District 5

District 5

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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

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

4th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • About the Race

    This election occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. Incumbent congressman, attorney Don McEachin (D), is running against Leon Benjamin (R), a Richmond pastor and Gulf War veteran who is the current GOP chair of the Richmond Republican Party.

    About the District

    The 4th congressional district of Virginia contains most of the area between Richmond and Hampton Roads, including all or parts of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Henrico, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex, and all or part of the independent cities of Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond, and Suffolk. In 2012, the neighboring 3rd district was deemed unconstitutional. It was redrawn, with parts of it being put into the 4th district, since then the district has been reliably Democratic, with Don McEachin earning over 62% of the vote in 2018.

    Recommendation

    Democratic Representative Donald McEachin is seeking his third term serving the 4th Congressional District. He was first elected to the position in 2016. Before serving in Congress, McEachin was a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates from 1996 to 2002 and 2006 to 2008. He was then elected to the state Senate from 2008 to 2017. He’s a 1986 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and holds a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University. He’s married to Collette McEachin, Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Richmond. The couple has three children together.

    As a member of Congress, Rep. McEachin serves on the Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees and Select Committee on Climate Crisis. He has introduced legislation to make solar energy more affordable for low-income families and the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act. McEachin also wants the U.S. to recommit to the Paris Climate Agreement.

    McEachin believes it is the responsibility of Congress to protect citizens’ right to vote. He supports the John Lews Voting Rights Advancement Act.

    In 2020, McEachin voted with other Democratic members of Congress to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act seeks to expand Medicaid coverage to insure more Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and reduce health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. McEachin also introduced legislation this year aimed at addressing the country’s Black maternal health crisis.

    McEachin believes that Virginians deserve better pay and voted for the Raise the Wage Act this year to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. He voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to close the gender wage gap. McEachin supports immigrant rights and voted for the American Dream and Promise Act in 2019. He also voted to send $4.5 billion to the border that same year to address the humanitarian crisis suffered by migrants attempting to enter the U.S.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America gave McEachin a score of 100% for his voting record on reproductive freedom. He believes everyone should have access to safe and legal abortion and decide for themselves whether, how, and when to have children. McEachin supports federal funding of Planned Parenthood and believes that health insurance companies should cover birth control. McEachin also voted to impeach Trump in 2019.

    Rep. McEachin is facing a challenge from Pastor Leon Benjamin, an evangelical leader and Chairman of the Republican Party in Richmond. Benjamin works to garner African-American support for President Trump. He attended Trump’s inauguration and stated that Trump was “not a racist.” In 2010, Benjamin urged the U.S. Congress not to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which banned openly gay people from serving in the military. He also opposes a person’s right to abortion access.

    Due to his extensive service to constituents in his district and commitment to progressive values, Rep. Donald McEachin is the most progressive candidate for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

7th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • About the Race

    This congressional election occurs on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the US presidential election. Incumbent congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D), a former operations officer with the CIA, is running for re-election against Nick Freitas (R), a US Army veteran.

    About the District

    The 7th congressional district spans most of Central Virginia. It includes all of Orange, Culpeper, Goochland, Louisa, Nottoway, Amelia, and Powhatan counties, as well as large portions of Chesterfield, Henrico, and Spotsylvania counties. The district went from Republican to Democrat in 2018, when Spanberger won her seat by just 2% and is considered one of the most competitive congressional districts in the state.

    Recommendation

    A former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger was first elected to serve the 7th District in 2018 when she defeated incumbent Dave Brat. Before her election, Spanberger’s career included working for the U.S. Postal Service investigating narcotics and money laundering and living undercover abroad as a spy for the CIA. She was raised in Short Pump and graduated from the University of Virginia. She and her husband, Adam, have three daughters and live in Glen Allen.

    Spanberger is a moderate Democrat who prides herself on being the 5th most bipartisan member of the House. She’s a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Agriculture committees. During her time in office, Spanberger sponsored legislation to bring transparency to prescription drug prices and give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. She also introduced a bill aimed at strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and supported providing a public option for universal coverage.

    Spanberger supports protecting voting rights, restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and putting a stop to voter suppression. In 2019, she co-sponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act. She believes in strengthening people’s access to the ballot by restoring and modernizing the Voting Rights Act.

    Spanberger believes that climate change is a national security threat. This year, she proposed the Growing Climate Solutions Act to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere by allowing farmers to engage in carbon cap and trade programs. In 2019, she helped introduce the Climate Action Now Act, which would require the U.S. to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement.

    In response to the police murder of George Floyd, Spanberger co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill calls for bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, sets national standards to hold police officers accountable for misconduct, prohibits racial profiling, and establishes a national data collection system on police misconduct.

