Roanoke City Democratic Committee – Day of Action — Roanoke City Council

Calling All Democrats! 

Please join us this weekend to as we work to elect our Democratic Candidates to Roanoke City Council!

We won beyond our expectations last November because of the hard work of strong Democrats like you.   Help carry that momentum forward and let Roanoke City, Virginia and the Nation know that Democrats are ready to work and will not be stopped.

Join us this Saturday
February 10, 2018, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Delegate Sam Rasoul’s Office
3027-C Peters Creek Road Roanoke, VA 24017
Contact Chris Fury @ (540)265-2669
if you need assistance

Sign up on Facebook

Featured Guest Speaker:

Mayor Sherman Lea

Schedule of Events:
9:00 – 10:00 AM: Volunteers Arrive
10:00 – 10:30 AM: Mayor Lea Speaks
10:30: Canvassing Begins

Meet the Roanoke City Council Democratic Candidates

Three candidates properly filed for the three open seats for Democratic Party Nomination in the upcoming Tuesday, May 1, 2018 Election for Roanoke City Council. The number of candidates equal the number of available seats; therefore, the Unassembled Caucus (Firehouse Primary) on Saturday, February 10, 2018 is cancelled.  Our Candidates for City Council are, in order of filing:

Joe Cobb

has dedicated his life to empowering others to create a better world. He’s been a member of clergy here and beyond since 1985, served as Executive Director of Roanoke’s Interfaith Hospitality Network, and has ceaselessly worked on social justice advocacy throughout his career. He’s ready to learn about, champion, and take action on the issues near & dear to your heart to shape a city where people, businesses, and the arts can thrive.  He wants to ensure that the city we love is welcoming and full of opportunities for all–regardless of gender, gender identity, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, physical abilities, health, or religion.

Find out more about Joe

Robert Jeffrey, Jr.

is a Progressive Democrat running for Roanoke City Council. He is committed father, grandfather, small business owner, and civic leader. Jeffrey was born and raised in the city; graduating from Roanoke public schools.  As publisher of community-focused ColorsVA Magazine, his pursuit is to bring our diverse neighborhoods together by “Celebrating Our Similarities; Understanding Our Differences”.  Robert is active board member for the Goodwill Industries of the Valley and participates in numerous volunteer activities to support children and families as a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.  Jeffrey graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree.

Find out more about Robert

Djuna Osborne

is a clinical social worker who is deeply passionate about the people of Roanoke. She is running for City Council because she believes that we deserve to have a city that works for all of us, no matter where we live, work, shop, or play.  Djuna moved back to her husband’s hometown to raise their family and is fighting to make sure that all families can thrive here and call Roanoke home, too

Find out more about Djuna

Please like our Facebook page for news and events regarding our candidates and don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, May 1, 2018!

Call to Caucus for Roanoke City Council 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018



Contact: Stephen Niamke
Chair, Roanoke City Democratic Committee
(540) 519-4211

There are three (3) open seats available for Democratic Party Nomination in the upcoming Tuesday, May 1, 2018 Election for Roanoke City Council.

The Roanoke City Democratic Committee will be holding an Unassembled Caucus (Firehouse Primary) at this place and time:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

9:00 am – 6:00pm

The Berglund Center
710 Williamson Rd NE
Roanoke, VA 24016

in order to nominate our candidates for the positions.

For details, and the rules regarding the Firehouse Primary, please see the official Call to Caucus document.

Candidates wishing to file for nomination must submit a Declaration of Candidacy Form and pay Filing Fees by no later than Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5:00pm, following the instructions provided in the Call to Caucus and the prior Pre-Filing Announcement.

Pre-Filing for Democratic Nomination to Roanoke City Council

Wednesday, January 17, 2018



Stephen Niamke
Chair, Roanoke City Democratic Committee
(540) 519-4211

There are three (3) open seats available for Democratic Party Nomination in the upcoming Tuesday, May 1, 2018 Election for Roanoke City Council.

The Roanoke City Democratic Committee will be holding an unassembled Caucus (Firehouse Primary) on Saturday, February 10, 2018, for the purposes of selecting the Democratic Party’s Nominees for this office.   The formal Call to Caucus, including the time, location, filing fees, and other rules governing the process will be announced on Wednesday, January 24, 2018.

In order to be on the ballot and secure an opportunity to be selected as one of three Democratic Nominees for Roanoke City Council, candidates must declare their candidacy by Pre-Filing.  Candidates must download and fill out the Declaration of Candidacy form.

The form is available now, and candidates for Democratic Nomination may begin the Pre-Filing Process.

Declaration of Candidacy Forms must be returned and Filing Fees paid no later than Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 5:00pm using one of the methods described in the instructions included with the form.


