Delegate Patrick Hope came to the Alexandria Campus to talk to David Miller’s Cultural Geography (GEO 210) classes on March 19. Hope represents the 47th district (Arlington) as a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He talked to the students about Virginia gerrymandering and his campaign to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.
Students learned that gerrymandering is the drawing of electoral district boundaries in awkward shapes to make the districts safe for the party in power.
According to Hope, the House of Delegates does not represent Virginia. Virginia is a purple state with roughly equal populations of Republicans and Democrats, but the power of gerrymandering makes for a lopsided Virginia House. There are 68 Republican delegates and only 32 Democratic delegates. The next election is in 2015 and population growth is expected to cause shifts in some districts.
Healthcare motivated Hope to run for the 8th U.S. House district in Virginia. His central concern is “to improve access and care for patients.” He leads community organizations dealing with aging and homelessness, and he is the director for legislative policy at the American College of Cardiology.