Oct. 29, 2019

BONUS: Help Dr. Ghazala Hashmi Flip Virginia

BONUS: Help Dr. Ghazala Hashmi Flip Virginia

We’re interrupting your normally scheduled programming with a Special Election Report! So, today, Quinn & Brian ask: Will You Help Us Flip Virginia?

Our guest is Dr. Ghazala Hashmi, an immigrant, educator, and mother who is running in the general election for Virginia State Senate District 10 on November 5, 2019 — just seven days after this episode airs! That means there are just seven days left to flip Virginia and make it blue.

This is a special episode for us, and not only because we think Brian’s U.S. electoral map Halloween costume looks much better on him in blue (we’re thinking long-term here). Virginia is also Quinn’s home state and we have an opportunity to guide it towards a significantly more kick-ass future with women like Ghazala at the helm! So, if you don’t do it for the future of our nation and world, will you at least do something for Quinn?

Want to send us feedback? Tweet us, email us, or leave us a voice message!

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Important, Not Important is produced by Crate Media


Quinn:                  Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmet.

Brian:                    And I'm Brian Colbert Kennedy.

Quinn:                  This is the podcast where we try to bend the arc of history towards a more livable planet for you and me and everyone else.

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Brian:                    We've had scientists, doctors, engineers, politicians-

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Brian:                    ... astronauts-

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Brian:                    ... as the guests and we work together toward action steps that our listeners can take with their voice and their vote and their dollar.

Quinn:                  That is true. This is your friendly reminder. You can send questions, thoughts, and feedback to us on Twitter @importantnotimp or you can email us at funtalkatimportantnotimportant.com. You can also leave a voice message, which are always super fun at the link in your show note.

Brian:                    We'll definitely share some of those at some point in the near future here.

Quinn:                  Yeah, stop sending weird ones people. I'm not going to do those.

Brian:                    True. You can also join tens of thousands of other smart people and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter at importantnotimportant.com.

Quinn:                  Brian, this week's episode is a special one.

Brian:                    Sure is.

Quinn:                  A special request for us to help out here. We're pretty excited. There are seven days left to Flip Virginia Blue. The only full statewide election in 2019. Man, we've been doing everything we can behind the scenes to help do that. Working with our partners at Swing Left and Flippable and Progress Virginia and everybody. Today, we're going to try to hammer that thing home.

Brian:                    Yes we are, and our guest is a woman. She's an immigrant, a mother, an educator and now, a politician who is just inspired the hell out of both of us-

Quinn:                  Man.

Brian:                    ... and so many more people, and has one week left and your campaign to lead Virginia toward a significantly more kick ass future.

Quinn:                  That's right. The incredible Dr. Ghazala Hashmi is here on the line today to tell us why she's in the race and her plans for, it seems like, not only Virginia but I think the world-

Brian:                    The world, yeah.

Quinn:                  ... if she wins. So look, you might have never been to Virginia. Maybe you don't care to. You have other plans, but just as our first opportunity like we did in 2017 to show some progress, to show that we're ready for 2020 and also just to change Virginia for ever. So we've got seven days. Please tune in and then basically, just throw all your money at this if you could. That'd be great.

Brian:                    Everything. Let's just do it.

Quinn:                  All right, here we go.

Brian:                    Let's listen.

Quinn:                  Our guest today is Dr. Ghazala Hashmi and together we're going to talk about flipping Virginia in seven days. Dr. Hashmi, welcome.

Dr. Hashmi:         Thank you so much, Quinn. I'm delighted to be here.

Brian:                    We are so very excited to have you. This is an important part. Who are you? Please tell everybody and what are you doing doctor?

Dr. Hashmi:         So thank you so much for this opportunity. I'm Ghazala Hashmi and I'm the democratic nominee for the 10th Senate District in Virginia, and this district in particular is a very, very critical part of the state election this year. All of our state Senate seats are up for election as well as our delegate seats. In this particular district, we have a really remarkable opportunity to flip the Senate, to flip it blue and this may be one of the deciding campaigns that we have going on this year. So we're really excited. This particular State Senate seat encompasses parts of City of Richmond as well as two counties, Chesterfield County and Powelton County. So it is a mix of the rural, the suburban as well as the urban areas. We have a very dynamic group of folks that live in the area with a lot of different interests and constituencies.

