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.
John J. BellDemocrat
Democratic Delegate John Bell served in the U.S. Air Force for almost 26 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration and now leads a financial team in the private sector. Bell was previously a volunteer tennis coach for Freedom High School and now resides in Loudon County. Delegate Bell was elected to the House of Delegates in 2015.
Delegate Bell voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia and to increase teacher salaries. He is pro-choice and supports commonsense measures to prevent gun violence. He has sponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals on the job and to make solar panels more affordable to Virginia families. He has also supported redistricting reform.
Bell’s opponent, Geary Higgins, is the Republican candidate. Higgins currently serves on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. He is a self-proclaimed conservative and opposes reproductive rights. He also opposes gun violence prevention measures, seeing them as a threat to Second Amendment rights.
John Bell is the progressive choice in this race.
General Progressive: Progress Virginia
Environment: Virginia LCV
Democrat Qasim Rashid is a best-selling and critically acclaimed author, practicing attorney, visiting fellow at Harvard University's Prince Al Waleed bin Talal School of Islamic Studies, and national spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. Rashid vows to work to protect the rights of immigrants while ensuring a documented legal path to citizenship. Rashid believes in ensuring gender pay equity and supports paid family and medical leave. Additionally, Rashid believes in repealing right to work policies that are designed to eliminate labor unions and benefit big corporations.
His opponent is incumbent Republican Senator Richard Stuart. Senator Stuart is anti-choice and has opposed Medicaid expansion and raising the minimum wage. Stuart supported a bill that would prohibit the establishment of sanctuary cities, forcing localities to use local resources to do the job of the federal government.
Qasim Rashid is the more progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Senator Jeremy McPike lives in Dale City. Senator McPike received his Bachelor's and Master's of Public Administration degrees from George Mason University. He also led the design and construction of an innovative, environmentally conscious, and award-winning volunteer fire station.
Senator McPike has supported numerous progressive bills during his time in the Senate. He sponsored a bill to ensure foster children can keep their healthcare while transitioning into adulthood after turning 18. He is also committed to advancing common-sense gun safety measures, like universal background checks and blocking domestic abusers’ access to firearms. He considers redistricting reform one of his fundamental policy goals. Senator McPike voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia and to raise Virginia’s minimum wage.
Senator McPike is running unopposed and 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.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Danica Roem was elected in 2017 and is the first openly transgender woman elected to the Virginia legislature. She supports marginalized communities, and she has talked about her support for the DREAM Act and voting rights. She is pro-choice, supports raising the minimum wage, and advocates for affordable healthcare. Roem has also voted to raise teacher salaries and expand Medicaid.
Kelly McGinn, Roem’s Republican opponent, opposes ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and is anti-choice. She is also against marriage equality and has worked to prevent LGBTQ families from being able to adopt children.
Because of her support for affordable health care and advocacy for equality for all, Delegate Roem is the more progressive choice in this race.
Dan I. HelmerDemocrat
Democratic candidate Dan Helmer is running against incumbent Republican Delegate Tim Hugo. Helmer is a combat veteran. His wife, Karen, is a public school teacher in Fairfax County. They live in Fairfax with their children.
Helmer is in favor of increasing teacher pay and investing in public schools. He supports Medicaid expansion and other solutions to increase access to affordable health care. He also supports abortion access and believes abortion is health care. As a progressive, Helmer also supports increasing the minimum wage, gun violence prevention, clean energy, and fair redistricting reform.
Delegate Tim Hugo was elected to the House of Delegates in 2003. He voted against Medicaid expansion. In 2012, he voted in favor of legislation that required people seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory, medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound. He also has a record of making it harder to be an immigrant in Virginia by voting to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition at Virginia colleges and universities.
Dan Helmer is the more progressive choice in this race because of his support of increasing the minimum wage and health care access.
General Progressive: Progress Virginia
Democratic candidate Suhas Subramanyam served on Capitol Hill as a health care and veteran’s policy aide. In that role, he worked to draft legislation to increase job opportunities and funding for veterans. He later earned his law degree with honors at Northwestern University School of Law, volunteering at the Center for Wrongful Convictions. Subramanyam also clerked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he helped re-introduce the DREAM Act and worked on criminal justice reforms.
Subramanyam’s platform includes increased healthcare access, increased education funding, and common sense gun reform. He also wants to pass equality legislation such as anti-housing discrimination, anti-hate crime, and equal rights laws.
His Republican opponent, Bill Drennan, is an Air Force combat veteran and former presidential military aide to President Ronald Reagan. Drennan is campaigning on his desire to limit reproductive rights in Virginia. He also opposes common sense gun violence prevention legislation and raising the minimum wage.
Subramanyam is the more progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Ann Wheeler moved to Haymarket in 2001. She has served on several boards, including the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. She is also the former Chair of the Prince William Board of Social Services.
As Chairwoman At-Large of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, Wheeler wants to make the county a more welcoming place for immigrants and doesn’t believe local tax dollars should go toward federal immigration enforcement. She supports providing more public transportation options in the county, including expanding the Washington Metro service to the county. She wants to increase funding for public schools and attract more technology companies and other industries to the county to diversify Prince William’s tax base and make it less reliant on property taxes. She also believes the county should have a greater say in regional and state decisions, such as ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.
Wheeler is running against Republican John Gray, a candidate who supports Prince William’s 287(g) agreement, which allows the sheriff’s department to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal immigration officials. There are also three independent candidates: Muneer Baig, an immigrant rights advocate, Don Scoggins, a former board member of the county’s Republican Party, and Jesse Maggitt, a veteran and corporate executive.
Because of her prioritization of PWC schools, Wheeler is the progressive candidate for the At-Large Chair of the Prince William Board of Supervisors.
