Meet the Pinay who helped several of Virginia’s city council candidates

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — Meet Kristine Torres Caalim. She and her partner Marcus Calabrese of CPR Branding, were behind a number of city council candidates in Virginia Beach as campaign managers and political consultants.

“I want to support and help others that I know could be that positive change and I know that they’d be able to help our community in different ways, whether it’s lowering our taxes or helping our children grow and foster in this community.”

One of the candidates Caalim has been working with closely is David Nygaard.

“There’s a lot of issues that nobody is talking about, domestic violence, human trafficking. Everybody here is talking about flooding and business incubation, but not many people have a plan,” said Nygaard. “So I’ve really addressed those issues and some additional ones.”

It’s the domestic violence issue that hit closer to home for Caalim. She has been a family friend of the Gamboa family.

39-year-old Bellamy Gamboa, a mother of four, disappeared on July 1st, and was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend. The murder trial is scheduled to begin on December 20th.

“Virginia is number 6 on the list for human trafficking and in terms of domestic violence, we have some very simple solutions that won’t cost any money but would just take a little effort. And quite frankly we have 2 people die in the last 5 months as a result of domestic violence. 41 percent of murders are on the hands of an intimate partner. So it’s really a serious issue.”

Not all of Caalim’s clients won on Tuesday, votes are still being canvassed in Nygaard’s race. But getting their candidates to talk about issues like domestic violence during an election campaign, Caalim said, was already a win.

“It’s been a whirlwind, there is the tears, there is the stress — but it’s all worth it in the end.”

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