Dr. Hashmi:         So we are working really hard to make sure we reach all of the voters in the district. As far as my background goes, I've been in higher education for close to 30 years in this district, teaching at first the University of Richmond. And then, I later moved to the community college system. So I've been at one of our local community colleges for almost two decades, and it's really there that I saw the impact that education can have on the lives of an individual, the opportunity to get a strong education. It means that not only does the individual's lives change, but it impacts the family. It impacts the community. So I'm very, very committed to making sure that we have educational opportunities for all of the families in Virginia and especially those who are first-generation and can achieve degrees that will better support their families and improve their lives. So those are my primary areas.

Quinn:                  Sounds like not a big deal. So we don't usually dig too much into tell us your life story stuff, but I would love to hear, if you don't mind, talking a little bit about coming over to the U.S. and then I guess, your transition of your decision to transition from being a part of the education system and into politics.

Dr. Hashmi:         Sure. So I am an immigrant and I came to the United States when I was four years old. I came with my family from India and that was in 1969. So a long time ago. 2019 is actually just a fantastic year for me to be running because it's also my 50th anniversary of arriving in America.

Quinn:                  Wow.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yeah, so. There's no better way to celebrate and serve the country that's given me and my family so much than to run for public office.

Brian:                    Yes.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yeah, I grew up in Georgia. So I've always had a deep love and affection for the South. It's the communities that have nurtured me and that have really helped me to be a part of this country. My husband and I moved to the Richmond area in 1991. So we've lived here for close to 30 years ourselves now. We've raised two daughters here and our girls have had the benefit of a wonderful public school system, and we want to make sure that every family has the kind of benefits that we've achieved. My background is actually in American Literature.

Quinn:                  Cool.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yeah, I went to school at Emory University for my PhD and I focused on American Poetry in particular, looking at a Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams and other American poets. My dissertation focused on how the idea of an American identity was a discovered or actually created and what that meant through our American poetic systems. So I focused on the development of an American identity through poetry, through our text and that actually is a part of why I'm running. I decided to step out of my comfort zone of being in higher education, being in the classroom and I decided to run for office because those American ideals that I know that so many of us value. The ideals of democracy, of justice and equity. Those are being challenged out a very severe level throughout this country and I knew I had to speak up because of the values that we all share. I have to be a representative voice for individuals who don't have the same opportunity to speak for themselves. And so, that was part of my motivation for running.

Quinn:                  Wow. That sounds pretty damn good to me. We're thankful you made the choice.

Brian:                    I mean, could you ask for a better candidate? Honestly, that's just incredible. Awesome. A reminder just to everyone, what we'll talk about today is, Quinn will provide a little context for our topic, Flipping Virginia. And then, we'll dig into some action oriented questions that get to the core of why we should all care about you running and what's happening and what could happen in Virginia, and a what we can all do about it. Does that sound good?

Dr. Hashmi:         Sounds good. Yes.

Quinn:                  Okay. So Ghazala, we do start with one important question to really set the tone of our conversation today. So we'd like to ask and please take this however you would like. But Ghazala, why are you vital to the survival of the species?

Dr. Hashmi:         I love that question.

Quinn:                  I encourage you to be bold.

Dr. Hashmi:         Well I think there's a lot at stake and this is not just our state level politics, and it's not even just our national politics. But it's actually our sense of who and what we are as a human society, human civilization. And really, I go back to... I'm sorry. I'm going to be talking a lot of poetry I think today.

Quinn:                  Into it. Let's do it.

Brian:                    Don't ever apologize for that. Yeah.

