Brought to you by Progress Virginia
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 Senator William Stanley voted against Medicaid expansion and against raising the minimum wage in Virginia. He has consistently opposed access to reproductive healthcare, including voting to cut off abortion access for low income individuals and to defund Planned Parenthood. Senator Stanley voted against legislation to prohibit discrimination on the job based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
There is not much information on the policy positions of his opponent, Independent candidate Sherman Witcher, who failed to obtain the Democratic nomination. Witcher supports better funding for schools and pay for teachers. In 2007, he ran for Senate as an independent against Republican Robert Hurt. He received 24% of the vote. In 2009, he ran again against Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Franklin, and received 21% of the vote.
Based on the limited information available, Witcher is likely the more progressive choice but you always have the option to write in a candidate.
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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