City of Richmond

City of Richmond

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Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd

The Virginia Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. All research in this guide was conducted in August of 2020. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

Federal

President and Vice President

  • Our country is facing several unprecedented crises all at once. The COVID-19 pandemic, police brutality, and racism are just the tip of the iceberg of the problems we need to tackle head-on. The 2020 Presidential race comes at a defining moment in our history, and this is a pivotal election that will decide the fate of America for generations to come.

    Joe Biden was the 47th Vice President of the United States, serving in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017. He represented the state of Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. During his time with the Obama administration, he was an influential adviser to the President, helping usher in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a monumental reform to America’s healthcare system where 20 million Americans gained health coverage. Biden also oversaw infrastructure spending under Obama’s stimulus package response to the 2008 recession and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

    If elected President, Biden has pledged to codify Roe V. Wade, restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood, and repeal the Hyde Amendment. His response to the coronavirus pandemic involves widespread, free testing, and the distribution of a vaccine with no out-of-pocket costs. Biden wants to make affordable healthcare available to more Americans by strengthening the ACA and offering a public option for health coverage. Biden believes that gun violence is a public health crisis and plans to ban the manufacture and sale of assault rifles and high capacity magazines, close loopholes that allow guns to get in the wrong hands, require background checks for gun sales, and institute red flag laws.

    Biden’s platform to address climate change involves embracing central components of the Green New Deal––getting the world to net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 and aligning environmental and economic policies. He announced a $2 trillion plan to invest in clean energy while creating economic opportunity and strengthening infrastructure.

    Biden also pledged to restore the Voting Rights Act. As a U.S. Senator in 2006, Biden co-sponsored legislation to renew key sections of the Voting Rights Act. It was signed by then President George W. Bush.

    Biden plans to address economic inequality by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, increasing affordable housing, ending discrimination in the housing market, investing in transportation, protecting tenants’ rights, boosting the power of unions and workers’ rights to collectively bargain, and checking corporate power over workers.

    Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is the incumbent and Republican nominee. He won the 2016 election by capturing a majority of votes in the electoral college votes while losing the popular vote by 3 million votes. In 2020, Trump was impeached for requesting foreign assistance in the 2016 election. During his time in office, he attacked affordable healthcare by attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, overhauled the U.S. tax system to benefit the richest one percent of Americans and wealthy corporations, and took away Title IX funding for Planned Parenthood. He appointed conservative judges to the judiciary who are hostile to abortion rights, denied amnesty to thousands of immigrants fleeing violence from Central America, attempted to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected young immigrants from deportation, sided with racists during times of racial upheaval in our nation, and completely botched the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Due to Trump’s racism, attacks on immigrants, attempts to take away healthcare, and proven inability to lead our nation, Joe Biden is the clear progressive choice for the 2020 Presidential election.

    Joseph Biden

    Our country is facing several unprecedented crises all at once. The COVID-19 pandemic, police brutality, and racism are just the tip of the iceberg of the problems we need to tackle head-on.

    Last updated: 2020-10-29
  • Senator Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and South Asian American woman to be nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party. As the daughter of immigrants, Harris’s groundbreaking nomination is a win for people of color. She was elected to represent California in the U.S. Senate in 2016, before that she was Attorney General of California. As a Senator, Harris serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget.

    During her time in the Senate, Harris became known for grilling Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General William Barr during their confirmation hearings. 

    Harris blames the Trump administration for the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. 
    Harris believes that the federal government should respond to the coronavirus pandemic by giving Americans $2,000 monthly stipends while banning evictions, utilities shutoffs, foreclosures, and rent increases. She signed onto the Masks For All Act, which would provide free masks to Americans at no cost. Harris introduced legislation that would establish a task force to address health inequities made apparent by pandemic. She also believes free and widespread testing should be available. 

    Harris supports a $15 minimum wage for working families. While in the Senate, Harris worked to repeal Trump’s 2017 tax breaks for the richest one percent through her legislation called the LIFT Act, which would cut taxes for the working class and lift 9 million people out of poverty. Harris also introduced a bill to help Americans with housing by offering 13.3 million families tax subsidies to afford rent. Harris received a 100% rating from the AFL-CIO. She also introduced legislation to strengthen the rights of public sector workers and their right to collectively bargain. 

    While in the Senate, Harris co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act of 2019. During her run for President, she proposed a 10-year transition plan for universal coverage where private insurers would be allowed to compete provided they follow certain rules. As candidate for Vice President, Harris supports Joe Biden’s plan to strengthen the Affordable Care Act by offering a public option.    

    In response to the police murder of George Floyd, Harris introduced with other Senators the Justice in Policing Act, legislation that would bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants, set national standards to hold police officers accountable for misconduct, prohibit racial profiling, and established a national data collection system on police misconduct.  

    Kamala Harris

    Senator Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and South Asian American woman to be nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party. As the daughter of immigrants, Harris’s groundbreaking nomination is a win for people of color.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10
Other Candidates

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is the incumbent and Republican nominee. He won the 2016 election by capturing a majority of votes in the electoral college votes while losing the popular vote by 3 million votes. In 2020, Trump was impeached for requesting foreign assistance in the 2016 election.  During his time in office, he attacked affordable healthcare by attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, overhauled the U.S. tax system to benefit the richest one percent of Americans and wealthy corporations, and took away Title IX funding for Planned Parenthood. He appointed conservative judges to the judiciary who are hostile to abortion rights, denied amnesty to thousands of immigrants fleeing violence from Central America, attempted to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected young immigrants from deportation, sided with racists during times of racial upheaval in our nation, and completely botched the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s running mate is Vice President Mike Pence, a yes-man to Donald Trump who co-chairs the administration’s failed response to the coronavirus. As Vice President, he advocated for repealing the Affordable Care Act.  Pence is known for his discrimination against the LGBTQ community by opposing same-sex marriage, and advocating for gay conversion therapy. He praised a Trump administration rule that allows adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples. When Pence was Governor of Indiana, he signed a bill that enacted some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country. The bill was later ruled to be unconstitutional. 

The Liberatian Party has nominated Jo Jorgensen for President and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen for Vice President. Jorgensen is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Clemson University. Cohen owns a podcast platform. The ticket’s platform includes radically reducing the size of government, turning America into “one giant Switzerland,” reducing environmental protections to increase coal and oil production, and eliminating the federal Department of Education.

Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris are the clear progressive choices for the 2020 Presidential election. 

U.S. Senator

  • Democrat
  • About the Race

    This election occurs on November 3, 2020, and shares a ballot with the US presidential election. Current Senator Mark Warner (D), who has also served as the governor of Virginia, will be running against Daniel Gade, a retired Army Lt. Colonel who worked in the Trump administration.

    About the State

    Every eligible Virginia voter may cast a ballot in the US Senate election. Virginia saw an incredibly high turnout in 2016, with 72% of registered voters turning out to vote, more than 15% higher than the average US voter turnout. Virginia usually sees more than 70% of registered voters turn out for presidential election years.

    Recommendation

    Incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Warner has represented Virginia as United States Senator since 2008. Before his election to the Senate, he served as Virginia’s Governor from 2002 to 2006. In the Senate, Warner is the Vice Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and he also serves on several other committees.

    Warner is known for his service on the Intelligence Committee in investigating and condemning Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He is also a fierce advocate for protecting the country’s electoral process. Warner sponsored legislation that was supported by representatives on both sides of the aisle to prevent foreign meddling in elections and promote greater transparency in online political advertising. In 2020, Warner voted to convict President Donald Trump and remove him from office at the end of the Senate impeachment trial.

    In 2019, Warner joined other senators in introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore and strengthen the original 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2020, he called on the Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to bring it up for a vote.

    Sen. Warner voted against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He opposed a federal abortion ban and believes that abortion is a constitutionally-protected right.

    Warner wants to invest in infrastructure projects to create jobs and boost the economy. During his time in the Senate, Warner has pushed for increased federal spending on transit, water improvement projects, and airports in the Commonwealth. In 2020, Warner championed the Great Outdoors Act to bring federal relief to the country’s national park system, which would bring over 10,000 jobs to Virginia alone.

    Warner joined other Senators in lambasting the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. During the coronavirus pandemic, he has pushed for more funding for testing supplies and PPE while also supporting the expansion of Medicaid and Medicare coverage to more Americans. Warner has pushed for increased broadband access so more people can use the Internet during the pandemic to work from home and attend school.

    Warner’s opponent, Daniel Gade, is a U.S. Army veteran and professor at American University. Gade supports cutting taxes, reducing the size of government, promoting economic deregulation with free market policies. He believes that the U.S. economy should re-open as quickly as possible during the pandemic. Gade has said he approves of President Trump’s performance so far.

    Due to his record of service supporting abortion rights, healthcare access, the environment, and protecting our democracy, Senator Mark Warner is the more progressive choice to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

    Last updated: 2020-10-09

Congress

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

4th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • About the Race

    This election occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. Incumbent congressman, attorney Don McEachin (D), is running against Leon Benjamin (R), a Richmond pastor and Gulf War veteran who is the current GOP chair of the Richmond Republican Party.

