Centerville District

Centerville District

Not in Centerville District? Click here to choose your customized guide.

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

  • Joseph Biden photo
  • 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: 2020-09-10
  • Kamala Harris photo
  • 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

  • Mark Warner photo
    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: 2020-09-10

Congress, 2nd Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • About the Race

    This election shares a ballot with the US Presidential election held on November 3, 2020. Incumbent Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D), a US Navy veteran, faces Scott Taylor (R), a former Navy SEAL who previously held the seat from 2017 to 2019.

    About the District

    Virginia’s 2nd District covers a large portion of Hampton Roads, including the entirety of the cities of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg and parts of Norfolk and Hampton. It also encompasses all of Accomack, Northampton, and York counties. The district has changed hands several times since 2008 at all levels and is considered one of Virginia’s most competitive congressional districts. Luria won the seat by 2.5% in 2018, a margin of just over 6000 votes.

    Recommendation

    Democratic incumbent Representative Elaine Luria is seeking re-election in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. A 20-year Navy veteran, Luria was first elected to represent the 2nd District in 2018. As a Naval officer, she served in the Iraq War and was deployed to Japan, the Middle East, Mediterranean Sea, and the western Pacific. She is married with one daughter. Luria retired from the Navy in 2017 and started a small business called The Mermaid Factory in Virginia Beach.

    Luria serves on the Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services committees in the House of Representatives. Most of the legislation she filed during her term focuses on veterans’ affairs. In 2019, Luria voted for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restored key sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act legislation.

    She supports abortion access and believes the federal government should continue to fund Planned Parenthood. She supports closing the gender wage gap by implementing equal pay and taking action to combat maternal mortality in the U.S.

    Luria voted to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to cover more families during the coronavirus pandemic and believes that no one should be denied health insurance for having a pre-existing condition. She also condemned the Trump administration for attempting to dismantle the ACA and called on the Justice Department to reverse its position in a lawsuit meant to repeal the ACA. She called on the government to regulate prescription drug costs and to increase funding for mental health services.

    As Representative from the district where the 2019 Virginia Beach shooting occurred, Luria voted to implement universal background checks and voted for the Keep Americans Safe Act, which would ban the sale of high-capacity magazines. She supported passing red flag laws that would keep guns out of the wrong hands and banning assault rifles.

    Luria voted for the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and give more than 100,000 workers in her district a raise. She advocated for protections for small businesses, fisheries, and agricultural industries in coronavirus pandemic relief packages. Luria co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2019 to close the gender wage gap. She voted to impeach Donald Trump in 2019.

    Luria is facing a challenge from former Congressman Scott Taylor, who represented the 2nd District from 2017-2019. During his term, Taylor voted in line with President Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to give the richest one percent and wealthy corporations tax breaks. A staffer from his 2018 re-election campaign was found guilty of election fraud for forging voter signatures.

    Independent candidate David Foster is also challenging Luria. Foster opposes abortion rights and wants to cut taxes. Foster wants to prohibit sanctuary cities and supports Trump’s border wall. Foster also believes that a photo I.D. should be required for voting. He has published conspiracy theories on his website and believes that a lot of our healthcare problems could be solved by legalizing marijuana.

    Due to Taylor’s staunch support of Trump and his attacks on healthcare and Foster’s opposition to a person’s right to decide when, how and whether to have children, Luria is the most progressive choice for the 2nd Congressional District in Virginia.

    Representative Elaine Luria

    About the Race

    This election shares a ballot with the US Presidential election held on November 3, 2020. Incumbent Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D), a US Navy veteran, faces Scott Taylor (R), a former Navy SEAL who previously held the seat from 2017 to 2019.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

City of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Mayor

  • Jody Wagner photo
    Democrat
  • About the Race

    Virginia Beach’s mayoral election takes place on November 3, 2020 and shares a ballot with the US presidential election. Democrat Jody Wagner, the former State Treasurer and Secretary of Finance, is running against Republican and incumbent, Mayor Bobby Dyer and local small business owner, Richard Kowalewitch, who is running as an independent.

    About the District

     

    Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads region, on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth. It is the most populous city in Virginia, with a population of 1.2 million. Virginia Beach is politically split and is considered a toss-up. Donald Trump won the city with 48% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton’s 44%, in 2016. However, in 2018, the city changed hands, with Democrat Elaine Luria earning 51% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Jody Wagner served as the State Treasurer under Governor Mark Warner and as the Virginia Secretary of Finance under Governor Tim Kaine. She has run for the 2nd district congressional seat as well as Lt. Governor of Virginia. She currently serves on the board of the Norfolk Foundation and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. She and her husband together also own a small gourmet popcorn business in Virginia Beach called Jody’s Popcorn.