Dr. Hashmi:         So I don't know if you know the quote from Hirsi Bish Shelley, who's a British romantic poet. He has a great line that states, "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. I love that line because really what he's talking about is the concept that if we're going to identify what we really value as human beings and what is truly representative of us as societies, we're going to find it in the art and in our culture. It's our artists, our poets, our great philosophers that really help us to define who and what we are as human beings. When we start losing sight of that, when we start to give homage to wealth and to corporations and our desire for consumption, we lose sight of what we are as a human species, don't we?

Quinn:                  We do.

Dr. Hashmi:         So that's where I'm coming from, is this sense of identity that is really integral to all of us regardless of our ethnic background, regardless of our religion, our gender. We all have common aspirations. We all have a common sense of our moral structure and it's through our culture that we're reminded of that, and that's my message. That's what I'm trying to constantly reiterate. That when we're like taking a look at this campaign and what we're trying to achieve in Virginia, we're really trying to return to our core values and what we value is making sure that all of our families and all of our communities have a fair, an equitable representation. That they have an opportunity for a decent life. That they have access to resources that are going to promote good communities for all of us and it's just a basic concept, isn't it? That we ought to be looking out for each other and this is what we're trying to do.

Quinn:                  It seems so basic, doesn't it?

Brian:                    Yeah, it's like common sense.

Quinn:                  And I feel like there are so many people who do believe that, and it's hard to get beaten down when other folks don't. But we have to stick to it and I appreciate that that is a fundamental tenant of both who you are and what you're pushing for here over the last few months and then certainly over these last seven days. Okay. So just a little context for people who aren't as crazy about this stuff as I am. So two years ago, we nearly flipped Virginia for the first time in a long time. Decades. Everyone's always told you when you're a kid, when you're growing up, "You're a specific responsibility. Every vote matters." And people are like, "Ha, ha, ha." So 50% of our country votes, right? Well, the Virginia election came down to one vote, which had actually been nullified and then it was decided for the bad guys. That's not an exaggeration. And then to settle the tie that came from that, names were actually pulled out of, what to me, looked like a mixing bowl and then we lost by an [crosstalk 00:00:14:11]. And yet, we got so close and made so much progress that the GOP had to actually cave on some things and that included giving 400,000 people Medicaid, health insurance and some for the first time ever. 400,000 people just in Virginia.

Quinn:                  So seven days from now on November 5th, 2019, we're going to try again and we're going to do it this time. The Commonwealth of Virginia, which is the second hardest place to vote in America. It is the site of the world's largest Naval base and the mighty Chesapeake Bay. It is my home and we're going to turn it blue and then, there's no going back. We are going to turn Virginia into a progressive bastion. It is going to be the tip of the sword for an even bigger 2020. If you want to make an impact in 2020 I encourage you to start this week. And then, we are going to rebuild and redesign our democracy, starting with the state and then moving out further and our lands and our waters and our jobs into a cleaner, greener and more just society for everyone.

Quinn:                  So that's why it's important that we flip Virginia blue. But as always, we, Brian and I, are looking at this election from the perspective of the most vital issues facing the planet and humanity and all of our creatures. But especially this week, Virginians. So Dr., as temperatures increase and affect minorities and the poor and the elderly, most of all, what can Virginia do to provide even better healthcare? Why is it important with so many changes happening to build on that Medicaid win of 2017 and push it even further?

Dr. Hashmi:         That's a great question and you're absolutely right, that affordable health care and access to health care resources are just at the top of everybody's list. Because it affects all of our families and we have to do things better, not just in this state, but nationwide. And there's absolutely no reason why the richest country on earth cannot provide health care access and support for every person here. There is such great disparity in health care resources. I was talking to one of our regional directors of a health care here and he pointed out that within a five mile radius, you can find the disparity is so great that there is actually a 20 year difference in lifespan.

Dr. Hashmi:         ... a 20 year difference in lifespan. That's not acceptable.

Speaker 1:           Wow.

Speaker 2:           Jesus Christ.

