Education and Job Training

A great community starts with great public schools. Like many, my wife and I grew up going to public schools, and we live in this community because it’s a great place to start a family because it has schools with great teachers.

Improving our schools in Loudoun and Prince William Counties starts with fully funding them, providing them top-notch resources, and making sure we recruit and retain great teachers by paying them what they are worth. There are too many underpaid and overworked teachers, and there are too many instances where parents have to foot the bill for activities that the schools should cover. We also need to lower class sizes, stop constantly re-zoning kids into new schools, and invest in early-childhood education and programs for children with disabilities and special needs. We must also continue to address racism, cultural insensitivity, and inequity throughout our school systems.

Furthermore, we cannot continue to let our future leaders enter the workforce saddled with debt because of their post-secondary education. The cost of college has forced too many people to take on astronomical student loans that take decades to repay. In Richmond, I will fight for a tuition cap at state schools and maintain funding for post-secondary education. I also plan to increase access to workforce training programs to help people in our community who are looking to switch into professions in high demand by local employers.

Traffic and Infrastructure

We are spending too many hours on the roads and away from our families. Whether it’s the high tolls on the Dulles Greenway or the congestion on I-66, Rt. 50, Rt. 7, Rt. 28, Rt 15, Loudoun County Parkway, and so many other roads in Northern Virginia, the traffic has been a disaster for so many people in our community. Roads are not properly maintained, our toll costs are rising, and traffic has worsened over the years.

Solving our traffic problems requires a comprehensive approach that starts with creating jobs here so we don’t have to commute, getting our fair share of infrastructure funding from Richmond so that more of our state tax dollars are spent in Loudoun and Prince William, and developing responsibly so that we are not outgrowing our existing infrastructure. I will also advocate for additional funding to widen existing roads to keep up with growth around the district. As a volunteer firefighter/EMT I regularly see the accidents caused by poor traffic planning.

I also oppose any and all tolls in Northern Virginia, especially those like the Dulles Greenway and on I-66. Significantly reducing the tolls on the Dulles Greenway will require a long-term strategy that involves reducing our reliance on toll roads and raising revenue for if and when a partial or full buyback of the toll road becomes possible. Again, we also need funding from the state to widen, maintain, and improve existing roads.

Finally, let’s attract employers and create high-paying jobs in Loudoun and Prince William Counties so that we don’t have to commute to other places to make a living. This means encouraging the construction of more office space, malls and retail in areas like South Riding rather than putting more pressure on our traffic instructure with more crowded residential units.

Health

Everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care. As a member and former Chair of the Loudoun Health Council and volunteer firefighter/EMT, I have seen far too many of our neighbors ask not to be taken to the hospital because of high costs of care or because they couldn’t afford their prescription drugs. One medical emergency could put a family in debt for decades.

I will fight to protect access to health care for seniors and people with preexisting conditions, and I will work to increase and improve access, lower health care costs, and address the skyrocketing prescription drug costs. I support price transparency for healthcare and drug costs, increasing our focus on evidence-based medicine, and consider alternative delivery systems for health and primary care. I will also work to remove the onerous work requirements that accompanied Medicaid expansion.I was a health care aide on Capitoll Hill when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and worked to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. I have the policy expertise to make these changes happen in Richmond.

We also need to ensure access to mental health services and human services for people of all ages and incomes. This includes making counseling and therapeutic services available to children and adults as well as continuing the work started this year to allow walk-in visits at state mental health centers. We must also address addiction and the opioid crisis by investing in preventative services and improving access to screening and intervention.

Justice and Safety

My wife, Miranda, went to church in Newtown, Connecticut and her congregation lost a young member that day in Sandy Hook. We need to make progress on gun violence prevention so that we and our loved ones feel safe in our schools, places of worship, and public places. I would support comprehensive solutions to reducing gun violence, including expanding mandatory universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning the sales of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and supporting studies on gun violence as a public health issue.

As an attorney who has successfully helped free wrongfully-accused people of color, I also know firsthand the issues we need to address in our criminal justice system. There are several issues we need to address in our criminal justice system, including:

  • ending the school to prison pipeline
  • putting an end to for-profit prisons
  • putting an end to suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid court fees and granting drivers licenses for all immigrants
  • decriminalizing marijuana
  • reexamining mandatory minimums

Equality

No Virginian should be treated differently because of their race, sexual orientation, gender, or beliefs. We cannot continue to thrive as a Commonwealth if we are not all provided with equal protection under the law. That is why as your Delegate, I will fight for a statewide fairness ordinance, work tirelessly to ensure that we ratify the equal rights amendment, and updating Virginia housing, employment, and hate crime laws to prevent LGBTQ+ discrimination.

We also need to ensure that inequality doesn’t exist for women in the workplace and put an end to sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. I am proud of the work I have done to address the gender pay gap during my time at the White House and will work tirelessly in Richmond to close the pay gap in Virginia.

Environment and Climate Change

Our environment is our most precious resource, and I have spent my life working to protect it and combat climate change. I have lived through and been personally affected by several natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and several floods, to know that climate change is one of the greatest crises of our generation.

That’s why I, along with other concerned citizens in Loudoun and Prince William Counties, started Zero Carbon Virginia, an organization of concerned citizens devoted to bringing Virginia’s energy industry into the 21st century. We introduced the Renewables First Act (HB 1686), a bill that places a moratorium on all new fossil fuel capacity construction until renewable energy generation facilities with a capacity of at least 5,500 megawatts are in operation. Unfortunately, it, like other clean energy legislation, was rejected immediately by the House of Delegates.

We must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move to more sustainable energy sources to mitigate the economic, environmental and social costs of fossil fuels. We can do so while creating high quality green jobs that protect and retrain workers. I will support legislation like the Renewables First Act or Renewable Portfolio Standards that help us take bold steps towards making Virginia a leader in clean energy.

Finally, we must also preserve the green spaces and rural heritage that make Loudoun County and Prince William County so beautiful. I will work to ensure that we protect our natural resources and open spaces.

Broken and Divided Politics

I have worked in every branch of the United States government and served as a voter protection attorney during the 2012 Obama campaign, and it’s clear to me that our political system is dysfunctional. We continue to engage in divisive politics that puts partisanship and scoring political points over solving problems. In the meantime, we have allowed outside interests to run our political processes instead of doing what is best for the Commonwealth and the country.

I intend to break the cycle and promise to be a strong voice in Richmond for healing political divisions, changing the rhetoric in our politics, and putting decisions in the hands of people, not outside interests.

It also means bold campaign finance reform that puts caps on contributions, curbs the influence of outside groups and corporate PACs, and prevents politicians from using campaign spending accounts for personal expenses.

We need to make it easier to vote, and that means no-excuse absentee voting, extended early voting, and rolling back restrictive voter ID laws. With redistricting approaching, we also need a system where people should choose their legislators, not the other way around. That means we need fair, nonpartisan redistricting and an end to gerrymandering.

Finally, I plan to continue the work I did as a technology advisor in President Obama’s White House to use technology to make government more efficient, more transparency, and more accountable. Click here to watch my TEDx talk on restoring trust in government.

I have spent my career fighting to restore trust in our government and standing up to special interests. If I am privileged to be your Delegate, I will ensure that your voice is what matters most Richmond.