    Wagner is running on a platform of progressive economic development, flood mitigation and other environmental issues, and equality. She believes that the city will need someone with a strong financial background to help weather this crisis. She has been endorsed by Speaker of the House of Delegates, Eileen Filler-Corn, and the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee.
    Wagner supports investing in technology and green initiatives, including expanding Virginia Beach’s investment in offshore wind energy to make the city more sustainable and making use of the subsea ultra-high-speed internet cables that land in Virginia Beach currently only serves Central and Northern Virginia.

    Wagner considers flood mitigation one of her top priorities. She believes that current restrictions are not enough to prevent flooding and wishes to modernize the city’s flood response system and take on long-term solutions to address the threat of flooding.

    In terms of racial justice and police reform, Wagner claims that the Virginia Beach Police Department has come a long way in addressing the concerns of Black Lives Matter protesters, but that they should work to make the community aware of what has already been done and should continue to work to find solutions for issues that remain. Wagner is dedicated to guaranteeing high-quality housing that the city’s workforce can afford. She believes it is crucial to make sure that new developments are not allowed to displace low-income residents from their communities.

    The Virginia Beach Democratic Committee endorsed Jody Wagner in her run for mayor.

    Wagner’s Republican opponent, incumbent Bob Dyer, has said that shifting resources from police to other first responders would “imperil the city.” Dyer did not take aggressive action during COVID-19, even though the city has become one of the hardest hit locations in the state. He also neglected to update Virginia Beach’s flood response system, despite the increasing cost of floods to the city.

    Richard Kowalewitch, a Virginia Beach small business owner, is also running for mayor. Kowalewitch is not affiliated with any party but supports expanding the city’s police force. He is outspoken against what he considers to be local corruption amongst other city officials, and wishes to increase penalties for violating laws against corruption and conflicts of interest in government. He wants to reduce the budget and eliminate wasteful spending in order to service the city’s bond debt.

    Jody Wagner is a progressive choice for this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Virginia Beach City Council

  • Brandon Hutchins photo
    Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The at-large election for Virginia Beach City Council takes place on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. All registered voters in the city of Virginia Beach are eligible to vote in this election, regardless of their district. Healthcare professional Brandon Hutchins is running against incumbent Rosemary Wilson and advertising executive Nadine Paniccia. This race is nonpartisan.

    About the District

    Virginia Beach is an independent city located in Hampton Roads on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth. It is the most populous city in Virginia, with a population of 1.2 million. Virginia Beach is politically split and is considered a toss-up. Donald Trump won the city with 48% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton’s 44%, in 2016. However, in 2018 Democrat Elaine Luria won 51% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Brandon Hutchins is a Virginia Beach small business owner who served in the Navy during the Iraq War. He is also a community advocate and healthcare professional. Hutchins serves on the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation’s board, an organization that works to address affordable housing issues in Virginia Beach. He is a member of the Hampton Roads Black Caucus, NAACP, and the Democratic Business Alliance.

    Hutchins believes current policing does not adequately serve Black and Brown communities. He supports reforms that center on community policing. He believes the police need to be demilitarized and rebranded.

    On the issues of affordable housing and gentrification, Hutchins believes that Virginia Beach’s goal should be development without displacement. He will support development projects that have affordable housing pieces attached. When that is not feasible, he believes the city should step up to help organizations that specialize in affordable housing solutions to prevent people from being kicked out of the city.

    Hutchins wants to increase teacher pay to offset the rising cost of living so that Virginia Beach can recruit and retain the best teachers for its public schools.

    As a healthcare professional, Hutchins supports a scientific approach to COVID-19 response. He has received the endorsement of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee.

    Hutchins’ opponent, incumbent Rosemary Wilson, has worked to increase funding for flood response from 9% to 23% of the city’s budget. She opposed drilling and mining operations that would damage the city’s environment and water supply. She has also worked to improve public transportation and expand healthcare coverage to school bus drivers. However, her public safety platform is openly pro-police and does not address or acknowledge policing issues in Black and Brown communities. Additionally, her platform does not solve problems of gentrification or affordable housing.

    Nadine Paniccia, an advertising sales executive for Vacation Sales Associates, is also running for City Council. She is outspoken about the city’s outdated stormwater system and inadequate mitigation for flooding. She believes that development and environmental protection can co-exist if the city intentionally makes the environment a priority when approving development projects. However, she has not made any statements on affordable housing, racial justice, police reform, or education.

