Tilly Blanding (Applied)
Running for Virginia General Assembly in VA
Who am I?
Most people would describe me as a fighter. My entire life has been devoted to standing up for my core values in the face of adversity. As a young woman growing up in Jim Crow-era South Carolina, I learned early on how to fight back, organize, and lead by example. When I was 13 I began fully participating in the Civil Rights movement in Orangeburg, S.C. With my parents blessing, I picketed storefronts, sat at lunch counters, and marched with others fighting for basic human rights.
One day I was picketing the storefront of a white-owned business that would not hire any black employees. A white man in a car pulled up beside me, pulled out loaded a gun, and pointed it right at me. I soon made my way back to my parent’s home, and it was there that I was given the choice to either stay home or go back out the next day. I choose neither, and declared to my parents that I would be returning to the picket line that very afternoon.
In 1985 we came to Virginia through the Military, and I am proud that my son is still serving his country. I began my 30-year career with Fairfax County Government as a Social Worker, later joining Fairfax County’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services as a Regional Community Developer. In this position I had the opportunity to build community partnerships and develop sustainable community programs to help those in need.
What am I fighting for?
One thing that has been made very clear over my years as a community leader, engaged activist, and active participant in our politics is that Richmond is not working for every day Virginians. The Republicans have a super majority in the General Assembly that prevents common sense bills from being passed, and forces Democrats and our Governor to play defense.
We need fighters in Richmond who won’t back down to any bully, fighters who will face down the barrel of a gun and remain standing tall. While the Republican incumbent in my district announced early this month that he is no longer running, standing up to people like him is why I threw my hat in the ring. My Delegate has been voting against the best interests of Virginians for almost 23 years, and I believe I am the best candidate to replace him and give a voice to those in need.
My DFA Values
I have been on the battlefield for justice since the age of 13 – fighting for civil rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights, and human rights. I stood up for what I believed in when I was a child and haven’t stopped fighting my whole life.
Since retiring three years ago, I have remained an active part of my union, SEIU Local 512. In 2017 I was arrested with my union fighting for the Affordable Care Act, marched in Richmond for a livable wage, lobbied my Delegate on Medicaid expansion and paid sick days for home care workers, stood in solidarity with union workers testifying for better wages – and I plan to keep on going! My campaign, just like my life, is dedicated to lifting up all individuals.
As a social worker with Fairfax County I worked on programs every day that touched the hidden poverty of one of the wealthiest counties in the country. Those stories, of families struggling to get by on low-wage jobs, of children without access to computers falling behind in school, and of parents who can’t afford to send their kids to pre-school and see them fall behind, these are the stories I want to highlight as Delegate.
Call me a liberal, call me a Progressive – I will always stand up for my values and for what I believe is right.