Arlington County

Arlington County

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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, 8th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • About the Race

    This congressional election is held on November 3, 2020, and shares a ballot with the US presidential election. The incumbent congressman, diplomat and businessman Don Beyer (D) is running for re-election against US Army veteran Jeff Jordan (R).

    About the District

    Virginia’s 8th congressional district is located in Northern Virginia. It contains all of Arlington County and portions of Fairfax County and all of the independent cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. The 8th congressional district is the most Democratic district in Virginia, with current congressman Don Beyer winning re-election in 2018 with over 75% of the vote.

    Recommendation

    Congressman Don Beyer has represented Virginia’s 8th Congressional District since 2015. In 1989, he was elected as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor to serve alongside Governor Doug Wilder. In 2009, Beyer was appointed by President Barack Obama as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland. He runs a franchise of auto dealerships and lives with his wife, Ann, in Alexandria. They have four children and two grandchildren.

    Congressman Beyer has fought to protect voting access across the country. He introduced the Pre-Registration of Voters Everywhere (PROVE) Act in 2019 to expand voter registration. He also voted for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores key provisions of the original 1965 Voting Rights Act.

    Beyer supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has voted to protect and strengthen the ACA while lowering prescription drug costs. He believes the United States should move towards universal healthcare. He also finds the rate of suicide in the country alarming and co-founded the House Suicide Prevention Task Force. He wants to dedicate more resources to helping people with mental health issues and suicide prevention programs.

    Beyer believes that gun violence is a crisis in America. He co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that increases funding to states that pass red flag laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands. He voted for universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and a ban on high capacity magazines. He also believes that people’s access to guns is related to high suicide rates and addresses those issues on the suicide task force.

    Beyer co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force and the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus. He has sponsored carbon cap and trade legislation and sponsored the National Oceans and Coastal Security Improvements Act, which directs the government to protect our coasts from flooding. He is also working on getting the country to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    Representing a diverse constituency, Beyer promised action on immigration reform. He voted for bills that protect DREAMers and people with Temporary Protective Status. He also wants to reunite families separated at the border, force ICE agents to wear body cameras, and protect places that offer sanctuary to people facing deportation.

    Trump supporter and Army veteran, Jeff Jordan, is challenging Beyer. Jordan is running his campaign on stopping socialism, opposing abortion, protecting the 2nd Amendment, and securing the U.S./Mexico border. He wants to deport all undocumented immigrants in the country. He also believes that healthcare is a service, not a right.

    Due to his record of fighting for affordable healthcare, taking on climate change, addressing gun violence, and advocating for immigrant rights, Representative Don Beyer is the progressive choice for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.

    Representative Don Beyer

    About the Race

    This congressional election is held on November 3, 2020, and shares a ballot with the US presidential election. The incumbent congressman, diplomat and businessman Don Beyer (D) is running for re-election against US Army veteran Jeff Jordan (R).

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

Arlington County

Arlington County Board

  • Libby Garvey is the only Democratic candidate for the Arlington County Board. She was first elected to the Arlington County Board in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Garvey currently serves as the Board Chair. Before serving on the Arlington County Board, she served on the Arlington County School Board for 15 years.

    During her time on the School Board, Garvey was committed to closing achievement gaps between white and minority students and oversaw marked improvements in minority students’ performance. She oversaw the building or renovation of nearly every school in the district.

    Garvey challenges the notion that students from lower-income families are destined to have lower academic achievement. During her time on the Arlington County Board, she has implemented new policies designed to change those statistics.

    Garvey worked to provide affordable housing for people of all income levels in Arlington. The incentive agreement that the County Board worked out with Amazon explicitly detailed plans for increasing affordable housing options for low-income families, including ten years of dedicated funding. However, local activists maintain that this housing support is nowhere near enough to offset the massive economic impact that Amazon’s developments will have on Arlington’s lower-income residents.

    Garvey is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and has marched publicly with them in DC.

    Garvey ordered the Arlington Police Department to withdraw from Washington DC and cease providing support for police in the city, after violence was used against protesters during demonstrations over the murder of George Floyd.

    Garvey supported the Amazon incentive agreement, which gave Amazon a large incentive package in exchange for building their new headquarters in the county. The package included a direct payout worth an estimated $23 million and benefits worth up to $458 million due to transportation, housing and infrastructure spending over a 10-15 year period. Garvey believes that the jobs and infrastructure projects created by Amazon will be worth the city’s investment and will ultimately lead to economic growth and increased development. Garvey, along with the rest of the board, encouraged Amazon to pay its workers a living wage. Additionally, the Board invested $7 million a year for ten years in building affordable housing in and around the area directly impacted by Amazon.

    Libby Garvey is opposed to the Columbia Pike Streetcar plan, and she believes that city transportation funds could be better used elsewhere, due to the high projected cost of the project.