    About the District

    The 4th congressional district of Virginia contains most of the area between Richmond and Hampton Roads, including all or parts of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Henrico, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex, and all or part of the independent cities of Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond, and Suffolk. In 2012, the neighboring 3rd district was deemed unconstitutional. It was redrawn, with parts of it being put into the 4th district, since then the district has been reliably Democratic, with Don McEachin earning over 62% of the vote in 2018.

    Recommendation

    Democratic Representative Donald McEachin is seeking his third term serving the 4th Congressional District. He was first elected to the position in 2016. Before serving in Congress, McEachin was a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates from 1996 to 2002 and 2006 to 2008. He was then elected to the state Senate from 2008 to 2017. He’s a 1986 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and holds a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University. He’s married to Collette McEachin, Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Richmond. The couple has three children together.

    As a member of Congress, Rep. McEachin serves on the Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees and Select Committee on Climate Crisis. He has introduced legislation to make solar energy more affordable for low-income families and the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act. McEachin also wants the U.S. to recommit to the Paris Climate Agreement.

    McEachin believes it is the responsibility of Congress to protect citizens’ right to vote. He supports the John Lews Voting Rights Advancement Act.

    In 2020, McEachin voted with other Democratic members of Congress to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act seeks to expand Medicaid coverage to insure more Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and reduce health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. McEachin also introduced legislation this year aimed at addressing the country’s Black maternal health crisis.

    McEachin believes that Virginians deserve better pay and voted for the Raise the Wage Act this year to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. He voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to close the gender wage gap. McEachin supports immigrant rights and voted for the American Dream and Promise Act in 2019. He also voted to send $4.5 billion to the border that same year to address the humanitarian crisis suffered by migrants attempting to enter the U.S.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America gave McEachin a score of 100% for his voting record on reproductive freedom. He believes everyone should have access to safe and legal abortion and decide for themselves whether, how, and when to have children. McEachin supports federal funding of Planned Parenthood and believes that health insurance companies should cover birth control. McEachin also voted to impeach Trump in 2019.

    Rep. McEachin is facing a challenge from Pastor Leon Benjamin, an evangelical leader and Chairman of the Republican Party in Richmond. Benjamin works to garner African-American support for President Trump. He attended Trump’s inauguration and stated that Trump was “not a racist.” In 2010, Benjamin urged the U.S. Congress not to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which banned openly gay people from serving in the military. He also opposes a person’s right to abortion access.

    Due to his extensive service to constituents in his district and commitment to progressive values, Rep. Donald McEachin is the most progressive candidate for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

7th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • About the Race

    This congressional election occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. Incumbent congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D), a former operations officer with the CIA, is running for re-election against Nick Freitas (R), a US Army veteran.

    About the District

    The 7th congressional district spans most of Central Virginia. It includes all of Orange, Culpeper, Goochland, Louisa, Nottoway, Amelia, and Powhatan counties, as well as large portions of Chesterfield, Henrico, and Spotsylvania counties. The district went from Republican to Democrat in 2018, when Spanberger won her seat by just 2% and is considered one of the most competitive congressional districts in the state.

    Recommendation

    A former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger was first elected to serve the 7th District in 2018 when she defeated incumbent Dave Brat. Before her election, Spanberger’s career included working for the U.S. Postal Service investigating narcotics and money laundering and living undercover abroad as a spy for the CIA. She was raised in Short Pump and graduated from the University of Virginia. She and her husband, Adam, have three daughters and live in Glen Allen.

    Spanberger is a moderate Democrat who prides herself on being the 5th most bipartisan member of the House. She’s a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Agriculture committees. During her time in office, Spanberger sponsored legislation to bring transparency to prescription drug prices and give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. She also introduced a bill aimed at strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and supported providing a public option for universal coverage.

    Spanberger supports protecting voting rights, restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and putting a stop to voter suppression. In 2019, she co-sponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act. She believes in strengthening people’s access to the ballot by restoring and modernizing the Voting Rights Act.

    Spanberger believes that climate change is a national security threat. This year, she proposed the Growing Climate Solutions Act to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere by allowing farmers to engage in carbon cap and trade programs. In 2019, she helped introduce the Climate Action Now Act, which would require the U.S. to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement.

    In response to the police murder of George Floyd, Spanberger co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill calls for bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, sets national standards to hold police officers accountable for misconduct, prohibits racial profiling, and establishes a national data collection system on police misconduct.

    Spanberger is a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and worked with other members of the caucus to introduce the “Momnibus Bill” to address the nation’s crisis in Black maternal mortality. She introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to close the gender wage gap. Spanberger also supports a person’s right to access reproductive healthcare and abortion. Spanberger voted to impeach Donald Trump in 2019.

    Spanberger is being challenged by Republican candidate Nick Freitas, who currently serves in Virginia’s House of Delegates. While serving in the House, Freitas was known for attacking abortion rights, saying on the House floor that the “abortion industry” and “broken homes” were contributing to mass shootings. He voted against allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students and granting driving privileges to immigrants while voting in favor of prohibiting sanctuary cities in Virginia. Freitas voted against expanding Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians. Freitas also voted against requiring background checks on firearms sales in Virginia, a red flag law to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and banning the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

    Due to her commitment to improving healthcare for her constituents, fighting climate change, protecting women’s rights, and advocating for Black maternal health, Spanberger is the more progressive choice for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

City of Richmond

Richmond Mayor

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    Richmond’s mayoral election is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Progressive activist Alexsis Rodgers is running against fellow progressive candidate Justin Griffin, as well as incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney, Tracey McLean, and 2nd District City Council representative Kim Gray.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The city trends Democratic, with Hillary Clinton winning over 75% of the vote in 2016.

    Recommendation

    Alexsis Rodgers is the current state director of Care in Action, a policy and advocacy group for Virginia’s female domestic workers. Rodgers previously served as the communications director for Virginia’s League of Planned Parenthood. She is the board chair of Emerge Virginia, an organization that trains Democratic women to run for office in Virginia.

    Rodgers has a demonstrated commitment to progressive values. During her time with Planned Parenthood, she worked to expand Medicaid and increase access to birth control throughout the Commonwealth. With Care in Action, she was instrumental in making Virginia the first southern state to create labor protections for domestic workers by leading advocacy efforts on the Virginia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

    In addition to her advocacy, Rodgers also has experience working with elected leadership. She served as the policy director in Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor’s office, where she did extensive work on reproductive justice, behavioral health, and early childhood education.

    Rodgers’ platform focuses on ensuring that all Richmond residents have access to safe, affordable housing, reducing the size and scope of policing, finding innovative ways to fully fund Richmond’s public schools, and keeping the government of Richmond accountable to its residents.

    Rodgers has been openly critical of the Richmond Police Department’s response to protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

    Mayor Levar Stoney, the incumbent, was elected in 2016. His most widely-criticized effort as leader of the city involved attempting to force through the Navy Hill Development project, a massive redevelopment plan for the Navy Hill district which was spearheaded and led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell. He was opposed by grassroots organizations for the project’s lack of transparency in spite of the fact that it used taxpayer-funded subsidies. Stoney faced criticism for not reacting quickly enough to Richmond Police Department’s excessive use against protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death and for being indecisive about removing Confederate monuments from the city. Stoney dealt with backlash for not properly vetting the replacement of the Richmond police chief, who was removed in 2020 over his handling of protests.

    Also vying for mayor is 2nd District City Council Member Kim Gray. Her platform only goes into specific detail on public safety and education. It does not address systemic racial disparities or injustices in regard to either issue. Gray does not share Rodgers’ demonstrated commitment to progressive values, once comparing Black Lives Matter protesters to terrorists. She voted against a proposed study on shifting resources away from the Richmond Police Department but voted in favor of a civilian oversight board and Marcus Alert system, which would have mental health professionals respond to crises instead of police.

    Candidate Justin Griffin is a progressive activist who launched the “No Coliseum” campaign against the Navy Hill development. He has extensive experience working with small businesses and has been a leading voice in the demand for transparency from Richmond’s government. Griffin is also running on a robust platform of progressive reform. However, he has less experience working in government and less progressive goals than Rodgers.

    Candidate Tracey McLean is a local Richmond author and the CEO of Adyme publishing. She is also a cast member of a CW reality TV show, The Real Babymamas of VA. McLean’s platform focuses on unity and transparency, but is less defined and detailed than Rodgers’. McLean does not share Rodgers’ extensive history of commitment to progressive values and advocacy, although she does support a proposal by local activists to transform parking lots in Shockoe Bottom into a slave memorial park.

    The sixth contender for Richmond mayor is economist Michael Gilbert. He is running his campaign on three pillars: economic development and public education, policing and criminal justice reform, and improving community, health, and social services. He supports the creation of a civilian review board with subpoena power, the implementation of a 'Marcus Alert' system, ending qualified immunity for police, and imposing mandatory implicit bias testing of all current and potential officers. While Gilbert does have a progressive platform, his campaign has failed to gain traction in the community and he hasn’t raised any money for his effort. 

