House District 54 (Charlottesville)
1. Virginia is one of only 9 states in the country that deny state public sector employees their right to bargain collectively. If elected, will you vote yes on legislation granting all public sector workers, including graduate student workers, in Virginia collective bargaining rights?
2. How will you work to ensure that every public employee has full and fair collective bargaining rights?
I will support legislation guaranteeing and strengthening access to full and fair collective bargaining rights for all workers (not just public sector employees) in Virginia. That includes voting against so-called “Right to Work” laws that strengthen the hand of employers and weaken the hand of workers. My primary opponent in this race voted AGAINST collective bargaining rights for Albemarle County teachers and other school personnel as a member of the County School Board and I am proud of the support I’m receiving from labor leaders & educators in the wake of that unfortunate vote.
3. UCW-VA believe all education, including early childhood education (birth-5), is a right and a public good. UCW-VA believes that childcare and early education centers should be publicly funded and run and offer high-quality care and education and good jobs for employees, including living wages, healthcare, and a retirement plan. Will you champion free, universal access to high-quality, public education for all Virginians?
4. How will you work to ensure access to free, high-quality early childhood education in publicly-funded, publicly-run centers that offer employees living wages and good benefits?
I am proud to have personally initiated and championed the successful effort to create a public 3-year-old preschool program in the Charlottesville City Schools while I served on City Council. That was a big step forward in ensuring access for local children to free, high-quality early childhood education in publicly-funded, publicly-run centers (schools) that offer employees living wages and good benefits. I will continue to champion this goal as a member of the House of Delegates, whether through legislation and/or funding.
5. Do you support passing legislation to raise employment standards for all public sector employees, including a minimum wage of at least $20 an hour or $40,760 annually, access to quality health insurance, paid sick leave, and a livable retirement plan?
6. How will you raise employment standards for all public sector employees in Virginia?
I cut my teeth in Charlottesville politics as an advocate for a Living Wage for UVa employees and have consistently worked to improve economic and housing opportunities for working-class households here in our community. I will fight to increase the minimum wage in Virginia and push to strengthen collective bargaining rights for our public AND private sector workers. Collective bargaining is perhaps the single best tool for raising employment standards and for beginning to level the economic playing field in this state and in this country, which is tilted way too far in favor of the wealthy at present while the working class is perennially one paycheck away from major crisis.
7. In Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, and Nevada higher education board members are selected by popular vote, as in K-12 governance. Given that higher education in Virginia has been largely deregulated over the last few decades, what measures would you take to give Virginians more control over their public institutions of higher education?
Given Virginia’s lax campaign finance laws, which favor wealthy candidates who have wealthy benefactors, I would be wary of having higher education board members selected by popular vote unless and until those campaign finance laws were reformed. Otherwise I’m not so sure we’ll see candidates elected to those boards who are any more worker-friendly than the ones we have now. But I do believe in bringing more transparency and public accountability to the work of these boards, and to that end I would strongly support legislation that would add a worker representative on each board as well as a representative of the local community that is impacted every day by the institution’s plans and decisions.
8. What else would you like our members to know about your commitment to workers’ rights and public education?
I am a strong advocate for workers and for the working class and I applaud you for your efforts. Keep up the good work!