    Spanberger is a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and worked with other members of the caucus to introduce the “Momnibus Bill” to address the nation’s crisis in Black maternal mortality. She introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to close the gender wage gap. Spanberger also supports a person’s right to access reproductive healthcare and abortion. Spanberger voted to impeach Donald Trump in 2019.

    Spanberger is being challenged by Republican candidate Nick Freitas, who currently serves in Virginia’s House of Delegates. While serving in the House, Freitas was known for attacking abortion rights, saying on the House floor that the “abortion industry” and “broken homes” were contributing to mass shootings. He voted against allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students and granting driving privileges to immigrants while voting in favor of prohibiting sanctuary cities in Virginia. Freitas voted against expanding Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians. Freitas also voted against requiring background checks on firearms sales in Virginia, a red flag law to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and banning the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

    Due to her commitment to improving healthcare for her constituents, fighting climate change, protecting women’s rights, and advocating for Black maternal health, Spanberger is the more progressive choice for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

City of Richmond

Richmond Mayor

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    Richmond’s mayoral election is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. Progressive activist Alexsis Rodgers is running against fellow progressive candidate Justin Griffin, as well as incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney, Tracey McLean, and 2nd District City Council representative Kim Gray.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The city trends Democratic, with Hillary Clinton winning over 75% of the vote in 2016.

    Recommendation

    Alexsis Rodgers is the current state director of Care in Action, a policy and advocacy group for Virginia’s female domestic workers. Rodgers previously served as the communications director for Virginia’s League of Planned Parenthood. She is the board chair of Emerge Virginia, an organization that trains Democratic women to run for office in Virginia.

    Rodgers has a demonstrated commitment to progressive values. During her time with Planned Parenthood, she worked to expand Medicaid and increase access to birth control throughout the Commonwealth. With Care in Action, she was instrumental in making Virginia the first southern state to create labor protections for domestic workers by leading advocacy efforts on the Virginia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

    In addition to her advocacy, Rodgers also has experience working with elected leadership. She served as the policy director in Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor’s office, where she did extensive work on reproductive justice, behavioral health, and early childhood education.

    Rodgers’ platform focuses on ensuring that all Richmond residents have access to safe, affordable housing, reducing the size and scope of policing, finding innovative ways to fully fund Richmond’s public schools, and keeping the government of Richmond accountable to its residents.

    Rodgers has been openly critical of the Richmond Police Department’s response to protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

    Mayor Levar Stoney, the incumbent, was elected in 2016. His most widely-criticized effort as leader of the city involved attempting to force through the Navy Hill Development project, a massive redevelopment plan for the Navy Hill district which was spearheaded and led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell. He was opposed by grassroots organizations for the project’s lack of transparency in spite of the fact that it used taxpayer-funded subsidies. Stoney faced criticism for not reacting quickly enough to Richmond Police Department’s excessive use against protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death and for being indecisive about removing Confederate monuments from the city. Stoney dealt with backlash for not properly vetting the replacement of the Richmond police chief, who was removed in 2020 over his handling of protests.

    Also vying for mayor is 2nd District City Council Member Kim Gray. Her platform only goes into specific detail on public safety and education. It does not address systemic racial disparities or injustices in regard to either issue. Gray does not share Rodgers’ demonstrated commitment to progressive values, once comparing Black Lives Matter protesters to terrorists. She voted against a proposed study on shifting resources away from the Richmond Police Department but voted in favor of a civilian oversight board and Marcus Alert system, which would have mental health professionals respond to crises instead of police.

    Candidate Justin Griffin is a progressive activist who launched the “No Coliseum” campaign against the Navy Hill development. He has extensive experience working with small businesses and has been a leading voice in the demand for transparency from Richmond’s government. Griffin is also running on a robust platform of progressive reform. However, he has less experience working in government and less progressive goals than Rodgers.

    Candidate Tracey McLean is a local Richmond author and the CEO of Adyme publishing. She is also a cast member of a CW reality TV show, The Real Babymamas of VA. McLean’s platform focuses on unity and transparency, but is less defined and detailed than Rodgers’. McLean does not share Rodgers’ extensive history of commitment to progressive values and advocacy, although she does support a proposal by local activists to transform parking lots in Shockoe Bottom into a slave memorial park.

    The sixth contender for Richmond mayor is economist Michael Gilbert. He is running his campaign on three pillars: economic development and public education, policing and criminal justice reform, and improving community, health, and social services. He supports the creation of a civilian review board with subpoena power, the implementation of a 'Marcus Alert' system, ending qualified immunity for police, and imposing mandatory implicit bias testing of all current and potential officers. While Gilbert does have a progressive platform, his campaign has failed to gain traction in the community and he hasn’t raised any money for his effort. 

