Jon-Christopher Bolling, 34 

Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia

click to enlarge chrisbolling.jpg

Scott Elmquist

Chris Bolling got into politics in what he calls the "silliest way possible" — by watching the 2004 election. "Back then, I'm a 20-year-old black guy who grew up in the North Side of Richmond," he recalls. "I don't know a single person who likes George W. Bush. To me, it was impossible he could get re-elected."

The following year when Tim Kaine ran for governor, Bolling decided to volunteer, making phone calls and going door-to-door. After Kaine's victory, he was hooked. Since then, he's worked to help Terry McAuliffe get elected governor in 2013 and more recently, was political director for Gov. Ralph Northam's successful campaign.

As executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, Bolling oversees nominating processes and basically helps all Democratic candidates get elected. Medicaid expansion was an important victory for him — as well as reaching out to veterans, not traditionally a Democratic base, through a program called Mission First, which has worked specifically with Abigail Spanberger's campaign.

In his spare time, Bolling coaches and runs a youth basketball league in Henrico County. Looking back, he thinks politics has made him a more reasonable person. "It's incremental change even when you don't want it to be," he says. "Politics has also reminded me that people are people. Everyone has their issues."

He's cautiously optimistic about the upcoming elections — "I think we have a really good shot at picking up a few congressional seats, all our women have a chance," noting the Brett Kavanaugh effect.

Might Bolling consider the same path to politics as his predecessor who held the same job, Levar Stoney? "I didn't have aspirations until recently," he says, though he's mum on specifics. "The inspiration to serve is definitely a thing now."

Back to the Top 40 Under 40



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Newsletter Sign-Up

The Flash
The Bite
The Scoop

Most Popular Stories

  • In the Know

    In the Know

    Thad Williamson, a former policy advisor for the mayor, eyes the soon-to-be vacant 5th District City Council seat.
    • May 14, 2019
  • A Q&A with RVA Fashion Week Executive Producer Jimmy Budd

    A Q&A with RVA Fashion Week Executive Producer Jimmy Budd

    • May 14, 2019
  • Ready and Willing

    Ready and Willing

    As the fashion industry changes, VCU is preparing its students with real-world experience. Meet some of the rising young stars behind-the-scenes at this year’s Fashion Runway 2019: Shimmer.
    • May 14, 2019
  • Grit and Gears

    Grit and Gears

    A Richmond biker gets ready for one of the most ambitious races in the world.
    • May 7, 2019
  • More »

Copyright © 2019 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation