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.
Incumbent Senator Jennifer McClellan is a Democrat who grew up in Petersburg. She serves on the board for both the YWCA of Richmond and the Richmond NAACP. She is also on the board of the Children’s Museum of Richmond and the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood.
Senator McClellan was elected in 2017 and is the only Senator that has been pregnant while in office. Prior to her election, she served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 11 years. She has proven herself to a pro-choice champion, sponsoring multiple bills to protect and expand reproductive rights. She has voted to raise the minimum wage and to increase teacher salaries. Senator McClellan also voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia and fought to put protections for breast feeding into state law.
Her opponent, Libertarian Mark Lewis, advocates for eliminating the minimum wage and expanding access to guns. He would repeal Medicaid expansion and supports school voucher schemes.
Senator Jennifer McClellan is the progressive choice in this race.
Dr. Ghazala Hashmi is an educator and currently serves as the Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL) at Reynolds Community College. She immigrated to the United States 50 years ago from India. She earned her PhD in English from Emory College before moving to Chesterfield where she has raised her children.
She is an advocate of reproductive rights, renewable energy, and accessible grade school and higher education. Hashmi is vocal about her desire for paid family leave and broadband access for rural communities. If elected, Hashmi would be the first Muslim-American woman in the Virginia state Senate.
Incumbent Republican Senator Glen Sturtevant voted against Medicaid expansion and against raising the minimum wage. As a member of the Courts of Justice committee, he has repeatedly voted against common sense gun violence prevention measures. Senator Sturtevant has introduced legislation to cut taxes for corporations at the expense of working families and repeatedly opposed policies to protect and expand access to abortion.
Ghazala Hashmi is the progressive choice in this race.
General Progressive: Progress Virginia
Reproductive Freedom: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia
Independent candidate Waylin Ross was born and raised in Petersburg. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Old Dominion University. Ross went on to get a graduate degree in public policy from George Mason University. During his time at ODU, he graduated from the Sorensen Institute’s College Leaders Program. Ross is the Founder and first president of ODU's political honor society, Phi Sigma Alpha. Ross previously worked at Northern Virginia Community College teaching both micro and macro economics. During this time, Ross opened his own company, ParaLobby, which gives government support to businesses. In 2015, Ross was appointed by the Governor to the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation.
Ross supports women and families, and supports the ratification of the ERA. His website also states that he believes in reproductive rights. While he supports the 2nd Amendment, he wants gun safety measures to ensure less violence and lowered recidivism. Ross supports the expansion of Medicaid and wants mental health and addiction services to be readily available to Viriginians. Ross supports at-home monitoring systems for non-violent offenses, which challenges the pre-trial detention system we currently have. He supports automatic rights restoration and Election Day voter registration.
His opponent, Democrat Joseph Morrissey, was a member of the House of Delegates from 2008-2015. Morrissey self-identifies as “pro-life” and has supported anti-choice legislation. This includes supporting legislation that limited state funding for abortion. Morrissey is an attorney whose law license has been suspended multiple times. In 2013, Morrissey was convicted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He fulfilled his Delegate duties while on work release from the local jail.
Ross is the more progressive choice for this race.
House of Delegates
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Dawn Adams is a doctoral prepared nurse practitioner with more than thirty years of diverse clinical and administrative health care experience. She currently resides in Richmond with her partner of over 16 years and their two dogs.
During her time in office, she successfully passed 57% of introduced legislation in 2019.
Delegate Adams’s legislative focus is health care, particularly around issues affecting elderly and vulnerable populations. She also wants to protect and preserve the environment, provide quality affordable education and to create infrastructure toward building healthier communities through better policy.
Her opponent is Republican Garrison Coward. Coward is currently pursuing his MBA. His campaign priorities ignore many issues impacting Virginians. He supports right-to-work laws that hurt unions and the families they are intended to protect.
Delegate Adams is the more progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Betsy Carr was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009. She represents parts of the City of Richmond and the County of Chesterfield on both sides of the James River. Previously, she was a director of outreach for St. Paul’s Episocopal church in downtown Richmond. She is a grandmother of 6 and a mother of 3 sons.