    Brandon Hutchins is the progressive choice for this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Virginia Beach City School Board (top two vote getters for 2 seats)

  • Current School Board chair Beverly Anderson has served on the Virginia Beach School Board since 2013. She is a retired Virginia Beach Public Schools teacher with more than 36 years of experience as an elementary school educator. During her time as a teacher, she served as the president of the USS Nimitz Officers Wives’ Club, vice president of the Pembroke Elementary PTA, and secretary, board member, and faculty representative for the Virginia Beach Education Association.

    During her time on the school board, she has provided leadership and direct responses to numerous crises, such as the discovery of lead in school drinking water at Virginia Beach Public Schools and the COVID-19 pandemic. She opted to notify all parents at schools affected by the drinking water contamination as soon as possible. As School Board chair, she also led the efforts to coordinate with the Virginia Department of Health to see that all necessary testing was conducted in a timely fashion.

    Under Anderson’s guidance, the Virginia Beach School Board responded to the need for online learning during the pandemic by issuing Chromebooks to all students and by distributing internet hotspots to students without internet access through a program designed to give low income students access to free lunches. For the new school year, the Board has purchased a program called “Class Link” designed to streamline online learning and make it easier and more accessible to students of all grade levels.

    Anderson believes in a zero-tolerance policy in response to harassment and discrimination issues in schools. She thinks education about implicit bias should be included in the curriculum for students so that they can learn about the biases that exist within their own culture. She is a member of the policy committee which is in the process of writing an equality policy.

    In regards to school safety, Anderson is emphatically against any proposal that would result in arming teachers. She wants to hire retired police officers to expand the use of school resource officers (SROs) to include elementary schools and supports expanding the use of SROs in Virginia Beach. Anderson has been endorsed by the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee in her run for School Board.

    Beverley Anderson is a progressive choice for this race.

    Beverly Anderson

    Current School Board chair Beverly Anderson has served on the Virginia Beach School Board since 2013. She is a retired Virginia Beach Public Schools teacher with more than 36 years of experience as an elementary school educator.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10
  • Lauren Logan is an IT professional in Virginia Beach. She also is a running and lacrosse coach who works with students. She is the co-founder of the Coastal Crush Lacrosse League and works as a substitute teacher in Virginia Beach Public Schools.

    Logan supports a broader approach to student mental health that will flag students who need the help of counselors and other specialized mental health staff quickly and efficiently.

    On school safety, Logan opposes arming teachers, which has been proposed by the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s department. She believes that schools should deepen their relationships with school resource officers to prevent school shootings.

    Logan supports Virginia Beach’s recent creation of a superintendent position focused on diversity and inclusion and the new policies they have begun to implement. However, she believes this is only the beginning of a lot of work that needs to happen to ensure equality in schools for students of color. She wants to address issues from the bottom-up by mandating training for all staff and faculty on equity and inclusion.

    Lauren Logan is a progressive choice for this race.

    Lauren Logan

    Lauren Logan is an IT professional in Virginia Beach. She also is a running and lacrosse coach who works with students. She is the co-founder of the Coastal Crush Lacrosse League and works as a substitute teacher in Virginia Beach Public Schools.
    Last updated: 2020-08-21
  • Matthias Paul Telkamp is a Virginia Beach IT professional who has worked for numerous companies including the US Navy. He has been a member of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee for four years.

    On school safety, Telkamp oppose a plan proposed by the Virginia Beach’s Sheriff's department to deputize teachers and authorize them to carry weapons. He believes that there should be no guns in school and any armed officers meant to deter school shootings should be off-campus, so that students do not have to interact with anyone carrying weapons.

    On issues of harassment and discrimination, he believes that indivdual schools should sumbit regular reports on these incidents to their district to make sure it does not become a recurring problem. Telkamp also believes that bullies who instigate fights using discriminatory language should be punished as severely as students who respond to those insults by fighting. He believes that instigators are not punished frequently enough, which emboldens them.

    Telkamp also thinks that all potential funding sources should be looked at to update old school facilities and build new ones on the local, state, and federal levels. He believes that renovations and new buildings should be designed with cost in mind, but also constructed in a way that makes it easier for teachers to do their jobs as effectively as possible.

    In his run for the Virginia Beach School Board, Telkamp has been endorsed by the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee and School Board member Jessica Owens.

    Matthais Telkamp is a progressive choice for this race.

