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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.
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.
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