    Due to her unrelenting commitment to progressive values and detailed progressive platform, Alexsis Rodgers is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-10-09

Richmond City Council Races

Richmond City Council, District 1

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election for the City Council representative for Richmond’s 1st District takes place on November 3, 2020, as part of the general election. Newcomer Mike Gray is running against incumbent Andreas Addison, who voted for the Navy Hill development project, and Michael Dickinson, a local strip club owner running on a pro-Trump platform.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. With more than 25,000 residents, Richmond’s 1st District encompasses the city’s West End along the James River and Richmond’s historic Boulevard. The 1st District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 55% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    A native of the 1st District, Mike Gray is a local Richmond business owner, managing his public relations firm, Gray Ryan Communications. He has served on many boards in the Richmond area, including as Government Affairs Chair for the Richmond Business Council, Commissioner for the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, and External Affairs Committee for the Better Housing Coalition. Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, is a member of the Board for the Public Relations Society of America Richmond Chapter’s Foundation, and Advisory Board member for the Urban Land Institute Virginia District. Gray was also central in organizing the Monument Avenue Park Civic Association.

    Gray is running for City Council on three central pillars: improving education, expanding access to affordable housing, and rebuilding Richmond’s infrastructure. He believes that the City Council should create a Housing Czar committee to develop and recommend specific policy solutions to Richmond’s current affordable housing crisis, like preventing evictions. He also wants to increase resources in the Maggie Walker Land Trust and push policies that will ensure increased and equitable access to affordable housing.

    To rebuild infrastructure, he wants to partner with VA Tech to analyze Richmond’s water supply and delivery system, bring in outside consultants to conduct a thorough analysis of the city’s infrastructure, and turn certain roads over to the Virginia Department of Transportation for maintenance and repair.

    Finally, he wishes to improve the quality of education in Richmond by allocating a minimum of 25% of city funds to Richmond Public Schools for the next 20 years. He also wants to begin researching the time and funding necessary to provide public preschool and daycare programs for children under the age of five. He also wishes to find other funding sources to provide more money to Richmond Public Schools and to follow Henrico County’s model to eliminate education standards that are no longer serving students well.

    Gray is running against incumbent Andreas Addison. Addison voted in favor of Mayor Stoney’s Navy Hill development project, which was led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell and opposed by local progressive activists due to a lack of transparency. While Addison voted in favor of implementing the Marcus Alert System and creating a Civilian Review Board, he also voted against a proposal to study methods to shift resources away from the police. He has supported implementing a participatory budget system.

    Gray’s other opponent, Micheal Dickinson, is a local strip club owner. Dickinson has previously been involved with the criminal justice system for drug use. He is running on a pro-Trump and pro-police platform. He has said the current mayor and city council “only care about appeasing the BLM mob” and attended events hosted by the Family Foundation, a religious rights advocacy group that vocally opposes LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights.

    Due to his support for affordable housing and his commitment to improving public schools, Mike Gray is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City Council, District 2

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election for the City Council representative of Richmond’s 2nd District is on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Tavarris Spinks is running as an openly progressive candidate in the 2nd District against Katherine Jordan. Incumbent Kim Gray is not running for re-election.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 2nd District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 80% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Tavarris Spinks is a fifth-generation Richmonder who became active in Richmond politics when he was still in college. While attending Virginia Commonwealth University, he served as president of their Young Democrats and also worked for local Democratic committees. He later served as Virginia’s Young Democrat Council Chair. In 2019, he was named Young Democrat of the Year. In 2011, Spinks, along with other Black Virginia voters, filed a lawsuit against Virginia’s gerrymandered House of Delegates district maps, which led to a redrawing of the maps in 2017. He spent twelve years at Boleman Law Firm working as a bankruptcy specialist. He currently works as a project manager in the healthcare sector, overseeing the development of care management software designed to help Medicaid patients access care.

    Spinks’ platform has five core components: using taxpayer money wisely, promoting government transparency and accountability, fighting for quality public education, fixing broken infrastructure, and reimagining approaches to public safety.

    In the interest of responsible spending and transparency, Spinks will only support open and transparent processes for large scale projects in the city, as well as reviews of city budgets with an eye towards savings and proper resource allocation. He also wishes to streamline services for individuals and businesses, particularly in permits and public utilities.

    Spinks’ commitment to racial justice is apparent in his approach to police reform and public safety. He wishes to remove law enforcement officers from Richmond Public Schools, establish a civilian review board with subpoena power, and launch an independent investigation into officers involved in attacks on unarmed civilians.

    Spinks’ opponent is local activist Katherine Jordan, who has been a consistent advocate for increased funding to Richmond Public Schools. She has also served as the president of the Fan District Association. She was on the Richmond Green City Commission for four years, and spearheaded the Netzero 2050 Resolution, which was adopted by the City Council in June of this year. She is progressive on education and the environment issues, but has not taken as progressive of a stance on police reform.

    Also on the ballot for the 2nd District City Council race is Ashley Jefferson. No information can be found on her candidacy, however. Due to lack of information, we cannot say that Jefferson is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Due to his views on racial equality, education policy, and police reform, Tavarris Spinks is the more progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City Council, District 3

  • About the Race

    Richmond’s 3rd District representative for City Council will be elected on November 3, 2020, during the general election. There are two progressive candidates running in the 3rd district. Progressive newcomers Willie Hilliard and Ann-Frances Lambert are running against Elaine Summerfield. Incumbent Chris Hilbert is not seeking re-election.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 3rd District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 75% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Willie Hilliard is the current President of Brookland Park Area Association. He has extensive experience with children and education issues. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Northside Coalition for Children as well as on the Advisory Board for the Richmond Metropolitan Day School, the Advisory Council for 6PIC. He is also a Board Member of Friends of John Marshall Alumni Group and part of the Richmond 300 Housing Work Group.

    Hilliard’s progressive platform focuses on community policing and police reform, affordable housing, education, and economic development.

    He believes that policing as it currently exists in Richmond does not work and will work to create the police force that the city deserves so that everyone in the city can feel safe.

    Hilliard wants to ensure that all families in Richmond have access to safe, affordable housing, and will see that communities of all races and economic levels can thrive.

    In terms of education, Hilliard will advocate for the fair distribution of resources to all schools, regardless of their neighborhood or the income level of their students.

    Hilliard believes that economic development is best served by supporting Richmond’s small businesses and allowing them to grow. He also believes that City Council should work to ensure that economic growth within the city benefits all of its residents as equally as possible.

    Ann-Frances Lambert, Hilliard’s opponent, is very progressive on racial justice issues but has not put forward a comprehensive platform for her City Council run. Additionally, she has not directly addressed issues of affordable housing, education, and economic development, which are key components of Hilliard’s campaign through any other public statements.

    Hilliard’s other opponent, Elaine Summerfield, is progressive on conservation, education, and affordable housing. However, she has been silent on issues of racial justice in regards to policing, therefore, we cannot be sure that she would make equally progressive choices as Hilliard on those issues. Furthermore, her platform is vague and does not directly address inequalities that exist in the city due to matters of race and income.

    Given his views on racial justice, education, and economic development, Willie Hilliard is the most progressive choice for Richmond's 3rd District.

    Last updated: 2020-09-01

Richmond City Council, District 4

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election of Richmond’s 4th District representative for City Council takes place on November 3, 2020 during the general election. Incumbent Councilwoman Kristen Larson is running unopposed for re-election.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 4th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 70% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Councilwoman Kristen Larson began her community engagement in Richmond by serving on the board at her son’s school, the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts. In 2012, she was recognized by Style Magazine on its “Top 40 under 40” list. She was also part of the City of Richmond Early Childhood Action Team. She was elected to represent the 4th District on Richmond’s School Board in 2012 and was elected to City Council in 2016, winning a five-way race. Larson is the Chair of the Education and Health Committee and serves on the Finance Committee.

    During her time on the School Board, Larson helped develop a plan to fix school infrastructure issues and finish long-overdue improvements to bring Richmond Public Schools in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Larson voted against removing Confederate monuments in January of 2020 because she thought removing them was not worth the cost. After the protests in response to George Floyd’s murder, Larson voted to remove Confederate monuments from Richmond. She voted to implement the Marcus Alert System and create a Civilian Review Board for police. However, she also voted against a proposal to study options regarding defunding the Richmond Police Department. In her statement rejecting the defunding proposal, she cited what she called “dangerous and unacceptable” protests in Richmond.

    Due to a lack of transparency, Larson opposed Levar Stoney’s proposed Navy Hill development deal, led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell, and opposed by local progressive activists.

    Larson is running unopposed in this race.

    Kristen Larson is the progressive choice for this race.

    Kristen Larson

    About the Race

    The election of Richmond’s 4th District representative for City Council takes place on November 3, 2020 during the general election. Incumbent Councilwoman Kristen Larson is running unopposed for re-election.

    About the District

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City Council, District 5

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election of Richmond’s 5th District representative for City Council is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. The incumbent, Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch, is an open progressive running for her first full term on the council against Jer’mykeal McCoy.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 5th District is located in the southwest part of the city. The 5th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Stephanie Lynch is running for her first full term on Richmond City Council after winning a special election in 2019. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work Administration and Policy Practice from VCU. After graduation, she was hired at Virginia’s Department of Social Services. Throughout her career, she worked to help implement the Affordable Care Act and fought for Medicaid expansion. She led the effort to start the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) program, which now serves over 20,000 people. She has also worked for GoodNeighbor, one of Virginia’s largest mental health and disability services providers for disadvantaged communities.

