Minutes of the General Meeting of February 8th, 2022

Suffolk Democratic Committee General Meeting

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order with a quorum by chairperson Leslie Rinaldi at 6:36

Acceptance of Reports

The minutes, which had been emailed to members, were accepted.

Catherine Anson presented the treasurer’s report which will be filed.  Ms. Anson thanked Natalie Greyson for her donation and for not charging for printing costs related to the recent election.  Ms. Anson noted several expenses including the cost of the website’s server and an increase in postal fees.  Ms. Anson also spoke about the increase in the cost of the meeting room

Meeting Location

While presenting the treasurer’s report Catherine Anson said that the cost of the meeting room will increase in March from $159 to $212. . It would have increased in January but the Hampton Inn agreed to hold the current price until March.  Leslie Rinaldi said that a potential new location is the Comfort Inn on Bridge Road, which would cost $75 per meeting


Councilman Lou Ward spoke about redistricting.  Councilman Ward said the two maps which were produced on commission were unsatisfactory because they split up neighborhoods which normally vote together. Councilman Ward said Jonnie Edwards and he created a new map which keeps Pughsville together. The map is labeled "Map C",  and Mr. Ward encouraged people to come to city council meetings and express support for Map C

Elaine Luria

Representative Elaine Luria addressed the committee.  Due to Congressional redistricting, Suffolk will fall into the 2nd District, for which Representative Luria is running for reelection.  She said she needs signatures to get on the ballot.  Rep. Luria said the 2nd District is one of the most competitive and a very important swing district.  Ms. Luria serves on the House Armed Services Committee.  She has also been selected to serve on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and currently serves on several other Congressional committees including the January 6th committee. Her work includes getting services for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals.  Representative Luria said the 2nd will be a tough race and Suffolk is key.  She pledge $1000 to the committee

Greg McLemore

Franklin City Councilman Greg McLemore addressed the committee and said with the current status of state redistricting there may be House of Representative elections based on redistricting in 2022 or 2023.  He said he was not campaigning now but expressed interest and wanted to introduce himself.  Councilman McLemore is Vice Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Black Caucus.

Michele Joyce

Michele Joyce will be running for delegate for the 84th House District.  She spoke about her interest in getting involved when her neighbor had difficulty accessing necessary health care, and spoke of her history working on Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008.  Michel Joyce is a software developer for the particle accelerator in Newport News and said she is a problem solver who knows how to work with people and knows the organizers in the community.

Committee Memberships

Leslie Rinaldi said she is looking for volunteers to service on committees within the Suffolk Democratic Committee.  Karen Jenkins also called for members of the events committee.  D.J. McGuire said the first Outreach meeting would be on the 17th and asked for people interested to contact him by email

2nd District Reorganization

Sandra Brandt of the 2nd District Democratic Committee addressed the committee to discuss the reorganization. Ms. Brandt explained the process by which delegates from Suffolk will take part in electing delegates to the 2nd District, who will also be members of the state central committee.  Leslie Rinaldi called for volunteers to be delegates to the convention, not necessarily from the SDC but from among voters in Suffolk.  The convention will be via Zoom.


Benjamin Goldberg gave a presentation urging committee members to join the SDC Slack Channel

Public Participation

There was much discussion about the upcoming elections and the need to support candidates and raise money.   There was also  discussion about the need to attend school board meetings, city council meetings, and electoral board meetings, all of which have  been overrun by opposition

Recent passing of committee members and supporters

The committee held a moment of silence in memory of Verjena Jones, Robert Stephens, Curtis Milteer, and Jeff Gardy.  Reverend Isaac Baker expressed disappointment that nobody from the committee spoke at the wake for Verjena Jones, but several committee members said they had attended and spoke to the family.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:21