You can't really maneuver through the world right now without access to the internet. We rely on it for everything.
The most consistent thing about internet service in rural Virginia is how often it doesn't work. 39% of Americans do not have broadband access.
In the 1930s and 40s, the US government brought electricity to 90% of farm homes. Elected officials should be treating our need for rural broadband with the same urgency. Instead, they're acting like internet service is a luxury item. It isn't. We need broadband now.
As a millennial, I grew up knowing that reliable internet is an absolutely essential service for participating in our society. It's a perspective we have desperate need of in the General Assembly. Digital infrastructure will be a constant priority for me in Richmond.
I know what it's like to have a health problem and have doctors not believe you. I know what it's like to have insurance companies not want to pay for tests. I know we have serious flaws in our healthcare system, because I've seen them firsthand. I know we have to do better.
Healthcare is a human right. Nationally, I support Medicare for All. Drug companies and insurance companies make their money on the illness and death of others. They make money by keeping us sick. Healthcare should not be a business.
On the state level, I fought for expanding Medicaid in 2018 and will fight for expanding it further: to include everyone in the Commonwealth who needs healthcare.
Rural districts like mine are being left behind by Richmond. Our legislature consistently votes against funding our schools, because no one is looking out for us. We need a voice in Richmond who will fight like hell for our interests, and that's exactly what I intend to be.
Most of our funding for rural schools relies on local taxes. But friends, you can't tax assets that don't exist.
Rural teachers pride themselves on being able to do a lot with very little, but there's a limit. We need funding from Richmond so that every student has a chance.
I fully endorse the plan for a Green New Deal Virginia. The plan will work to create thousands of good jobs while simultaneously addressing the issue of climate change and restoring Virginia’s environment. The plan also outlines investments in local-scale agriculture in communities across Virginia ensuring that rural areas will benefit from economic growth as well as being ensured access to clean air and water.
As a lifelong Virginian, I also stand unapologetically against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, and any future fracked gas pipeline project. Having grown up in the Shenandoah Valley with views of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, playing in rivers and streams, fishing, and hiking. I have pledged to fight for the right of every Virginian to have clean air and water. I will also fight for their right to maintain and own property without fear of losing their rights to private corporations.
I fully support a living wage: no one working a full-time job should be forced to live in poverty. I support the plan for a Green New Deal Virginia which outlines the goal of a just and equitable renewables plan that leaves no workers or communities behind. As we work towards a healthier sustainable plan for combating climate change we will create jobs that benefit rural communities.
I am also a proponent of unions. My generation's need to jump from job to job is a testament to our weak labor laws in this country. It's hard to grow with a company when employers are under no obligation to even index your salary to inflation or provide benefits you need at each new stage of your life. We need to eliminate so-called “right to work” laws and create a strong labor movement in the Commonwealth.
By failing to fund services in rural counties, our legislature has created a crisis for farmers. Modern farms are sophisticated businesses requiring significant infrastructure: including reliable internet service. Our farmers need an advocate who will fight for their needs.
The Virginia dairy farming industry used to be a prime driver of our rural economy. Now it's dying: over 100 farms have closed in Virginia in just three years.
We have to prioritize our farmers and we have to do it now. Without rural voices in our state legislature willing to stand up and fight for our rights, and to prioritize our communities, we will lose even more family farms.
Farmers don't want a handout: they just want someone in Richmond who will fight for their interests. We need programs that will help small farms and help farmers gain access to capital to diversify their operations.