Flip-a-District Friday VOLUME III
Last Tuesday marked one of the most shameful days in the General Assembly in recent memory. Governor Northam had called the House and Senate into a Special Session to address gun violence after the devastating and, sadly, not unusual shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31st. Democrats came prepared to work seriously on this urgent, life-and-death issue.
Republicans, on the other hand, chose to adjourn until after Election Day after less than 90 minutes on the floor. House bills were referred by the Speaker primarily to the Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety (MPPS), where they were then punted to the Crime Commission for "study" in a sham hearing that lasted less than five minutes.
We are going to focus in this edition of "Flip" on the Democratic opponents of the Republican Chairman of MPPS and the Republican members of the MPPS subcommittee that reviews all gun safety bills. Together with Delegate Mike Webert (R), whose opponent Starla Kiser we profiled last week, and Speaker Kirk Cox (R), whose opponent we will cover in a future edition, this handful of Republicans are making the Commonwealth more dangerous over the objection of the majority of Virginians.
Meet the candidate: Tim Hickey
Work hard. Tell the truth. Be kind and respectful.
These are the core life lessons that Tim has always tried to instill in his students and two young sons. As a public school educator of 16 years, his life’s work has been focused on building a community worthy for our children.
Tim came to Virginia in the 1990s to attend the College of William & Mary. After graduating, he worked at a law firm in Washington, DC. While there, he served a six-month rotation working for Neighborhood Legal Services. He remembers representing people applying for their Social Security Disability benefits -- each client wanted to experience the dignity of work, but had simply reached a point where they were unable to work. That experience made Tim realize that any one of us may need our social safety net should hard times befall us. Soon after his rotation ended, Jim studied law at the University of Virginia. After spending about two years as a litigator in a big firm, he chose instead to devote his career and time to making a difference in his community.
Tim moved to Albemarle County with his wife, Beth, in 2005 where he spent more than a decade teaching high school math and history. Now, he is an instructional coordinator at Greene County Public Schools, working with teachers to integrate innovative techniques into their classrooms to reach all children.
Tim learned important lessons as an educator that he will bring with him after he is elected Delegate. First, public schools are places where all children should be welcomed into the classrooms regardless of their socioeconomic status, where they are from, or what they look like. Good elected officials do the same. They strive to represent every single constituent. Working in schools has also given Tim an understanding of the necessity of treating one another with respect and building relationships. Responsible representatives likewise treat colleagues and constituents respectfully, searching for common ground and working together to solve problems for the community.
Tim has worked tirelessly as an educator. Teaching is an extraordinarily demanding profession intellectually and emotionally, but is also immensely rewarding. Tim will apply the same tireless work ethic in listening to and advocating for the people of the 59th District.
House District 59:
The 59th is a heavy lift, but defeating the incumbent Delegate Matt Fariss is too important if Democrats want to oust one of the worst members of the General Assembly on the issue of gun safety. The district, just south of Charlottesville, includes parts of Campbell, Appomattox, Buckingham, Albemarle, and Nelson Counties -- click here for more district details.
Just one example of why Fariss has to go:
Fariss chairs the House Committee on Militia, Police, and Public Safety's subcommittee to which all gun-related bills are referred. And subsequently die.
Fariss has led the Republican effort to kill any and all gun safety efforts as Chairman, including the following bills that evidence shows would save lives in Virginia. Here are five commonsense measures that he made sure never got out of his subcommittee:
- A bill to prevent gun owners from negligently leaving guns in the open where children can find them.
- A bill to prevent the printing of untraceable 3D-printed guns.
- A bill that requires that an applicant for a concealed carry permit show competence with firearms via an in-person test.
- A bill to allow local governments to ban guns in government buildings.
- A bill to reinstate the one-gun-a-month limit.
Fariss has been the roadblock in the General Assembly for gun safety bills, and it's time for him to go.
Contact the campaign here.
Meet the candidate: Ann Ridgeway
Ann Ridgeway is a native Virginian who has worked with youth and families for much of her life. She brings a love of faith, family, community, and Virginia values to her aspiration for public office.
Born in Fredericksburg, Ann is the daughter of Thomas G. Faulkner Jr., an Episcopal minister, and Mary B. Faulkner, both of who were dedicated community activists and advocates for the underprivileged. They worked in a team ministry, fostered several teenagers, and starting numerous area programs to benefit youth, the elderly, and families in need. Both of Ann’s parent were active in the civil rights movement, inspiring Ann from an early age to work for social and economic justice for all.
Ann is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a degree in psychology. As a teenager, she worked in a home for mentally ill teenagers, volunteered in a juvenile court service unit in Norfolk supporting teenagers on probation, and served as an advisor to a youth group at St. Andrews Church in Norfolk. Following her graduation, Ann began work as a juvenile probation counselor in Orange County.
