Hendricks Announces Campaign

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

FARMVILLE – It has been ten years since a Democratic candidate was on the ballot for the 60th District House of Dele-gates seat. Brad Wike ran against Republican incumbent Clarke Hogan and lost, obtaining only 33 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Republican James E. Edmunds II recently announced his bid for reelection, hoping to gain a third term in office. He obtained his seat by running unopposed the last two elections.

But Farmville native Jasper Hendricks III thinks now is the time for that to change.

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“District 60 has been poorly served in Richmond by a representative who votes party first, people second,” Hendricks said in a press release announcing his nomination for the seat by the Democratic Party. “I see unemployment on the rise and no at-tempts to help small businesses grow or bring new business or job opportunities to the district.”

What will Hendricks' guiding principles be if he is elected? From the teachers, to the unemployed, to business owners and his church family, “those will be my guiding principles,” Hendricks told The Herald, “the people of the 60th District.”

But, Hendricks doesn't just have connections with the local community.

Democracy For America has announced that Hendricks is being endorsed as part of their Purple To Blue Next Wave cam-paign.

The campaign is an offshoot of the Purple to Blue project, a national multi-year effort for the Democratic Party to win con-trol in state senates and houses. It is being launched this year in Virginia.

Democracy For America is endorsing candidates in districts that have been “historically more difficult for Democrats.”

With the endorsement, Democracy For America is committing to make short- and long-term investments in the “grassroots infrastructure” of the 60th District that they hope, over time, will turn it “from red to purple to blue.”

Howard Dean – former governor of Vermont, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and founder of De-mocracy For America – personally spoke highly of Hendricks during the announcement of the endorsements.

“He worked in my campaign. He's one of the hardest working people I ever met. When I met him as a young man, I knew he was going to run for office one day and I'm pretty sure he's going to be successful,” Dean said.

He continued, “This is a, supposedly, tough, conservative, rural western Virginia district, District 60. I can tell you that this district would be really well represented by a guy that works as hard as Jasper Hendricks.”

Hendricks joined Dean's campaign in 2003 and went on to organize in Milwakee, Georgia and South Carolina, according to a Democracy For America representative.

Hendricks believes he has the connections this community needs with urban legislatures to get things done.

“I'm the only candidate that was endorsed [by Democracy For America] that was outside of a major metropolitan area… It shows, I'm a person…that people are excited to work with because I understand, I'm willing to work and put in the time and the effort to do it, and…I see the big picture.”

Hendricks says that the backing from Democracy For America will provide his campaign with financial and staff support, as well as help with on-the-ground campaigning.

A Prince Edward High School graduate, who was born and raised in the 60th District, Hendricks studied Political Science at Norfolk State University before entering a career in public service, according to a press release.

Hendricks has served in various leadership roles including being Chief of Staff for the Virginia Jaycees in 2013, a member of the Governance Committee for the Virginia Housing Coalition and serving on the boards of Norfolk State University National Alumni Association and the Virginia NAACP, the campaign press release states.

Most recently, Hendricks worked with Habitat for Humanity here in Farmville, where he said he not only helped build homes but also created programs for low- to moderate-income people, teaching them how to shop on a budget, gain job readiness skills and avoid foreclosure.

“The mission in Jasper's professional and public life is, and has been, focused on fighting for the underserved and bringing people together to tackle those universal issues facing us all,” says the press release.

What does the 60th District need right now? Number one, “we need jobs,” says Hendricks. He points out that his own parents were either forced into early retirement or had to seek other careers late in life, due to the loss of jobs in the area.

“Number two. We need equity and the funding of our public schools. The funding formula hasn't been changed, you know, in quite some time… It hasn't been changed to meet the needs of today's students,” he concluded.

In his announcement to run for re-election, incumbent candidate Delegate Edmunds told The Herald that he believes it is im-portant to forge relationships with urban delegates to insure that the rural voice will continue to be heard in the House of Dele-gates. Something that can only occur by “building seniority and alliances,” he said.

If not seniority, what does Hendricks think he brings to the table to ensure the rural voice of the district will be heard if he is elected?

Hendricks points out that he was very instrumental in creating the Virginia Housing Trust Fund last year. It was something that people have been working on for the last ten years, he told The Herald, pointing out that he even received an award at the governor's housing conference for his work.

“That was sitting down with Republicans and Democrats. I worked with the Attorney General's office, the Governor's office, who are not in the same party as me, and was able to get them to see the importance of it.”

He says he has built connections and relationships during his time outside of Farmville, including relationships with all of the urban legislatures in the state. He says he plans to use those connections.

What is Hendricks going to do differently than the last Democratic candidate in the 60th District to ensure he wins this race?

“Someone that's ready to work hard. Someone that already has community connections, not just here in Farmville but throughout the district. Someone who understands what it takes to get out the vote. And someone that is willing to work with everyone and not just the Democrats and not just the African-American community…and not just women… I'm really passion-ate about seeing my community continue to move forward.”

Hendricks plans to kick off his campaign this Saturday at the Moton Museum at 10 a.m.