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 Virginia Smith is a teacher and children’s book author. Smith graduated from Virginia Union University and University of Virginia before working in Richmond Public Schools. Smith now resides in Prince William County and is a volunteer middle school mentor.
As a former teacher, Smith supports raising teacher pay. She also supports the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and expanding access to affordable healthcare. She wants to ensure that we all have the opportunity to exercise our right to vote and wants to push for fair treatment of Black Virginians within the criminal justice system. Her platform includes support for paid family and medical leave as well as investments in clean, renewable energy sources.
Her opponent, incumbent Republican Senator Frank Ruff has voted against immigrant communities at every opportunity and has an anti-choice record. He also opposes commonsense gun violence prevention measures. He voted against raising the minimum wage. He vocally opposed Medicaid expansion in Virginia and drew vocal condemnation for racist remarks about the proposal in 2014.
Virginia Smith is the progressive choice.
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.
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 Tim Hickey is an educator, husband, and father running to represent the people of Virginia's 59th District. Providing quality education for children from Pre-K to college and supporting vocational education for the jobs of the future is a major component of his campaign. Hickey would vote to expand access to quality, affordable health care and increase the minimum wage. He also wants to expand broadband internet to every corner of the district.
Hickey is running against incumbent Republican Delegate Matt Fariss, who was elected in 2011. He is a conservative who opposes abortion access and refuses to support bills to improve the lives of LGBTQ Virginians. Fariss also opposes commonsense gun violence prevention reforms like universal background checks. Fariss voted against expanding Medicaid in Virginia to 400,000 low income individuals.
Tim Hickey is the more progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Janie Zimmerman was born on Andrews Air Force Base while her dad was serving in the Vietnam War. She wholly supports and understands veterans, their families, and the challenges they face. Zimmerman has been a teacher for almost 30 years and currently teaches at a juvenile detention center in Prince Edward County.
She is passionate about increasing education funding, including afterschool programs and free community college tuition. She also knows the importance of providing broadband internet to rural communities. Zimmerman is an outspoken advocate for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and hopes to tackle the Commonwealth’s environmental issues head-on.
Her opponent, incumbent Republican Delegate James Edmunds, prioritizes gun and hunting rights. He has routinely opposed commonsense gun violence prevention measures. He supported anti-choice legislation and opposed expanding Medicaid to 400,000 low income Virginians.
Janie Zimmerman is the more progressive candidate in this race due to her support of equity and environmental preservation.
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