Ann was instrumental in the establishment of the Orange County Youth Commission and the Orange County Youth Council, working with a start-up research grant and a core group of citizens to create these vital public resources. As an ongoing advisor to the group, Ann helped set up “dragnet” dances for teens on Friday nights, developed the first Festival of Arts and Sciences for the county school system, created a health fair, started an annual Law Day at the high school, and established the Outstanding Youth Advocate and the Youth Awards. She coordinated with the school board and the youth council to create a new system-wide drug policy, advocated for county funding of a new Orange County Office on Youth, and subsequently helped establish the Orange County Recreation Department.
Ann has served as a substitute teacher in Orange County schools, on the board of the Orange County Fair, and on a Virginia board focusing on teenage alcohol concerns. She set up an in-school-suspension program and later developed a program for teenagers with discipline problems called REACH for Orange High School. Ann was also key in leading a community action group that successfully advocated for the relocation of a cell tower in the Locust Dale neighborhood.
Ann has been married to her husband, Michael, since 1978. They have lived in Madison since 1980. For several years, she was a stay-at-home mom for her three children, Sarah, Katherine, and Michael. She continued to volunteer with her church, preschools, and the PTO, where she started a school newspaper, spearheaded the annual fall fundraiser, and ran the first Orange Elementary Book Festival. At her home, Ann launched the Locust Dale Farm Riding program for children and ran a summer camp. She also volunteered with both the Madison 4-H and the Orange 4-H.
In 1997, Ann and Michael lost their six-year-old son in an automobile accident. Her husband suffered a brain injury in the accident. During this time, Ann stayed close to home with her family, supporting her husband’s recovery and raising her daughters. As her family began to heal, she resumed some of her volunteer work within the community, while also helping care for aging parents. Michael’s Gift, a charity established in her son’s name, provides financial support to children in Orange County for recreational activities and esteem building programs. The fund is managed by the Orange County Office on Youth.
A determined citizen activist, Ann believes that progress takes hard work and commitment. She offers a resourceful outlook and a firm resolve when confronted with the challenges that face the 30th District. Ann’s grassroots campaign is much like her legacy of local volunteering and hands-on advocacy—a spirited, neighbor-to-neighbor outreach effort to build support for a candidate who will represent the values and aspirations of hard-working, rural Virginians.
House District 30:
The 30th District is usually red, but the campaign of incumbent Delegate Nick Freitas (R) appears to be in complete disarray. Freitas apparently failed to submit the required paperwork to get on the ballot and had to scramble to undo the error. It's still unclear whether the Department of Elections will allow his name on the ballot, and the snafu is a remarkable misstep from a candidate who has run a statewide campaign (he lost the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate to Corey Stewart in 2018). The district includes all of Orange and Madison counties and part of Culpeper County. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why Freitas needs to go:
Freitas is wildly pro-gun, to the extent that his arguments for rejecting any gun safety bill border on nonsensical. In a truly painful-to-watch speech (seriously, it may make you angry) on the floor during the 2018 General Assembly session, Freitas blamed gun violence on everything but guns.
He claimed that gun violence was the result of "broken homes" caused by "left-leaning" policies. Freitas blamed cultural changes, "the abortion industry," and the "welfare state" for gun deaths.
Then, in a puzzling pivot, Freitas said "it was not our party that supported slavery, that fought women’s suffrage, that rounded up tens of thousands of Asian-Americans and put ’em in concentration camps, that supported Jim Crow, that supported segregation, or supported Massive Resistance. That wasn’t our party. That was the Democrat party."
The media picked up on his appalling speech and the outrage that it fueled. Freitas needs to be voted out this November.
Contact the campaign: email@example.com
Meet the candidate: Jim Barker
Jim Barker is currently serving his third term on the Marion Town Council. He previously worked extensively for the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. Jim was a forestry technician, a supervisory forester, and performed assorted work with many federal and state agencies. His proudest work was with NASA. After the Challenger explosion, Jim served as an Aviation Coordinator with NASA. His recovery work helped provide NASA with information on why the tragedy struck, and how to avoid similar disasters going forward.
In his role on the Marion Town Council, Jim has overseen the purchase and development of land that will move the town's economy forward. He also serves on the Friends of Mount Rogers, where he helps to preserve and promote the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest.
Jim has been active in local forums and other projects to address the drug-use crisis in the region, which he sees as a multi-pronged crisis that impacts the whole community, even influencing economic development through its impact on workers and the region’s image to prospective industries.
He is a graduate of Marion Senior High School and attended Wytheville Community College, Virginia Tech and Emory & Henry College.
Jim has championed rural Virginia, rural America, and as Delegate of the 6th District, he hopes to continue serving Southwest Virginia.
House District 6:
The 6th District usually swings Republican, but the incumbent Delegate Jeff Campbell (R) has not faced a Democratic opponent since 2013. Located in far southwest Virginia, the district encompasses parts of Carroll, Wythe, and Smyth Counties. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why Campbell needs to go:
Like his Republican friends on the MPPS subcommittee that kills all gun safety bills, Campbell goes above and beyond to make sure it's easier to carry a weapon in Virginia. To give you a sense of how extreme he is on this issue, he was named the number one advocate in the House of Delegate for guns by AmmoLand.com and received a 100 percent rating from the radical group Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).
