On Saturday, April 30, the Arlington County Democratic Committee presented its 2021-22 Volunteer Awards to eight members who demonstrated outstanding leadership in the last year “As an all-volunteer organization, we rely on hundreds of individuals each year to deliver on our mission of electing Democrats from the school board to the White House,” Arlington Democrats Chair Steve Baker said. “These eight award winners exemplify the incredible spectrum of Arlingtonians who rise to the challenge of protecting and advancing democracy by engaging with local voters, helping them learn about the relevant issues and Democratic candidates, and supporting them to vote. We are proud to recognize these volunteers and are inspired by their commitment and dedication.”
Newcomer of the Year Award: Ankit Jain
This newcomer to Arlington Dems became very involved with the Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus starting as a volunteer in 2020. He was instrumental in writing the caucus's statement decrying hate crimes against Asian Americans after the horrific events at a salon in Atlanta targeting Asian Americans. In June 2021, Ankit became Co-Chair of the caucus and, additionally, was the point person for redistricting and the changes to admissions policies at Thomas Jefferson High School. Starting in August 2021, he helped schedule, plan, and execute Arlington's first-ever Diwali Festival event, serving as the event's emcee. The festival brought in approximately 150-200 attendees with a wide range of speakers including state delegates, county board members, and members of Congress. In January 2022, Ankit was elected to be the Secretary of the Caucus His hard work has directly contributed to the growth of the AAPI Caucus.
Campaigner of The Year Award: Paul Ruiz
This Arlington Democrat’s energy is infectious. Paul has tirelessly worked on a number of campaigns including last year’s 2021 Joint Campaign in which Arlington increased voter turnout to the highest rate we have ever seen. In 2020, during one of the strangest campaign seasons ever, Paul led President Joe Biden’s campaign in Arlington mobilizing nearly 1,500 Northern Virginia Democrats to support grassroots phone banks, canvasses, and visibility. He was elected as a Biden delegate to the Democratic National Convention and served as a Whip for Joe Biden in the Virginia Delegation. Allowing no rest, this year, he ran a successful campaign to be elected to the 8th District Committee on top of his Arlington Dems positions as Director of Communications and a Precinct Captain in Park Lane.
Herselle Milliken Precinct Captain of The Year Award: Alexandra Ritchie
Alexandra has been a Precinct Captain in Central Precinct for seven years. When she began, this precinct was already so high-rise heavy that it was one of the hardest for finding and keeping volunteers and precinct captains. From the beginning, she worked hard to recruit volunteers, including co-precinct captains. Given the transient nature of volunteers who live in these high-rises, Alexandra also worked just as hard if not harder to keep them. Pre-COVID, she set up social get-togethers to build a sense of community and camaraderie and add some fun. During COVID, she did her best to maintain the “we’re all in this together” mentality. In 2017, she became one of two Area Chairs in MetroWest Area while continuing as Precinct Captain in Central Precinct. Together, the two MetroWest Area Chairs were responsible for connecting with precinct captains in six different precincts, many of them high-rise heavy. Alexandra brought experience and dedication to that level of work and helped keep MetroWest in the voter-turnout game. In addition to her work as Precinct Captain and Area Chair, she has volunteered for many other Arlington Dems events and activities.
Jean Marshall Crawford Women’s Leadership Award: Carol Burnett
Carol does not seek the limelight. She prefers working tirelessly behind the scenes organizing important activities like median-sign placement AND removal; vote-tallying at events such as School Board endorsement caucuses; or helping any of our Democratic nominees whose campaigns need it. She has done many, many Messenger delivery routes in her precinct and beyond as well as other lit-drop routes all over Arlington. Carol is a powerful volunteer for the party who happens to love jobs that most shy away from. Whether it's coordinating the Dollars for Dems mailing or orchestrating the yard sign median dash, she is an expert organizer who is never afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work supporting a candidate or campaign.
Mary Marshall Outstanding Democrat Of The Year Award: Inta Malis
It goes without saying that this open-minded and humble person has kept Arlington Dems running in accordance with our highest aspirations and values. In addition to her very active role in our Steering Committee, Inta has served as a teller many times on various party-run elections, including serving as the Head Teller for the 2020 School Board Caucus, which was transformed into a vote-by-mail process on an emergency basis in order to address pandemic conditions. She masterminded a completely virtual vote count that was highly accurate and finished ahead of schedule. Undoubtedly, we would not have had a School Board candidate on the sample ballot that year without Inta’s extraordinary efforts. She currently serves on our ByLaws Committee and is steadfast in working through some complicated issues. Last but certainly not least, she has ably served for many many years as our Treasurer.
Inta’s civic contributions go far beyond her work with Arlington Democrats. In the past, she’s been very active in Arlington County Schools including chairing the 2002 Public Schools South Arlington Boundary Process. In 2003, Arlington Schools recognized her dedication with the Arlington Public Schools Honored Citizen Award. In 2010, she chaired the Wakefield High School Public Facilities Commission. She was the President of her Civic Association and the Chair of the Arlington County Planning Commission. Her long years of service have contributed to the redevelopment and beautification of the Columbia Pike Corridor, and since 2014, she has served on the Board of Zoning Appeals. Indisputably, Inta has made Arlington Democrats and Arlington itself better through years of dedicated service.
Unsung Hero Award: Jack Kinkaid
Jack was the Co-Chair of Outreach at farmers markets from 2016 through 2021, making a huge effort to keep the farmers market operational during the pandemic. He was at the Courthouse farmers market every Saturday from August to Election Day and spent Sundays at the Columbia Pike farmers market. During these strange times, he helped find ways to keep this important work going. In addition to his hard work on outreach at farmers markets, Jack serves as a Precinct Captain and has been a delegate to the Virginia Democratic Convention. He’s helped with our yard signs efforts and has bundled thousands of Messengers. On top of all this, he’s been a circuit rider on Election Day since 2016. But wait, there’s more! He also managed poll greeting for in-person early absentee voting in 2016 and 2017, including six weeks at Courthouse and three weeks at the satellite voting location. He is truly a Jack of All Trades.
Young Democrat of the Year Award: Corey Barton
Corey worked exceptionally hard last year to build the Arlington Democrats Inclusion and Equity committee, helping shepherd a bylaws amendment to create a permanent chair position and developing an Inclusion and Equity committee plan. Throughout the process, he was always open to listen and learn, showing phenomenal growth as a young leader. During the Presidential election in 2020, he energetically campaigned for Joe Biden. In 2022, he was elected by Arlington Dems to be our parliamentarian. In that role, he has chaired the effort to evaluate and rewrite the bylaws.
Erik Gutshall Community Leader Award: Kim Phillip
Kim has contributed so much to Arlington Democrats and the community as a whole. A native Arlingtonian with a passion for the arts and media, she was a natural fit to chair the board of Arlington Independent Media. After four years in the role, she left that organization stronger and in a position to continue to grow under the stewardship of the next board. She is also an instrumental member of Arlingtonians for Justice, working with the County to recommend a police oversight board and improve racial justice in the county. She has worked campaigns, served on the Arlington Dems Steering Committee in numerous capacities, and was an 8th District Committee member. Last but not least, she works tirelessly to ensure our elections are well run, accessible, and secure as a member of the Arlington County Electoral Board.