    During her short time on City Council, Lynch stepped up to help lead efforts to reform policing practices, helping draft a proposal to study defunding the Richmond Police Department. She is one of two Richmond City Council members to vote to study defunding the police, along with Mike Jones.

    Lynch is running for the seat as a Democrat on an openly progressive platform. Her primary issues include transparency, spending Richmond’s tax dollars fairly, working with the Richmond School Board to create more equitable schools, ensuring green and inclusive development in the city, and supporting measures to decrease gun violence and trauma.

    She believes the city must be accountable for its promises on education. She will work to create a culture of support for teachers, students, and families. This includes re-committing to the teacher and staff pay raises agreed upon in the budget approved before the COVID-19 pandemic. Lynch plans to establish an empowered teacher oversight committee with input on curriculum and purchasing decisions.

    Lynch will support Richmond’s new Pilot Eviction Diversion Program, designed to decrease evictions in the city. She also wants to expand the Housing Affordability Trust Fund. She believes that by working with state legislators, the City Council can extend the rights and resources available to tenants in Richmond.

    In addition to her progressive platform, Lynch also uses her social media accounts to voice her support progressive ideas and policies and to expose injustices within the system, such as explaining discrepancies in funding between the prosecutor and public defender’s offices, replacing school resource officers, and reforming drug courts.

    Stephanie Lynch’s opponent, Jer’Mykeal McCoy is also running on an openly progressive platform, which includes expanding and fully funding COVID-19 testing efforts, improving the GRTC, and increasing funding for Richmond Public Schools. McCoy’s platform is far less detailed than Lynch’s and does not address police brutality or affordable housing as directly. McCoy’s background is primarily in business and professional development, rather than directly working on progressive issues. Given Lynch’s extensive experience in social work and activism, she has demonstrated a more consistent commitment to progressive issues than her opponent.

    Also running for the 5th District City Council seat is activist Nicholas Da Silva, who is running his campaign on housing affordability, police accountability, food and transportation justice, funding of the city’s schools, and economic empowerment. He wants to give renters more rights in the city to resist eviction and mistreatment by landlords. He plans to reduce traffic by making public transportation free for every resident in the city. Da Silva wants to make the city’s police more accountable by making their statistics available for the public to see and foster community trust. Da Silva is a progressive, but Lynch’s experience in City Council gives her an edge in the race.

    The third challenger to Lynch is Mamie Taylor, who formerly represented Richmond’s 5th District on the School Board from 2012 to 2016. Taylor is running her campaign on quality governance, transparency, and equity.  She promises to promote transparency and clarity, tax reform, economic opportunities, better infrastructure for city streets, public schools, fair housing, better oversight of government spending, and more funding for public parks if elected to Richmond’s City Council. Taylor is also progressive, but she has not raised any money for her campaign.

    Due to her commitment to policing reform, her platform of equality, and her commitment to working to improve disadvantaged communities, Stephanie Lynch is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-10-09

Richmond City Council, District 6

  • About the Race

    Richmond’s 6th District City Council representative will be elected on November 3, 2020, during the general election. Openly progressive newcomer, candidate Allan-Charles Chipman, is running against incumbent Ellen Robertson.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 6th District is considered the gateway district and is located in the central-eastern part of the city. The 6th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 90% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Allan-Charles Chipman's inspiration for activism came from watching faith leaders use their skills to help community members when he was six years old. He is a lifelong organizer and activist working to strategize and implement a “reality of equality.” He has extensive experience as a financial advisor while working for Fortune 500 companies to make sure they stay within budget.

    Chipman is basing his City Council candidancy on the concept of “everyday solidarity.” He believes that every constituent and concern matters, and that governments build trust with their communities by showing up to do the small things, like infrastructure maintenance.

    In line with his desire to implement a “reality of equality, Chipman plans to push for equality in all areas of city life, including education, the allocation of tax resources, community, and public health, especially around COVID-19. He supports implementing police reform, taking equity assessment indices to evaluate marginalized communities, using equity funds to help counter the impact that crisis and emergencies have on already disadvantaged communities, and implementing a Housing Plus Pilot Program in Richmond.

    To ensure transparency and a fair allocation of taxpayer resources, Chipman supports the implementation of a public-driven Community Benefits Agreement before any public subsidies are used in developments. He also wants to prevent public land from being sold without mandatory land assessments of their value. He would give the School Board the right to opt-out of developments that will impact school funding in the future.

    Chipman is running against incumbent Ellen Robertson, who has been less progressive on several issues, particularly in the areas of transparency and accountability. Robertson was a supporter of Mayor Stoney’s Navy Hill development project. It was led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell and opposed by local progressive activists due to the taxpayer subsidies that would go toward financing the project. Robertson also advocated for the removal of a tent city located across the street from the Richmond Justice Center which she considered a “blight” on her district. The removal resulted in the displacement of between 50 and 80 of the city’s homeless residents. However, Roberton has spearheaded efforts to create affordable housing in the city and to increase its accessibility to homeless individuals.

    Given his views on police reform and transparency, along with his innovative approach to creating equality in Richmond, Allan-Charles Chipman is the more progressive choice in this race.

    Allan-Charles Chipman

    About the Race

    Richmond’s 6th District City Council representative will be elected on November 3, 2020, during the general election. Openly progressive newcomer, candidate Allan-Charles Chipman, is running against incumbent Ellen Robertson.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City Council, District 7

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 7th District City Council representative is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Openly progressive newcomer Joseph Rogers is running against incumbent Cynthia Newbille.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. The City of Richmond's population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 7th District consists of the city’s East End. The 7th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning the district with over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    A descendant of a Black legislator from Virginia's Reconstruction era, Joseph Rogers works as a museum educator in Richmond. He places particular emphasis on teaching students the truth about the impact of race in Virginia’s history. He is also a community organizer and activist with the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, and Justice and Reformation, an organization started by the family of Marcus-David Peters, an unarmed Black man killed by Richmond police.

    Rogers’ platform focuses primarily on education, housing, community and public spaces, public safety, and transportation. He demands full funding for all Richmond public schools and will work to ensure equal access to quality education for all Richmond students, regardless of race, neighborhood, or income level. Rogers also plans to address the city’s affordable housing crisis and bring down Richmond’s astronomically high eviction rates.

    Rogers favors a community-based approach to public safety that would shift first responder duties for those experiencing a mental health crisis away from police and to trained professionals. He supports the implementation of the Marcus Alert System, a program designed to dispatch teams of mental health professionals along with police to mental health emergencies. He also supports immediately banning chemical irritants and other militaristic non-lethal force weapons against protestors and the formation of an elected Civilian Review Board for police misconduct.

    Rogers is running against incumbent Cynthia Newbille. She supported Mayor Stoney’s Navy Hill development project, which was led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell and opposed by local progressive activists. While Newbille voted to implement the Marcus Alert System and the creation of a civilian review board for police misconduct, she also voted against a proposal to study police defunding options. She also spearheads the Shockoe Alliance, which is now working to create a slave memorial park and museum to tell the full story of slavery in the Shockoe part of the city.

    Due to his commitment to racial justice, and his views on affordable housing, education, and police reform, Joseph Rogers is the more progressive choice in this race.

    Joseph Rogers

    About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 7th District City Council representative is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Openly progressive newcomer Joseph Rogers is running against incumbent Cynthia Newbille.

    Last updated: 2020-09-29

Richmond City Council, District 8

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 8th District City Council representative takes place on November 3, 2020 in conjunction with the U.S. Presidential election. Progressive candidate and newcomer Amy Wentz is running against incumbent Councilwoman Reva Trammell.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. The City of Richmond’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 8th District encompasses the city’s Southside. The 8th District trends Democratic. In the 2018 congressional election, Rep. Don McEachin (D) won the district with over 90% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Amy Wentz is a US Army veteran currently working for the Department of Defense. She has worked tirelessly to advocate for Richmond’s Black community and was named “Richmond History Maker” in 2020. She was awarded the Richmond Community Service Award by the Richmond City Council and recognized as one of Style Weekly's “Top 40 Under 40” in 2013. She is part of an action team that oversees “Visit BLK RVA,” Virginia’s first tourism platform dedicated to highlighting Black culture. She is also the co-founder of the Richmond Black Restaurant Experience.

    Wentz is running on a detailed, openly progressive platform, with a focus on education, infrastructure, growth, housing, transportation, health, and public safety. She wants to ensure equitable lives and outcomes for all Richmond residents.

    Wentz will work to diversify and improve public transportation. She plans to create more bus lines, particularly one going through the Southside. Wentz will also build more sidewalks and bikeways to increase the quality of life in neighborhoods. Wentz will ensure that all public schools, community centers, and libraries are accessible by GRTC bus lines.

    She will work to protect renters’ rights and ensure access to affordable housing. Wentz believes that Richmond can provide access to homeownership opportunities to every city resident, due to current low-interest rates and down payment grant options. She would prioritize funding and supporting the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, which works to create permanent affordable housing opportunities to foster racial equality within Richmond communities. Wentz would also look to increase multi-family zoning in the city.

    Wentz is committed to increasing the accessibility of both primary and mental healthcare in the 8th District. She plans to collaborate with the Richmond Health District and the Richmond Behavioral Health to seek out solutions to problems related to healthcare access.

