Announcement of candidacy, Virginia's 91st House of Delegates

Released at:
Contact: Michael Wade

Announcement of candidacy

Virginia's 91st House of Delegates district

If you had asked me two years ago if I thought a candidate running to represent Poquoson, Yorktown, and Hampton in the General Assembly would ever claim strong progressive positions, I would have laughed at you. If you had told me I would be the one doing it, I would have said you were crazy.

Two years ago, such a thing seemed unbelievable. Then a man named Bernie Sanders decided to run for president and give a voice to people all over the country hungry for truth, honesty, and the opportunity to fix a broken system.

My name is Michael Brandon Wade, and I am one of those people. Senator Sanders challenged young people who care deeply about this country and their community to get involved, and that’s why I am announcing that I’ve filed to run for Virginia’s 91st House of Delegates seat in 2017. Why? Because:

Our homes and communities are at risk from changing climate

  • The effects of climate change are real: We’ve had almost a continuous year and a half of record monthly temperatures, and 15 of the hottest years in recorded history have occurred since 2000. We’re seeing the full-scale collapse of the aquatic food chain, and native plant populations can’t keep pace with warming temperatures. This spells trouble not only for the animal species that depend on the Chesapeake Bay watershed for food and shelter, but also for human food stocks.

  • Hurricanes and superstorms are coming harder and faster each year, and Virginia is overdue for a Katrina- or Sandy-type event. If we get hit, it will mean billions in damages and economic costs to our community -- to your home, your neighbors, your family.
  • Current projections show that our planet is on pace for 5 degrees of warming by the end of the century. Even a 2-degree change means 2-5 feet of sea level rise, which will mean the permanent loss of much of our low-lying coastal areas in Poquoson, York County, and Hampton. We are feeling those effects today in the prevalence of sunny day or nuisance flooding, which inundates our roads, yards, and homes. It is destroying our property and harming our businesses and our ability to commute.

  • If you think you can ignore this problem in the short term, know that flood insurance costs will soon outpace mortgage payments in some areas, and flood protection will be required by thousands more as the insurance industry adjusts. Eventually, insurers will determine that certain neighborhoods are uninsurable, destroying the property values of affected areas and leaving homeowners underwater and without a way out.

Our workers need an economy built for the future

  • Our manufacturing and service industry jobs have been decimated by automation and outsourcing over the past few decades. We face an even greater loss in the transportation and professional services fields in the next few years as autonomous vehicles and intelligent computers enter the market. Not only will truckers, delivery drivers, and taxicab operators face across-the-board job losses, but so too will the industries that support these sectors. Localities that depend on fees from traffic violations and parking fees will see their budgets shrink as law-abiding vehicles take over for their human drivers.

  • We must prepare for the inevitability of massive job losses with policies that protect people’s basic right to food, shelter, and healthcare.

  • We must focus our resources on providing training and incentives for industries that we know are primed for growth. Tens of thousands of Virginia cybersecurity jobs sit unfilled each year, and hostile clean energy policies in our state are holding back the growth of an industry that is bringing thousands of jobs to our neighbors in North Carolina and Maryland. We need job training and energy policies that favor residential and commercial rooftop solar.

We must fight for social justice in all aspects of life

  • The health of our citizens and our environment is of paramount importance  over the concerns of those that would pollute and poison our waterways and exploit our natural resources. We must stop allowing industry insiders to write the regulations that govern their operations, and we must get large corporate contributions out of government.

  • We must take steps to halt the trajectory of students caught in the school-to-prison pipeline, and we must also reassess the zero-tolerance policies that introduce minority youth into the criminal justice system.

  • We must treat drug abuse as a health problem, not a criminal one, and take steps to reduce the opioid epidemic and the number of incarcerated nonviolent drug offenders.

  • Wealthy people and corporate donors have significant  influence over our political system; the average person has none. We need government officials who are accountable to the voice of the people, not campaign donors.

  • The failure to enact sensible gun control in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre and the 7,000 Virginians who have died from gun violence since that day is one of the great tragedies of our time. Requiring background checks on purchases and restrictions for those convicted of violent misdemeanors or domestic abuse are just two examples of measures supported by a majority of gun owners. These are steps we can take that respect responsible gun ownership and will help prevent gun violence.

That’s a lot to try to accomplish, so I’m asking for your help, and the opportunity to represent you in the General Assembly. Specifically:
I’m asking for your energy. If you want the General Assembly to even discuss these grave concerns, let alone act on them, I need you to tell everyone you know that I’m running for delegate.
I’m asking for your passion. Our state government has ignored these problems for too long. I want to find solutions to these problems. If you’re passionate too, help me be a choice for a change in the House of Delegates.
I’m asking for your ideas. What other solutions do we need? What other problems are we ignoring? Tell me, and let’s work together to strengthen our community.
I’m asking for a lot. But our future is at stake, and we need change. We can’t afford more status quo politics or uncontested elections.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. Thank you for wanting more from your government.
Let’s get to work and give the people of the 91st A Choice for A Change.
In solidarity, 

-- Michael Brandon Wade