Access to quality health care should be available to all Virginians. No one should suffer from preventable and treatable illnesses due to lack of ability to pay nor should they have to travel hundreds of miles to see a physician. I have seen how the people of this area hope and pray every day that they don’t get sick or injured because they can’t afford health insurance, much less treatment costs. We must do better.
We can help nearly 5,000 residents right here in the ninth district by expanding Medicaid. This is the first step towards a better and healthier Virginia. However, we must not stop there. We need to work towards industry-wide reform and critical things like the stagnant wages of health care workers in the region. It is not only the right thing to do, it is the economically sound thing to do.
A quality education is the key to upward mobility in Virginia and in the U.S. but many of our schools are struggling. Instead of focusing on curriculum, teachers are having to find ways to purchase supplies, even when they are receiving some of the lowest pay in the country. Our schools and teachers deserve someone who will fight for more funding and higher wages. The General Assembly has been raiding education funding for years passing more of the bill on the local governments while blatantly ignoring basement level standards. Our students are the next generation of workers and leaders and they deserve better than this, and I will fight to see that those funds are replaced.
I will also promote plans to partner with businesses and labor organizations to create career and technical training programs and apprenticeships. I will fight to ensure that our Special Education and alternative schooling programs are fully funded, and work to expand our preschool programs.
Jobs and the Economy
In the age of automation, jobs are disappearing. We must change the ways in which we view jobs and the economy in order to survive this transition. As your delegate, I will work to increase funding to programs that invest in small and midsize businesses, as diverse economies are the most stable. I will ensure that tax breaks given to companies are done so in return for increased jobs and investment in Virginia’s economy, ending corporate handouts. I will work with our local governments to help them create friendly zoning ordinances that attract businesses. We must invest in career and technical education, ensuring that our students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. We must also invest in expanding access to high speed internet and cell phone service in order to attract companies in growth industries.
Families all over Virginia are feeling the pinch, and in the ninth district it can be especially tight. We are working overtime and still barely scraping by. All over this district, hard-working people sit down with a stack of bills trying to figure out what they must pay now, and what can wait just so that they can make it to the next paycheck. As your delegate, I will fight for you. I will fight for a fifteen-dollar minimum wage so that no one who works full time will be living in poverty. I will fight for better working conditions for all Virginians. Every year, profits soar, wages stagnate, and inflation rises. So, while companies do better and better, working people’s job security and living standards continue to fall. This is not only unethical, it is unsustainable, and I will do everything in my power to change this course.
Mountain Valley Pipeline
We must invest in Virginia families and ensure they have the opportunity to thrive in our beautiful mountain region. I am committed to preserving our land and keeping our water clean. Far too many questions exist on the negative impact the Mountain Valley Pipeline could impose. For this reason, I oppose the construction of the pipeline. I believe we can explore alternative opportunities to invest in infrastructure that will bring in 21st century jobs focused on clean and renewable energy.