Welcome to 2018!

Greetings One and All,

I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the holidays and that the new year looks promising for you and yours. I am excited about what lies ahead for the Roanoke City Democratic Committee.   I look forward to working with you as we launch a campaign centered upon a theme that calls for us to VOTE EVERY DAY.   This is a standing invitation to join the Roanoke City Democratic Committee on January 18, 2018 and every day. This is a call for you to MAKE YOUR MARK on the ballot on election day, but in the community every day.

As I have become increasingly involved in the community and local politics, I have come to understand that voting isn’t an activity reserved only for election day. Making your mark or a difference in the community takes much more than an occasional effort. We must make a sustained effort. We must demonstrate consistency. We must run the marathon, endure the gauntlet, and make the sacrifice. We must fully appreciate the role casting a ballot has in defining policy. We must understand that policy or legislation is the defining component in the quality of life for the average citizen in the United States of America, the State of Virginia, and the City of Roanoke. We must organize ourselves in a manner that allows us to effectively assert our influence in the interest of our children, the environment, and those who have been marginalized or minoritized. We must make our mark. We must VOTE EVERY DAY.

My calendar is marked for Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 6pm and for the same time the third Thursday of every month. I trust that yours is too. My ballot will be marked in the interest of the people, the planet, and progress. I trust that yours will be too.

Thanks for all you do,
Stephen Niamke
Chair, Roanoke City Democratic Committee

Why am I a Democrat? I remember.

“Why are you a Democrat, Ryan? I just don’t get it.”

That conversation happens a lot more than I care to admit and I can only give a two word answer: I remember. Of course, there’s a lot more to the answer than simply two words, but that’s the gist of it. It doesn’t have the same implications of the je me souviens of my Québécois forebears, but it’s all about remembering. Years ago, before moving to Roanoke, I waited tables. If you’ve never waited tables before, let it just be said that it is a character-building exercise. Between discovering how I related with others and the capacity to generate income from waiting tables at a national chain, it was a significant learning experience.

But there was more. Have you ever been injured on the job? Do you remember that story from the 1990s of the woman who sued McDonald’s following being scalded by their superheated coffee? Well, here’s a combo platter for you. About a month after I began working at the chain restaurant, I was severely burned by a faulty hot-water dispenser attached to a tea brewer. My right hand experienced blistering and it hurt like an angry mother.  I was 22 and I had no idea what to do. My employer was useless. So I iced it. No health insurance; couldn’t go to the doctor. Obamacare was still the fevered dream of a liberal, so I couldn’t get coverage from under a parent’s plan. My hand blistered and slowly healed without medical attention; I have no idea what infections I could have exposed myself during that period of unsupervised recuperation. Of course, the bills needed to get paid, no such thing as paid time off when you’re working a low-wage, low-skill job.

A couple weeks after the hot water incident, I developed a cold. Coughing here, there, everywhere. Again, I couldn’t go without the income, so I became patient zero in whatever petri dish that this restaurant was in March of 2007. This cold didn’t respond to a mass influx of OTC medications and an endless stream of citrus and evolved into pneumonia. Again, no doctor options since I had no insurance and the limited income also limited how much medication I could reasonably purchase. It sucked. I was sick for 4 weeks. 4 weeks of hacking and coughing, having a hard time breathing, and having to work for a crowd of people. By the way, have you tried doing a job interview while having a fever of 102 degrees?

It’s an experience, I’ll tell you what.

But that, in short form, is why I’m a Democrat. That’s why I support a living wage or some sort of basic income for every person, universal health care access, and strong labor rights with robust private-sector unions that collectively bargain for all employees. Because for a short period of my life, I learned what it was like to live adjacent to the margins, not truly on the margins, since I could rely on my education and privileged position in society to get me out of the table-waiting game. And while I had always thought of myself as a Democrat before, up until that point, I didn’t understand the implications. It was always an abstraction. Health care was an abstraction. Insurance was an abstraction. Everything was an abstraction from a book. Never real, never experienced. Until then.

That, my friends, that is why I am a Democrat.


(This post was adapted from my original post located here:

Local Strike at the Christiansburg Target

This guest report comes courtesy of Charles Simpson.  He was asked to put together a post about the recent strike at Target in Christiansburg.  One of the strongest values of the Democratic party is a pro-union sentiment as outlined in the party platform. Local efforts to organize are important and are fundamental to creating a fair and safe working environment. Mr. Simpson is one of our most active members and is heavily involved in local union activity. We here at the Roanoke City Democratic Committee Blog reached out to Mr. Simpson for his comments on the recent events which are as follows:

Target Workers Strike
by Charles Simpson

Target store employees in Christiansburg VA went on strike from Tuesday August 22nd through Sunday August 27th.  The reasons behind this labor action was due to the store’s General Manager Daniel Butler’s years-long abuse. Worker testimonies included instances of inappropriate touching, suggestive comments, racist remarks, misgendering of transgender employees, and physical abuse.