Dr. Hashmi:         People that live within five miles of a radius within each other, depending on their income, depending on their access to healthcare services, you're going to have an entire community that lives 20 years less than their neighbors. We can do much, much better than that. So when we're taking a look at building on the Medicaid expansion, which as you rightly pointed out, provided access to previously uninsured Virginians, 400,000 previously uninsured Virginians, insurance to them, that's life transforming for so many people.

Dr. Hashmi:         But what we can do now is to continue to expand on that gain and make sure that we lower the cost of prescription drugs, that we make sure that our folks have the ability to get to healthcare services. So healthcare dependency is not just on making sure we have insurance, but it also includes making sure that our folks can actually reach the facilities that are going to provide them adequate service.

Dr. Hashmi:         We've got healthcare deserts in the same way that we have food deserts, and we have to do better in that area as well. This Richmond region suffers from a lack of effective public transportation. So many of our communities don't have the ability to actually get to a hospital or get to a medical facility when they need it, or those costs of transportation are prohibitive to them. We have opportunities to build our telehealth services so that they are reaching not just rural populations, but urban centers where this lack of access is predominant. So we have many things that we can do, many things that we need to do, and we especially need to focus on those communities that have suffered the greatest in terms of generational disparity in having access to appropriate healthcare.

Speaker 2:           Yeah, I love it. I mean, we obviously, in a much, much more concerted way, but also more diverse, but still very telling, have a lot of those same life expectancy issues out here in Los Angeles. The difference between somewhere like Brentwood, which is actually on fire right now, but is incredibly wealthy, versus the more south central parts of Los Angeles, is devastating. I mean, from the urban heat issues, the fact that the only trees on the streets don't exactly provide any shade, because they have, well, what should be coconuts hanging from them, we've got a lot of issues. We've actually had a couple conversations with folks talking about the differences and similarities between a place like Los Angeles and Washington DC where the minorities are already suffering. Those deserts for healthcare are just unacceptable in a progressive society. It would be amazing to see Virginia make much more progress there.

Dr. Hashmi:         Absolutely.

Speaker 1:           Yeah. So slight left turn, because I'll ... Virginia has a proud military constituency. How can Virginia prepare for sea level rise around the naval base in Norfolk and the Newport News shipyard, which are two of the Commonwealth's biggest employers and, obviously, protect huge parts of national security? And how much of that is in federal versus state hands?

Dr. Hashmi:         That's a wonderful question. We certainly need to be taking all of this potential damage and destruction very seriously. And as you point out, it affects not just Virginia, but it is a matter of national security as well. So part of our concern is, first of all, we have to acknowledge that there is a climate crisis. [crosstalk 00:21:43]

Speaker 1:           That would be a good start.

Speaker 2:           That's helpful. Thank you for that.

Dr. Hashmi:         That would be a great start. We've got folks who are in denial about this area and this very, very critical concern. The fact that we have an administration that has pulled us out of the Paris Accord and has denied consistently, we've seen regression in our research and our ability to move forward because of lack of funding now from the federal government. And all of these deficits that we've seen, especially since the Trump administration has come into office, these are deficits at the most critical point in human history. This is the period at which we ought to have been absolutely focused on moving forward, and it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of smart people to undo the damage that we've seen in just these past two and a half years.

Dr. Hashmi:         I fully believe Virginia has to be in the lead in addressing these issues. And we have to, first of all, begin to educate everybody about the issues of crisis that we have. We have to develop new technologies that are going to enable us to move away from our dependency on fossil fuel and allow us to channel a different kind of green energy that's going to open up new opportunities for us to address these critical concerns.

Dr. Hashmi:         And then where you point out about the the naval base and the rising sea levels, I know Virginia is focused on these areas. We have to move quickly to address the floods that are currently happening in the Hampton Roads areas and in Norfolk, and that is going to take a lot of time and effort. I think individuals have said that it'll take almost a decade to initiate and complete this work of building seawalls around the naval base, making sure that we have the infrastructure in place to counteract the rise of water. And just the smallest increase in water is a threat to not just the naval base there, but to the communities that are living there. I think I read just a increase of three feet is going to be devastating to that whole area.