A former county prosecutor, Democratic candidate Amy Ashworth received her Juris Doctorate degree from George Mason University in 1995. She worked as a prosecutor in the Special Victim’s Unit. She lives in Nokesville with her husband and two sons.
If elected, Ashworth wants to reform the Commonwealth Attorney’s office with a new mission statement, new organizational structure, and focus on crimes that do harm, not crimes that put the most people in jail. Recognizing that discrimination in the justice system disproportionately affects people of color, Ashworth is pledging to hire attorneys in the office who represent the diversity of the community and establish a non-discrimination policy for people who work in the office. She is promising to limit the use of cash bail in the county justice system and opposes the death penalty. Ashworth supports the restoration of rights for returning citizens and pledges fair treatment for juvenile offenders.
She also understands that many people with addiction issues and mental health issues are incarcerated and wants to train county police officers to better handle cases involving individuals dealing with mental health and addictions. Ashworth will support efforts to fight payroll fraud, wage theft, and mistreatment of workers. She wants to build better relationships with the county’s immigrant community and supports the decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia. Finally, she wants to end mass incarceration by keeping people out of jails and helping them get an education, rehabilitation, or psychological care.
Ashworth’s opponent, Republican Mike May, is a former County Supervisor for the Occoquan District. He’s a private attorney with his own firm. May is running his platform on keeping neighborhoods safe, modernizing the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to make it more transparent, and engaging the community more with outreach efforts to encourage community involvement.
Because of her plan to overhaul the office, Ashworth is the progressive choice for Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney.
Democratic candidate Joshua King is an Iraq War veteran and Fairfax County Sheriff Deputy. A Dumfries resident, he’s a parent with three children in the Prince William County School System.
As Sheriff of Prince William County, King promises to end the county’s 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which uses local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration law. He wants to focus on school safety where his sheriff deputies will be trained to intervene during school shootings. King plans to reduce the school to prison pipeline in the county by training his deputies to assist and protect children with special needs. He also wants to improve services for veterans by ensuring that all veterans, law enforcement officers, and inmates receive the services that they deserve.
King is challenging incumbent Republican Sheriff Glen Hill, who started Prince William’s participation in the 287(g) program.
Candidate Rhonda Dickson is the first woman to run for the sheriff’s office in Prince William. She wants to increase enrollment in the Child ID program and to increase the Sheriff office’s presence in Prince William schools.
Joshua King is endorsed by our partners SEIU Virginia512 and CASA In Action and is the progressive choice for Sheriff in Prince William County.
Dr. Babur Lateef is originally from Youngstown, Ohio. Dr. Lateef received his Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and his MD from Northeastern Ohio University’s College of Medicine. Currently, he serves on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors and SPARK Foundation Board and is an active member of his children's Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs). Dr. Lateef was elected School Board Chair in a 2018 special election.
His platform consists of a plan to close the achievement gap, increase test scores, and increase teacher pay for Prince William teachers. He also wants to repair school infrastructure, secure campuses, increase mental health specialists, and provide cultural sensitivity training.
His opponents are Alyson Satterwhite and Stanley Bender, both of whom challenged Dr. LaTeef in the November 2018 special election. During that election, Satterwhite was endorsed by the Prince William County GOP. She is a mother of four who resides in the Gainesville District. She has served as the Gainesville School Board representative since 2015. Satterwhite wants to reduce classroom sizes, improve school safety, and to increase fiscal responsibility and transparency on the school board.
Stanley Bender is a retired Woodbridge resident. Despite the controversy surrounding the 2018 special election over whether Stanley Bender was being supported by local Republicans or not, Mr. Bender is not endorsed by any local committee. Because he does not have a website or social media, we cannot know what he intends to do if elected.
Because of Dr. Lateef’s plan to close the achievement gap, increase test scores, and to increase teacher pay for Prince William teachers, he is the more progressive choice for this race.
Democratic candidate Danny Funderburk lives in Heritage Hunt with his partner of 12 years, Terry, and their three daughters. He has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and consults with businesses and nonprofits on workforce development. Funderburk is a member of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, the county NAACP, and works with the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Funderburk is focusing his campaign on education, infrastructure, economy, and the environment. For the school system, he wants to increase pay for school staff, reduce the number of trailers on school properties, lower the number of students per classroom, and decrease the student to counselor ratio. His plans for infrastructure involve commonsense urban planning, fixing dangerous intersections and roads, and improved mass transit options. For the economy, Funderburk wants to attract higher-paying jobs to the county, expand workforce development, and decrease county funding reliance on property taxes. His concern for the environment involves preserving the integrity of the Rural Crescent, protecting parks, an improved recycling program, and protecting the Chesapeake Water Basin.
Funderburk is running against incumbent Republican Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland. The incumbent believes in small government and keeping taxes low. Candland opposed raising a tax on a data center in the county and he also opposed a board resolution to support the Equal Rights Amendment. He also believes in limiting the scope of government to providing core services.
Funderburk is the progressive choice to serve the Gainesville District on the Prince William Board of Supervisors.
Patricia Kuntz has 14 years of experience in the education field, a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Administration. Her two children are currently enrolled in Prince William County Schools.
Kuntz promises to focus on the success of the whole child, not just focusing on test scores. She plans to remove trailers from school grounds and lower counselor to student ratios. Kuntz believes that reducing class sizes in the county can happen by building more schools. She also wants to retain teachers in the county by making educators’ salaries equal to the salaries of teachers in other Northern Virginia counties.
Kuntz is running against Jen Wall, a lawyer.
Kuntz is endorsed by the Prince William Education Association and is the more progressive candidate for the Gainesville District.
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