Men's Forum

Newsletter Header

The first monthly gathering in 2018 of the Hanover Democratic Men's Forum will be held on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24 at 7 p.m. at the King's Charter Clubhouse, 9407 King's Charter Drive, Mechanicsville 23116.  These Democratic Men's Forums provide an opportunity for Hanover Democratic men to meet, socialize, talk politics and hear interesting speakers.  Hors d'oevres will be served.

This monthly meeting will be the opening of the 2018 election year and will be a question and answer panel discussion among our 5 Democratic candidates for the First Congressional District.  The moderator will be a secret guest.  Of course, the candidates are well known: Tom Hicks / Hanover County; Edwin Santana / Stafford; Ryan Sawyers / Gainesville; John Suddarth / Hanover County; Vangie Williams / Dahlgren. We have had a little breather from local politics.  Now, it is time to put our energies into selecting the best Democratic candidate to defeat Republican Rob Wittman. 

There will be a primary election on June 12 to select our Democratic candidate.  This will be a good chance to get to know more about our five candidates.  This is the beginning of our chance to catch and ride the new years "blue wave" breaking in Virginia.The purpose of the monthly Men's Forum is to socialize, educate and elect Democrats. 

It is a great opportunity to get to know like-minded Democratic men in a way that you just cannot do in other venues in this predominantly Republican county.  This is another great opportunity to talk with the candidates individually.  It also gives those who can't attend the Saturday morning meetings a chance to get involved.  So please join us on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24 at 7 p.m.  Don't miss this opportunity to socialize and mobilize.

RSVP to Nelson Vaughan at or call the cell phone and text messages 201.826.7093; home 804.496.6217.

Men's Forum

The monthly gathering of the Hanover Democratic Men's Forum will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 7 p.m., at the home of Nelson Vaughan,209 College Avenue, in the heart of Ashland's college district.  These Democratic Men's forums provide an opportunity for Hanover Democratic men to meet, socialize, talk politics and hear interesting speakers.  Heavy hors d'oevres will be served.

This month's program on Political Education is still in the process of final set up but judging from previous forums this program will be awesome.The Men's Forum is a great way to socialize, get to know like-minded Democratic men in a way that you just can't do in other venues in this predominantly Republican county.  It also gives those who can't attend the monthly Saturday morning meetings a chance to get involved.  So please join us on Wednesday, February 28 at 7 p.m.  Don't miss this opportunity to socialize and mobilize.  

Feel free to invite your Democratic friends.RSVP to Nelson Vaughan at or call:  cell phone and text messages 201-826-7093; home 804-496-6217.

Men's Forum

At the home of

Nelson Vaughan

209 College Avenue

February 28, 2018

 Mens Forum

The next monthly gathering of the Hanover Democratic Men's Forum will be held on WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 28 at 7:00 pm in the heart of the College District in Ashland at the home of Nelson Vaughan, 209 College Avenue, Ashland.   These Democratic Men's forums provide an opportunity for Hanover Democratic men to meet, socialize,  talk politics and hear interesting speakers.  The host and Chair of these Democratic Men's Forums, Nelson Vaughan, says come hungry as he will be serving heavy hors d'oevres.

This month's program will be a forum of the candidates running for the Ashland Town Council.   While the election is non-partisan these candidates have agreed to attend.   Those who have filed up to this point and will be attending are:

Les Cook 

John Hodges 

Daniel McGraw

The monitor will be taking written questions from the audience.

The purpose of these monthly Men's Forums is to socialize, envigorate, educate and elect Democrats and is a great opportunity to get to know like-minded Democratic men in a way that you just can't in other venues in this predominantly Republican county.  The monthly Saturday morning committee meetings are great but you don't have the opportunity to talk and to get to know one another on a more social level.  It also gives those who can't attend the Saturday morning meetings a chance to get involved.  So please join us on Wednesday February 28 at 7:00 pm.  Don't miss this opportunity to socialize and mobilize. RSVP to Nelson Vaughan at or call cell phone and text messages 201.826.7093; home 804.496.6217.    If you are a woman and receive this, please send to your favorite Democratic male relative , neighbor or friend.


Five House Candidates Vie for Democratic Congressional Nomination

We are pleased to announce five excellent candidates for congressional nomination.  These candidates are looking for the bid, but all pledge to support the properly elected candidate.  2017 has turned out to be a good year.  Let's make 2018 even better.

jan 2018 dem meeting

Get involved

in the Va General Assembly

Don’t miss our next meeting on Saturday, January 13, at 10 a.m. at Ashland Coffee & Tea…as we delve into the most crucial issues facing the Virginia General Assembly and learn how we Hanover Democrats can impact the outcome this year. REMEMBER, following our incredible victories in the November election, Democrats now have a fighting chance to get legislation passed in the General Assembly.

