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.
Virginia M. SmithDemocrat
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.
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.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Lashrecse Aird was elected in November 2015 to represent the 63rd District. She holds the special distinction of being the youngest woman ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegate Aird is actively engaged in numerous civic boards and organizations. She is Chair of the Petersburg Democratic Committee, Chair of the Petersburg Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Political Awareness and Involvement Committee, and a former member of the Petersburg Planning Commission.
She is a strong progressive champion who supports Medicaid expansion, increased school funding, voting rights, abortion access, and equality for all.
She is opposed by Larry Haake, who is running as an Independent. Haake is a former police officer who served as the Chesterfield County Registrar for 22 years, but not without controversy. In 2004, Haake asked that uniformed police officers be stationed at the county’s 62 polling places. This action drew criticism from Democrats, progressive allies, and the local Muslim community, all stating that the presence of armed officers could intimidate some voters.
Lashrecse Aird is the progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Michele Joyce is a longtime resident of Smithfield where she and her husband have raised their two daughters. Joyce has a background in physics and has worked at Jefferson Lab in Newport News for 20 years. For the last decade, Michele has been a volunteer community leader and advocate, helping hundreds of residents in the rural areas of the district to find access to affordable health care. After witnessing a neighborhood family fall victim to a flawed health care system, she decided it was time to play an active role in helping folks in her community. She vows to improve lives in our rural communities by eliminating food and internet deserts and by protecting the family farm.
Her opponent is incumbent Republican Delegate Emily Brewer. Delegate Brewer was first elected in 2017. She is endorsed by the NRA and the Virginia Citizens Defense League, proving that she is against commonsense gun violence prevention measures. She is also against abortion access and doesn’t believe people should be able to make choices about their own bodies.
Michele Joyce is the more progressive choice in this race because of her strong commitment to affordable health care.
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