    Wentz is dedicated to improving education for people of all ages in Richmond. She will support initiatives to strengthen pre-K to post-secondary learning opportunities for Richmond residents. She plans to increase access to adult learning and education, including vocational and technical programs for career training and retraining. Wentz will work toward pay raises for Richmond Public School educators and staff.

    Wentz’s opponent is incumbent Reva Trammell, who repeatedly voted against removing Confederate monuments. Trammell has been reluctant to discuss issues of race and policing. Trammell has been accused of racist attitudes stemming from a controversy over some personal items displayed in her home during a streaming event. Trammell voted against the Navy Hill redevelopment project. While she voted unanimously along with the rest of the council to implement the Marcus Alert System and to create a civilian review board for police misconduct, Tramell also voted against a proposal to fund a study on defunding the Richmond Police Department.

    Also running for the 8th District City Council seat is Regie Ford, a former president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters. Ford doesn’t have a campaign website, but a video posted on Twitter shows him calling for beautifying, not gentrifying the 8th district and accountable representation. Due to lack of information, Ford is not the most progressive choice in this race.

    In light of her history working toward racial equality, and her views on education, transportation, and housing, Amy Wentz is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-10-09

Richmond City Council, District 9

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 9th District City Council representative is held on November 3 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. The incumbent, Councilman Michael Jones, is running unopposed for re-election.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 9th District is located in the south-central part of the city. The 9th District trends Democratic. Rep. Don McEachin (D) earned over 90% of the vote in the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Dr. Michael Jones is a pastor at Villages of Faith Ministries in Richmond with a doctorate in ministry. He has served on the Richmond City Council since his election in 2016 and serves as the Chair of the Education and Human Services Committee and Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee.

    During his time on the City Council, Dr. Jones repeatedly championed the causes of racial equality and reform. He consistently voted to remove Confederate monuments and spearheaded efforts to enact police reform in Richmond in response to the behavior of the Richmond Police Department at protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

    Jones supports banning the use of tear gas and other military-grade weaponry against peaceful protesters. He is one of two council members to help develop and vote for a proposal to study defunding the Richmond Police Department.

    He uses his social media accounts to spread information about COVID-19 resources and response issues. Jones plans only to support pandemic budget amendments that will not negatively impact the city’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

    Despite the concerns of progressive activists, Jones voted to support the Navy Hill development project.

    Dr. Mike Jones is running unopposed for re-election.

    Given his views and actions in support of racial justice, his commitment to protecting vulnerable communities in the wake of the pandemic, and his work on police reform, Dr. Michale Jones is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Dr. Michael Jones

    About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 9th District City Council representative is held on November 3 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. The incumbent, Councilman Michael Jones, is running unopposed for re-election.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond School Board

Richmond City School Board, District 1

  • About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 1st District School Board representative is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. Presidential election. Former Obama campaign staffer, incumbent Liz Doerr, is running unopposed in this race.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. With over 25,000 residents, Richmond’s 1st District encompasses the city’s West End and along the James River and Richmond’s historic Boulevard. The 1st District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 55% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Liz Doerr is the incumbent representing the 1st District on the City of Richmond School Board and works as a finance professional. She has worked as a community organizer for several Democratic campaigns, including Virginia’s field director for President Barack Obama’s Organizing For America in 2010. President Obama endorsed Doerr in her first school board campaign in 2016. She was elected Vice-Chair of the Richmond School Board in 2019.

    During her time on the school board, Doerr has supported increasing the use of solar power in Richmond public schools and science-based policies in reaction to COVID-19. She has also voiced support for matters of racial justice. Doerr supports police reform and removing police officers serving as school resource officers from Richmond Public Schools to address the school to prison pipeline.

    Doerr was supportive of the school board’s decision to implement full virtual learning for the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

    Doerr is running unopposed in this race.

    Due to her support for green energy initiatives, racial justice issues, and science-based approaches to COVID-19, Liz Doerr is the most progressive choice.

    Liz Doerr

    About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 1st District School Board representative is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. Presidential election. Former Obama campaign staffer, incumbent Liz Doerr, is running unopposed in this race.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. With over 25,000 residents, Richmond’s 1st District encompasses the city’s West End and along the James River and Richmond’s historic Boulevard. The 1st District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 55% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Liz Doerr is the incumbent representing the 1st District on the City of Richmond School Board and works as a finance professional. She has worked as a community organizer for several Democratic campaigns, including Virginia’s field director for President Barack Obama’s Organizing For America in 2010. President Obama endorsed Doerr in her first school board campaign in 2016. She was elected Vice-Chair of the Richmond School Board in 2019.

    During her time on the school board, Doerr has supported increasing the use of solar power in Richmond public schools and science-based policies in reaction to COVID-19. She has also voiced support for matters of racial justice. Doerr supports police reform and removing police officers serving as school resource officers from Richmond Public Schools to address the school to prison pipeline.

    Doerr was supportive of the school board’s decision to implement full virtual learning for the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

    Doerr is running unopposed in this race.

    Due to her support for green energy initiatives, racial justice issues, and science-based approaches to COVID-19, Liz Doerr is the most progressive choice.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 2

  • There are two equally progressive candidates running for the 2nd District seat of the Richmond School Board, incumbent Scott Barlow and candidate Mariah White.

    Mariah White works for a defense logistics agency and is an advocate for Richmond students. In 2018, she testified to the Richmond School Board about a lack of proper supplies and a lack of transparency in school district budgets. White has addressed the board on matters of teacher recruitment and retention. She has volunteered at Carver Elementary School as a Carver Promise Mentor since 2010.

    On budgetary matters, White stated that she is opposed to any school closures because she believes that they will only be used to make up budget shortfalls and will not be carefully planned as a result.

    Instead, White maintains that money can be saved by cutting unnecessary administrative staff and reinvesting that money, particularly in relation to overcrowded and underfunded schools.

    White plans to work toward ensuring equality in testing for all Richmond students. She believes that all students need to be trained equally on the technology necessary to take Standard of Learning (SOL) tests. She wants all SOL tests to be offered in both English and Spanish. She is in full support of all teaching standards being within guidelines set by the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed in 2016.

    White and Barlow are the only two candidates running for School Board in the 2nd District.

    Given Scott Barlow’s views on supporting educators and his position on SROs, and Mariah White’s advocacy work and belief in increasing accessibility for all students, there are two progressive choices in this race.

    Mariah White

    There are two equally progressive candidates running for the 2nd District seat of the Richmond School Board, incumbent Scott Barlow and candidate Mariah White.

    Mariah White works for a defense logistics agency and is an advocate for Richmond students. In 2018, she testified to the Richmond School Board about a lack of proper supplies and a lack of transparency in school district budgets. White has addressed the board on matters of teacher recruitment and retention. She has volunteered at Carver Elementary School as a Carver Promise Mentor since 2010.

    On budgetary matters, White stated that she is opposed to any school closures because she believes that they will only be used to make up budget shortfalls and will not be carefully planned as a result.

    Instead, White maintains that money can be saved by cutting unnecessary administrative staff and reinvesting that money, particularly in relation to overcrowded and underfunded schools.

    White plans to work toward ensuring equality in testing for all Richmond students. She believes that all students need to be trained equally on the technology necessary to take Standard of Learning (SOL) tests. She wants all SOL tests to be offered in both English and Spanish. She is in full support of all teaching standards being within guidelines set by the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed in 2016.

    White and Barlow are the only two candidates running for School Board in the 2nd District.

    Given Scott Barlow’s views on supporting educators and his position on SROs, and Mariah White’s advocacy work and belief in increasing accessibility for all students, there are two progressive choices in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10
  • There are two equally progressive candidates running for the 2nd District seat of the Richmond School Board, incumbent Scott Barlow and candidate Mariah White.

    Current board member Scott Barlow is a contract manager with Fahrenheit IT and was first elected to the School Board in 2016.

    On issues of racial justice and police reform, Barlow voiced skepticism about the role of school resource officers in Richmond Public Schools and believes that the arrest rate of the city’s middle school students is too high.

    Barlow stated that his main priorities on the School Board are ensuring “that every student has access to a quality education in our city no matter their background, neighborhood or experiences.”

    He supports better pay for teachers and respects their professional experience and insight in implementing changes to day-to-day school operations and curriculum.

    Barlow believes that Richmond Public Schools will recruit and retain more teachers by improving teacher pay, listening to the needs of educators, and improving teacher working conditions.

    Barlow is willing to support some school closures if there is “a fair and transparent long-term plan to ensure that every student in Richmond has access to a quality classroom.”

    Given Scott Barlow’s views on supporting educators and his position on SROs, and Mariah White’s advocacy work and belief in increasing accessibility for all students, there are two progressive choices in this race.

    Scott Barlow

    There are two equally progressive candidates running for the 2nd District seat of the Richmond School Board, incumbent Scott Barlow and candidate Mariah White.

    Current board member Scott Barlow is a contract manager with Fahrenheit IT and was first elected to the School Board in 2016.

    On issues of racial justice and police reform, Barlow voiced skepticism about the role of school resource officers in Richmond Public Schools and believes that the arrest rate of the city’s middle school students is too high.

    Barlow stated that his main priorities on the School Board are ensuring “that every student has access to a quality education in our city no matter their background, neighborhood or experiences.”

    He supports better pay for teachers and respects their professional experience and insight in implementing changes to day-to-day school operations and curriculum.

