Here's What I Believe
- Too many Virginians still struggle to afford quality health insurance, and this is clearly a moral issue. In Virginia, our ability to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has been hampered by the Republicans in control of the General Assembly. In our district alone, 1500 people could gain coverage if we expanded Medicaid. This year, I believe we have a narrow window in which we can gain control of the State Senate and the House of Delegates. On this issue, it comes down to votes in the legislature - you can count on me to vote “yes” on Medicaid expansion and bring affordable care to 400,000 of our fellow Virginians.
- I recognize the importance of protecting a woman’s right to choose, and I will stand firm against efforts to restrict access to women’s health care.
- We must fight the opioid epidemic with thoughtful, ethical policy. That means treating this disaster as a public health crisis, not as an excuse to implement harsh "tough-on-crime" laws.
Climate Change on the Coast
- The Republican Party has spent many years denying the collective voice of the scientific community on the issue of climate change. We can’t allow that kind of distortion here, because Hampton Roads is especially vulnerable. When hurricanes invade this region, we rely on barrier islands and coastal salt marshes to protect us from storm surge. Rising sea levels caused by human-induced warming of the Earth weaken those vital protections. That's why it is crucial that we prepare our coastal communities to cope with future floods. Outside of the borders of the 91st, climate change poses an army of threats across the globe, including drought, food shortage, and ecological ruin. As your delegate, I will champion the development of renewable energy, I will work to preserve our marshes, and I will do all I can to keep Virginia in the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states determined to abide by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, regardless of what Donald Trump wants.
Protecting the Chesapeake Bay
- Our beloved estuary is getting healthier: according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2017 report, the Bay improved to a grade of C- this year. That’s not good enough, however. The challenges of pollution and economic development remain. The General Assembly must provide all possible resources to continue improving the Chesapeake Bay, because the Bay matters to residents, watermen, tourists, and all of us who appreciate its beauty.
- Right now, Virginia is lagging behind our neighbors when it comes to developing solar energy jobs. Let’s not let North Carolina and Maryland beat us at clean energy. I will work to foster the development of solar energy and secure a clean and efficient energy future.
Fight for $15
- Virginia workers deserve a raise. I support a living wage of $15 an hour, and I believe that we should index the minimum wage to inflation. This will prevent having to battle this issue year after year.
Support for Unions
- Unions built this country, and I will always have their back. It is despicable that Republicans in the General Assembly tried to add “right to work” language into the Virginia Constitution last year. Don’t be fooled - “right to work” means “right to work for less.” In Richmond, I will champion the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.
- Virginia is better than most states when it comes to economic inequality. However, that doesn’t mean we’re perfect. In the Commonwealth, the top 1% of households keeps 15% of the total income produced, and that number has been growing since the mid-twentieth century. Here’s what I believe: we need to increase taxes on the super-rich to provide government services, like affordable health care and college, for the benefit of the broader society. I truly believe that our system doesn’t appropriately organize tax brackets. People in the working and middle class should not pay the same 5.75% tax rate that millionaires and billionaires do. It’s time for a fairer tax code.
- We need to implement a guaranteed paid family leave policy in Virginia. Working families have it hard enough - they should be able to spend time with their newborn children. Healthy families will create a healthy society.
Fighting Against Hate
- I know that Black Lives Matter. It is time for a new generation of leaders to take the wheel and continue the development of racial equality in Virginia. I will be a part of the solution, and that means protecting voting rights, expanding economic and educational opportunity, and supporting law enforcement strategies that respect the rights of all people. Virginia has taken appropriate steps to introduce body cameras for our police officers, and we must accelerate that process. I will always listen to the concerns of the community and do my part to foster a healthy relationship between law enforcement and those they serve.
- The 91st District is home to the Peninsula’s only place of worship for Muslim Americans east of Williamsburg. In a time of vilification of Muslims on a national scale, I am committed to preventing that bigotry from spreading in the region that I call home.
Our community highly values the contributions of our veterans, and rightfully so. To those of you who have served, I will always exhibit reverence and respect for your sacrifices. To the families of our heroes, thank you for all you do to uplift them and the entire community.
- Thankfully, Governor McAuliffe has led us to become the first state in the Union to provide or offer housing to all veterans. I will pressure leaders in the next administration to continue this success and ensure that all veterans have a place to sleep at night.
Supporting Public Schools
- I am proud to be a product of public schools, and my two little girls will be public school students as well. It is imperative that we fight efforts to take money out of the public school system. Our community must provide equal educational opportunity for every child, and privatization will prevent us from reaching this goal. In the General Assembly, I will be a voice for public school teachers, parents, and above all, our kids.
Debt-free Post-Secondary Education
- The modern economy asks for education beyond high school, but too many students simply do not have the money to afford higher education. We shouldn’t let dreams die because of insufficient personal funds. I advocate for two years of paid community college so that we can train our young adults for strong careers.
Criminal Justice Reform
- Virginia has a lot of prisoners. In fact, we rank as 8th in the nation when it comes to incarceration rates. Further, we spend more than $1 billion on incarceration every year. That’s money that could be put towards education, infrastructure, or even tax cuts. One cause for this disaster is the fact that non-violent drug offenses often carry high mandatory minimum sentences in Virginia. I will work to reform our system to make sure that judges have the ability to make nuanced decisions so that the punishment truly fits the crime.
Campaigns and Elections
- Anyone who has taken a glance at a map of legislative districts in Virginia has seen the perverse effects of gerrymandering. Because Virginia allows the party in power to control how the lines are drawn, we don't have fair districting. I support non-partisan redistricting because we shouldn't nonsensically carve up neighborhoods just to serve the political goals of politicians.
Public Financing of Elections
- The 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC was a national disaster. However, our campaign finance system was broken long before that date. In my opinion, we need to emphasize public financing of elections. Many other states have implemented some version of public financing - the core idea involves the state providing campaign funds for candidates to balance the effect of heavy political donors. This will ease the cost of running for office, and thus encourage people to get involved with their local communities. Plus, if money is speech, as the Court says, then public financing will amplify the voices of the working class. That's who politicians should focus on, rather than giant corporations.
A People's Campaign
- I am accepting zero corporate donations. In Richmond, I seek to serve the people of the 91st District, not the monied interests that control our current political system.
- I'm not coming to steal your firearms. That said, there are several reasonable reforms that can be implemented on this issue so that we can enjoy safer streets. First of all, we need universal background checks on all gun sales. We must limit access to guns for domestic abusers, and we must also limit the sale of high-capacity magazines.