    Garvey’s opponent, Audrey Clement, is pro-environment but wants to cut the budget for the affordable housing initiative and opposes moving away from single-family occupancy zoning practices. Clement appears only to be progressive on environmental issues and otherwise favors more conservative tax and housing policies.

    Libby Garvey is the more progressive choice for this race.

    Libby Garvey

    Libby Garvey is the only Democratic candidate for the Arlington County Board. She was first elected to the Arlington County Board in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Garvey currently serves as the Board Chair.

    Last updated: 2020-08-31

Arlington County School Board

  • Cristina Diaz-Torres is a former school teacher who now specializes in education policy. She taught at Title-I schools in Las Vegas, where she saw the negative impact of policies designed by people with no classroom experience. After deciding that education policy needed to be more data-driven and have more input from experts and teachers, she began to work with education organizations across the country to help them implement better policies to help students and teachers. She was worked to get teachers back to work in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, managed a grant program to correct inequalities in Massachusetts public schools, and worked with Delaware schools to develop and improve social-emotional learning programs.

    Diaz-Torres is committed to equal educational opportunities for all students, regardless of race, gender, or immigration status. She will improve academic performance for the 15-20% of Arlington students who remain below grade level. Diaz-Torres believes that inequality was created by design and can be fixed by redesigning systems to be less unequal when leaders keep equality in mind and include the traditionally disadvantaged in the decision-making process.

    She believes that education is best when all stakeholders have a place at the table, including educators, parents, and community leaders. Her website is in both English and Spanish in the interest of full transparency and accessibility for all stakeholders. Diaz-Torres will work to support educators with teacher-driven, educator-based professional development. She supports interest based bargaining over collective bargaining because she believes it creates the best outcomes for both students and teachers.

    Regarding school reopening, she made statements in support of the Arlington Superintendent’s decision to not reopen Arlington schools for the fall semester of 2020-2021.

    Diaz-Torres is one of two people running for two open seats in this race, meaning she is effectively running unopposed. The Arlington Democratic Committee has endorsed Diaz-Torres.

    Cristina Diaz-Torres is a progressive choice for this race.

    Cristina Diaz-Torres

    Cristina Diaz-Torres is a former school teacher who now specializes in education policy. She taught at Title-I schools in Las Vegas, where she saw the negative impact of policies designed by people with no classroom experience.

    Last updated: 2020-08-31
  • Non-Partisan
  • David Priddy was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia, and has actively worked to improve Arlington Public Schools for years. He served on several PTA boards, including the Abingdon PTA, the Patrick Henry PTA, the Fleet PTA,  and has served as president of the Thomas Jefferson Middle School PTA since 2019. He is part of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Equity and Excellence, the Advisory Council on Instruction, the County Council of PTAs, and the NAACP Education Committee. 

    Priddy believes that equity must be the driving force behind all changes to education policy for Arlington Public Schools. He will work to ensure Arlington schools have a diverse teaching staff that reflects the diverse student population. Priddy will require cultural competency training for all teachers, staff, vendors, and contractors employed by Arlington public schools. 

    Priddy wants to listen to all impacted members of the community regarding changes in Arlington schools. He believes that offering competitive salaries and benefits will allow Arlington to attract the best teachers in the Commonwealth. 

    David Priddy is one of two people running for two open seats in this race. Therefore, he is effectively running unopposed. The Arlington Democratic Committee has endorsed Priddy in his run for School Board. 

    David Priddy is a progressive choice for this race. 
     

    David Priddy

    David Priddy was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia, and has actively worked to improve Arlington Public Schools for years.

    Last updated: 2020-09-03
  • Non-Partisan
  • Federal employee and lawyer Symone Walker is an Arlington Public Schools (APS) parent, community advocate, attorney, and mediator who believes that diversity of all types, equity, and equality are paramount in APS.  

    Walker has worked as a Department of Justice (DOJ)  attorney for 20 yrs and also as a DOJ mediator for 14 years. She has a long history of civic engagement, including the Arlington Special Education PTA (SEPTA) policy review committee, Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC) policy review and special education program review committees, Superintendent's Committee for Equity and Excellence, Volunteer Judge for Court Competitions with the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, NAACP Education Committee, and Arlington County's Health Equity Initiative. 

    Walker is a member of Black Parents of Arlington (BPA), the NoVA chapter of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), and Decoding Dyslexia Virginia.

    She wants to prioritize mental health, acknowledge systemic and implicit biases, incorporate diversity into the curriculum and culture, and ensure that teachers are well-trained, well-compensated, and are diverse and representative of the students they teach. Walker envisions an equitable APS where students who need more help, get more help and all voices are heard and considered.

    Based on her platform, Symone Walker is a progressive choice in this race.

     

    Symone Walker

    Federal employee and lawyer Symone Walker is an Arlington Public Schools (APS) parent, community advocate, attorney, and mediator who believes that diversity of all types, equity, and equality are paramount in APS.  

    Last updated: 2020-09-08

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