by Annette Hyde
It’s time for this Madison County yoga teacher to run for a seat in the Virginia General Assembly again.
In April 2017, I narrowly lost the Democratic nomination for Virginia’s 30th District House of Delegates seat. Now, I’m running for the 24th District Senate seat to retire a 23-year incumbent and career politician, Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger, in November 2019. The 24th Senate District includes all of Augusta, Greene and Madison Counties and parts of Culpeper and Rockingham Counties. It is mostly rural and majority red. No Democrat has challenged Sen. Hanger since 2007.
I’ve spent the last year traveling through my Senate District getting to know voters. I’ve been to bipartisan potlucks, listening sessions on gun safety and environmental racism, and meetings on race issues. I’ve been to marches and parades. I was an outside poll worker for an African-American female City Council candidate in Waynesboro in May and 6th Congressional District Democratic Candidate Jennifer Lewis’ primary bid in June. I canvassed for Jennifer in Waynesboro, Harrisonburg and Eastern Rockingham County. I canvassed for 5th Congressional District Democratic Candidate Leslie Cockburn in my home county of Madison. I wrote postcards to encourage people to vote for 7th Congressional District Congressional Candidate Abigail Spanberger in Culpeper County.
Through all these endeavors, I heard one common theme. Voters want better.
When I ran in 2017, I discovered the second biggest issue after health care was internet access. Rural voters want affordable, fast and reliable internet service just like everyone else. Communities like mine shouldn’t be stuck using 20th-century technology in the rapidly changing 21st century. To solve this problem in Madison County, my husband created Madison Gigabit Internet, a company that seeks to combine existing power utility poles, fiber cable and wireless repeaters to bring service to underserved areas.
Health care is a right, not a luxury. We shouldn’t have to choose between bankruptcy or death if we’re faced with a serious illness. My husband was “retired” in April 2017. Our only option for health insurance was the Affordable Care Act. Monthly health insurance premiums should not cost the same or more than a mortgage payment. I applaud Sen. Hanger’s efforts to get Medicaid Expansion passed through the General Assembly this year, but he has always wanted work requirements.
All children, regardless of their gender, skin color, sexual orientation, language differences, religious affiliation, disability or zip code, deserve the best public education possible. We should fully fund Universal pre-K, so all 4-year-olds are ready for kindergarten. Middle and high schools should be preparing students for vocational training and apprenticeships as well as college. Community colleges should be free. Public colleges and universities should receive more state funding in order to reduce costs for students.
Public servants like teachers and first responders should be paid like the highly qualified professionals they are. They are not public slaves. The best people cost more money.
I’m kicking off my campaign on Sunday in Madison. This campaign is a people powered effort. I’m not taking contributions from Dominion Energy, Appalachian Energy or other large corporate PACs. That’s why I’m relying on you to help me however you can. Visit my website, annetteservesva.com to check out my other positions. Please donate at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/annetteservesva.com. Thanks.