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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.
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.
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.
House of Delegates
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Democratic candidate Larry Barnett is a mental health professional who is running for office to expand affordable access to health care. He also supports fully funding our schools and increasing teacher pay. Barnett is in favor of gun violence prevention legislation and increased training for police officers. He supports protecting our environment, keeping our air and water clean, and making investments in renewable energy sources. Barnett believes in equality and that everyone, regardless of race, gender identity, or sexual orientation, should have access to affordable housing, jobs, and safety.
Incumbent Repblican Delegate Roxann Robinson was elected to the House of Delegates in 2010. She is anti-choice and voted to defund Planned Parenthood. She also voted to prohibit sanctuary cities, harming members of the undocumented community. She was a co-sponsor of a bill that prohibited the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces.
Larry Barnett is the more progressive choice in this race because of his support of equality and commitment to fighting for our environment.
Democratic candidate Dr. Mike Asip is a 38-year career special education and middle school leader and ten-year resident of Powhatan County. Dr. Asip vows to advocate for affordable health care, mental health services, and workforce development to expand economic opportunity in his district and across the Commonwealth. He would like to address the inequities of broadband access across the rural parts of the 65th district which limit economic development and educational opportunity in the district.
Dr. Asip is running against incumbent Republican Delegate R. Lee Ware. Delegate Ware has served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 1998. He supported a bill that would allow someone with a protective order against them to carry a concealed weapon. He is also against abortion access and voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
Mike Asip is the more progressive choice in this race because of his commitment to Medicaid expansion and dedication to increasing internet access in rural communities.
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.
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 Debra Gardner has lived in Chesterfield for the past 30 years. She holds a Masters of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in social work from North Carolina Central University. She was previously an adjunct Professor and taught graduate courses in Executive Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Gardner’s board memberships show that she is invested in the community. Through her time in Virginia, she has served on the board of Smart Beginnings, The Virginia Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee, The Virginia Substance Abuse Services Council, and The Commonwealth Domestic Violence Prevention Response Advisory Board.
Gardner is focused on improving the quality and safety of our public schools. She is in favor of environmental protections for the Swift Creek Reservoir. Gardner believes in equal opportunity for social and economic growth for all Virginians.
Republican Chris Winslow has been on the Clover Hill Board of Supervisors since 2016. His website is under construction, but his social media shows that he is supportive of tax breaks for commercial properties.
Democrat Debra Gardner is the more progressive choice for this race.
Arika Phillips currently lives in Chesterfield County. She received a career studies certificate in Early Childhood Education from John Tyler Community College, a bachelor's degree in Community-Based Education from Virginia Union University, and a master's degree from the University of Richmond in Nonprofit Studies. During college, Phillips was inducted into the International Educators Honors Society, Kappa Delta Phi.
Phillips was a licensed childcare provider and participated in the Virginia Star Rating Program. She also participated in the Virginia Alliance of Family Child Care Association, National Association for Early Childhood Programs, and the National Association for Family Child Care. Phillips also served on the board of Childcare Connection of Richmond and Vicinities. Phillips has 5 children in Chesterfield County Public Schools. She is a member of the PTA and serves as a substitute teacher for Chesterfield County Public Schools.
Philips lists recruiting and retaining trauma-informed faculty as a top priority. She also wants to expand access to early education and the collaboration of the community and school board. She is concerned about school safety while also wanting to prioritize approaches that don’t contribute to the school to prison pipeline.
Justin Smith is the opponent to Phillips and Heffron. He currently lives in Chesterfield with his family and has been endorsed by the Chesterfield Republican Party. Smith lacks a stance around equity and ensuring that students have the support they need regardless of differences. He does not speak candidly about wanting to raise teacher pay.
Philips and Heffron are both solid progressive choices on the ballot.
After growing up in Chesterfield County Schools, Dot Heffron taught 7th grade English at Providence Middle School. She is a member of the parent teacher association (PTA) for three different schools. Previously, she served as an English language tutor for several years. She is also an appointed member and chair of the Chesterfield County Special Education Advisory Committee. Heffron currently has three children in Chesterfield County Public Schools.
Heffron lists equity and ensuring that all students feel comfortable as priorities for her. Transportation is another barrier to access, and she wants to fix the shortage of bus drivers if she is elected. Heffron lists equity as one of her priorities, stating that every student has a right to an education. She is concerned about school safety and wants to ensure School Resource Officers are trained in trauma-informed care and de-escalation strategies. She has been endorsed by the Chesterfield Democratic Committee.