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

virginiaGov. Ralph Northam has announced the redesign and expansion of the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement.

Enhancing this office will better serve residents of the Commonwealth by providing additional opportunities for Virginians to directly engage with the Office of the Governor. The office is currently responsible for facilitating communication between Virginians and the Governor, 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. The reorganization began earlier this year 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, several parking spaces on Capitol Square are now available to constituents conducting business with the office.

The office has unveiled a new, more user-friendly website 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.

For more information on services offered by the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services and Community Engagement, visit governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services.

For more information on the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, visit commonwealth.virginia.gov.

 
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