    Barlow believes that Richmond Public Schools will recruit and retain more teachers by improving teacher pay, listening to the needs of educators, and improving teacher working conditions.

    Barlow is willing to support some school closures if there is “a fair and transparent long-term plan to ensure that every student in Richmond has access to a quality classroom.”

    Given Scott Barlow’s views on supporting educators and his position on SROs, and Mariah White’s advocacy work and belief in increasing accessibility for all students, there are two progressive choices in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 3

  • About the Race

    Richmond School Board’s 3rd District representative will be elected on November 3, 2020, as part of the general election. There are two progressive candidates running in the 3rd district. Incumbent activist, Kenya Gibson, is running for re-election against newcomer Sabrina Gross.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 3rd District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 75% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    School Board Member Kenya Gibson is a working mother who has served on the School Board since 2016. Since moving to Richmond in 2006 and serving as the vice president of the Linwood Holton Elementary PTA before her election to the Richmond School Board, Gibson has been a grassroots advocate for education funding and equality.

    Gibson is outspoken about racial equality issues in education and advocates against referrals to police on student behavioral issues in schools, which disproportionately target Black, Latinx, and disabled students, preferring to replace police officers with professionals trained to handle student issues.

    Her platform focuses on continuing the work she has done to improve Richmond’s schools in the last four years. She is also committed to finding ways to expand recruitment and retain teachers of color, focusing on Black male educators. Gibson wishes to safely transition back into school buildings as soon as it is safe to do so during the COVD-19 pandemic. Gibson voted to implement full virtual instruction during the Fall 2020 semester due to safety concerns over COVID-19 and the fact that not all Richmond public schools have full-time nurses.

    Gibson’s opponent, Sabrina Gross, is running on a platform of transparency and community engagement. She has voiced support for comprehensive childcare measures during COVID-19, including a universal basic income during the pandemic. In the interest of equality, Gross believes the school board should implement Universal Design for Learning principles in all Richmond public schools. She will work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by reconstructing school discipline practices. Gross does not have Gibson’s experience or record of promoting progressive change.

    Given her history of grassroots advocacy, her support for issues of racial equality in education, and her deep understanding of the problems facing Richmond schools, Kenya Gibson is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Kenya Gibson

    About the Race

    Richmond School Board’s 3rd District representative will be elected on November 3, 2020, as part of the general election. There are two progressive candidates running in the 3rd district. Incumbent activist, Kenya Gibson, is running for re-election against newcomer Sabrina Gross.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 3rd District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 75% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    School Board Member Kenya Gibson is a working mother who has served on the School Board since 2016. Since moving to Richmond in 2006 and serving as the vice president of the Linwood Holton Elementary PTA before her election to the Richmond School Board, Gibson has been a grassroots advocate for education funding and equality.

    Gibson is outspoken about racial equality issues in education and advocates against referrals to police on student behavioral issues in schools, which disproportionately target Black, Latinx, and disabled students, preferring to replace police officers with professionals trained to handle student issues.

    Her platform focuses on continuing the work she has done to improve Richmond’s schools in the last four years. She is also committed to finding ways to expand recruitment and retain teachers of color, focusing on Black male educators. Gibson wishes to safely transition back into school buildings as soon as it is safe to do so during the COVD-19 pandemic. Gibson voted to implement full virtual instruction during the Fall 2020 semester due to safety concerns over COVID-19 and the fact that not all Richmond public schools have full-time nurses.

    Gibson’s opponent, Sabrina Gross, is running on a platform of transparency and community engagement. She has voiced support for comprehensive childcare measures during COVID-19, including a universal basic income during the pandemic. In the interest of equality, Gross believes the school board should implement Universal Design for Learning principles in all Richmond public schools. She will work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by reconstructing school discipline practices. Gross does not have Gibson’s experience or record of promoting progressive change.

    Given her history of grassroots advocacy, her support for issues of racial equality in education, and her deep understanding of the problems facing Richmond schools, Kenya Gibson is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 4

  • About the Race

    The election for the 4th District representative for the Richmond School Board takes place on November 3, 2020, during the general election. Teacher and activist, Deanna Fierro, is running against incumbent Jonathan Young.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 4th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 70% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Deanna Fierro is a Virginia public school teacher who recently earned her master's degree in Education Leadership from VCU. Fierro has also advocated for students and educators throughout the state, helping to organize the 2019 RedforEd March in Richmond to urge legislators to increase public school funding. She has also served as her district’s zoning representative to the school board, where she advocated for a facilities plan that would help decrease overcrowding in classrooms. She has also filed a federal complaint on behalf of Richmond's English as a Second Language (ESL) students because of the lack of funding and resources.

    Fierro’s platform has three central pillars: retaining educators, attracting families to the Richmond school system, and building communities. She believes that retaining educators will lead to significant improvements in the quality of education at Richmond public schools. In order to retain more teachers, Fierro believes it is essential Richmond establish collective bargaining for educators, develop a plan to collect their input before implementing policies that change day-to-day school operations, and create a system for collecting exit interviews so administrators can identify retention issues.

    She believes that families and communities will be best served by increasing equity in Richmond’s schools and make learning equally accessible to all students in the city, particularly for students who have special needs or are not proficient in English. Fierro wishes to address these issues by creating a community engagement plan that allows families to have input on school decision making, develop strategies to close education gaps caused by systemic disparities, and identify a process to uplift underserved student populations.

    Fierro’s opponent is incumbent Jonathan Young, who proposed open enrollment for all students at all Richmond schools as a replacement for rezoning proposals in 2019. His plan also involved closing five Richmond schools, despite the issues Richmond schools already faced with overcrowding.

    Given her commitment to improving education for ESL students, her support for educator collective bargaining, and her innovative approach to equity in education, Deanna Fierro is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Deanna Fierro

    About the Race

    The election for the 4th District representative for the Richmond School Board takes place on November 3, 2020, during the general election. Teacher and activist, Deanna Fierro, is running against incumbent Jonathan Young.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 4th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 70% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Deanna Fierro is a Virginia public school teacher who recently earned her master's degree in Education Leadership from VCU. Fierro has also advocated for students and educators throughout the state, helping to organize the 2019 RedforEd March in Richmond to urge legislators to increase public school funding. She has also served as her district’s zoning representative to the school board, where she advocated for a facilities plan that would help decrease overcrowding in classrooms. She has also filed a federal complaint on behalf of Richmond's English as a Second Language (ESL) students because of the lack of funding and resources.

    Fierro’s platform has three central pillars: retaining educators, attracting families to the Richmond school system, and building communities. She believes that retaining educators will lead to significant improvements in the quality of education at Richmond public schools. In order to retain more teachers, Fierro believes it is essential Richmond establish collective bargaining for educators, develop a plan to collect their input before implementing policies that change day-to-day school operations, and create a system for collecting exit interviews so administrators can identify retention issues.

    She believes that families and communities will be best served by increasing equity in Richmond’s schools and make learning equally accessible to all students in the city, particularly for students who have special needs or are not proficient in English. Fierro wishes to address these issues by creating a community engagement plan that allows families to have input on school decision making, develop strategies to close education gaps caused by systemic disparities, and identify a process to uplift underserved student populations.

    Fierro’s opponent is incumbent Jonathan Young, who proposed open enrollment for all students at all Richmond schools as a replacement for rezoning proposals in 2019. His plan also involved closing five Richmond schools, despite the issues Richmond schools already faced with overcrowding.

    Given her commitment to improving education for ESL students, her support for educator collective bargaining, and her innovative approach to equity in education, Deanna Fierro is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 5

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election of the 5th District representative for Richmond School Board takes place on November 3, 2020, sharing a ballot with the U.S. presidential election. Activist Stephanie Rizzi is running against administrator Dr. Decardra Jackson, local CEO David Jones, and fellow activist Jennifer Aghomo.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 5th District is located in the southwest part of the city. The 5th District trends Democratic with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Stephanie Rizzi is a lifelong educator who has also worked in Richmond as an activist for change with groups such as Richmond For All to advocate for schools that are more equitable to educators and students of all backgrounds. 

    Rizzi believes that empowering teachers and giving the community a voice in school matters is the best way to improve education. She believes that top-heavy administrative bureaucracies are counterproductive to educator success, and that teachers’ input on changes to school curriculum and day-to-day school life should be solicited first before new policies are imposed on them. 

    In order to see that all Richmond students thrive, Rizzi advocates having input from educators, parents and communities before implementing pre-packaged curriculums. She also wishes to reimagine school discipline to focus on preventing infractions or dealing with them within schools, rather than resorting to calling in law enforcement officers. 

    Her first opponent,  David Jones, is the CEO of a local construction company. He also runs an organization to support student athletes in Richmond, which he started because he wanted to provide students at Richmond Public Schools with the same level of athletic opportunity and training as students in the surrounding county schools. Jones is very focused on closing the achievement gaps for male students of color and has worked with Mayor Levar Stoney on reaching out to students. However, Jones has not put forward a platform as comprehensive or progressive as Rizzi.

