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Boddye wants to put marketing skills to work as state legislator

Ken Boddye aims to challenge incumbent Richard Anderson in Virginia’s 51st House of Delegates District.
 
Boddye submitted responses to our Project: Election survey posted below the jump.
 
Election information for 2017 from the Virginia Office of Elections: 
 
6/13/17 June Primary (called if needed)
Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Monday, May 22, 2017

Deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m.

11/7/17 General Election and Special Elections
Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Monday, October 16, 2017

Deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m.

Where do I go to vote? 

 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing voters in your district?


Boddye: Lack of transit options/traffic congestion, education challenges, and hurdles in the job market

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Boddye: In the realm of transit, making investments to expand PRTC and provide multi-modal solutions for Prince William residents will go a long way in easing traffic congestion. Expanding bus service both cross-county and toward the beltway, developing light rail between key hubs within the county and to others, and offering easier access to the VRE and Fast Ferries are among the top ways to fix our transit issues.
 
For education, channeling state funds into easing class sizes, improving infrastructure, and properly staffing for students with special needs. Decreasing the amount of required standardized/benchmark through legislation is also a must, as is fostering partnerships between high schools and local businesses to create avenues for vocational and technical training. Finally, development of a local teacher’s forum to give educators a voice in the decisions made by all levels of government.
 
Finally, the jobs market. Developing partnerships between the board of county supervisors, developers, and businesses inside and outside of the state would be the first step. This would allow us to begin the process of attracting a much more diverse set of businesses to the district and to the county as a whole. With these businesses – coupled with improvements to our transit system and public schools – would come higher-end jobs which pay a quality wage and attract even more businesses to the area.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Boddye: To me, a state legislator – especially in Virginia – is someone who wears many hats and is a dedicated problem-solver. Although creating, voting on, and passing laws are all prominent aspects of the office, I do not believe they are the only duties a delegate should have.
Among the other hats worn by a delegate is that of a community organizer. It isn’t enough to simply knock on doors and have town halls; an effective legislator is able to get the word out on important bills at the street level, ensuring that all constituents that he/she serves is aware of the legislation going through the General Assembly. The local party committee can serve as a conduit for this organizing, but it is imperative either way. Community organizing is also an effective tool in discovering and increasing public support for initiatives and legislation.

Another hat is focused on networking. That means connecting various groups and individuals who are all working for the common good of the community. This includes but is not limited to: the board of county supervisors, the school board, PRTC, other municipalities, and the various state agencies which interact with them. This also includes serving as an advocate and firewall for those on the ground within those local institutions, such as the teachers, principals, county planners, and others who actually work for our communities day-in and day-out.

Another one – a very important one – is a hat focused on public service. Being a public servant means doing more than just showing up to events for a photo op and then leaving; it means actually getting involved with the local non-profits, community organizations, churches, and charities that are serving the community. These organizations are specialists in providing help to those who need it most, and I believe it’s important for any elected official to at least have a working relationship with these organizations; ideally one based on serving alongside them toward common goals.

 
Finally – and most importantly – the role of a listener. Listening to the needs, concerns, and daily challenges of our constituents is key to finding the proper solutions to those challenges. No matter the political leanings of the elected official and his/her constituents, it is important to keep an open and honest line of communication built on trust.
All of these qualities boil down to leadership; the ability to take various individuals and groups throughout our communities, connect them, and harness their collective will and resources to affect positive change in the lives of our constituents.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Boddye:
Due to my professional background in insurance, I will be able to look at existing insurance regulations and carrier best practices to ensure our current laws are properly protecting consumers while fostering a competitive and prosperous environment for retail agents and insurance carriers.
The condominium and homeowner association regulations are also another area I would work to improve; giving associations the autonomy to better their communities while also protecting the rights of individuals unit owners, homeowners, and tenants.
 
As an effective marketer, I would work tirelessly to advocate for our district and Prince William County as a whole. That means developing relationships with non-profit organizations, other elected officials, businesses, and developers; these relationships would then allow us to attract better businesses to the area, secure grants and other funding for the investments we need. These marketing skills would also be employed to convince my fellow legislators of the value in supporting legislation which helps our constituents here in Prince William.
As someone with a community organizing background, being able to mobilize support and awareness of legislation – no matter what level of government – would also be another asset I would bring. The end goal would be presenting my positions and solutions in a transparent and engaging way which the average citizen would be able to get involved with.
 