    Matthias Paul Telkamp

    Matthias Paul Telkamp is a Virginia Beach IT professional who has worked for numerous companies including the US Navy. He has been a member of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee for four years.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10
Other Candidates

Justin Burns is a recent Bayside High School graduate who brings a new perspective to the school board as someone who has recently gone through the school system. He wants to focus on narrowing the achievement gaps and increasing teacher salaries. However, he has not made any statements on issues of arming teachers or harassment and discrimination.

Dr. Jeffery Feld is a Virginia Beach podiatrist running on a platform of removing politics from the school board. He wants to reduce the burdens caused by changes in policy on school teachers and create a “culture of respect” within Virginia Beach schools that will help them do their jobs unencumbered. He has not made any statements on discrimination on weapons in schools.

Incumbent Victoria Manning is a retired naval officer with a history of posting far-right sentiments on social media. She is outspoken against increasing abortion access, funding Pre-K education, and raising the minimum wage. Recently, Manning was a vocal opponent of a proposed equity policy for Virginia Beach schools.

Her re-election platform includes removing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) from Virginia Beach schools. These practices respond to student behavioral problems by providing emotional-social support instead of through punitive measures. The studies she cited showed a majority of teachers found their school’s disciplinary standards effective in controlling student behavior so it is unclear why she is advocating the change. Punitive disciplinary measures in schools disproportionately impact minority, LGBTQ+, and disabled students. Therefore, removing PBIS practices in favor of punitive disciplinary measures is not a progressive policy choice.

Virginia Beach City Council Races

Virginia Beach City Council, Centerville District

  • Sabrina Wooten photo
    Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election for Centerville’s seat on the Virginia Beach City Council takes place on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. Incumbent Sabrina Wooten, who assumed office in 2018, is running against US Navy Veteran Eric Wray. This race is nonpartisan.

    About the District

    The Centerville district is located in the southwest corner of the city and borders Norfolk. Virginia Beach is an independent city located in Hampton Roads on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth. It is the most populous city in Virginia, with a population of 1.2 million. Virginia Beach is politically split and is considered a toss-up. Donald Trump won the city with 48% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton’s 44%, in 2016. However, in 2018 Democrat Elaine Luria won 51% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten first joined the Virginia Beach City Council in 2018, when she was elected to fill the seat left vacant by Bob Dyer. She was appointed to the Board of Governors for the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives in 2018. She also served as Vice-Chair of the Minority Business Council and is a member of the National Small Business Association, the American Society for Public Administration, and the National Association of Professional Women. Wooten formerly worked as a chaplain for the Virginia Beach Police Department.

    Wooten is committed to issues of racial justice. Her work as a police chaplain has given her insight into many problems within police departments. She believes serious reform is necessary to ensure all communities in Virginia Beach are safe. She supports the Virginia Beach Police Department’s implementation of the “Eight Can’t Wait” policies and will see they are followed. “Eight Can’t Wait” is eight policies designed to reduce police violence that include banning chokeholds, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, reporting all uses of force, and requiring officers to intervene when force is misused. Wooten will work to see more improvements made on police reform, including creating an empowered Citizens’ Review Board for police misconduct and banning the use of chemical weapons.

    On the issue of affordable housing, Wooten believes that the city must do more to ensure that working families, senior citizens, young adults, and public servants all have access to high-quality housing that they can afford. She wants to provide developers with incentives to redevelop housing with affordability in mind.

    Wooten supports increasing compensation for all Virginia Beach public school employees, particularly in the face of rising housing prices and an increased cost of living. She believes that annual increases to teacher salaries are a solution to the economic challenges and hardships faced by the city’s teachers.

    Wooten has been endorsed in this race by the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee.

    Wooten’s opponent, Eric Wray, is a US Navy veteran and served on the Virginia State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers under Governor McDonnell. Wray is an ardent supporter of police and promises never to support measures that would reallocate resources from police to social services or other first responders. He will work to eliminate what he calls “unnecessary red tape” within the government and reduce taxes. Wray considers gun-ownership as a “God-given right” and vows that he will never vote to infringe on it.

    Sabrina Wooten is the progressive choice for this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Virginia Beach School Board

Virginia Beach City School Board, Centerville District

  • About the Race

    The election for Centerville’s seat on the Virginia Beach School Board is held on November 3, 2020 as part of the general election. Former elementary school teacher and one-term incumbent, Trenace Riggs, is running against local business owner Luis Cortes. This race is nonpartisan.

