Kellen Squire (D)

House District 55 (Charlottesville)

  1. If elected, will you vote yes on legislation granting all public sector workers, including graduate student workers, in Virginia collective bargaining rights?

Yes, I am a strong proponent of repealing “right to work” legislation in Virginia. After seeing the struggles of public-sector and frontline workers, especially public school teachers, during the pandemic, I believe that the best way for them to protect themselves and advocate for their needs is to have a seat at the bargaining table. Begging for scraps is not enough. I will be a proud vote for every legislation allowing public sector bargaining and a champion of repealing the Dillon Rule.

  1. How will you work to ensure that every public employee has full and fair collective bargaining rights?

As an advocate for workers’ rights, I am committed to ensuring that every public employee in Virginia has full and fair collective bargaining rights. I will actively support and promote legislation that strengthens and expands collective bargaining rights for all public sector workers. Additionally, I will engage in dialogue with labor unions and organizations, seeking input from workers themselves to address their specific needs and concerns. By prioritizing the protection and empowerment of public employees, we can create an environment that fosters fair negotiations and improved working conditions.

  1. UCW-VA believes 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?

Yes, I firmly believe that education, including early childhood education, is a fundamental right and a public good. I will champion the cause of free, universal access to high-quality, public education for all Virginians, including early childhood education. This means advocating for increased funding and resources for childcare and early education centers, ensuring that they are publicly funded and run. Furthermore, I will work towards providing educators in these centers with fair compensation, including living wages, access to healthcare, and a retirement plan, to attract and retain skilled professionals.

  1. 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?

Ensuring access to free, high-quality early childhood education in publicly-funded, publicly-run centers is a top priority for me. I will work diligently to secure adequate funding to support these centers, ensuring that they can provide affordable or free early childhood education services to all families in need. Additionally, I will advocate for policies that promote living wages and good benefits for employees in these centers. By prioritizing the well-being of both children and educators, we can create an environment that fosters the delivery of quality early childhood education and supports the professional growth and satisfaction of its employees.

  1. 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?

Yes, I support passing legislation to raise employment standards for all public sector employees in Virginia. This includes advocating for a minimum wage of at least $20 an hour or $40,760 annually to ensure fair compensation for their work. Furthermore, I believe it is crucial to provide public sector employees with access to quality health insurance, paid sick leave, and a livable retirement plan. These measures are essential to safeguard the well-being and financial security of public sector workers, acknowledging their contributions to our communities and ensuring their dignity in the workplace.

  1. How will you raise employment standards for all public sector employees in Virginia?

I am committed to raising employment standards for all public sector employees in Virginia. To achieve this goal, I will actively support and promote legislation that addresses their needs and concerns. This includes advocating for higher minimum wages, access to quality health insurance, paid sick leave, and improved retirement plans. Additionally, I will collaborate with labor unions, workers’ rights organizations, and other stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies that enhance employment standards and ensure fair treatment for public sector employees across the state.

  1. 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?

I believe it is essential to give Virginians more control over their public institutions of higher education. To achieve this, I would propose measures to increase transparency and accountability in the selection process of higher education board members. This could include reforms that allow for greater public input and involvement in the selection and appointment of board members. Additionally, I would advocate for increased funding and support for public institutions of higher education, ensuring that they remain accessible, affordable, and responsive to the needs of Virginia residents.

  1. What else would you like our members to know about your commitment to workers’ rights and public education?

As an ER nurse in Virginia during the past 3 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen firsthand how important and needed labor representation, organization, and protections are. We didn’t have the resources or safety equipment that we needed. I’m in this race because I never want myself or my colleagues to have to do that again and to have a seat at the negotiating table; together. My campaign manager was one of the movers-and-shakers of unionizing Virginia campaign workers, and her work has directly contributed to improving campaign worker protections, wage increases, and healthcare benefits. I will bring this same dedication to workers’ rights and public education as a representative, advocating for fair treatment, better working conditions, and increased support for workers and our public education system.

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