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of state government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Boddye: No, but a lot of that is no fault to those average citizens. Folks have busy lives, and we have not created an easily-accessible way in which they can get involved and educate themselves on our political process. Some media sources would also focus on sensationalism rather than politics as well, and that plays a role in keeping those citizens away from how their government works.
The solution to this issue is multi-pronged. The first prong is voter expansion. Currently, a large segment of the eligible population does not vote; that usually translates into general political apathy and lack of knowledge about the political process. Empowering our communities to exercise their right to vote is the first step of giving them ownership in engaging with the political process, and learning about how that process works.

Education is the next prong; that means bringing civics back to the classroom and ensuring that bodies like the board of county supervisors are widely advertised to the general public. For General Assembly legislation, education also means ensuring the general public know about resources such as the The Virginia Public Access Project (vpap.org) and Richmond Sunlight. Ensuring that the general public knows that we have elections every year in Virginia is a vital part of this solution as well.

The final prong is public engagement. I would organize town halls in various areas of the 51st, and partner with other elected officials to take these town halls to areas where folks don’t normally get the ear of their representatives; churches, community centers, and even homes. Grassroots engagement would be part of this prong as well, getting folks who ARE well-informed and understand the issues and workings of government to share that knowledge with their neighbors in an engaging way. Social Media, email, and other mediums would also be used to get our message to as many citizens as possible.

 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Boddye: I have definitely made mistakes in both my public and private life. These mistakes have been both large and small, and have affected my standing in the community, my relationships at work, and my personal bonds. At the same time, though, they have made me a better person.
 
My mistakes are a constant reminder that I do not know everything, do not always have the answer, and that I should consult others. Acknowledging your flaws and mistakes isn’t always easy, but I like to look at them as learning opportunities and personal challenges to be overcome.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Boddye: A vote for me means a vote for progress in the lives of working Virginians. I will fight each and every day to provide practical solutions to the issues facing our friends and neighbors.
 
Those solutions aren’t always legislative, either; they could very well come in the form of advocating for teachers, PRTC administrators, county planners, police officers, and others who have the experience and expertise necessary but not the access to the levers of government themselves.
 
A vote for me is also a vote for someone who is still in workforce, still paying off college debt, and who must commute, just to name a few. In short, legislators should be folks who aren’t removed from the day-to-day experience of the bulk of their constituents. I definitely represent that experience as I am still currently living it.
Finally, a vote for me is a vote toward building a movement that gets average citizens engaged in the political process and changes the dynamics of public service. I do not want to be the sole face of my district; I want the entire community to be involved in addressing the issues that we are all going to be facing together. I will be accountable to the active and engaged public who voted for me. That’s what progress looks like, and how our political system should be.

Candidate Profile

Candidate Name

Kenny Allen Boddye

Contact Information

Website

Facebook 

Twitter

Candidate Stats

I’m running for House of Delegates 51st District Brentsville, Dale City Lake Ridge, Nokesville, Woodbridge

Work:

  • Underwriter and Marketer for Community Association Insurance

School:

  • I graduated from Pacific Hills School – a small private High School in West Hollywood – in 2005.
    In 2009, I graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Georgetown University, which included minor concentrations in English and Japanese.
    I have also completed several Property & Casualty Insurance courses in both Florida and Virginia as part of obtaining and maintaining my insurance license.

Community involvement:

  • Since moving to Prince William County, I have been involved with a few different groups. I’m a member of the PWC NAACP and I have been to several meetings of the Cooperative Council of Ministries (CCoM). I’m also a member of the Prince William County Democratic Committee, a member of the Occoquan District Democratic Committee, and soon-to-be member of the Prince William County Young Democrats.
  • I also sit on the Steering Committee and Communications Committee of Our Revolution Northern Virginia, which was formerly known as Northern Virginia for Bernie Sanders. Now that we operate as an independent group, we are committed to advocating and organizing around progressive goals.
  • Late last year, I helped revive a group now known as Our Revolution, which is a successor group to Prince William County for Bernie Sanders. We are still building an organizing structure, but most of our membership has already committed to organizing around awareness and advocacy for local issues; the coal ash at Possum Point and homelessness throughout the county are among the first issues that we are contemplating engaging.
  • Most recently, I’ve also become a member of the PWC chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and I look forward to working with them to stand in solidarity with women throughout the county and the commonwealth.

Political affiliation:

  • Democrat