Flip-a-District Friday VOLUME VI
Welcome to Volume VI of the 2019 Flip-A-District Friday series.
I know energy is revving up for the 2020 Democrats this week after two exciting debates, but we've got a crucial election here in Virginia in 2019! I encourage you to forward this email to anyone you know who might not have 2019 on his or her radar. Many of the issues discussed in the debates -- from gun safety to climate change -- are also topics on which we legislate (or don't because of narrow Republican majorities) in Richmond. We've got to focus on 2019 first.
Meet the candidate: Beverly Harrison
Beverly Harrison is a longstanding advocate for her community and the wellbeing of others. Her professional career includes childcare center design and development, as well as health education for at-risk populations.
Harrison was a key player in her local grassroots movement to pass the ERA in Virginia, which compelled her to run for office this year. Harrison believes that the residents of the 15th District have been poorly served and they are long overdue for a choice in who represents them in Richmond.
As a single mother of two college-aged children, Harrison is well-aware of the challenges many in her district face and is dedicated to improving both individual and community quality of life.
House District 15:
The 15th District is an uphill battle for Democrats, but incumbent Delegate Todd Gilbert (R) has not faced a general election challenger since 2009. Situated on the border with West Virginia, the district includes parts of Shenandoah, Page, Warren, and Rockingham Counties. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why we must defeat Gilbert:
Gilbert is the Republican Majority Leader, and in that role he masterminds all of the Republicans' strategy on the floor to defeat our bills. Gilbert is one of the most vocal opponents of gun safety proposals in the House of Delegates. Take, for example, something as benign as Delegate Marcus Simon's push for a license plate reading "Stop Gun Violence." Gilbert opposed the bill, saying that it singles out one type of violence. He said that "it is [Delegate Simon] trying to build a narrative that gun violence is somehow different from regular violence." Yes, gun violence is different. What an odd approach -- should we get rid of Virginia's "Breast Cancer Foundation" license plate because it singles out one type of cancer?
We shouldn't be surprised that Gilbert is so anti-gun safety. He was given the "Defender of Freedom" award by the NRA in 2017. He brags on his website that in 2012, "he was the chief co-sponsor of the bill that repealed Virginia’s 'one gun a month' handgun...law." He even claimed once that "taking guns from citizens is what led to the Holocaust and mass killings under the Soviet Gulag."
Todd Gilbert cannot even bring himself to acknowledge that gun violence is a problem in license-plate form. He will certainly continue to stand in the way of any action to address this tragic epidemic.
Contact the campaign here.
Meet the candidate: Larry Barnett
Larry's commitment to Chesterfield County runs deep -- he has served its residents for three decades. As a leader with Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services, he developed and implemented innovative, caring, and effective programs for those affected by mental illness. He earned a reputation as a skilled collaborator and problem-solver who gets things done. Larry was a key player in various projects that improved access to mental health and substance abuse services. These initiatives include partnerships with schools, hospitals, advocacy groups, and law enforcement and other first responders.
Larry's Coast Guard family provided him with a strong example of service. His family, like many in the military, moved around the US before planting roots in Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University before earning a master's degree in Rehabilitative Counseling from VCU. He is a licensed professional counselor.
With a proven record of improving the lives of some of the region's most vulnerable residents, Larry is continuing his public service to Chesterfield by running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 27th District. In 2017, he ran a spirited, grassroots campaign and finished tantalizingly close as a first-time candidate, coming within 128 votes of winning.
Larry’s hard work and intelligence, coupled with his open, collaborative, and caring spirit, showed voters that he was someone who would effectively represent them in the General Assembly. In 2019, he is bringing that talent and enthusiasm to bear as he runs again to represent the citizens of Chesterfield County.
Larry and his wife Pat live in Midlothian. Their daughter Eileen attended Chesterfield public schools and now lives in Charlottesville.
House District 27:
The 27th District has become more purple in recent years. Although Trump won it by three points in 2016, Senator Tim Kaine won the district by an impressive ten points last fall. Located entirely within Chesterfield County, the district is southwest of Richmond. Click here for more district details.
This November's election is a rematch between incumbent Delegate Roxann Robinson (R) and Larry. Unlike 2017, when Robinson had a cash-on-hand advantage and was outraising Barnett at this point in the cycle, Larry has turned the tables and is consistently outpacing the incumbent's fundraising.
Just one example of why we must defeat Robinson:
This week we saw a major milestone in Virginia's Medicaid expansion -- Governor Northam announced on Wednesday that over 300,000 Virginians have registered in this lifesaving program. According to the Department of Medical Assistance Services, 10,683 residents of Chesterfield County are newly enrolled in Medicaid services because of expansion.
As of January 1, 1,801 residents of the 27th District had already gained health insurance because of Medicaid expansion, and more have undoubtedly registered since then. The Commonwealth Institute estimated that ultimately 2,200 people in the 27th will achieve coverage thanks to expansion.
Who doesn't support these Virginians getting access to quality health insurance under Medicaid expansion? Roxann Robinson.
Robinson voted against Medicaid expansion and tweeted after its passage that "[w]ithout Federal dollars, Virginia would quickly go bankrupt if we expand Medicaid." It's worth noting that she was referencing a Trump administration tweet specifically condemning Virginia's expansion that included absolutely no evidence that expanding states would "go bankrupt."
