Home 2019 Elections Where Do Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Candidates in Primaries Stand on...

Where Do Democratic Virginia House of Delegates Candidates in Primaries Stand on the Issues? Part 5: Workers, Unions, Minimum Wage, etc.


According to VPAP, there are going to be 13 Democratic primaries for House of Delegates this June 11. Who are the candidates and where do they stand on some key issues –moving towards 100% clean energy and protecting the environment, preventing gun violence, defending women’s reproductive choice and access, fighting for LGBTQ equality, expanding healthcare access and quality, promoting sustainable economic development, addressing the opioid epidemic, etc.? For part 1, on clean energy/environment, click here. For part 2, on preventing gun violence, click here. For part 3, on defending women’s reproductive choice and access, click here. For part 4, on LGBTQ equality, see here. For part 5, on fighting for fighting for working people (e.g., raising the minimum wage), labor, unions, etc., see below (note: I’m sure I didn’t find everything, so feel free to let me know if you find material that you think should be added…)

House District 18 (Fauquier, Culpeper, Warren, Rappahannock Counties; 60% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Michael Webert)
Tristan Shields –  I don’t see anything on his website specifically about fighting for working people (other than workforce training/education) or about unions.
Laura GalanteWrites on her website: “We should be looking for ways to ensure Virginia is the place where small businesses, not just Fortune 500s, can thrive. That means enforcing employment laws that are already on the books and ensuring companies are classifying employees properly and not cheating people out of wages. We should also pass equal pay for equal work legislation and prohibit non-compete agreements that limit Virginians’ employment opportunities.”

House District 20 (Augusta County, Staunton City, Waynesboro City, Nelson County, Highland County; 57% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Dickie Bell)
Jennifer Lewis – I don’t see anything on her website about these issues, specifically. However, when she ran for Congress last year, Lewis said she wanted to be “the voice of the working class in Washington.” She wrote: “Jennifer also believes it’s only fair to pay our workers a living wage, a wage that makes sure full-time workers don’t live in poverty. She supports raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. as soon as possible. Jennifer wants to reduce unfair discrepancies in pay between men and women and protect workers from being exploited.” She has also tweeted, “I am calling for the end of right-to-work laws in Virginia. It is time to empower our workers and put an end to laws that weaken workers’ rights.”

House District 26 (Harrisonburg City, Rockingham County; 53% Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Tony Wilt)
Brent FinneganFinnegan writes: “We need to ensure that our economic system empowers everyone, instead of being rigged to benefit a handful of corporate executives and the stockholders they serve…t’s time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Brent will work to create policies that prioritize locally-owned and employee-owned businesses over monopolies, and make sure that all Virginians can make a decent living for honest work.”
Cathy CopelandCopeland writes: “Support programs that help all Virginians find meaningful employment…Advocate for fair wages and benefits…Fairly compensate public employees…Expand family and parental leave.”

House District 38 (Fairfax County; 73% Northam district)
Del. Kaye Kory
– I don’t see anything on her website specifically about workers/labor issues. According to Project Vote Smart, Kory has received 95%-100% ratings from the Virginia AFL-CIO for years. In this questionnaire, Kory said Virginia’s “Right-to-Work” law should be repealed, that “Workers should be allowed to unionize – not forced to unionize or prohibited from unionizing.” She also said she supports raising the minimum wage to $15/hour.
Andres Felipe Jimenez – On his website, says: “I will be a champion for labor in Virginia’s General Assembly.  We have an opportunity to end so-called ‘right-to-work’ in Virginia, end wage theft, pass a $15 minimum wage, secure project labor agreements to protect our workers, and make sure that all working people in the Commonwealth have the right to collectively  bargain. I’m proud to be endorsed by The Keystone Mountain Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26.”

House District 49 (Arlington and Fairfax Counties; 82% Northam district)
Del. Alfonso Lopez –  On his website, it says: “Alfonso will always fight to…defend the civil rights of all Virginians and promote the value of collective bargaining in the workplace.” According to Project Vote Smart, Lopez has consistently received 100% ratings from the Virginia AFL-CIO since 2012. Lopez has pushed to raise the “sub-minimum wage” for tipped workers.
J.D. Spain – I don’t see anything on his website about labor, unions, etc. Tweeted support for a $15/hour minimum wage.