Dr. Hashmi:         So this is the time that we have to act. If the federal government is not going to do it, our state government certainly has to take action immediately. We have to be a leader as a state and join in partnership with our other surrounding communities and begin to tackle this serious concern.

Speaker 2:           I love that. And aside from just like, "What can Virginia do?", it's terrifying and tragic how many American cities are already under threat. I mean, you look at what Miami is dealing with on a day-to-day basis, what they call sunny day flooding, and in New York and New Orleans and so many places like that, again, just talking about sea level rise, much less the rivers that are flooding in the middle of America or with a fire that's 10 feet from my house.

Speaker 2:           But the only good thing about this is hopefully with a more progressive state administration we can learn from each other from what all of these other cities are dealing with. Because New York has a lot on the line and they are throwing everything they can at it and they're bringing in the Dutch to try to learn what they can from them who've been dealing with it for hundreds of years. Hopefully we can all, with a more progressive administration, look at that and say just like, "Everything is on the table. We have to talk to each other." That's why I love seeing these alliances like C40, all the mayors and the Climate Alliance of all the state governors and things like that who are just doing whatever they can because the feds aren't going to do it for us.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yes, that's right.

Speaker 2:           So let's pivot one more, and I know you don't have too much time, so we don't want to steal you for very long. We have such a proud history of science in Virginia, from, again, just what happens in Norfolk and in the Newport News Naval Base to all of our incredible outdoors, Science and Ecology, and our NASA installations and things like that. It's funny, I'm from Williamsburg, and William and Mary is this wonderful institution, but we have a hard time retaining Computer Science graduates and things like that. And I just think from the local and collegiate level, what can Virginia do on the state level to increase science funding and science accessibility for the new generation so we become a leader in those places?

Dr. Hashmi:         Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's wonderful. Yes. And you're right, Virginia has been a leader in this area and we have to move forward in a very aggressive manner and continue to do that. I'm really excited to work in this area because as an educator that's been a very important concern for me is to make sure that we are providing the funding resources to continue to promote educational opportunities in so many different ways throughout the state. Whether it's providing grants to fund our STEM programs, or especially to bolster the opportunities for women in these fields or underrepresented communities in these fields, there is just so much that is exciting and that can be done.

Dr. Hashmi:         So for me it starts with education. I really am committed to making sure that we have universal pre-K so that our communities that typically do not have the access to high quality pre-K programs will be able to provide that for their children. Research has shown that when young students get a great and early start in education, and really what we're talking about is socialization into learning, not just a focus on academics, but when they get a great start in that, then they will do well in their subsequent school years. So having universal pre-K is an important part.

Dr. Hashmi:         And then when we're talking about our public schools systems, making sure that we are funding our science and technology programs, giving equitable access to technology resources. So many parts of our state suffer from lack of broadband access, which is so amazing in 2019 that there are communities in Virginia that don't have access to broadband. That affects education, it affects the business of communities, and that's another issue of infrastructure that we have to focus on because it comes back down to equity issues again. So giving students those opportunities to really engage in the development of emerging technologies and to focus on science and engineering, all of those are special focus points.

Dr. Hashmi:         One thing that's really excited me is that we have so many young women now who are entering into science fields and engineering fields. That has been a huge shift generationally, and it's just encouraging to see that these fields, which have traditionally been male dominated, are opening up to so many different groups and these young folks are bringing in their creativity and their excitement and are really passionate about what they're doing.

Dr. Hashmi:         So if we continue in this development, my background and community colleges also, and enables me to see the ways in which we can nurture all of these fields, establish strong partnerships between high schools and community colleges, and then also community colleges and our four year universities, we can provide funding at the state level to support these education programs and to continue to nurture a pipeline of young folks who are engaged and interested in these fields. And we can certainly support our teachers as they are helping our students.

