Vote, Virginia: Wade For Delegate, 91st District
The Choice For Change
Tuesday is election day in Virginia, where we’ll be choosing our next governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, 100 members of the House of Delegates, as well as various other municipal seats. In 2015, the last time we had our off-off year elections, we had the entire General Assembly (the House of Delegates plus 40 state senators,) up for grabs: 140 seats in total. Over 120 of those races had only one name on the ballot. Every single incumbent that ran for re-election that year kept their seat. Every single one. We can change this.
Virginia is one of only a handful of states that have unlimited campaign contributions, and most of these incumbents receive tens of thousands of dollars each year from big business across the state: fossil fuel companies, big tobacco, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Association of Realtors, to name a few. This, along with Virginia’s heavily gerrymandered districts which protect incumbents, creates a General Assembly that neither resembles nor represents people of the Commonwealth. Delegates are not held accountable to the people of their district, and the system rewards politicians who put profits over people, and we are rewarded with legislators that vote in the interests of their donors over what’s best for the citizens of the Commonwealth. We can change this.
The most egregious example of this is the Medicaid expansion offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare. I’ve shown previously that fiscal arguments against expansion are flawed, and that we have a moral responsibility to help the 400,000 Virginians that are eligible for expanded coverage. The General Assembly also allows the state’s monopoly power utilities to effectively have their way with consumers, exploit Virginia’s natural resources, and stonewall the transition to clean energy in order to protect their corporate profits. Our decidedly ‘pro-business’ legislators have also taken steps to squash labor unions, preventing public sector employees from having collective bargaining rights, and even tried unsuccessfully to make our disastrous, so-called right-to-work law part of the state constitution. In the ten years since the massacre at Virginia Tech, not one law has been passed to help curb gun violence, nor has there been any accountability for the deaths of persons with mental illness who have been caught up in the criminal justice system like Jamycheal Mitchell. And despite several attempts at decriminalization, Virginia still arrests 25,000 people each year for simple marijuana possession, even as the states makes over $150 million a year in profits off of alcohol sales. And of course there is the ongoing insult of old men legislating what women can, cannot, and should do with their bodies. We can change this.
When I found out that our current delegate in Virginia’s 91st district, a third term incumbent, had never been challenged during a general election, I knew something was wrong and that someone needed to challenge him. When it became apparent that no one else was willing to do so, I decided to throw my hat in the ring, and here I am today. I’m not doing this for fame and fortune; I’ve got a family and young children, a job, classes at Old Dominion University. Being a delegate is the equivalent of a full-time job for part-time pay. I’m not running because I need something else to do. I’m running because no one else can. The low pay, and campaign finance system helps contribute to a system where the only viable candidates are retirees, the independently wealthy, or the politically connected. Working families don’t have representation in Richmond because they can’t afford representation in Richmond, and the people of the 91st district haven’t had their voice heard these past six years because the one obligated to hear their voice hasn’t been held accountable to do so. We can change this.
I have traveled this district from Phoebus to Poquoson many times over the past thirteen or so months, put thousands of miles on my car, knocked on hundreds of doors and listened to thousands of people across the 91st. We’ve put together an awesome campaign staff and have dozens of volunteers who have been knocking doors and will be canvassing polls in Hampton, York County and Poquoson on election day. I’ve spoken with every mayor, city or county council and school board member within the three municipalities comprising the 91st and let them know that they will have an advocate in Richmond willing to fight for their legislative priorities. Our campaign has refused corporate donations and I have pledged to continue to do so as long as I am a public official. We have focused on bringing power to the powerless and a voice to the voiceless, and I have been extremely humbled by the response and the level of support that we have received from all of those we have met, whether Republican, Democrat or independent. This campaign has been both strenuous and invigorating. I could not have anticipated the amazing effort that everyone involved has put in, from my wife Stacy, the campaign staff, our volunteers and other supporters and friends. I hope to be honored to return the favor moving forward into 2018, and have the honor of serving all the people of the 91st district as delegate.
I promise to never stop working for you. I promise we can return the voice of the people to the seat of power. With your support at the polls this Tuesday, we can change this.
We will change this.