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.
Democrat Amy Laufer is a former middle school teacher. She taught in Jamaica as a Peace Corps volunteer before teaching at Louisa Middle School and Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville. Laufer has served on the Charlottesville City School Board and is the founder of Virginia’s List, an organization that supports Democratic women running for office.
Laufer’s platform prioritizes education, including raising teacher pay and investing in pre-k classes. She also supports criminal justice reform and tackling the problem of mass incarceration. Laufer supports Medicaid expansion, would vote to repeal the punitive work requirements, and will continue to fight to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care. She also supports the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Incumbent Republican Senator Bryce Reeves voted against Medicaid expansion and against raising the minimum wage in Virginia. He is anti-choice and opposes commonsense gun violence prevention measures. Senator Reeves also voted against legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing and public employment.
Laufer is the progressive choice in this race.
Democrat Dakota Claytor was born and raised in the 22nd state Senate district and hopes to be the youngest legislator in Virginia’s history. Claytor is a 22-year-old freelance hair stylist and private music educator. He has also been actively involved in community theater where he can often be found on stage.
Clayor supports various progressive priorities. He wants to work with small companies to expand broadband access to rural areas in the district in order to foster a better-connected workforce. Healthcare reform is important to him because of his mother’s significant health issues and her struggle for nearly twenty years before being granted disability benefits. After witnessing first-hand the crippling effects of a broken healthcare system in Virginia, Clayor is determined to improve it.
Clayor is running against Republican incumbent Senator Mark Peake who won a special election in 2017. Peake is anti-choice and has voted against commonsense gun laws. He opposed Medicaid expansion and voted against raising the minimum wage in Virginia. The majority of his platform is geared towards decreasing regulations put in place to protect Virginians.
Dakota Claytor is the more progressive choice because of his commitment to Medicaid expansion and our rural communities.
As a former Louisa County teacher and professor at the College of William and Mary, Democratic candidate Juanita Jo Matkins believes all Virginians deserve a fair chance. Matkins has lived in the 56th District for much of her life, educating its young people and serving her community through her church and various volunteer organizations. Her top priorities are increased education funding, healthcare access for all, and access to high-speed internet. She supports a number of progressive priorities including raising teacher pay, expanding affordable access to health care, criminal justice reform, and expanding voting rights.
She is running against incumbent Republican Delegate John McGuire. Delegate McGuire voted to notify ICE when undocumented Virginians are in police custody. He is also anti-choice. His position on other progressive priorities is unclear.
Juanita Jo Matkins is the more progressive choice in this race.
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