Speaker 2:           I love all of that. Yeah, from increased encouragement and participation of young women and minorities, and even better, I mean, the golden ticket, right, young female minorities, in early education in elementary and middle and high school, up to ... I mean, Virginia's incredible. We have so many wonderful universities. I always love to plug William and Mary, and my grandfather went to UVA.

Dr. Hashmi:         Absolutely.

Speaker 2:           But our community colleges were wonderful. I grew up down the street from Thomas Nelson and had so many friends go there. What we can do to enable those places to become just these amazing hubs of innovation and producing incredible, not just scientists or engineers, but citizens for the 21st century, again, it just feels like it's so close to being within our grasp if we can just get there to enable these amazing things. The opportunity is the thing that inspires me and kills me at the same time. It's like, "Oh, if we could just get there and get the people and the administration in place to do this, what we could do!"

Dr. Hashmi:         Right. Right. It is exciting. And it's especially exciting to me because I've been working with so many young folks who are passionate, very, very smart. I'm very optimistic because of the generation I've seen my daughter's age. I've got one daughter who's almost 20 and another who's 26. The folks who I work with on a daily basis, they're the smartest group of people I've worked with. They're also very civically-minded. They're so concerned about the world they live in, and they are committed to making sure that we have a better world. So that inspires me, working with young folks like these who know we can do better and know that we have to do better.

Speaker 2:           It's really cool, isn't it? These young people care so much and they have so much energy, and it makes me both inspired and feel very old and tired. But it's incredible. But it makes you go like, "Boy, I got to keep up with these guys." I mean, they just refuse to take no for an answer, as the saying goes. The status quo is just so completely unacceptable to them, or even getting back to neutral. They're like, "No, no, no. We're rewriting the books."

Brian:                    Back to neutral. They're like, no, no, no, we're rewriting the books. This has to be a better place for everyone, especially the people who have been, the system has been designed against for so long, whether that's housing or healthcare or education or environment. Not only how do we get them back to a level playing field, but how do we enable them to do incredible things because they can and they should be allowed to. I mean it's crazy. It's like playing with one hand tied behind our back.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yeah. They're so creative and just ready to innovate and put all of their passion and the energy towards what they're doing. So I'm really inspired as you are by these kids.

Brian:                    It's pretty awesome.

Dr. Hashmi:         They're not kids.

Brian:                    I mean-

Quinn:                  They're not kids. They're not kids.

Brian:                    I know. It's crazy.

Quinn:                  Because our goal is to provide our listeners with specific acts and steps that they can take to support you and your mission with their voice, of course, and their dollars. So let's get into them and let's start with voice. One of our overall arching goals here is to shine a light on where we need to go as a people.

Quinn:                  So what are the big specific and actionable questions that we can all be asking of our representatives, like yourself? Basically how can your future constituents challenge you to do even more?

Dr. Hashmi:         Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think one thing we have to hold all of our representatives responsible for is making sure that they are responsive to the needs of the people they represent and not to any corporations or anyone who is channeling a large amounts of money. So, one thing we all have to ask our lawmakers is that they respond to their constituents.

Dr. Hashmi:         And especially those individuals who have the least amount representative voice within their areas and districts. And that's just a important responsibility for each of us. And the other big areas that we can challenge our lawmakers is that they live up to what they have promised.

Dr. Hashmi:         But if they have shared their values and if they've been elected on those core value statements that they have expressed, but they have to actually do their best to follow through on those promises. And then-

Quinn:                  Make sure they're walking the walk.

Dr. Hashmi:         Exactly. And then we have to have integrity. I've been-

Brian:                    Seems like such a wild notion.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yeah. I've just been completely dismayed at the utter breakdown of integrity in our Washington politics. What we thought or the systems that were meant to keep in place are the checks and balances to ensure that we have responsive government and that there is ethics that are being practiced on every level. We've seen how fragile that is and how it can be destroyed. And we have to make sure that we are responding to that breakdown and that we do everything that we possibly can to reorganize and restructure it and to strengthen it.

Dr. Hashmi:         So that it can't be so easily dismantled as we've seen it happen in these last few years now.

