City of Roanoke

City of Roanoke

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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.

Senate District 021

State Senator

John S. Edwards photo

Incumbent Senator John Edwards was elected to the state Senate in 1995. Edwards hails from Roanoke, Virginia. He graduated from Princeton University in 1966 cum laude and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1970. Senator Edwards served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Captain from 1971 through 1973.

Senator Edwards has supported numerous progressive issues including legislation to deny gun purchases to persons determined to be a danger to themselves or others. He is a strong ally in the fight for environmental protection, conservation, and preservation. He successfully sponsored Virginia’s first power purchase agreement (PPA) legislation in 2013. He also passed a bill to make it easier for localities to obtain solar energy services from third parties in 2017. Senator Edwards also sponsored a bill that would have reversed a law that allows natural gas pipeline companies to survey on private property without permission.

His opponent is Independent Steven Nelson. Unfortunately, there is little public information about Nelson’s campaign platform. In 2015, he ran as an Independent in the 19th Senate district. In that race, he voiced strong support for continued reliance on polluting fossil fuels. He also criticized the Affordable Care Act and the AARP for their support for access to affordable health care. He describes himself as an “independent conservative.”

Delegate Edwards is the progressive choice in this race.

House of Delegates

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.

House District 011


Sam Rasoul photo

Incumbent Delegate Sam Rasoul (D) was first elected in 2013. He lives in Roanoke with his wife and their three children. Delegate Rasoul is a small business owner and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit healthcare firm helping with maternal child health in East Africa.

Delegate Rasoul has supported bills to increase the minimum wage, increase teacher pay, and invest in clean energy. He voted for Medicaid expansion and is a strong supporter of affordable health care access for everyone. He believes in ensuring everyone can participate in our democracy and has supported bills to keep the polls open longer and allow early voting. He also supports criminal justice reform and equality for members of the LGBTQ community. He opposes the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

Running unopposed, Sam Rasoul is the more progressive choice for this race.

House District 017


No Good Choices

Republican Delegate Christopher Head was elected to the House of Delegates in 2011. He and his wife Betsy live in Roanoke, and run their business called Home Instead Senior Care. In his time as Delegate, he has voted to prohibit sanctuary cities, defund Planned Parenthood, and to prevent localities from raising the minimum wage. He also supports requiring parents to “opt-in” before their children can receive sex education in school.

Delegate Head is running unopposed. There is no progressive choice 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.