Virginia’s new 27th State Senate district encompasses parts of Stafford County, parts of Spotsylvania County, and Fredericksburg City. With over 155,000 registered voters, this is a competitive district that does not lean one way or another.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Democratic candidate Joel Griffin, Republican candidate Delegate Tara Durant, and Independent Monica Gary are facing each other in the general election for Virginia’s new 27th State Senate district. Delegate Durant has served in the House of Delegates since 2022. Gary previously held the Stafford County Supervisor Aquia district seat.Democratic candidate Joel Griffin is a Marine Corps veteran, entrepreneur, restaurateur, and philanthropist. He grew up in Marshville, North Carolina, a rural town outside of Charlotte. He has 25 years of private industry consulting experience and 20 years of experience in government contracting. After graduating high school, Griffin joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Marine Corps Honor Guard and volunteered for the infantry. He and his wife of 25 years raised two daughters.
Griffin is a strong advocate for public schools and the opportunities education provides. He believes that public schools are integral to ending poverty, increasing opportunity, reducing crime, and strengthening communities. Griffin supports increasing student resources and paying teachers a fair wage. He stands against those who create barriers to accessing important resources for children, such as those who aim to control access to libraries. He believes that reinvesting in public schools is necessary to make sure that everyone, regardless of income, is able to get a good education.
Joel Griffin is a strong supporter of abortion access in the Commonwealth. He understands that if Republicans gain control, it is possible a full ban will go into effect. Griffin has expressed his hopes for enshrining the right to abortion access into the Virginia State Constitution. Griffin has listed this as a first priority and a possible bill he would introduce. He is endorsed by Roe Your Vote Virginia and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia.
Looking at his own experiences growing up in a household where childcare was unaffordable has shaped Griffin’s views on economic justice. If elected, Griffin will prioritize funding for childcare assistance programs. He believes in policies that help providers operate sustainably while keeping high standards of care. Griffin supports investments in early childhood education and the long-term benefits they provide to children and families. As an employer himself, he promotes paid family and medical leave.
Joel Griffin is facing Republican Delegate Tara Durant and Monica Gary in the District 27 race. Delegate Tara Durant has served in the House of Delegates since 2022. She is a former teacher. She has sponsored bills that would create barriers to voting and voted for bills that would disrupt access to abortion care. She also sponsored a bill that would allow crisis pregnancy centers to be listed as valid resources.
Monica Gary previously held the Stafford County Supervisor Aquia district seat. Gary grew up in a low-income family, facing financial difficulties, food insecurity, and housing insecurity. She became involved in her community following the death of George Floyd, attending county board meetings and organizing with activist and faith groups. She is currently working to complete her Masters of Divinity. She has made previous statements using anti-abortion rhetoric.
Due to his commitment to public schools, supporting abortion access, and prioritizing economic justice, Joel Griffin is the progressive choice in this race.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Virginia’s new 65th House of Delegates district encompasses parts of Stafford County, Fredericksburg City, and parts of Spotsylvania County. With over 62,000 registered voters, this is a competitive district.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Democratic candidate Joshua Cole and Republican candidate Lee Peters are facing each other in the general election for Virginia’s new 65th House of Delegates district. Cole won the 2019 28th District House of Delegates general election.Former Delegate Joshua Cole was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 2019-2021, losing his district by less than a 1,000 votes in a difficult off-year election. He is a pastor, former President of the Stafford County NAACP, and works with numerous other local and community initiatives. In his first term, he voted to cap out-of-pocket health care costs on prescription drugs for people with pre-existing conditions, raise the minimum wage, expand voting rights and make community college tuition free. He also took the lead on historic legislation, including renaming Jefferson Davis Highway to Emancipation Highway and bringing automatic voter registration to Virginia. He is running for HD-65 to return to the General Assembly and continue his work on behalf of Fredericksburg area families.
During his previous term, Former Delegate Cole fought to make his district a more just, affordable, and environmentally friendly place to live. He voted to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and protect a person’s right to decide when and whether to become a parent, including expanding healthcare coverage to include abortions. He pushed to prohibit landlords from running negative credit checks during the pandemic.
Fmr. Del. Cole has fought for all working people in Virginia, no matter their income. He voted to raise the minimum wage and make community college tuition-free. He also advocated for increasing the number of affordable housing units in the district while working to address the rising cost of living and rent. He plans to establish rent controls, create a Virginia Housing Tax Credit, increase funding for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, and promote inclusionary zoning to ensure there are sufficient housing units in the district.
Fmr. Del. Cole supported the expansion of Medicaid and hopes to repeal Medicaid work requirements. He also supports Medicare For All. He supports keeping the price of prescriptions down and voted to cap insulin co-payments. Fmr. Del. Cole advocated for banning the practice of “balanced billing,” also known as surprise billing, where patients are charged with surprise fees. He also plans to work on improving the district’s medical and mental health support for veterans.
Fmr. Del. Cole has also advocated for critical environmental policies by fighting to preserve the district’s natural resources and environment. He co-sponsored the Virginia Green New Deal Act, which would establish a moratorium on fossil fuel projects and incentivize investment in clean energy. He recognizes that renewable energy is both environmentally and economically beneficial by creating new jobs. He also supported legislation that would set strict regulations on polluters and raise the standards for clean air and water.
Fmr. Del. Cole is facing Lee Peters III in the general election, a lifelong cop endorsed by Governor Youngkin, Attorney General Miyares, and other heinous right-wingers. Predictably, “law and order” is a top priority–he supports Youngkin’s initiatives to ensure police remain forever unaccountable. He wants to further undermine public schools and the safety of children in them. He sees necessary safety regulations as red tape and pledges to eliminate oversight.
Due to his support of affordable healthcare, the environment, affordable housing, and working families, Fmr. Del. Joshua Cole is the most progressive choice for Virginia’s 65th District.