Brian:                    Right. Clearly we need to improve some things, cause it was like you said, way too easily dismantled. It turns out the infrastructure, in all regards, literally from our bridges and our seawalls to our ethics, we have some work to do to rebuild those. But we have to be willing and excited and ready to do that work. It's going to be a lot, but-

Dr. Hashmi:         It is.

Brian:                    We are enthused to have people like you leading the way, certainly.

Dr. Hashmi:         Well thank you.

Quinn:                  Doctor, what can we all do with our dollar, to help?

Brian:                    In this last week.

Dr. Hashmi:         Well thank you for-

Brian:                    Let's get specific.

Quinn:                  In the next seven days.

Dr. Hashmi:         Thank you so much for asking. And this is just so critical to be able to run an effective campaign to bring in the kind of support and resources that we need. We do need funding and we have an opportunity for everyone to contribute at GhazalaHashmi.com. That it is my campaign website and we would really appreciate the support of your listeners and the opportunity to change.

Dr. Hashmi:         Virginia is so near for us and as we like to say in Virginia, when Virginia leads in the right direction, the rest of the country will follow. And so we hope that what we are doing in 2019 is going to set the stage for what we see happen next year in 2020 for the rest of the country.

Quinn:                  I mean it helps though, right? That's what happened two years ago is everyone's like, "Oh my God, if they can do it there." And I feel like everyone got so much more fired up for the rest of that push and we made so much progress so but we will absolutely put a campaign URL in our show notes and throw it all over-

Brian:                    Of course.

Quinn:                  Social media and Brian will keep clicking on it.

Brian:                    Awesome.

Quinn:                  Well doctor, we just have a few last questions if you don't mind before we get you out of here, if that's all right.

Brian:                    Yeah. Thank you so much for your time.

Dr. Hashmi:         Thank you. I really appreciate it.

Quinn:                  This has been, this part has been temporarily called a lightning round for 85 episodes and I haven't actually changed the name of it. One day, one day.

Brian:                    We should probably keep it sort of quick this time.

Quinn:                  Yep, absolutely. We've got to get her out of here. Ghazala, when was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?

Dr. Hashmi:         Probably as a young teenager that I knew I could make up my own mind and defy my parents. And I knew I could do what was right for me, and I'll leave it vague at that.

Quinn:                  All right. That is awesome. That is empowering for sure. Ghazala who is someone in your life that has positively impacted your work in the past six months?

Dr. Hashmi:         In the past six months. Wow. You know, I'm going to actually give credit to my campaign manager, Mr. Phil Stein. He has made a huge difference in helping me to run an effective campaign and I've learned a lot from him. I'm sure he's learned a lot from me. But in the past six months, he has been probably one of the most important individuals in my life.

Quinn:                  Oh, that's pretty awesome. Well, I enjoyed my few emails with him and a phone call to try and get this thing done. We're so excited to help. And he seems like he's on top of it.

Dr. Hashmi:         He is.

Quinn:                  Brian, take it home here.

Brian:                    Of course. Doctor, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed by all this? What's Ghazala's self care?

Dr. Hashmi:         I always love to read and so I go back to the books. I like to reread actually. I go back to the books that have informed me. So whether it's reading poetry, I will do that. And one of my favorite novels, well my most favorite novel is Moby Dick. And I make it a point to reread Moby Dick every year so that I am reimmmersed in that. It gives me a long, long range view on life and on what's important.

Quinn:                  I love that. That's awesome.

Brian:                    Wonderful. I love reading and there's so many books to read. I don't know when I would ever have time to reread another one. That's amazing. I look up to you. Speaking of books, Ghazala, if you could Amazon prime one to Donald Trump, what book would you send him?

Dr. Hashmi:         Does he read? I don't know.

Quinn:                  Look, we've got to start stipulating-

Brian:                    We'll never know.

Quinn:                  That ahead of time? No, I think we know Brian, I don't think it's like a, "we'll never know."

Brian:                    True.