    Her other opponent, Dr. Decardra Jackson, works as the Richmond Public School Director of Testing Assessment Literacy and Research. Her platform is centered on ensuring that all students in Richmond Public Schools have equal access to 21st century learning tools. Jackson wants to reach out to local businesses, libraries, and police to build partnerships to support students. She also supports universal pre-K. While Jackson’s platform is moderately progresive, it does not provide the same level of policy engagement and agency for teachers and parents that Rizzi’s platform does and relies heavily on maintaining a large administration rather than transferring decision making power directly to the stakeholders. 

    Rizzi’s final opponent, Jennifer Aghomo is also a Richmond education activist. She was PTA president of John B. Cary Elementary School in 2014-2015, when it was facing possible closure, and led efforts to rally parents, teachers, and community members to make sure the school stayed open. However, she does not have the same thorough, progressive platform for educational reform that Rizzi does. 

    Given her commitment to empowering educators, taking into account the individual needs of students from all backgrounds, and her beliefs on school discipline, Stephanie Rizzi is the most progressive choice in this race. 

    Stephanie Rizzi

    About the Race

    The election of the 5th District representative for Richmond School Board takes place on November 3, 2020, sharing a ballot with the U.S. presidential election. Activist Stephanie Rizzi is running against administrator Dr. Decardra Jackson, local CEO David Jones, and fellow activist Jennifer Aghomo.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 5th District is located in the southwest part of the city. The 5th District trends Democratic with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Stephanie Rizzi is a lifelong educator who has also worked in Richmond as an activist for change with groups such as Richmond For All to advocate for schools that are more equitable to educators and students of all backgrounds. 

    Rizzi believes that empowering teachers and giving the community a voice in school matters is the best way to improve education. She believes that top-heavy administrative bureaucracies are counterproductive to educator success, and that teachers’ input on changes to school curriculum and day-to-day school life should be solicited first before new policies are imposed on them. 

    In order to see that all Richmond students thrive, Rizzi advocates having input from educators, parents and communities before implementing pre-packaged curriculums. She also wishes to reimagine school discipline to focus on preventing infractions or dealing with them within schools, rather than resorting to calling in law enforcement officers. 

    Her first opponent,  David Jones, is the CEO of a local construction company. He also runs an organization to support student athletes in Richmond, which he started because he wanted to provide students at Richmond Public Schools with the same level of athletic opportunity and training as students in the surrounding county schools. Jones is very focused on closing the achievement gaps for male students of color and has worked with Mayor Levar Stoney on reaching out to students. However, Jones has not put forward a platform as comprehensive or progressive as Rizzi.

    Her other opponent, Dr. Decardra Jackson, works as the Richmond Public School Director of Testing Assessment Literacy and Research. Her platform is centered on ensuring that all students in Richmond Public Schools have equal access to 21st century learning tools. Jackson wants to reach out to local businesses, libraries, and police to build partnerships to support students. She also supports universal pre-K. While Jackson’s platform is moderately progresive, it does not provide the same level of policy engagement and agency for teachers and parents that Rizzi’s platform does and relies heavily on maintaining a large administration rather than transferring decision making power directly to the stakeholders. 

    Rizzi’s final opponent, Jennifer Aghomo is also a Richmond education activist. She was PTA president of John B. Cary Elementary School in 2014-2015, when it was facing possible closure, and led efforts to rally parents, teachers, and community members to make sure the school stayed open. However, she does not have the same thorough, progressive platform for educational reform that Rizzi does. 

    Given her commitment to empowering educators, taking into account the individual needs of students from all backgrounds, and her beliefs on school discipline, Stephanie Rizzi is the most progressive choice in this race. 

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 6

  • About the Race

    The election for the 6th District's representative on the Richmond School Board is on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Former Binford Middle School PTA board member and constituent advocate, Lynette Plummer, is running against former Richmond School Board member Shonda Muhammad, community advocate Ta’Quan Grant, healthcare professional Timika Vincent, and Deon Wright.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 6th District is considered the gateway district and is located in the central-eastern part of the city. The 6th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 90% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Lynette Plummer is a former investment banker who has worked as Executive Assistant to both the Attorney General and Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia for the last six years. She also spent five years as a Constituent Advocate with Senator Mark Warner. Plummer has served on the Binford Middle PTA Board and the Richmond Education Compact Committee.

    Plummer’s platform rests on three central pillars: communication, collaboration, and compassion. In regards to collaboration, she wishes to develop district-specific plans that can solicit parental engagement and involvement in policy and decision making. She also wishes to develop communication tools and practices which will allow students to share their experiences and voice their concerns.

    She believes that improving communication means developing good relationships between School Board members and administrators and establishing strong communication lines with educators and parents. This includes soliciting and integrating feedback from teachers and parents on budgetary, curriculum, and other important decisions before the Board takes a vote. Plummer supports transparency in the School Board’s work and wants to use statistical data and analysis to inform the Board’s decision-making process.

    Finally, Plummer believes that compassion means investing in diversity, inclusion and equality in Richmond Public Schools. She fully supports restorative justice and disciplinary measures over punitive ones in regards to students. Plummer also believes it is necessary to support teachers by providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs and trusting their professional experience and judgment.

    Plummer’s opponent, Shonda Muhammad, served on the school board between 2012 and 2016. During her time on the School Board, Muhammad called out her fellow board members on not doing enough to address violence at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Muhammad organizes the annual Back to School Rally, which has provided over 13,000 students with backpacks filled with school supplies since 2008. Muhammad has no specific platform information posted about her 2020 run for Richmond School Board.

    Another opponent, Ta’Quan Grant, is a community advocate running on a platform of updating the technology and infrastructure of Richmond schools, creating mentorship programs for students, advocating for students with disabilities, and equal funding for teachers. Although his platform is progressive, it is not as detailed as Plummer’s, particularly on community involvement, transparency, and racial equality.

    Timika Vincent, a healthcare professional, is also running for the 6th District School Board seat. She wants to promote parental involvement and act as a voice for students and parents on the School Board. Vincent also supports expanding programs designed to provide food, clothing, and school supplies to children in need through schools. Though her platform is progressive, it is less detailed than Plummer’s and lacks a specific focus on the needs of educators and students that Plummer provides.

    Plummer’s final opponent, Deon Wright, has a history of speaking out about child welfare in his neighborhood. He has no information posted publicly about his run for School Board, as his campaign Facebook is private.

    Due to her stance on transparency, parental and educator engagement, and her commitment to equality in education, Lynette Plummer is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Lynette Plummer

    About the Race

    The election for the 6th District's representative on the Richmond School Board is on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Former Binford Middle School PTA board member and constituent advocate, Lynette Plummer, is running against former Richmond School Board member Shonda Muhammad, community advocate Ta’Quan Grant, healthcare professional Timika Vincent, and Deon Wright.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 6th District is considered the gateway district and is located in the central-eastern part of the city. The 6th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 90% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Lynette Plummer is a former investment banker who has worked as Executive Assistant to both the Attorney General and Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia for the last six years. She also spent five years as a Constituent Advocate with Senator Mark Warner. Plummer has served on the Binford Middle PTA Board and the Richmond Education Compact Committee.

    Plummer’s platform rests on three central pillars: communication, collaboration, and compassion. In regards to collaboration, she wishes to develop district-specific plans that can solicit parental engagement and involvement in policy and decision making. She also wishes to develop communication tools and practices which will allow students to share their experiences and voice their concerns.

    She believes that improving communication means developing good relationships between School Board members and administrators and establishing strong communication lines with educators and parents. This includes soliciting and integrating feedback from teachers and parents on budgetary, curriculum, and other important decisions before the Board takes a vote. Plummer supports transparency in the School Board’s work and wants to use statistical data and analysis to inform the Board’s decision-making process.

    Finally, Plummer believes that compassion means investing in diversity, inclusion and equality in Richmond Public Schools. She fully supports restorative justice and disciplinary measures over punitive ones in regards to students. Plummer also believes it is necessary to support teachers by providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs and trusting their professional experience and judgment.

    Plummer’s opponent, Shonda Muhammad, served on the school board between 2012 and 2016. During her time on the School Board, Muhammad called out her fellow board members on not doing enough to address violence at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Muhammad organizes the annual Back to School Rally, which has provided over 13,000 students with backpacks filled with school supplies since 2008. Muhammad has no specific platform information posted about her 2020 run for Richmond School Board.

    Another opponent, Ta’Quan Grant, is a community advocate running on a platform of updating the technology and infrastructure of Richmond schools, creating mentorship programs for students, advocating for students with disabilities, and equal funding for teachers. Although his platform is progressive, it is not as detailed as Plummer’s, particularly on community involvement, transparency, and racial equality.

    Timika Vincent, a healthcare professional, is also running for the 6th District School Board seat. She wants to promote parental involvement and act as a voice for students and parents on the School Board. Vincent also supports expanding programs designed to provide food, clothing, and school supplies to children in need through schools. Though her platform is progressive, it is less detailed than Plummer’s and lacks a specific focus on the needs of educators and students that Plummer provides.

    Plummer’s final opponent, Deon Wright, has a history of speaking out about child welfare in his neighborhood. He has no information posted publicly about his run for School Board, as his campaign Facebook is private.

    Due to her stance on transparency, parental and educator engagement, and her commitment to equality in education, Lynette Plummer is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 7

No Good Choices

Incumbent Cheryl Burke is a former school principal and was appointed interim School Board Member in 2017. She won the election in 2018. She is running unopposed this year. 