The January 13 meeting will feature a panel of experts on key legislative issues: Medicaid Expansion, Redistricting, the Environment and the Democratic agenda. On the panel will be Abbey Phillips, chief of staff and legislative assistant for Sen. Jennifer McClellan. Learn how we can best work to help Sen. McClellan pass her legislative agenda. Kristie Smith, the Campaign and Policy Manager for Energy and Transportation for the Virginia Conservation Network will be discussing the most crucial environmental issues. Kim Bobo, the Executive Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, will be discussing one of today’s most crucial issues, Medicaid Expansion. Liz White, the Development Director of OneVirginia2021, will be discussing the pivotal issue of fair redistricting. Citizen lobbyist Nancy Finch will be back again this year to discuss the ABCs of how, when, and where to reach legislators in the General Assembly.

DON’T WORRY…if you are planning on attending the Inauguration of Gov. Ralph Northam, we will have you out of the meeting in plenty of time to get to the State Capitol. We will reverse the order of the meeting to start the panel discussion at 10 and end it by 10:30.Now is the time for us to press our case in the Virginia General Assembly…it is the moment we’ve been working for. Don’t miss the meeting and this opportunity to get involved! As always, the coffee is on us.

"Suburban strategy"

saturday, February 10  

 Kim Wright and Chris Bolling                                                                              

Come to the meeting on Saturday, February 10 at 10 a.m. at Ashland Coffee & Tea and hear about the "Suburban Strategy" which is credited with our big wins last November. Chris Bolling, the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, and Kim Wright, a founder and leader of the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County, will be our guest speakers. Bolling has spent the last decade working on major Democratic campaigns including those of Governor Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, President Barack Obama, and Secretary Hillary Clinton. He most recently served as the political director for Ralph Northam’s primary campaign. Wright founded Liberal Women of Chesterfield County two days after the Presidential Election. She and her group are given a large share of the credit for turning Chesterfield blue in the last election.

Please don't miss this important meeting. We are working hard in Hanover County. Now, let's learn about the "Suburban Strategy" which may help us work even more effectively to Get Out The Vote this November. As always, the coffee is on us. See you Saturday, February 10, 10 a.m., Ashland Coffee & Tea.

Membership Renewal

Don't forget to re-up your membership...bring your form and $30 dues for the next two years to the meeting on February 10, or mail them to HDC, P.O. Box 22, Ashland, VA 23005.

Support Fair Redistricting

Stop gerrymandering and unfair redistricting. Please support onevirginia2021's efforts to make voting fair again. Please sign onevirginia2021's petition by clicking here.

Take the survey

Do you have an opinion on renaming Hanover schools named after Confederate heroes? We bet you do. The County wants to know. Please make your voice heard by taking the county survey by clicking here.

Now there are four.

Tom Hicks, one of the candidates for the Democratic Nomination from the First Congressional District, has dropped out of the race citing personal, family and business constraints.Meanwhile, he has thrown his support to Hanover Democratic Committee member John Suddarth.  Read More...

We are sorry to see Tom go, but we still have four great candidates: Edwin Santana, Ryan Sawyers, John Suddarth, and Vangie Williams. The candidates have appeared in numerous meetings throughout the 1st Congressional District. As you get to know each one better, ask yourself the really important question...which one do think will beat Rob Wittman in November. Which one will Democratic voters, independents and swing voters come out and support on November 12?

Statement from Tom Hicks

"After thoughtful consideration I have decided to withdraw from the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in Virginia’s 1st congressional district. I make this decision because it has become increasingly clear that my personal and family commitments, including my full-time responsibilities as an engineering consultant, require my full attention and would not allow me the time necessary to conduct a proper, winning congressional campaign.

I want to sincerely thank my family and the many volunteers and supporters that provided me with their time, energy, encouragement, ideas, and donations without which I would not have made it this far.

Furthermore, 100% refunds will be provided to those donors that contributed to my campaign.

I still believe that in 2018, a Blue Wave will sweep across Virginia and our nation, replacing out-of-touch Republican lawmakers with Democrats who support mainstream progressive ideas that improve the lives of working families, the disadvantaged, the elderly, veterans, and future generations.

I plan to stay engaged in the political process and find other avenues to express my beliefs and ideas."