Delegate Carr fights for progressive values, most recently by supporting the elimination of the suspension of driver’s licenses over unpaid court costs and fees and increasing funding for the 2020 Census.
Even though Delegate Carr is running uncontested, she is the more progressive choice for this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Delores McQuinn was born in eastern Henrico County, Virginia, where she grew up and attended public schools. She graduated from Highland Springs High School in 1973.Delegate McQuin has lived most of her adult life in Richmond’s Church Hill district where she currently resides. She studied at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University.
Delegate McQuinn organized town meetings on gun violence prevention and proposed bills that sought to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline. She also introduced bills to combat the substance abuse mental health crisis plaguing Virginia.
Delegate McQuinn is running uncontested and is the progressive choice in this race.
Prior to winning elected office, incumbent Democratic Delegate Jeff Bourne was appointed by Attorney General Mark Herring to serve as the Deputy Attorney General for transportation, real estate, and construction litigation for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Delegate Bourne is committed to education, environmental protection, criminal justice reform, and housing equality. He is proud to have led the bipartisan passage of bills like HB 1600, which limited long-term school suspensions to 45 days, and HB 1922, which provides stronger safeguards against landlords who mishandle eviction proceedings.
Delegate Bourne is running against independent Pete Wells. Wells supports the legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use in Virginia. He also wants to end capital punishment and aims to eliminate punitive solitary confinement in state prisons.
Jeff Bourne is the more progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Rodney Willett is a Virginia native who practices law, representing local governments in Virginia. He has been instrumental in establishing and expanding free legal assistance programs while running his practice. He serves on the board of Rx Partnership, which provides free or low-cost prescription medication fulfillment to uninsured Virginians. As a member of Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Advisory Board, Willett has fought to endure the continuation of life-saving healthcare coverage for kids.
Willett is pushing for every Virginian to have access to affordable, quality healthcare that covers pre-existing and chronic conditions. He also advocates for Virginia to put more funding into mental health care and addiction treatment. Willett is supportive of sensible gun policies including establishing universal background checks for all gun purchases.
His opponent is Republican Mary Margaret Kastelberg. Kastelberg was born in Richmond, Virginia and currently works in investment management. She opposes Medicaid expansion.
Willett is the progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Lamont Bagby is a former member of the Henrico County School Board. He received his bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University and his master’s from Virginia Commonwealth University.
During his time in office, Bagby proposed a bill to ensure additional affordable housing in Richmond. He also co-sponsored sensible gun laws including one which mandated that authorities must be notified if a gun is lost or stolen. Additionally, he supported adding funding to the Housing Trust Fund, increasing the number of school counselors, and addressing healthcare billing, while also providing additional tax relief for Virginia. Bagby also played an important role in ensuring that Virginians no longer have their driver’s licenses suspended for failure to pay court fines and fees.
Delegate Bagby is running unopposed and is the progressive choice in this race.
Jer’Mykeal McCoy is the current president of the Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals and works as a business development manager at Schutt Sports. No other information is available about this candidate.
Chuck Richardson represented the 5th District on Richmond’s City Council from 1977 to 1995, when he was convicted for distributing heroin. No further information is available about his campaign.
Mamie Taylor formerly represented Richmond’s 5th District on the School Board from 2012 to 2016. She is married with three children who are all graduates of Richmond public schools. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Virginia Commonwealth University and currently works as an educational advocate for students with special needs at the Richmond Public Schools system.
Taylor is running her campaign on quality governance, transparency, and equity. She promises to promote transparency and clarity, tax reform, economic opportunities, better infrastructure for city streets, public schools, fair housing, better oversight of government spending, and more funding for public parks if elected to Richmond’s City Council. She also opposes the Richmond Coliseum development project.
Graham Sturm is a history teacher at Armstrong High School. He grew up in Chesterfield County and obtained his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech. He later graduated with a Master’s in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Sturm and his husband, Carlos, live in the 5th District with their dog.