    Due to her unrelenting commitment to progressive values and detailed progressive platform, Alexsis Rodgers is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-10-09

Richmond City Council Races

Richmond City Council, District 5

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election of Richmond’s 5th District representative for City Council is held on November 3, 2020, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. The incumbent, Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch, is an open progressive running for her first full term on the council against Jer’mykeal McCoy.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 5th District is located in the southwest part of the city. The 5th District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Stephanie Lynch is running for her first full term on Richmond City Council after winning a special election in 2019. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work Administration and Policy Practice from VCU. After graduation, she was hired at Virginia’s Department of Social Services. Throughout her career, she worked to help implement the Affordable Care Act and fought for Medicaid expansion. She led the effort to start the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) program, which now serves over 20,000 people. She has also worked for GoodNeighbor, one of Virginia’s largest mental health and disability services providers for disadvantaged communities.

    During her short time on City Council, Lynch stepped up to help lead efforts to reform policing practices, helping draft a proposal to study defunding the Richmond Police Department. She is one of two Richmond City Council members to vote to study defunding the police, along with Mike Jones.

    Lynch is running for the seat as a Democrat on an openly progressive platform. Her primary issues include transparency, spending Richmond’s tax dollars fairly, working with the Richmond School Board to create more equitable schools, ensuring green and inclusive development in the city, and supporting measures to decrease gun violence and trauma.

    She believes the city must be accountable for its promises on education. She will work to create a culture of support for teachers, students, and families. This includes re-committing to the teacher and staff pay raises agreed upon in the budget approved before the COVID-19 pandemic. Lynch plans to establish an empowered teacher oversight committee with input on curriculum and purchasing decisions.

    Lynch will support Richmond’s new Pilot Eviction Diversion Program, designed to decrease evictions in the city. She also wants to expand the Housing Affordability Trust Fund. She believes that by working with state legislators, the City Council can extend the rights and resources available to tenants in Richmond.

    In addition to her progressive platform, Lynch also uses her social media accounts to voice her support progressive ideas and policies and to expose injustices within the system, such as explaining discrepancies in funding between the prosecutor and public defender’s offices, replacing school resource officers, and reforming drug courts.

    Stephanie Lynch’s opponent, Jer’Mykeal McCoy is also running on an openly progressive platform, which includes expanding and fully funding COVID-19 testing efforts, improving the GRTC, and increasing funding for Richmond Public Schools. McCoy’s platform is far less detailed than Lynch’s and does not address police brutality or affordable housing as directly. McCoy’s background is primarily in business and professional development, rather than directly working on progressive issues. Given Lynch’s extensive experience in social work and activism, she has demonstrated a more consistent commitment to progressive issues than her opponent.

    Also running for the 5th District City Council seat is activist Nicholas Da Silva, who is running his campaign on housing affordability, police accountability, food and transportation justice, funding of the city’s schools, and economic empowerment. He wants to give renters more rights in the city to resist eviction and mistreatment by landlords. He plans to reduce traffic by making public transportation free for every resident in the city. Da Silva wants to make the city’s police more accountable by making their statistics available for the public to see and foster community trust. Da Silva is a progressive, but Lynch’s experience in City Council gives her an edge in the race.

    The third challenger to Lynch is Mamie Taylor, who formerly represented Richmond’s 5th District on the School Board from 2012 to 2016. Taylor is running her campaign on quality governance, transparency, and equity.  She promises to promote transparency and clarity, tax reform, economic opportunities, better infrastructure for city streets, public schools, fair housing, better oversight of government spending, and more funding for public parks if elected to Richmond’s City Council. Taylor is also progressive, but she has not raised any money for her campaign.

    Due to her commitment to policing reform, her platform of equality, and her commitment to working to improve disadvantaged communities, Stephanie Lynch is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2020-10-09

Richmond School Board

Richmond City School Board, District 5

  • Non-Partisan
  • About the Race

    The election of the 5th District representative for Richmond School Board takes place on November 3, 2020, sharing a ballot with the U.S. presidential election. Activist Stephanie Rizzi is running against administrator Dr. Decardra Jackson, local CEO David Jones, and fellow activist Jennifer Aghomo.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 5th District is located in the southwest part of the city. The 5th District trends Democratic with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Stephanie Rizzi is a lifelong educator who has also worked in Richmond as an activist for change with groups such as Richmond For All to advocate for schools that are more equitable to educators and students of all backgrounds. 