How Chesterfield Became a Blue County

Kim Drew Wright

This is how Liberal Women of Chesterfield County & Beyond helped turned our county blue in a gubernatorial race for the first time since 1961. Now, this past year I conquered my fear of public speaking through a compulsion that the message is larger than myself, or any one of us. In just the two weeks prior to the Hanover speech, I introduced the former Vice Presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, to a crowd of about 200, went head-to-head with Trump supporters on CNN New Day, and shouted “We’re coming for your seats” to Virginia House Delegates at the close of a Privileges & Elections Committee where they refused to vote on the Equal Rights Amendment bills. That’s a drastic transition, and, yet, when I took the stage in a room at Ashland Coffee and Tea that Saturday morning, I became flustered and nervous. I had jotted down notes beforehand, had conversations with myself about strategies we’d used during election season…but the fact is, that even though I’ve lived 24/7 the grassroots efforts of 2017 – there is still no easy answer.

The magic equation is not just a summation of number of doors knocked and dollars raised, but more of an algebraic formula of structure and attitude that equals a shift in culture from “this is a chore we’ve got to get people to do” to “this is who I am.” And, even that abstract is not abstract enough because there is so much more, psychologically, working behind the scenes. It’s a shift from no longer searching for volunteers during election season to canvass and work the polls, to growing a base of folks for whom politics has become interwoven in their daily lives. We’re collecting a community whose members are proud to be a part of the effort to move forward in our county, in our state, and in our nation. We are changing from a slogan of “Proud Democrat” to a gut reaction of “Damn straight I’m a Democrat. Why the hell aren’t you one?” That cannot be calculated in numbers, but more in layers.So, how are we harnessing this cultural shift in Chesterfield?

First, let’s look at STRUCTURE. Liberal Women of Chesterfield County & Beyond was never meant to be solely an online presence. At its core it was meant for face-to-face interaction and likeminded support during a time of extreme stress for many Democrats, especially women who saw a misogynistic narcissist steal the presidency out of the hands of a highly qualified woman. What many thought would be an historic first for the advancement of women in both politics and leadership roles, became a trigger of past hurts and harms. We were devastated, but we rapidly funneled our anger into action. We are an overall group of thousands; however, we have smaller meet-up groups structured by location or advocacy.

Our neighborhood groups are based on elementary school districts, as most people are familiar with their school district but, perhaps, not their voting districts. We have found that it’s an organic way to organize. We, also, have advocacy groups based on specific interests, such as, LGBTQ rights, environmental concerns, religious tolerance, immigration laws, and women rights. Overall, we currently have 25 smaller meet-up groups, which MULTLIPLIES our efforts in the following ways.  I’m going to speak mostly to the neighborhood groups in this section. Some hold standing weekly coffees, others have monthly dinners, and some go on field trips. They invite educational speakers, initiate volunteer projects, and advance our LWCC name into the community. So instead of one group pushing our efforts, we have multiplied it by 25 to reach likeminded voters and project a positive image into our communities.

Candidates often participate in these meet-ups, which gives our members a chance to learn more about their positions and, also, benefits the candidates through the opportunity to practice speaking and answering questions while engaging with possible campaign volunteers. This helps members feel like they know their candidate. The frequent meetings and project efforts help form a BOND between members and bring in new members who see the groups in local coffee shops, restaurants, and libraries. This mix of social and action seems to be a winning combination.These groups sponsor a lot of our LWCC community project efforts. An example of this is our High School food pantry project. When our Education Advocacy group collected money to payoff lunch debt at a local high school, we learned through the cafeteria manager that their food pantry for needy teens did not get the attention of younger kids’ programs and often needed replenishing.

We encourage our leaders to think beyond the band aide fix, to the larger picture. Is there legislation that needs to be written? Is there a larger initiative to begin? One of our neighborhood leaders started a collection of food items for their pantry, and once it was filled, decided this was something we could easily connect and achieve for all the high schools in our county. This is a great benefit for our children, and, at the same time, puts a positive narrative out there connected with “liberal.” Which leads us to our next layer, COMMUNICATION. I had a hard time deciding between VISIBILITY and communication for this section. One of the goals for LWCC is to change the negative connotation that is often associated with the term “liberal.” I think the way to do this is to own the term and create a positive narrative through a multiple of ways. Early on we designed a logo and added our tagline, which came from our first meeting in November 2016 – Each of our causes is all of our causes. We put our logo on car magnets and t-shirts. We wore them in parades and smiled. I joked that it was the first time “liberal” and “Chesterfield” had ever been put together. I’m sure at first it was a shock to neighbors, but eventually, like all things seen often, people grow accustomed to it and it seems less strange.

We went to Board of Supervisor meetings, held events, volunteered at schools and food banks, and were involved in our local politics visibly enough that the local paper, The Chesterfield Observer, long dominated by conservative articles, began to take notice and write articles with quotes from our members. There was a battle for turf back-and-forth in the letter to the editor section. We were becoming part of the fabric of Chesterfield County in a way staunch conservatives could no longer ignore. LWCC held larger events that our members were interested in, like an environmental or candidate forum. We teamed up with already existing groups like the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee or a local branch of NAACP to co-sponsor events. We created a team to register voters, which continuously looks for ways to gain more voters throughout the year. We spotlight our candidates through Money Bombs that feature them as community members and suggests direct contributions to their campaigns. We write articles for Democrat blogs like Daily Kos, which is a good platform for Democrats around the nation to gain interest and knowledge about our local races. Our ATTITUDE in early 2017 changed from, “Do we have a candidate running?” to “Who is going to run? Because if you’re not going to, then I will.” We were no longer thinking that this is someone else’s job and we could slide by without worrying or even noticing that there are races every year in Virginia.

For the first time in the history of the current eight House Districts that comprise Chesterfield County, we ran a candidate. At least one of the Republican incumbents had not had a challenger in two decades. We were no longer waiting for permission, either. LWCC worked with a local print shop to print 50,000 GOTV cards that listed the positions up for election, the voting date, and how critical it was for you to go vote. We held educational workshops on how to canvass. We pushed our neighborhood groups to canvass with our GOTV cards. We tried to let people know that it is okay not to know everything about how local government works and that we are all learning together so folks don’t feel intimidated. We found that while many Democrats might not even be interested in talking about candidates or positions, they were, usually, intrigued by our new group and would stop and chat about being a part of it.  This became a good inroad for a larger conversation about our candidates and overall efforts.We were FLEXIBLE. We encouraged members to volunteer with individual campaigns, the coordinated campaigns, and our own LWCC efforts. We held a canvassing contest between groups and members. We thought of new ways of doing tasks. For the sign up to work the polls on Election Day, we created a Sign Up Genius, which many mothers of school-aged children are familiar with since it is often used through volunteer efforts in the schools. Folks picked their polling place and time slots. The link could be easily shared for more volunteers to access.

We had, at least partial, coverage at all the 72 polling places in Chesterfield County for the first time. LWCC is NOT JUST ABOUT ELECTIONS, but rather, about all aspects of how politics affect our lives. After the elections, when many folks were gearing down, we were gearing up by teaching members how to advocate for specific issues through communication with their legislators. We held our first LWCC Lobby Day on the second day of the General Assembly. We congratulated our new legislators and introduced ourselves to the incumbents. We encouraged members to attend and witness government sessions from local committee meetings to the state level. We want members to be aware of how our government is functioning, and to consider running for these seats. Our REACH has grown and grown. We are determined to get our message of moving forward to those in Chesterfield and beyond. Our members have written tens of thousands of postcards for different races and causes. Many of these have been accomplished during the smaller group meet-ups. I am in talks with Postcards for Virginia to see about how we can, possibly, team up to reach potential voters across the entire state for GOTV. We believe in CONNECTING with likeminded groups and working together where it makes sense. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but that doesn’t mean the wheel couldn’t use some improvement. Liberal Women of Chesterfield County & Beyond now has an umbrella name of Liberal Women United that is focused on developing branches around the United States.

We, currently, have 13 applicants, with our first official branch being Liberal Women of Central Wisconsin.  I hope that if you’ve read this far, you will agree, that while this is a somewhat abstract list of how to accomplish our goals, it is, also, a solid springboard for advancing our causes throughout whichever community you call home. Early on, I heard the phrase, “I thought I was the only liberal in Chesterfield,” over and over from people. While we have learned many things this past year, perhaps the most empowering is that we are not alone, and with that knowledge, we have grown unafraid. We don’t have to be quiet anymore, because we have a community of likeminded folks willing to speak up with us.

Congressman Wittman

Stand On Your Principles...if you have them!

by John Mahoney

It might be useful now to recall that history repeats itself.

Consider that during the Vietnam and Nixon years, Philip Roth recalled in 1974, many Americans had a “sense of living in a country with a government out of control and wholly in business for itself. Reading the morning New York Times and the afternoon New York Post, watching the seven and then the 11 o’clock – all of which I did ritualistically – became for me like living on a steady diet of Dostoevsky …

Of course, there have been others as venal and lawless as Richard Nixon in American politics, but even a Joe McCarthy was more identifiable as human clay than Donald Trump is. The wonder of Nixon (and contemporary America) is that a man so transparently fraudulent, if not on the edge of mental disorder, could ever have won the confidence and approval of a people who generally require at least a little something of the ‘human touch’ in their leaders.

