Governor Northam announces redesign and expansion of Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement

Ralph Northam giving the 2019 State of the Commonwealth address

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam announced the redesign and expansion of the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement.

The benefits of expanding this office will better serve the residents of the Commonwealth by providing additional opportunities for Virginians to engage directly with the Office of the Governor.

Facilitating communication between Virginia and the Governor is the current responsibility of the office, which includes processing requests for proclamations and commemorative documents, and flag protocol. Moving forward, the office will expand its scope with regional and constituency group outreach.

“One of the core duties of state government is to be responsive to constituents, and my office is dedicated to delivering world-class service to the citizens of Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “In making these changes, we are working proactively to engage with all Virginians to address their needs and hear their ideas so we can keep our Commonwealth moving forward.”

Enhancing constituent services is part of a larger effort by the Northam administration to make state government resources more accessible to Virginia residents.

Earlier this year, the relocation began when the office was relocated to the first floor of the Patrick Henry Office Building in Richmond, where the Office of the Governor is located. Additionally, there are several parking spaces on Capitol Square that are now available to constituents conducting business with the office.

A more user-friendly website was unveiled by the office and will produce a biweekly newsletter. The website and newsletter will allow constituents to easily submit requests for correspondence from the Governor, connect to state resources, and follow events and announcements from Governor Northam and his Cabinet. Community engagement staff will also host quarterly office hours in each region of the Commonwealth.

The Governor’s Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement will have direct oversight by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

“The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth has the pleasure of working with Virginia’s diverse population, including Virginia’s tribal communities, through many functions and services and we are excited for this opportunity to increase that engagement,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson.

Staff includes:

JD Ratliff, Director, Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement

Saman Aghaebrahim, Special Assistant for Community Engagement and Director of Asian American and Pacific Islander Outreach

Demetria Garland, Special Assistant for Constituent Services

Suzanne Holland, Special Assistant for Community Engagement

Darry Holt, Special Assistant for Constituent Services

Fernando Mercado-Violand, Special Assistant for Community Engagement and Director of Latino Outreach

Rose Minor, Special Assistant for Community Engagement and Director of LGBTQ Outreach

In addition to their current roles, Gena Berger, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and Traci DeShazor, Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth, will serve as leads for women’s outreach and African American outreach, respectively.

Click here for more information on services offered by the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement.

For more information on the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth use this link.

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