By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
When Virginia’s current State Director John Knapp retires at the end of the year, Keren Charles Dongo, a Black woman who served as the campaign manager for U.S. Senator Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) 2018 re-election campaign, will take his position.
Kaine announced Dongo’s appointment on Dec. 3, while also honoring Knapp’s service.
“I’m so proud of John’s work over the past six years and am grateful to have Keren serve as my new State Director,” Kaine said according to a statement submitted by his office.
Dongo is no newbie to Virginia’s political scene- or to working with Kaine for that matter. Even before working as Kaine’s campaign manager for his 2018 re-election run, Dongo served as Deputy State Director and Legislative Assistant in Kaine’s Senate office, where she oversaw various outreach efforts and legislation related to “federal employees, civil rights, crime and law enforcement, general government and campaign finance reform,” according to memorandum released by Kaine’s office regarding the appointment.
In addition, Dongo helped draft and rouse support for “400 Years of African American History Act,” a bipartisan effort by Kaine, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) which passed last year. The 400 Years of African American History Act, would institute legislation to launch a National Park Service commission in order to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival into English Colonial America in 2019.
Dongo has also been a major mover and shaker within the Virginia Democratic Party. She worked as director of Virginia’s Democratic Campaign in2012- the force that helped to elect Kaine to the Senate, re-elect President Barack Obama and get Democratic members in Congress. Dongo also served as an advisor to Rep. Scott and worked as Virginia’s Outreach and Political Director of the 2008 Democratic Coordinated Campaign.
Dongo also served as deputy field director at the ONE Campaign, a non-partisan, international advocacy and campaigning organization that works to combat extreme poverty and preventable diseases, and lobbies for politicians to support policies and programs that align with their efforts to help save lives.
Kaine noted Dongo’s previous success as a member of his staff and major relations within the state as primary reasons she is equipped to take on the new role as State Director.
“With her deep ties to Virginia and past success on both my state and legislative staff, Keren brings a level of talent and experience that is sure to continue my state team’s record of excellence,” Kaine said.
Dongo took to Twitter to express her excitement about her new position.
“Thanks everyone for all the support. It’s an honor to work again for [Tim Kaine] on behalf of all Virginians,” the new Virginia State Director wrote.