Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, as one would expect, is playing on her identity as a young, African-American woman in her bid to become the next Speaker of the House. But there’s more to her appeal to fellow Democrats than identity politics. She has a plan — a plan for the Democrats to get off to a fast start in the 2020 General Assembly session.
Aird lays it all out in her “60 Day Plan for a Stronger Commonwealth,” which she has posted online and disseminated widely. (I presume she distributed it widely if I got a copy.) Therein she lays out her ideas for the internal caucus structure of the House of Delegates (seen in the diagram above). I have never covered the General Assembly as a beat, so I don’t know how novel this structure is. (Perhaps Steve Haner could fill in details). Whatever the case, Aird clearly has spent a lot of time thinking about it. This chart suggests to me that the young woman, 33 years old, has considerable organizational acumen.
Four of the positions in the org chart would be elected by House Democrats. I assume that the Speaker would have considerable sway over who is appointed to the other leadership positions. Am I being too cynical if I suspect there might be some vote-for-me-and-I’ll-appoint-you-as-vice-chair-of-whatever maneuvering going on?
Aird also describes the organization of the new Democrat majority’s leadership team: an operations workgroup, a finance workgroup, a legislative workgroup, and a personnel workgroup, and she provides a “transition timeline” between mid-November and early January for getting things done.
Has any other would-be Speaker drafted such a plan before? Has anyone published it as a slick document and put it online for the world to see? If nothing else, the transparency is unprecedented.
There is considerable speculation in the media about who will become the next Speaker. Northern Virginia’s delegation will exercise disproportionate clout in the Democratic caucus, and there is widespread expectation that Del. Eileen Fuller-Corn of Fairfax has the edge. However, three of the four announced contenders are from NoVa. If votes of the NoVa delegation split three ways, and if Aird lines up strong support from the downstate contingent, especially among African-American delegates, she may have a realistic path to victory.
Even if Aird doesn’t win the top prize, there can be little doubt that she will elevate her visibility within the party. I would be surprised if, at the very least, she does not wind up with a senior leadership position of some kind. As a fresh face in the Democratic Party, she is definitely a woman to watch.There are currently no comments highlighted.