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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.
Amanda Pohl has lived in Virginia for most of her life. She completed seminary at Baptist Theological Seminary and holds a master’s degree in Patient Counseling and Social Work with a focus on Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University.
In her campaign, Pohl has prioritized continuing to expand access to health care in Virginia and investing in public schools. She supports policies to protect LGBTQ Virginians and expand access to reproductive health care. She also supports paid family and medical leave policies. She supports same day voter registration and expanding absentee voting in Virginia.
Her opponent, incumbent Republican Senator Amanda Chase, opposes reproductive rights and common sense gun violence prevention measures. She voted against raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid in Virginia. She has come under fire for callous comments about sexual assault and accusations she took advantage of the Capitol Police to chauffeur her to events with lobbyists.
Amanda Pohl is the progressive choice in this race.
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.
Democratic candidate Lindsey Dougherty has committed her life to public service. Dougherty has worked extensively with at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system, partnering with community organizations that help incarcerated youth build both life and job skills. She has worked with state and local governments to increase access to better health through recreation and art. Currently, Dougherty works in the Budget and Management Department as an analyst in Chesterfield County.
Dougherty believes that communities do better when everyone is safe, healthy, and engaged with their neighbors. As Delegate, she would support offering free community college and trade school programs to all in-state students and universal pre-K for all 3 and 4-year-olds. She also supports increasing the minimum wage and increasing teacher pay.
She is running against Republican candidate Carrie Coyner. Coyner is a lawyer who was formerly on the Chesterfield County School Board. Coyner was replaced as the Chesterfield School Board’s representative on the school system’s gifted education advisory committee after making comments critical of Matoaca Middle School’s administration and teachers in the school’s center-based gifted program. Coyner’s campaign focuses on education issues but fails to mention other issues related to healthcare, the economy, and reproductive rights.
Dougherty is the more progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Sheila Bynum-Coleman is a native of Chesterfield County where she attended Monacan High School. Sheila received her B.A. from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. A successful small business owner and community advocate, Bynum-Coleman says she first got involved in politics once her Delegate decided it wasn’t worth his time to discuss her child with special needs. Since then, she has made it her mission to advocate for improved school services for children with learning disabilities.
Bynum-Coleman’s campaign prioritizes gun violence prevention, abortion access, criminal justice reform, equality for LGBTQ people, jobs, education, and the environment.
Her Republican opponent is incumbent Republican Speaker of the House, Kirk Cox. Since he was first elected in 2006, Cox has voted for a number of bills limiting access to higher education and employment for undocumented immigrants. He is also strongly against abortion access and gun violence prevention.
Also in the race is Independent candidate Linnard K. Harris. Harris is a former police officer who has vowed to defend gun owner rights with the exception of assault weapons. He has also expressed his wishes to reform taxes to protect only the middle class.
Because of her strong support for education and public schools and criminal justice reform, Sheila Bynum-Coleman is the more progressive choice in 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.
Democrat Scott Miles is a Virginia native. Miles received an undergraduate degree from William & Mary. He received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and has practiced law for 22 years in Virginia. Due to a special election, Miles is currently the Commonwealth's Attorney for Chesterfield County. Miles was previously an active-duty Army at Fort Bragg, NC, and served in combat during Desert Storm in Iraq and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.
Miles is a current member of the Greater Richmond Criminal Bar Association, the Chesterfield Bar Association, the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Criminal Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. He was previously the President of the Greater Richmond Bar Association, and currently serves as counsel for the membership of the Richmond Coalition of Police.
Miles has run his campaign on criminal justice reform. He wants to reduce the use of cash bail, which has proven to be an unjust tactic of the justice system. Cash bail and pretrial detention essentially incarcerate lower income residents. While awaiting trial, before any sentences or verdicts have been made, the accused can be mandated to sit in jail prior to their hearing if they are unable to pay their bail. He recognizes that the ability to pay bail does not correlate to how dangerous you are. After winning the special election, Miles stated that as an alternative, he would have non-violent offenders agree to return to their court date in writing. Miles wants to end the War on Drugs, acknowledging that treating addiction like a crime affects families and a person’s ability to be successful in the future. He has committed to prosecuting drug related offenses as misdemeanors. Miles has stated that he does not want federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents near courtrooms because they intimidate immigrants in a way that can obstruct justice. Miles also wants to implement more treatment programs within county jails to lower the chances of recidivism. He also wants to appoint prosecutors to support the elderly who have fallen victim to crime.
Stacey Davenport, Miles’ Republican opponent, has worked as a prosecutor, a public defender, and a defense attorney. She has voiced her opposition to the decriminalization of marijuana, stating that the law should not change until the legislature makes marijuana a legal substance, thereby ignoring the racial and socio-economic disparities in arrests and sentencing. Davenport has received financial support from right-wing conservatives including the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.
Miles is the more progressive choice for this race.
Democratic candidate Michael Jackson holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from North Carolina Central University. He has served as a certified fraud examiner for the last 10 years. He currently lives in Chesterfield with his family. He has volunteered for the Special Olympics, as a Little League coach, and as an education advocate. He also is a servant leader in his church.
Jackson was appointed to the Chesterfield Planning Commission in 2016 and elected chairman earlier this year. Jackson sees predatory lending as an important challenge in Chesterfield County. He has also prioritized transparency and financial literacy.He will strive to increase customer service foster a relationship that is built on reliability and fairness.
His opponent is Republican Rebecca Longnaker. Though she is running as an Independent, she has been endorsed by the current Treasurer, who is a proud Republican. Longnaker’s platform does not say anything about equity or community building, nor does she address the need for transparency.
Jackson is the more progressive choice in this race.
Democrat Murti Khan has lived in Chesterfield County for most of his life and attended Virginia Commonwealth University. He has a background in budget and fiscal analysis. Khan is the son of two immigrants and stands for the protection and representation of those communities.
Khan supports public hearing processes and transparency within the government. He has been vocal about his opposition to special treatment of developers in the county and has refused to accept their campaign contributions. He noted, “giving special benefits to the wealthiest in our society while denying citizens basic services is one of the biggest injustices of our time.”
Khan is concerned about environmental protection and opposes landfills in Chesterfield County. He also wants more funding for transportation.
His opponent is Republican Jim Ingle. Ingle’s website claims his priorities are economic development, education, and public safety lacks clear plans to make progress. He has been endorsed by right-wing conservative Kirk Cox, the current Speaker of the House of Delegates.
Murti Khan is the more progressive choice for this race.
Will Ares supports increased teacher pay, mental health services for students, and improved building infrastructure. He also believes in working with local first responders to ensure the safety of students. He would like to increase communication between the school administration and parents. Ares is also concerned that not all schools within Chesterfield County have access to the same technology and wants to work to ensure resources are distributed equitably. Ares is endorsed by the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee.
His opponent Ann Coker was raised in the Bermuda District in Chester, VA and attended public schools. After she graduated, she attended Longwood University and received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Psychology. She previously served as the Enon Elementary PTO president and vice president and is an active member at her church.
Coker lists equity among students on her platform and believes it is necessary to diversify teaching styles to accommodate students. She also believes the community and the school board have to work together to ensure the best outcomes for the students. Her priorities also include infrastructure and school safety. She has committed to working to implement the recommendations of the Republican-led School Safety Task Force, which refused to consider gun violence prevention measures. Coker emphasizes her commitment to conservative values and fiscal responsibility.
Ares is the more progressive choice in this race.
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