A Just, Healthy and Safe World

People are concerned about systems that disproportionately incarcerate African Americans, seemingly regard women as second class citizens, laws that fail to keep them safe from gun violence and practices that don’t safeguard the health of all of our citizens.

Mass incarceration and criminal justice reform. An overwhelming percentage of the population now supports strategies to end the disproportionate incarceration rate between black and white Virginians.

– End mandatory minimums, work to reclassify criminal offenses that don’t threaten public safety and revisit Virginia’s policies on parole.

– Support community policing initiatives, including housing assistance to allow police officers to afford to live in the communities they serve.

– Make the recruiting of more women and minorities for careers in professional policing a state-wide priority.

– Support more diversion programs especially for women such as rehabilitative and educational programs as alternatives to prison for first time offenses, and hold the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women accountable for failing to provide adequate medical care to their inmates.

– Legalize marijuana safely and responsibly by learning how other states have smartly regulated this industry to keep it out of the hands of children while using the tax revenue on all sales to fund our local needs, and building new Virginia- based industries from farming to processing.

– Systematically remove all laws that automatically exclude people with criminal convictions from public benefits, housing, driver’s licenses, civic participation, and educational and employment opportunities.

• Women’s Rights. I felt the sting of wage discrimination my entire life from a senior in high school working as an intern at a water treatment lab to a professional architect, paid less than my male colleagues, some of whom were my classmates and not registered architects like I was (and continue to be). To be pro-choice is to be pro the life and well-being of women and safeguarding women’s rights as free and independent human beings. Making abortion illegal or nearly impossible to obtain, not only doesn’t acknowledge that fundamental human right, it doesn’t stop abortions. It only places women’s lives at risk.

– End pay scale distinctions by outmoded gender roles.

– Institute family supports in the workplace and expand pre-K education and after school programs.

– Pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

– Create state constitutional and statutory protections for a woman’s right to choose, as has been done in Vermont, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Rhode Island and others.

– Undo Virginia’s targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws in Virginia such as “physicians-only” and “two-trip mandatory delay” laws as well as overly burdensome building permit requirements for clinics that perform abortions and provide family planning services.

– Bring legislators, medical professionals, and community leaders throughout our District together (including people who disagree), to talk about the implications of making abortion services illegal and/or inaccessible.

• Health Care. The 57th District is burdened with crushing health care costs, despite having two hospitals and multiple clinics (one of which, the Neighborhood Family Health Center, I helped bring to Charlottesville). We must drive down the cost of health care and prescription drugs.

– Empower the “Bureau of Insurance” to monitor and roll back insurance rates as necessary.

– Research the cost of creating a single payer option via the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee (JLARC) including a public option in the exchanges as first envisioned by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

– Resume efforts (abandoned in 2018) to institute a “reinsurance” program that would invest state monies to draw down the costs of health insurance premiums.

– Address our immediate nursing and nursing educator shortage, through pay, tuition and housing assistance incentives.

– Drive down the cost of prescription drugs, via legislation like the Drug Cost Transparency, Anti-Price Gouging and Pharmaceutical Company Reporting laws in California, Vermont, Arizona and others.

• Gun Safety. An overwhelming percentage of the population now supports common sense gun control.

– Raise the minimum purchase age from 18 to 21.

– Close the loopholes in the background check process.

– Ban automatic and semi-automatic rifles and hand-guns from permitted events (as is done in Blacksburg, VA) as well as in government places of assembly like city council and county board chambers.