Quinn:                  Let's pretend either it's a book of pictures or someone's going to read it to him or even audio book. I mean everyone can listen to an audio book.

Dr. Hashmi:         I think it would be very useful for him to receive a copy of the constitution.

Quinn:                  Excellent.

Quinn:                  I love it. That sounds good. Yeah. The thing about the emoluments clause the other day, "If you find the emoluments clause", it's like, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It's written down." It's a... oh, God. Anyways. That's perfect. Dr Hashmi, is there anything else you would like to say to our listeners? Anything else to speak truth to power before we get you out of here?

Dr. Hashmi:         I just think that it is so vital for all of us to remember the roots of our democracy, to remember what we value as a society and that we continue to do everything that we can to preserve the country we love and that that ideal of democracy is based on the values of bringing in voices from throughout our country. And respecting the fact that we are inclusive. That we treasure each and every person and that we have to have a common and shared humanity that is going to define who and what we are.

Brian:                    I love that. Might be scribbling that down to put it on a t-shirt for myself right now. Dr. Hashmi, I'm so thankful that you're running, that we could make this work to help however we can this last week. I know it's close, but we were believers and we can't wait to celebrate with you soon.

Quinn:                  Yes.

Brian:                    And it is incredible that this is around the 50th anniversary of your arrival. And I do hope that there are other folks who are somehow managing to come here for whatever reason that can look fondly upon their arrival in 20 and 30 and 50 years from now. And hopefully we can build a place that stands up for them. That stands for the good things that they've heard and then we can represent them and also be challenged by them.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yes.

Brian:                    In the most important ways because that's theoretically what this all experiments all about.

Dr. Hashmi:         Yes. I love what you just said. Oh that's wonderful. Thank you.

Brian:                    Ghazala, last thing, where can our listeners follow the campaign online and follow you online?

Dr. Hashmi:         My campaign is on Facebook and I think that is Hashmi for VA is on our Facebook handle. And then Hashmi for VA also on Twitter and all of those links are connected through our GhazalaHashmi.com website.

Brian:                    Sounds like a heck of an operation over there.

Quinn:                  Excellent.

Brian:                    Well, Doctor Ghazala, thank you so much for your time. Thanks for what you're doing. We'll let you get back to it, knocking on doors, whatever else you got up today, hopefully taking a nap or something. And we're going to be keeping tabs and doing everything else we can this week. So best of luck and we'll definitely follow up with you once this thing has over.

Quinn:                  Happy anniversary.

Dr. Hashmi:         Thank you. It was wonderful to talk to you.

Quinn:                  Thank you for being a teacher.

Brian:                    All right. Thank you. Thank you for being a teacher. Oh, I-

Quinn:                  [crosstalk 00:46:28] And an inspiring mother to the youth of our nation.

Brian:                    Absolutely. By the way, I totally forgot to mention, you are potentially my older brother's new state Senator. He lives in your district in Midlothian, so-

Dr. Hashmi:         Oh, I love that.

Brian:                    There's a lot on the line here. So I'll make sure to kick his butt out the door to come knock on some doors this week.

Dr. Hashmi:         That sounds great. Thank you Brian and thank you Quinn. Really appreciate it.

Brian:                    All right, we'll talk to you soon.

Quinn:                  Thank you Ghazala.

Brian:                    Thank you so much.

Brian:                    Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute or awesome workout or dish washing or fucking dog walking late at night that much more pleasant.

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Quinn:                  And you can follow us all over the internet and you can find us on Twitter at importantnotimp. That's just so weird. Also on Facebook and Instagram at importantnotimportant. Pinterest and Tumblr, the same thing. So check us out, follow us, share us, like us, you know the deal.

Quinn:                  And please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this. And if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple podcast. Keep the lights on. Thanks.

Brian:                    Please.

Quinn:                  And you can find the show notes from today, right in your little podcast player and at our website, importantnotimportant.com.

Brian:                    Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our jamming music, to all of you for listening, and finally, most importantly to our moms for making us. Have a great day.

Quinn:                  Thanks guys.