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 Stephen Newman has served in the Virginia General Assembly since 1991, first in the House of Delegates and then to the Senate of Virginia. Senator Newman is running unopposed this November.
Newman is no ally to progressive issues. He sponsored anti-LGBT legislation defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He consistently opposes access to reproductive health care, including voting to limit state funding for abortions. He voted against expanding Medicaid in Virginia and against raising the state minimum wage.
There is no progressive choice in this race. We encourage you to write in a candidate of your choice, and regardless to get out and vote! Please remember that there are other races that will be on the ballot.
House of Delegates
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Republican Delegate Terry Austin was elected to the House of Delegates in 2013. Delegate Austin is a strong opponent of commonsense measures to prevent gun violence. He is anti-choice and has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He is against raising the minimum wage and has voted to prohibit localities from raising the minimum wage locally.
Delegate Austin 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.
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.
Democratic candidate David Zilles is a thermal fluids engineer who has lived in Lynchburg since 2012. Zilles, a father of two children, decided to run for office after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Zilles is running to ensure health care is affordable and accessible to all. He wants to make cost-sharing plans more available, lower prescription drug prices, and combat the opioid crisis. He also will fight to address climate change and make investments in renewable energy. He supports policies that will help to dismantle structural racism, such as creating universal pre-K, eliminating cash bail, expanding voting rights, eliminating gerrymandering, and ending mass incarceration. A pro-choice candidate, he supports the Whole Woman’s Health Act and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Zilles supports equal rights for everyone and promises to reject any legislation that does not advance equal rights. He will oppose laws that make it more difficult for same-sex couples to marry or create a family.
Zilles’s opponent is Republican candidate Wendall Walker. Walker is a long-time Republican activist who specifically highlights his support of President Trump on his campaign website. Walker is anti-choice, against common sense gun violence prevention measures, and will work to prevent the government from collecting taxes.
Because of his support of affordable health care access, gun violence prevention, and combating climate change, David Zilles is the more progressive choice in this race.
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