Priorities

Long before many of my colleagues in the CD10 primary decided to get involved in Democratic Party politics, I had been working in Democratic campaigns since 1978. As a foster child, living in Oklahoma, I staffed events, set up the campaign headquarters, and put up yard signs for Cong. Mike Synar (D-OK2), Sen. David Boren (D-OK), and Gov. George Nigh (D-OK).

Likewise, my commitment to the nation, which still governs my approach to governing, is shaped by the oath I first took as a Navy officer in the winter of 1987. My oath to the nation, “…to protect and defend the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” preceded the oath I took to my wife, Barbara, in 1993, and my oath as a Delegate in 2018.

My long-term involvement in Democratic Party politics, stretching back for 46 years, the 23 years of serving in the Navy, and adhering to the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment have shaped the policies I’ll support in Congress.

There is no America without democracy. That is pure and simple. I served my country for 23 years in the U.S. Navy. I intend to continue to serve my country as an elected representative in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District so that I can ensure democracy remains our style of government. This includes addressing gerrymandering, misinformation that polarizes our country, and taking on those who would misrepresent the facts, merely to ensure their own power. This commitment to protecting our democratic principles does not stop at the shoreline; we must actively work to guarantee and defend our democratic allies, like the Ukraine and Israel, in the face of tyranny and terrorism. We are still the beacon for hope, freedom, justice, and the rule of law to people around the world. I still believe in our nation’s founding principles and will fight for those values in Congress.

As a father of two adult women, the rapid erosion of women’s reproductive rights frightens them, their mother, the women who lead my campaign, and me to no end. It is absolutely critical to ensure both reproductive freedom, but also access to quality, affordable healthcare.

It is incredibly important to me that reproductive healthcare is considered an integral part of day-to-day healthcare. Only a woman and her doctor should be making decisions about a woman’s health and her body. I fully support a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her health and her body without interference from the state, either in limiting her options or trying to shame her. All Virginians and all Americans deserve fair and equal access to make the personal and private pregnancy decisions that are best for themselves and their families.

The Federal government must do more to promote gun safety and keep our children and communities safe from gun violence. As your State Delegate, I have supported common sense gun safety measures including universal background checks, mental health checks, one handgun month purchase limits, extreme risk protection orders (“red flag” laws), an assault weapons ban, a 5-day waiting period, a gun buyback program, and restrictions on gun ownership by convicted domestic abusers. I have worked hard in the Virginia House to bring these issues to the forefront of discussion, and I will continue to do so if elected to the House of Representatives. No American should have to live in fear that a trip to the grocery store will become a battleground, no mother should worry about the safety protocols of their child’s elementary school, and no place of worship should have to pay for security just so their congregation can worship in peace.

No one should age into insecurity. We need a stable solution to the question of social security that does not balloon our debt, while also ensuring American seniors may live in peace and comfort in their communities. One of my greatest priorities would be to create a team to tackle this issue across the board to ensure our nation and our nation’s seniors are solvent well into the future. …lift the W-2 wage cap, update contribution mechanisms to reflect non-W-2 earners in our modern economy, and include individuals who earn income from passive assets (not sure of the right terminology here or the political fallout, but the intent is to collect from people who only have income from stocks, bonds, capital gains, real estate income…)

There is more to life than surviving. It is critical that families not have to make difficult choices between putting a meal on the table or choosing to fill a much-needed prescription. With my background in business, and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I understand the importance of both a balanced budget and addressing systemic economic issues that cause inflation. We need to address the underlying issues of inflation that include the rising costs of healthcare access, prescription drugs, the increasing cost of college, affordable child care, and the shortage of affordable housing. The budget concerns priorities and a vision of what we want America to be. When we invest in these core services, we’re not just addressing the major cost drivers in today’s society, we’re also laying the groundwork for the next great generation.

Growing up poor in the Virginia mountains, I did not have access to routine healthcare until I was 10 years old and living at the Methodist Children’s Home in Richmond. The issue of having access to quality, affordable healthcare is not an academic exercise for me; I’ve lived it. We have to look at making healthcare affordable and accessible to everyone. We also need to recognize that healthcare includes medical, dental, and vision care. Affordable prescription drugs are critical to ensuring that individuals can treat their illnesses in a timely manner. During my time in the Virginia Legislature, we set a cap on insulin, effectively ensuring that Virginians could better afford this baseline medication. This is a model I feel we can follow at the national level for more than just insulin. Further, we have multiple healthcare programs that are managed by the government (Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Tricare, etc.). There should be a way to bring all of these under a single umbrella that would create efficiencies, provide service, and be open to new enrollees who did not have access to other care. Lastly, we need to find a way for Medicaid to be the provider of last resort instead of COBRA, effectively ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare no matter where they live or their economic status.

One of the most important policy efforts I plan to champion is universal access to preventative care for the following items: vaccines, pap smears, blood pressure, and glucose levels. So many diagnoses come after the illness has set in and the care becomes that much more expensive. One of the easiest ways to prevent this from happening is to ensure everyone regardless of the health coverage can access basic preventatives so they have information to make lifestyle changes before things get dire.

If elected, preserving our environment and addressing climate change through tangible, sustainable solutions will be a top legislative priority. Some of my priorities include:

  1. Expansion of rooftop, parking lot, landfill, right of way, land for solar power. There is so much non-agricultural and non-forestry “real estate” that can be accessed that there should NOT be a conflict between the solar industry and our rural legislators.
  2. Increase battery storage, and other non-fossil fuel options, to ensure baseline power generation is aligned with power usage, and negates any justification for new fossil fuel peaker plants.
  3. Restore funding to the energy efficiency programs to reduce demand on the electrical grid.

Representation is absolutely fundamental for building a strong society. I am honored to be both a representative of my community and have earned the privilege of representing a plurality of communities in CD10 during my time as a state delegate.