In his campaign for the 5th District City Councilmember, Sturm promises to be a voice for education on the council by making school construction and the need for more public school funding a top priority. He wants to promote economic development in the city by focusing on planning more mixed-income housing developments, addressing the concerns of local business owners, and creating a better school system to attract more homeowners to the city. Sturm believes that taxes are too high in the city while the services citizens receive are subpar. He wants to make the city budget process more transparent and responsive to citizens’ needs. Sturm also wants to fight for ordinances that will help fund city parks and community gardens. Sturm promises to fight for equality for all of Richmond’s residents and he opposes the Richmond Coliseum development project.
Robin Mines is the Associate Minister at Hood Temple A M E Mount Zion Church and a former member of the U.S. Airforce. Mines has no website and does not have any information on her campaign available for the public to see.
Thad Williamson is an associate professor of leadership studies at the University of Richmond and has served on the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission. He’s lived in Richmond since 2005 with his wife, Adria, and their daughter, who currently attends Albert Hill Middle School.
As 5th District Councilman for the City of Richmond, Williamson has outlined three priorities for his service on the City Council: improve the city’s school system so that students have better education outcomes and parents have confidence in sending their children to Richmond Public Schools, expand economic opportunities for city residents, and make City Hall more efficient and accountable to city residents. He wants to build more affordable housing in the 5th District, push the city government to develop a citywide affordable housing plan, revitalize the Hull Street Corridor, and address obstacles to obtaining permits at City Hall. Williamson wants to make the city government an effective and functioning partner with the community by supporting equity in hiring practices, more accountability with regularly published updates on initiatives and task forces, and implementing ethics recommendations.
Stephanie Lynch attended high school in Prince William County and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the social work field from Virginia Commonwealth University. She currently works as a social worker and is employed by Good Neighbor as the Director of Government Affairs, Strategy, and Development. She advocates for affordable healthcare and better services for people suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
Lynch is running to represent the 5th District on Richmond’s City Council because she wants to promote trust and transparency at City Hall by holding the city accountable for its promises. She wants to keep an eye on how residents’ tax dollars are spent and to lobby the state legislature for more funding. She plans to introduce holistic solutions to Richmond’s public schools by implementing trauma-informed care at the schools and allowing teachers a better say in how decisions are made. Lynch is pushing to ensure that Richmond follows through with its promises to be a “green and clean city” by honoring citizen input and prioritizing funding for public transportation. She also supports gun violence prevention efforts.
Nicholas Da Silva is a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and Democratic Socialist. Da Silva is running his campaign on housing affordability, police accountability, food and transportation justice, funding of the city’s schools, and economic empowerment. He believes Richmond should fully fund its schools before committing to projects like the Navy Hill development project. He wants to give renters more rights in the city to resist eviction and mistreatment by landlords. He plans to reduce traffic by making public transportation free for every resident in the city. Da Silva wants to make the city’s police more accountable by making their statistics available for the public to see and foster community trust. He also opposes the Richmond Coliseum development project.
Colette McEachin is a Deputy Prosecutor for the City of Richmond and she has worked in the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney’s office for more than 20 years. She is the wife of U.S. Representative Donald McEachin. They live in Richmond and have three adult children.
McEachin is currently serving as interim Commonwealth’s Attorney. She plans to end cash bail requirements for pretrial release and provide alternatives to incarceration through a diversion program for first-time arrestees charged with non-violent offenses. She also promises to be engaged with the community on all levels and increase diversity with the staff in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office.
There is currently no challenger to McEachin’s bid for office. With her focus on ending cash bail and providing alternatives to incarceration, McEachin is the progressive candidate of choice for the City of Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney.
A native Richmonder and serving as Clerk Of Court since 2014, Ed Jewett has 29 years of experience working in the Richmond Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. Jewett spearheaded modernization efforts at the office by digitizing all court filings and establishing an electronic filing system for attorneys, which has saved taxpayer money and increased public access to court records. He serves on committees throughout Virginia to develop training systems to improve other court systems. Jewett leads a staff of 42 employees that he said reflects the diversity of Richmond.
Due to his experience leading the Richmond Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Jewett is the progressive candidate of choice for Richmond.
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