Burke was principal of Chimborazo Elementary School when, for the 2006-2007 academic year, the school reported 390 suspensions distributed among 555 students. The suspensions were part of the Richmond Public School System’s “Zero Tolerance” policy. Out-of-school suspensions were used to discipline students at a high rate, funneling them into the school to prison pipeline. 

Burke is opposed to removing School Resource Officers (SROs) from RPS. While Chimborazo’s principal she employed SROs at her school and supported keeping them after seeing students’ frightened reactions. She believes having police in schools helps students build better relationships with them and makes them more likely to call the police when at home. 

Burke also distributed illegal sample ballots ahead of her 2018 election and faced criticism for using school resources to print the ballots. 

Given Burke’s preference for using out of school suspension as a discipline method and her support of keeping police in schools, there are no good choices for this race. We encourage you to write in a candidate of your own. 


Richmond City School Board, District 8

  • About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 8th District School Board seat occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Newcomer Reverend Dana Sally Allen is running against incumbent Dawn Page, a Department of Corrections workforce specialist,.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 8th District encompasses the city’s Southside. The 8th District trends Democratic. In the 2018 congressional election, Rep. Don McEachin (D) won the district with over 90% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Reverend Dana Sally Allen is a Richmond minister who has advocated for more funding and equality in the city’s schools. She is also the president of the Blackwell Civic Association and succeeded in getting parks built and streets repaved while acquiring a $20 million grant from HUD to build 96 homes in Blackwell.

    Allen is running for school board on a platform of accountability, transparency, and engagement. In February, she used her position as President of the Blackwell Civic Association to advocate for and address local students’ demands for improvements to the overall quality of life and education. She also wants to use a position on the School Board to do the same.

    Allen is vocal on issues of school funding, particularly in regard to racial equality in learning. She wants to train Richmond educators to be anti-racist, while also working to ensure that educators are adequately compensated for their work. Allen would work to eliminate inequalities in high-speed internet access among students, predominantly impacting students of color. She believes this would promote equality in online learning and help narrow gaps in student achievement.

    Allen’s opponent, incumbent Dawn Page, has voted on multiple occasions to maintain or expand Richmond’s expansive school administration, which has been criticized for being oversized and overpaid. Page served as the Richmond School Board Chair in 2019, but was replaced by Linda Owen in 2020 on the grounds that she was not transparent with other board members. She also faced criticism from the School Board for removing items from meeting agendas after promising they would be addressed.

    Due to her advocacy for equality in education and her opponent’s lack of transparency and history of preferring school administration over educators and students, Rev. Dana Sally Allen is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Dana Sally Allen

    About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 8th District School Board seat occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Newcomer Reverend Dana Sally Allen is running against incumbent Dawn Page, a Department of Corrections workforce specialist,.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 8th District encompasses the city’s Southside. The 8th District trends Democratic. In the 2018 congressional election, Rep. Don McEachin (D) won the district with over 90% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Reverend Dana Sally Allen is a Richmond minister who has advocated for more funding and equality in the city’s schools. She is also the president of the Blackwell Civic Association and succeeded in getting parks built and streets repaved while acquiring a $20 million grant from HUD to build 96 homes in Blackwell.

    Allen is running for school board on a platform of accountability, transparency, and engagement. In February, she used her position as President of the Blackwell Civic Association to advocate for and address local students’ demands for improvements to the overall quality of life and education. She also wants to use a position on the School Board to do the same.

    Allen is vocal on issues of school funding, particularly in regard to racial equality in learning. She wants to train Richmond educators to be anti-racist, while also working to ensure that educators are adequately compensated for their work. Allen would work to eliminate inequalities in high-speed internet access among students, predominantly impacting students of color. She believes this would promote equality in online learning and help narrow gaps in student achievement.

    Allen’s opponent, incumbent Dawn Page, has voted on multiple occasions to maintain or expand Richmond’s expansive school administration, which has been criticized for being oversized and overpaid. Page served as the Richmond School Board Chair in 2019, but was replaced by Linda Owen in 2020 on the grounds that she was not transparent with other board members. She also faced criticism from the School Board for removing items from meeting agendas after promising they would be addressed.

    Due to her advocacy for equality in education and her opponent’s lack of transparency and history of preferring school administration over educators and students, Rev. Dana Sally Allen is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Richmond City School Board, District 9

  • About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 9th District School Board representative occurs on November 3, 2020, as part of the general election. Newcomer Nicole Jones, the donor relations director at ART 180, an organization supporting city youth, runs unopposed in this race after incumbent Linda Owen dropped out in early July.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 9th District is located in the south-central part of the city. The 9th District trends Democratic. Rep. Donald McEachin (D) earned over 90% of the vote in the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Nicole Jones is the donor relations director at Richmond’s ART 180. This organization works to allow city youth to express themselves through art to share their stories and improve their lives. The organization also operates Atlas, an art center for teens located in the Jackson Ward area.

    Jones is running unopposed in this race, as her opponent, former chair Linda Owen, dropped out in early July. Owen has endorsed Jones in her run for Richmond School Board.

    Given her history of supporting Richmond's young people, Nicole Jones is the most progressve choice in this race.

    Nicole Jones

    About the Race

    The election for Richmond’s 9th District School Board representative occurs on November 3, 2020, as part of the general election. Newcomer Nicole Jones, the donor relations director at ART 180, an organization supporting city youth, runs unopposed in this race after incumbent Linda Owen dropped out in early July.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 9th District is located in the south-central part of the city. The 9th District trends Democratic. Rep. Donald McEachin (D) earned over 90% of the vote in the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Nicole Jones is the donor relations director at Richmond’s ART 180. This organization works to allow city youth to express themselves through art to share their stories and improve their lives. The organization also operates Atlas, an art center for teens located in the Jackson Ward area.

    Jones is running unopposed in this race, as her opponent, former chair Linda Owen, dropped out in early July. Owen has endorsed Jones in her run for Richmond School Board.

    Given her history of supporting Richmond's young people, Nicole Jones is the most progressve choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Constitutional Amendments

Virginia Redistricting Commission Constitutional Amendment

  • VOTE NO
    Vote NO on this Flawed Amendment
  • We all deserve free and fair elections so that all of us can make our voices heard with equal power in our communities. But for years, conservative politicians have been doing everything they can to hoard power and ensure that they get re-elected no matter what the people want. They’ve done this by rigging district maps to dilute the power of communities of color and prevent people from making their voices heard. This November, there will be a constitutional amendment on the ballot that enshrines in our state constitution the power of politicians to pick their voters instead of allowing voters to choose their representatives. We need to vote no on this political bait and switch and ensure that the power stays with the people, not power-hungry politicians.

    About the Amendment
    This amendment gives the power to draw political maps to a commission made up of politicians and people hand-picked by politicians. They will draw the maps, and then members of the General Assembly will vote to accept or reject them. This amendment does not remove politicians from the process. The amendment also fails to adequately protect people of color in the constitution, instead relying on separate legislation that could be repealed, jeopardizing civil rights protections.

    We deserve a truly independent commission to ensure fair and equitable redistricting. Vote no on this amendment to put the power back in the hands of the people and keep politicians from choosing their voters instead of the other way around.

    About the Decision
    We can’t get clean elections with dirty maps drawn by politicians more interested in protecting their power than ensuring our voices are heard in our democracy.  We need to give the power back to the people and remove politicians from the process of drawing political boundaries completely. We can create a commission of concerned voters and nonpartisan experts who can draw fair, compact districts that ensure communities of color are protected, and everyone can make their voice heard equally.

    Amending the constitution is a big deal, and if we’re going to do it, we need to make sure we are getting it right. We don’t have to accept a flawed amendment or nothing at all. We can go back to the drawing board and ensure that what we are enshrining permanently in our constitution is fair, just, equitable, and gets us the results we want. Leaders in our community such as Congressman Donald McEachin and Congressman Bobby Scott know that this amendment is the wrong move. 


    The most progressive approach to redistricting is to vote NO on this flawed amendment and demand better to simultaneously protect historically underrepresented communities and draw fair district lines by including strong, specific, and clear rules to protect communities of color.

    Virginia Redistricting Commission Constitutional Amendment

    We all deserve free and fair elections so that all of us can make our voices heard with equal power in our communities. But for years, conservative politicians have been doing everything they can to hoard power and ensure that they get re-elected no matter what the people want.

    Last updated: 2020-10-26

Exemption for Disabled Veterans Constitutional Amendment

  • No Position
    No Position: Motor Vehicle Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans
  • This tax exemption will exclusively benefit veterans residing in Virginia who have a disability 100% connected to their service.

    This amendment was proposed by Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and was approved unanimously in the Senate and near-unanimously in the House. It will grant a property tax exemption for a single vehicle to disabled veterans whose disability is 100% connected with their service. There have been calls to limit the maximum value of cars that may be included in this exemption or limit the exemption based on the veteran’s income, which would be addressed later through legislation in the General Assembly.

    Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League (VML) both objected to this exemption because they believed that property tax exemptions should remain under local jurisdiction and not be mandated by the General Assembly. The VML argues that because localities do not decide to declare and send soldiers to war, the financial responsibility for caring for them should fall not on localities but on the federal government.
     

    Last updated: 2020-10-07