On Facebook, Robinson said that "One of my reasons for not supporting this expansion is because Federal dollars are not always a guaranteed thing and Virginia just cannot afford it." The great irony is that federal funding is as of now not guaranteed because her party's administration in Washington keeps threatening to pull that money.
It's a weak excuse to not support providing health care to over 300,000 Virginians who desperately need it. The 27th deserves better.
Contact the campaign here.
Meet the candidate: Lindsey Dougherty
Lindsey Dougherty has made the public sector her life’s work. She believes the lives of Virginians can be improved through strategic investments in the local economy and she will work to build up our communities through new opportunities. In Lindsey’s professional career, she has worked extensively with at-risk youth in Juvenile Justice, partnering with community organizations that build both life and job skills. She has worked with state and local governments to increase access to better health through recreation and art. Lindsey currently works in the Budget and Management Department as an analyst for Chesterfield County, providing fiscal oversight and working with community facing departments on their operating, capital improvement plan, and long term budgets.
After completing her BA at the University of Tennessee, Lindsey and her husband moved to the Raleigh area in North Carolina to complete their respective graduate programs. Lindsey has a Master’s in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. She moved to Virginia in 2017, with her husband and two children, to pursue new job opportunities and set down roots in the community. She has been an active volunteer with many local organizations and wants to engage with her neighbors in the 62nd District as a candidate with every-day, real world experience; she has worked multiple jobs at a time to make ends meet, while also attending school full-time and raising a family. Lindsey will champion the goals of the residents of the 62nd at the state level, improving the lives of all constituents in the district.
Lindsey believes that communities do better when everyone is safe, healthy, and engaged with their neighbors. She is excited to get to work, to meet with residents and their families, building a community in which everyone is engaged. Lindsey’s goals for this campaign are to improve the local and state economies, increase access to all types of jobs, enhance the health and well-being of all citizens, create access and affordability to all types of education, and increase civic engagement so that everyone in the district has a voice and is heard.
House District 62:
The winner of the race in the 62nd District between Lindsey and Republican Carrie Coyner will replace retiring incumbent Delegate Riley Ingram (R). Located south of Richmond, the district's lines were redrawn as a part of federal court-ordered redistricting earlier this year, making the 62nd a slightly lighter shade of red than it was previously. It includes parts of Chesterfield and Prince George Counties, as well as a quarter of Hopewell City. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why we cannot let Coyner win:
Carrie Coyner's website is devoid of substance on anything except old language on education issues, which was already there due to her seat on the local school board. She avoids taking positions on anything in interviews, instead spouting platitudes like wanting to "make sure everyone in this community has a voice," "focusing on people," and "speak[ing] up for what is right." Coyner doesn't even mention in interviews or on her own website that she's a Republican.
Taking a look at her recent donors, however, it's clear that Coyner will be yet another guaranteed Republican vote. Her top donor by far (other than herself) is the Republican State Leadership Committee -- the committee's massive contribution makes up over half of her cash on hand. Not far behind are Speaker Kirk Cox (R), Republican mega-donor William H Goodwin, Jr., and former GOP Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.
It's very unlikely that a candidate bought and paid for by Republicans will vote otherwise, so let's make sure we never find out where Coyner actually stands.
Contact the campaign here.
Meet the candidate: Ella Webster
Dr. Ella Webster, raised partly in Richmond, has lived in Gloucester, Virginia for over a decade. Her first job out of training was with the Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic, from where she was recruited to the Virginia Department of Health. Since 2010 she has worked for Health Districts all over the Eastern Region.
Ella served as a United States Peace Corps Maternal Child Health Volunteer in the Central African Republic for two years in the 1990s, after receiving a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Drew University. She then returned to Maine and supported herself for three years as a waitress while taking classes at the University of Southern Maine. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for the challenges and accomplishments of working people, and no patience for poverty-shaming.
During this time, Ella also took care of people dying of AIDS in the years before and after treatment became available. She is concerned that HIV continues to be an issue facing many communities, and it is one of the reasons she is so passionate about universal healthcare given that treatment and prevention are possible.
After receiving her Doctorate in Medicine from Dartmouth Medical School she moved back to Virginia and lived in Richmond for three years, where she worked on Maternal and Child Mortality projects. She ultimately moved to Gloucester in 2006.
Ella served on the Gloucester County Public Library Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2019, where she was term-limited, and has been on the Three Rivers Healthy Families Advisory Board since 2014.
House District 98:
The 98th District leans red, but Democrats aren't letting incumbent Delegate Keith Hodges (R) rest on his laurels. The district includes parts of Gloucester, Middlesex, Essex, Mathews, King & Queen, and King William Counties. Click here for more district details.
Just one example of why we must defeat Hodges:
Hodges may not be a bomb-thrower, but that doesn't make him any less partisan -- he votes with the Republican caucus 96 percent of the time. His votes have been just as conservative in committee and subcommittee, where he has helped to kill great bills like these:
- HB 2146: an environmental bill that would allow localities to require the conservation, planting, or replacement of trees during the land development process.
- HB 2427: a pro-consumer bill to try to curb the problem of medical surprise billing.
- HB 2507: a transparency bill to create a position within the Attorney General's office to ensure that state government agencies comply with FOIA requests.
Hodges may not make inflammatory speeches on the floor or introduce terrible bills, but he's actively helping to prevent good bills from progressing. It's time for a change.
Contact the campaign here.
That's it for Volume VI 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.