As for Donald’s strange that someone so unlike the types most admired in the average voter could have passed himself off to this Saturday Evening Post America as, of all things, "an American.” He acts like anything but...

Our venal and lawless president and his many apologists have created a self-fulfilling prophecy where all government institutions and our political parties do appear to be rigged and corrupt, and where appealing to, let alone adhering to, higher principles is a sucker’s bet.

So, Congressman Wittman, your choice is to take the sucker's bet and stand on Trump out for the liar, the fraud and the fake that he is, OR Join other Republicans in Congress who quake in their political boots and refuse to take a stand.

You will be vilified no matter which choice you make; such is the polarization of today's politics and culture.

Given this Hobson’s choice, what should one do? I think you should take the sucker’s bet and stand on principles that will be vindicated by history. Of course, the hard part is that first,  you and your Republican colleagues in Congress will need to determine if you have principles strong enough to stand on.

Just remember Abe Lincoln's thoughts on the subject:

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

Registration Closed

We are sorry to say, seating for the Pancake Breakfast is now completely filled. If you would like to come to the door and see if some did not show up, you  may do that. We will be releasing those seats at 9:20. There has just been an overwhelming demand this year. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Are Gun Rights more important than my Life?


In the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers avowed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” These are powerful words for they help to establish a platform upon which all democratic societies may be built and suggest we are all entitled to a certain quality of life.

However, my right to stay alive is in serious jeopardy by gun slingers who claim to have the right to bear arms according to the second amendment. The idea of gun rights was for a standing militia, and it is clear from these mass shootings that self-appointed militia have developed in our country. This conflict manifests itself over and over in the senseless mass shootings that seem to occur with regularity. The USA has more mass shootings than any other advanced country. In one study, it has been estimated that 31% of public mass shootings occur in the U.S., although it has only 5% of the world's population. And every time a mass murderer strikes, he deprives numerous law-abiding folks of their unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.

The love of guns in the United States has been well documented, as have multiple mass shootings across the country such as those in Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown, and Virginia. The ease of access to guns in American society comes at a shocking cost.

Mass shootings drive headlines and political responses, but they comprise only 2 percent of gun deaths. Every year in the USA, a firearm is used in nearly 500,000 crimes, resulting in the deaths and injuries of more than 110,000 people. But the gun-lobby has effectively silenced the information on national gun violence research by encouraging legislation that restricts data collection of gun violence. Therefore, they deprive us citizens, policymakers and public health experts of potentially life-saving facts, which is our unalienable right.

The motor vehicle, like the firearm, is a quintessential American object. It expresses values of freedom, individuality and power. And like guns, automobiles were once a major threat to public health and safety. It is time to insist that we ought to probably test people and make sure there is as much licensing and regulation around a gun as there is around an automobile.

After the Charleston church shooting, President Obama said, "At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency." After the December 2015 San Bernardino attack, Obama renewed his call for reforming gun-safety laws and said that the frequency of mass shootings in the United States has "no parallel in the world".

“The right to keep and bear arms” from the Second Amendment of the US Constitution is the regular defense of current gun laws. This right is inherited from the militias who rebelled against the British during the American Revolution, and it allows Americans to own and use a firearm to this day.
The Founding Fathers wanted to protect their newly independent nation from the tyrannical rule of the ‘old world'. With the constitution in one hand and a rifle in the other, pioneers claimed the Wild West, and a new kind of citizenship was born.

But this gun culture was then exaggerated by the National Rifle Association, which has helped stoke sales of guns with a series of sensational fear-mongering ads aimed at taking 'gun owners' rights down to gut level.' The ads used garish photos, inflammatory copy, and hyped headlines to push for the use of firearms for self-defense. Typical captions included: 'Should you shoot a rapist before he cuts your throat?' and 'If you're attacked on your porch, do you want your neighbors to be opposed to gun ownership or members of the NRA?' It’s about time for us to demand from the NRA and their stooges, the gun manufacturers, what we demanded from the big tobacco companies. Legislation which would force them to advertise gun safety and the dangers of not reporting mental illness or identifying unsafe behaviors.

But every US citizen who acquires a gun claiming his second amendment right is also taking away my right to remain alive! A citizen’s right to life has greater merit than anyone’s right to own property, especially a gun. It’s time we choose to honor our forefathers Declaration, that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.

Welcome to the registration page!


If you would like to register and pay online, please click on this link and follow instructions.


You can elect to either register online now, in person at the next Hanover Democrat meeting, or by mail.  Dues are $30.   This is not tax deductible.  If you would like to contribute an extra $100 to the cause, you are more than welcome to do so.  Feel free to send us a note about how you would like any extra donations applied.


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