking the Democratic nomination for the House of Delegates (70th). A graduate of UVA and UVA Law, he is licensed in NY and VA, working in private practice and public interest law. Alex has worked at the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and the National Senior Citizens Law Center. Locally, he spent three years at BrownGreer, where he oversaw complex settlements involving thousands of claimants, before transitioning to Foster Made, a web development firm.

As a seven-year resident of the 70th, Alex’s non-profit and volunteer efforts have focused on community improvements.  He served on the board of Urban Hope, helping to initiate an emphasis on safe and affordable rentals for low-income families. Alex also served on the board of the Richmond Justice Initiative, an organization focused on ending human trafficking in Virginia.

Most recently, Alex organized Businesses for Black Lives, a conversation between local businesses and law enforcement around issues of race and policing. He also volunteers at the Richmond City Justice Center, organizing worship services for offenders in the facility.

Alex is a member of East End Fellowship, where he worships with his wife, Ashley, and their two daughters.

House District 71 (primary canceled: Jeff Bourne is the Democratic nominee for this race)

House District 72 (caucus canceled; Schuyler VanValkenburg has been declared the Democratic Nominee for this race)

House District 73 (caucus)

Bill ColemanBiography: Bill has a B.S. in Liberal Studies from UCF and an M.S. in Information Systems from VCU. He is a project manager with Virginia Premier. He has worked in IT for the last 20 years.

Born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, his family relocated down I-75 to Tampa, Florida in the late 1980s.  During high school summer breaks, he volunteered at the local VA hospital. This gave Bill a unique view on the cost of war.  Bill’s father was a disabled Vietnam Veteran who suffered from the physical and mental effects of war for Bill’s entire childhood.  Bill graduated from Gaither High School in 1996 and moved to Orlando to attend UCF. In 2009, Bill permanently settled in the greater Richmond area.  Bill loves living in Virginia and wants to make it an even better place to live.

Bill has vast campaign and public service experience. He has worked on many campaigns in Texas and Florida. He was an elected Democratic precinct captain in Seminole County, Florida. Bill lives with his wife, Jamie, and their daughter. He spends his spare time helping friends with their computers, collecting flags, announcing at the ComedySportz Improv Theatre, and traveling.

rodman picBiography: I am an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Randolph-Macon College and Director of Women’s Studies. I received my Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida, and my B.A. and M.A. at the University of Miami. In addition to scholarship and teaching, I regularly serve as an expert witness for U.S. Federal immigration courts providing affidavits and testimony for Latin American migrants seeking political asylum, mostly women and children, and LGBT individuals fleeing violence.

I have dedicated my life as an educator and supporting the rights of women and vulnerable populations. I am a former Fulbright Scholar, named Richmond’s Top 40 Under 40, fluent Spanish speaker, and advocate for women’s and LGBT rights as well as for other vulnerable populations. I believe diversity and inclusivity creates stronger, healthier communities, which are necessary for shared prosperity and long-term economic development in a clean environment. As an applied anthropologist, I am trained to understand how policy impacts peoples’ lives and ultimately improves them. As an advocate, my life-long passion has been to help people and promote social justice.  Legislation is only successful when it considers all the lives it will affect and reflects shared visions and values.

My husband Darryl (Richmond native), and I have two young sons, Ronin and River.

chelseasavageBiography: As a young nurse I was introduced to advocacy though my mentors. I began my work in health policy advocacy 2007. I am a fellow of UVA Sorensen Institute Political Leaders Program and am part of Emerge Virginia. I will fight for legislation that promotes progressive values

My commitment to social justice was internalized through my personal history. I was raised by a single mother on welfare within a group that practiced a strong religiosity and held extreme views of isolation from society. Taken out of school for religious reasons; I taught myself with only a 6th grade education and obtained my GED at 15. I was not able to leave this group until 24; marking 19 years within this oppressive community. This background has driven me to succeed in all that I am passionate about.

Though a single mom with minimal resources, I was driven by an insatiable curiosity. I went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a graduate degree in health administration, and a fellowship in health law and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). I came out as a gay woman. This energy and commitment to progressive values will define me as a delegate.

Sarah SmithBiography: Sarah is running for the House of Delegates because she is fed up with politics in Richmond and Washington. As a health care officer for the state, she spends her days protecting medicaid benefits and making sure families have health care security.

If elected, Sarah will:

Fight to make sure people have access to affordable health care. We need to keep improving our health care system, and Sarah will fight tooth and nail to make sure that people who have health care because of the ACA will keep it regardless of what Republicans in Washington decide.

Make schools better. Sarah and her husband have 2 children and know how important public education is to Virginia families. Republicans in the legislature have been openly hostile to funding Virginia schools at the levels they deserve. Sarah will make sure that school sizes stay small, that Virginia attracts the best teachers, and that kids have the textbooks they need in order to succeed.

While being a champion for sustainable energy solutions, Sarah will lead the charge against any bill that would harm our clean air and contaminate our water.

She is a graduate of local public schools, the University of Virginia, and the University of Richmond School of Law.

House District 74 (primary canceled: Lamont Bagby is the Democratic nominee for this race)

Henrico County Board of Supervisors 


C.Lynch-HeadshotBiography: As a 5th generation Virginian, I am proud to call the Brookland District of Henrico County home. My husband Patrick and I are raising three children who are students in Henrico County Public Schools.

After graduating from North Carolina State University, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed worldwide as Marine Corps Officer.   After my initial time as a Marine, I worked in the software industry. Thanks to the G.I. Bill I was able to earn my law degree from William & Mary.   After law school I started my company, Lead Star. Today, Lead Star is a thriving consulting firm. We help companies develop leaders. Along the way, I’ve written two best-selling leadership books.

I firmly believe leadership is not about power, prestige or notoriety. It’s about responsibility. After the events of 9/11, I was recalled back to active duty service as a Marine. It was an honor to be able to serve my country a second time.

As a mom, Marine, business owner and attorney I’ve had diverse leadership opportunities.   I look forward to leveraging those experiences to keep Henrico County moving forward.

DannyProfile2Biography: Danny Plaugher moved to Henrico to attend Virginia Commonwealth University. He and his wife Jan
live in the Dumbarton area of Brookland.

In 2002, he was appointed by Governor Mark R. Warner to serve on the Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and was reappointed in 2003, becoming one of the youngest appointees of Governor Warner’s administration.

Danny Joined Virginians for High Speed Rail in 2007 where he helped to create the Virginia Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund (IPROC) and make Virginia the first state with a dedicated funding source for passenger rail.

Danny serves on the Transportation Working Group for the Capital Region Collaborative, and represents Henrico on GRTC’s Transportation Advisory Group. He Past President of the Rotary Club of Richmond, and has previously served on Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Transition Transportation Council.

In 2011, Danny was honored to be named one of Richmond’s Top 40 under 40 by Style Weekly magazine, and honored to be named one of VCU’s Top 10 Graduates of the Last Decade in 2016. He is also a 2014 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, a 2014 graduate of the Henrico Citizens Academy, and a 2016 graduate of Henrico’s Citizens Fire Academy.