    About the District

    The Centerville district is located in the southwest corner of the city and borders Norfolk. Virginia Beach is an independent city located in Hampton Roads on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth. It is the most populous city in Virginia, with a population of 1.2 million. Virginia Beach is politically split and is considered a toss-up. Donald Trump won the city with 48% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton’s 44%, in 2016. However, in 2018, Democrat Elaine Luria earned 51% of the vote in her election to Congress.

    Recommendation

    School Board member Trenace Riggs has served on the Virginia Beach School Board since 2017. She worked for 17 years as an elementary school teacher in Virginia Beach Public Schools. Riggs was an active member of the Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA), serving as a Board and Executive Board Member for ten years. She also served as VBEA President from 2012 until 2016.

    During her time on the School Board, Riggs advocated for and implemented changes such as full-day kindergarten classes and helped oversee the transition to online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Virginia Beach School Board responded to the need for online learning during the pandemic by issuing chromebooks to all students and distributing internet hotspots to students without internet access through the program designed to give low-income students access to free lunches. For the new school year, the Board has purchased a program called “Class Link” designed to streamline online learning and make it easier and more accessible to students of all grade levels. Riggs was an instrumental part of implementing this plan.

    Riggs does not support allowing teachers to carry weapons but does support allowing school resource officers (SROs) to remain in middle and high schools. She has not said whether or not she supports expanding them into elementary schools.

    Riggs worked with other school board members to draft the equality policy and create guidelines for increasing equality in school environments by closing achievement gaps, finding ways to address issues that occur within diverse cultures, and honoring and listening to all voices.

    She supports the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program that the school board adopted in 2016, which is designed to be a new approach to school discipline that focuses less on coercive and punitive methods.

    Riggs has been endorsed for her run for School Board by the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee.

    Luis Cortes, Riggs’ opponent, is a Virginia Beach executive who previously worked for the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. He is also the owner of the only Spanish-language radio station in Hampton Roads. Cortes is concerned about the impact that school closures will have on students with disabilities and generally supports school reopening during the pandemic. He has also shown support for the police in the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd. He has not made statements on diversity and inclusion or school safety.

    Trenace Riggs is a progressive choice for this race.

    Trenace Riggs

    About the Race

    The election for Centerville’s seat on the Virginia Beach School Board is held on November 3, 2020 as part of the general election. Former elementary school teacher and one-term incumbent, Trenace Riggs, is running against local business owner Luis Cortes. This race is nonpartisan.

    About the District

    The Centerville district is located in the southwest corner of the city and borders Norfolk. Virginia Beach is an independent city located in Hampton Roads on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth. It is the most populous city in Virginia, with a population of 1.2 million. Virginia Beach is politically split and is considered a toss-up. Donald Trump won the city with 48% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton’s 44%, in 2016. However, in 2018, Democrat Elaine Luria earned 51% of the vote in her election to Congress.

    Recommendation

    School Board member Trenace Riggs has served on the Virginia Beach School Board since 2017. She worked for 17 years as an elementary school teacher in Virginia Beach Public Schools. Riggs was an active member of the Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA), serving as a Board and Executive Board Member for ten years. She also served as VBEA President from 2012 until 2016.

    During her time on the School Board, Riggs advocated for and implemented changes such as full-day kindergarten classes and helped oversee the transition to online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Virginia Beach School Board responded to the need for online learning during the pandemic by issuing chromebooks to all students and distributing internet hotspots to students without internet access through the program designed to give low-income students access to free lunches. For the new school year, the Board has purchased a program called “Class Link” designed to streamline online learning and make it easier and more accessible to students of all grade levels. Riggs was an instrumental part of implementing this plan.

    Riggs does not support allowing teachers to carry weapons but does support allowing school resource officers (SROs) to remain in middle and high schools. She has not said whether or not she supports expanding them into elementary schools.

    Riggs worked with other school board members to draft the equality policy and create guidelines for increasing equality in school environments by closing achievement gaps, finding ways to address issues that occur within diverse cultures, and honoring and listening to all voices.

    She supports the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program that the school board adopted in 2016, which is designed to be a new approach to school discipline that focuses less on coercive and punitive methods.

    Riggs has been endorsed for her run for School Board by the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee.

    Luis Cortes, Riggs’ opponent, is a Virginia Beach executive who previously worked for the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. He is also the owner of the only Spanish-language radio station in Hampton Roads. Cortes is concerned about the impact that school closures will have on students with disabilities and generally supports school reopening during the pandemic. He has also shown support for the police in the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd. He has not made statements on diversity and inclusion or school safety.

    Trenace Riggs is a progressive choice for this race.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Constitutional Amendments

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: 2020-09-01

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.

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.
 

Last updated: 2020-09-01