It's no surprise he's received such high marks from pro-gun groups. Not only does Campbell vote against every gun safety bill, he continuously introduces dangerous pro-gun bills. Here are a few examples:
- A bill that would enable concealed carry in Virginia without a permit.
- A bill that would eliminate the requirement that concealed carry permits be renewed every five years.
- A bill that would grant a concealed carry permit to anyone without any background checks or other requirements.
Campbell is a part of the gun violence problem in Virginia, and it's time to vote him out of office.
Contact the campaign: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the candidate: Trudy Berry
Trudy knows the value of hard work, having worked at a fast food restaurant, an office and a school supply warehouse during high school. She was inducted into the National Honor Society and received the John & Elizabeth Whitely Business Award. After graduation, she joined the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and earned an Honor Graduate Certificate upon completion of the Administrative Specialist Course, going on to complete the Legal Services Specialist Course. When her USAF enlistment ended, she accompanied her Air Force husband to the Philippines where she worked as a Civil Service employee at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, in the USAF Legal Office at Clark Air Base, and for the State Department in the USAID Inspector General’s Office. After returning stateside, Trudy ultimately chose to moved to Virginia, first to Williamsburg in 1990, then Yorktown in 1991, and finally settled in Green Bay in Lunenburg County in 1998.
During her time in the USAF in the Philippines and later in Virginia, she enrolled in college courses whenever and wherever she could. In 2001, she earned a BS in Sociology with a Concentration in Criminal Justice from Longwood University in Farmville, VA, graduating Magna cum Laude, receiving two Citizen Leader Awards and induction into three Honor Societies. In 2002, she earned a Certificate in Social Policy and Administration, also from Longwood University.
As a mother of five children, with one son currently serving in the U.S. Army who has deployed twice to Afghanistan, and a grandmother of thirteen, she has always stayed active in both family and community affairs. This includes volunteering at church, a summer swim team, and a Little League team, and serving as a Cub Scout and Brownie Girl Scout Leader. Trudy joined the Friends of the Victoria (VA) Public Library in 2011 and has served as Secretary since 2015. She also served as Secretary of the Lunenburg County Chamber of Commerce from 2014 to 2018, stepping down from that role to concentrate on her campaign for Delegate. She is an active member of the Lunenburg County Democratic Committee.
Trudy's service- and justice-oriented nature has guided her along life’s path. She wishes to be of service to a wider community and has put that desire into action as a candidate for House District 61.
House District 61:
The incumbent Delegate Tommy Wright (R) has only faced one opponent (Greg Marston in 2015) since 2003, so while this red district will be a heavy lift, Wright is likely rusty on the campaign trail. The district encompasses parts of Mecklenburg, Amelia, Nottoway, Cumberland, and Lunenburg Counties. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why Wright needs to go:
As the Chairman of MPPS, Wright has been entrusted by Speaker Cox to ensure the demise of every single gun safety bill to come through his committee. True to form, on Tuesday during the Special Session, Wright punted every bill that had been referred to MPPS to the Virginia Crime Commission for "study," declining to substantively answer any questions as to why he was refusing to do his job and actually allow votes on the referred bills. As previously noted, the MPPS "hearing" lasting less than five minutes.
Wright has consistently received perfect scores from the NRA and the VCDL, and while he technically did not sit on the MPPS subcommittee that killed all of the gun safety bills this year, he made sure to attend its gun-related hearings to keep his fellow Republicans in line.
Indeed, Wright was present when my bill, HB1763, to create Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), known elsewhere as "red flag" or "Gun Violence Restraining Order" bills, was heard by Chairman Fariss's MPPS subcommittee. This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by people with whom I usually have nothing in common -- Attorney General Bill Barr, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Senator Marco Rubio, Vice President Mike Pence, and even President Donald Trump.
As of today, 17 states have adopted these statutes -- and several of them are deep red. Former Governor -- now Senator -- Rick Scott signed one into law in Florida. Then-Governor Mitch Daniels signed one in Indiana after it passed its Republican-controlled General Assembly. The President’s Commission on School Safety urged states to pass these laws immediately. Attorney General Barr, when he said “we need to push the ERPO’s,” opined that “this is the single most important thing we can do in the gun control area."
But HB1763 was killed in subcommittee by Republicans during the regular 2019 session, and Chairman Wright referred HB4003 (my ERPO bill during the Special Session) to the Crime Commission, thereby preventing an up-or-down vote on this bipartisan, life-saving measure.
\189 people have lost their lives in Virginia since January 1, 2019. That's about 26 people per month. Speaker Cox and Chairman Wright ensured that we would have to wait another four months before any votes can be held. It's shameful, and Virginians will die from preventable gun violence.
Tommy Wright's time in the House should be ended on November 5th.
Contact the campaign: email@example.com
That's it for Volume III of our Flip-a-District Friday series. I encourage you to review this email and future editions to find a candidate or candidates whom you would like to support with your time or financial resources.