    Rizzi believes that empowering teachers and giving the community a voice in school matters is the best way to improve education. She believes that top-heavy administrative bureaucracies are counterproductive to educator success, and that teachers’ input on changes to school curriculum and day-to-day school life should be solicited first before new policies are imposed on them. 

    In order to see that all Richmond students thrive, Rizzi advocates having input from educators, parents and communities before implementing pre-packaged curriculums. She also wishes to reimagine school discipline to focus on preventing infractions or dealing with them within schools, rather than resorting to calling in law enforcement officers. 

    Her first opponent,  David Jones, is the CEO of a local construction company. He also runs an organization to support student athletes in Richmond, which he started because he wanted to provide students at Richmond Public Schools with the same level of athletic opportunity and training as students in the surrounding county schools. Jones is very focused on closing the achievement gaps for male students of color and has worked with Mayor Levar Stoney on reaching out to students. However, Jones has not put forward a platform as comprehensive or progressive as Rizzi.

    Her other opponent, Dr. Decardra Jackson, works as the Richmond Public School Director of Testing Assessment Literacy and Research. Her platform is centered on ensuring that all students in Richmond Public Schools have equal access to 21st century learning tools. Jackson wants to reach out to local businesses, libraries, and police to build partnerships to support students. She also supports universal pre-K. While Jackson’s platform is moderately progresive, it does not provide the same level of policy engagement and agency for teachers and parents that Rizzi’s platform does and relies heavily on maintaining a large administration rather than transferring decision making power directly to the stakeholders. 

    Rizzi’s final opponent, Jennifer Aghomo is also a Richmond education activist. She was PTA president of John B. Cary Elementary School in 2014-2015, when it was facing possible closure, and led efforts to rally parents, teachers, and community members to make sure the school stayed open. However, she does not have the same thorough, progressive platform for educational reform that Rizzi does. 

    Given her commitment to empowering educators, taking into account the individual needs of students from all backgrounds, and her beliefs on school discipline, Stephanie Rizzi is the most progressive choice in this race. 

    Stephanie Rizzi

    About the Race

    The election of the 5th District representative for Richmond School Board takes place on November 3, 2020, sharing a ballot with the U.S. presidential election. Activist Stephanie Rizzi is running against administrator Dr. Decardra Jackson, local CEO David Jones, and fellow activist Jennifer Aghomo.

    About the District

    Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. Richmond’s 5th District is located in the southwest part of the city. The 5th District trends Democratic with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 85% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.

    Recommendation

    Stephanie Rizzi is a lifelong educator who has also worked in Richmond as an activist for change with groups such as Richmond For All to advocate for schools that are more equitable to educators and students of all backgrounds. 

    Rizzi believes that empowering teachers and giving the community a voice in school matters is the best way to improve education. She believes that top-heavy administrative bureaucracies are counterproductive to educator success, and that teachers’ input on changes to school curriculum and day-to-day school life should be solicited first before new policies are imposed on them. 

    In order to see that all Richmond students thrive, Rizzi advocates having input from educators, parents and communities before implementing pre-packaged curriculums. She also wishes to reimagine school discipline to focus on preventing infractions or dealing with them within schools, rather than resorting to calling in law enforcement officers. 

    Her first opponent,  David Jones, is the CEO of a local construction company. He also runs an organization to support student athletes in Richmond, which he started because he wanted to provide students at Richmond Public Schools with the same level of athletic opportunity and training as students in the surrounding county schools. Jones is very focused on closing the achievement gaps for male students of color and has worked with Mayor Levar Stoney on reaching out to students. However, Jones has not put forward a platform as comprehensive or progressive as Rizzi.

    Her other opponent, Dr. Decardra Jackson, works as the Richmond Public School Director of Testing Assessment Literacy and Research. Her platform is centered on ensuring that all students in Richmond Public Schools have equal access to 21st century learning tools. Jackson wants to reach out to local businesses, libraries, and police to build partnerships to support students. She also supports universal pre-K. While Jackson’s platform is moderately progresive, it does not provide the same level of policy engagement and agency for teachers and parents that Rizzi’s platform does and relies heavily on maintaining a large administration rather than transferring decision making power directly to the stakeholders. 

    Rizzi’s final opponent, Jennifer Aghomo is also a Richmond education activist. She was PTA president of John B. Cary Elementary School in 2014-2015, when it was facing possible closure, and led efforts to rally parents, teachers, and community members to make sure the school stayed open. However, she does not have the same thorough, progressive platform for educational reform that Rizzi does. 

    Given her commitment to empowering educators, taking into account the individual needs of students from all backgrounds, and her beliefs on school discipline, Stephanie Rizzi is the most progressive choice in this race. 

    Last updated: 2020-09-10

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