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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 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 James Holland was the first African-American to be elected Chair of the Board of Supervisors in Chesterfield County. Holland is an accountant who also teaches accounting at Virginia Commonwealth University. His priorities have been to provide services to Chesterfield residents, value all the employees, and improve the quality of life for all people living in Chesterfield.
Republican Tammy Ridout is Holland’s opponent. Her stances on education, transportation, and environmental protection are unclear. She has expressed concern about high levels of crime, poverty, and English as a second language students, seeming to draw connections between the three.
James Holland is the more progressive choice for his race.
Shedrick McCall is a Virginia native. He currently lives in Chesterfield County with his wife. He received an undergraduate degree from Maryville College, a graduate degree from Liberty University, and a Doctorate from Argosy University of Sarasota Professional School of Psychology. McCall currently teaches at Virginia State University as a Professor of Psychology, and has been teaching mental health in education for over 25 years.
McCall’s priorities include increasing teacher pay, mental health, equity and diversity. Student comfort and safety are also top priorities. He wants more funding to increase teacher pay and improve school infrastructure. McCall believes renovations to some of the schools within the county are needed and wants to improve special education programming. McCall has been endorsed by the Chesterfield Democratic Committee.
His opponent, Debbie Bailey, has been endorsed by right-wing conservative Kirk Cox, the current Speaker of the House of Delegates and the local Republican committee. She lists the need for lack of distraction as a means for school safety as opposed to gun violence prevention. Bailey says that high quality teachers should be considered when making a budget, but not say that teachers in general deserve higher salaries.
McCall is the more progressive choice in this race.
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