By Progress Virginia
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Election Day is Tuesday, November 5th
The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.
Democratic candidate Flo Ketner is originally from Floyd County, Virginia. Ketner graduated from Radford University with an undergraduate degree in English and currently lives in Christiansburg. She serves as the Treasurer on the board of the Cayambis Institute Of Latin American Studies in Music.
Ketner’s priorities include healthcare access, gun safety, and the environment. She supports expanding health care access and ensuring rural Virginians have access to life saving care and facilities. She is also concerned about protecting our natural environment and preserving our resources. She supports state ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Her opponent, incumbent Republican Senator David Suetterlein opposes both commonsense gun violence prevention measures and access to reproductive health care. Suetterlein voted against raising the state minimum wage and against expanding Medicaid to cover 400,000 low-income working Virginians.
Ketner is the more progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Republican Senator William Stanley voted against Medicaid expansion and against raising the minimum wage in Virginia. He has consistently opposed access to reproductive healthcare, including voting to cut off abortion access for low income individuals and to defund Planned Parenthood. Senator Stanley voted against legislation to prohibit discrimination on the job based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
There is not much information on the policy positions of his opponent, Independent candidate Sherman Witcher, who failed to obtain the Democratic nomination. Witcher supports better funding for schools and pay for teachers. In 2007, he ran for Senate as an independent against Republican Robert Hurt. He received 24% of the vote. In 2009, he ran again against Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Franklin, and received 21% of the vote.
Based on the limited information available, Witcher is likely the more progressive choice but you always have the option to write in a candidate.
House of Delegates
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Incumbent Delegate Charles Poindexter (R) has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2008. He has a long record of opposing progressive legislation and sponsoring bills that would harm our communities. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood and to require people seeking abortion care to have a mandatory ultrasound. He also voted to require voters to present a state-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote, making it harder for some people to make their voices heard in our democracy. Delegate Poindexter is against increasing the minimum wage and voted for a bill that prohibits localities from raising the minimum wage.
Delegate Poindexter is running unopposed. There is no progressive option on the ballot However, we still encourage you to show up to vote by writing in a name for this race and casting your vote in the other races in your district.
Democratic candidate Jennifer Woofter is running against incumbent Republican Delegate Kathy Byron. Woofter currently sits on the Lynchburg City Schools’s Equity Task Force and is the co-chair of ROSEL's List, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying, mentoring, and electing women to positions of leadership in Central Virginia. She is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer in the foster care system. Woofter lives in Lynchburg with her husband and their three children.
Woofter supports raising the minimum wage and creating jobs that pay a living wage that don’t require a college degree. She supports affordable healthcare access and expanding broadband to rural areas of Virginia. Woofter wants to fully fund our schools and increase teacher pay. She also wants to bring universal background checks and gun violence prevention measures to Virginia. Woofter believes that citizens should pick their legislators, not the other way around and will fight for an independent redistricting commission to end gerrymandering and make that a reality.
Delegate Kathy Byron was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1997. She is anti-choice and sponsored the infamous 2012 bill that would have required people seeking an abortion to undergo a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound. She does not support marriage equality and has worked to prevent equality for members of the LGBTQ community. She was opposed to Medicaid expansion and thinks our healthcare crisis can be solved with health savings accounts.
Jennifer Woofter is the more progressive choice in this race because of her position on redistricting reform and increasing the minimum wage.
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