These coworkers strategically planned for this event well in advance by talking with different government agencies and legal groups to determine the best courses of action.  There was/is always a possibility of the striking workers being disciplined for their actions but up until this point that has not occurred.

The rallies on the public sidewalk in front of the Target Store ran each day from 10am-6pm.  These brave individuals gained support from various labor unions, the VA AFL-CIO, progressive organizations, local students as well as the general public.  It was truly inspiring to see the rally of grassroots support for their fight. On Sunday the group leafleted tech campus asking all new students to boycott the Target store when the “College Shopping Extravaganza” was planned where college students are shuttled into the area to stock up for the class year.  

The strikers are reporting back to work as of Monday August 28th but they plan to continue to keep the movement going with regular press events and more grassroots actions.

Please read more about the strike and see workers testimonials at

Have a topic you’re passionate about? Want to contribute to our blog? Contact the editor at

What Side We Must Stand On

(image source

In lifetimes a few moments hang like crystals in front of a window. They reflect,  refract, and color the rest of a timeline. One watches these moments – sparkling and sharp – and imagines them in the history books. The recent events in Charlottesville are such a moment.

Any discussion on the events must – if one is to be on the right side of history – begin with this: What happened in Charlottesville is not defensible in any way, shape, or form. This is not an issue with “many sides” as our President initially claimed: It is an issue with one side which marched through the streets throwing Nazi salutes, chanting racist and anti-Semitic epithets and one side that resisted them. Among the crowd that celebrated hate and fascism there were many prominent members of the so called “alt-right” as well as some members of more traditional conservative organizations such as the WSU president of College Republicans.

The Roanoke City Democratic Committee unreservedly condemns those in Charlottesville who were there as, or in support of, the white supremacist terrorists. We are committed to supporting and protecting those in our community whom such terrorists would seek to harm. The Roanoke City Democratic Committee believes that all of Virginia – including Roanoke – should be a welcoming and safe place to live for all minorities. Additionally, we must note – in recognition of the particular tone and content of the terrorism that occurred this weekend – that we especially want to emphasize our commitment to providing a welcoming and safe environment to members of our community who are black and/or Jewish.

We invite anyone who is interested in joining us in the endeavor of supporting and protecting minorities in Virginia to join us this Thursday for our general meeting. We will be meeting at 6 P.M. at the Co-Lab in Grandin Village. We hope to see you here.

Get Your Donkey to the Polls!

Roanoke City Democratic Committee is unveiling our 2017 Slogan, and we’re very excited to offer you a chance to carry it around on your arm.  The official Roanoke City Democratic Committee Tote Bag!  Available only to RECURRING donors and available only through this link.

(We learned from NPR aka The Best! :P)

The tote bags are union made, union printed, and will have a union bug.

Roanoke City has a proven history of electing Democrats – we have Del. Sam Rasoul representing a large portion of the city in the Virginia House of Delegate, we have Sen. John Edwards representing us in the Virginia Senate.  We are proud to have Democrat Sherman Lea as our Mayor, and on the Town Council, we have Vice-Mayor Anita Price and Dr. David Trinkle.  In addition, we have constitutional officers Evelyn Powers as City Treasurer, and Sheriff Tim Allen, both of which have elections in November.

We also have some amazing candidates who are running for office in November, and we need to support them.  Djuna Osborne – social worker and Women’s March leader running for Virginia Delegate seat in HoD 11, and Melvin Hill, running for a Commonwealth Attorney.  Close by, we have Stephen McBride, running in HoD District 8.

What we don’t have is a steady stream of income, and frankly… we need it.  We have yard signs to purchase and hand out, we need to be handing over cash to our Democratic candidates, we need to be holding events such as Town Halls and Rallies for our candidates.    We need to be canvassing and getting supplies for canvassers at our coordinated campaign office.

And that’s why we are asking you to give the same amount per month you would spend on a cup at Sweet Donkey CoffeeHouse.  We have GOT to elect more Democrats in SW Virginia, and campaigns are not cheap.

We’re pretty excited to have swag for our recurring donors.  And the best part is – you can give us money even if you don’t live in Roanoke City!  That’s right!  Democrats up in NoVa can help get SW Virginia Democrats elected by helping fund local committees.  I will happily send you a bag no matter where you live. 🙂  After all, we ALL want to get our donkeys to the polls!