House District 50 (Prince William County, Manassas City; 58% Northam district)
Del. Lee Carter – On his website, writes: “Lee was partially inspired to run after a horrific experience with the Commonwealth’s worker compensation program, and he knows what it is like when you are a worker in need and the government doesn’t have your back. He will fight to raise the minimum wage, create more protections for workers, and support unions.” According to this article, Carter sponsored “legislation to repeal the state’s right-to-work law, which says employees can’t be forced to join a labor union.” And this article writes: “Virginia legislator Lee Carter is a different kind of Democrat. Elected as a proud democratic socialist, he celebrated his victory by leading his supporters in signing the union anthem, ‘Solidarity Forever.’ When the virulently anti-labor National Right-to Work Committee sent his campaign a questionnaire, Carter posted a video of the letter being shredded in front of a ‘Union Strong’ poster.”
Mark Wolfe – I don’t see anything on his website about unions, labor, or fighting for working people.

House District 52 (Prince William County; 76% Northam district)
Del. Luke Torian – I don’t see an issues page on his website. According to Project Vote Smart, Torian has received 100% ratings consistently since 2010 from the Virginia AFL-CIO.
Kevin Wade – According to Wade’s website: “Virginia workers are losing the battle against ever larger and more powerful corporations.   The past 40 years have seen low and middle-class wages stagnate as salaries of senior executives in big corporations have soared.  The  Virginia General Assembly, for decades captive to big-money interests,  has allowed inflation to erode its minimum wage to well below poverty levels while many other states have raised their minimum wages, often to levels more than twice Virginia’s paltry $7.25 per hour.  Further, the Assembly has fostered a legal environment hostile to workers, enshrining laws consistently ranked among the most anti-labor in the country.  Virginia must raise its minimum wage as soon as possible.  It also needs to repeal its “right to work”  law and start enacting legislation that assures workers have a fair chance in their struggle to receive a decent wage.” Also see here, where Wade says, “Unions built this country, and I will always have their back. It is despicable that Republicans in the General Assembly tried to add ‘right to work’ language into the Virginia Constitution last year. Don’t be fooled – ‘right to work’ means ‘right to work for less.’ In Richmond, I will champion the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.”

House District 57 (Charlottesville City, Albemarle County; 79% Northam district)
Sally Hudson – I don’t see anything on her website about these issues. Hudson, a labor economist, has tweeted that “If Dems take back the General Assembly, we need to have A Talk about the tipped minimum wage for the very same reason”; that “Food, shelter, family time, and a good night’s sleep. Higher wages help our city workers get those things.” She also praised “the tireless campaign” for UVA’s commitment to a $15 “living wage.”
Kathy Galvin – I don’t see anything on her website about these issues. According to this article, “Galvin hopes to raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, an increase which University President Jim Ryan recently made a priority at the University.”

House District 62 (Chesterfield, Henrico, Prince George County and Hopewell City; 49% Gillespie/Northam district)
Tavorise Marks On his website, writes: “Raising the minimum wage will begin the process to close that gap and reduce poverty, which in return reduces the need of dependency of public assistance for our families living below the poverty line and reduce the need for some families working two and three jobs. I grew up poor with my mother working three and sometimes four jobs to make ends meet…I support gradually raising the minimum wage in Virginia to $15 an hour over the next three years in increments of about $2 per year. With an immediate increase to $10 an hour. I will work with the House and Senate to formulate a plan to achieve this for our families. It will also be my duty to assist small business owners during these increases, as I understand that the minimum wage increase will affect them a lot more than big business. By doing the increase in increments and providing small business tax incentives, I look to decrease the burden of increasing minimum wages on the small business owner.”
Lindsey Dougherty – According to her website, she supports “Rais[ing] the state minimum wage to better support Virginia families.”

House District 87 (Loudoun, Prince William Counties; 64% Northam district)
Suhas Subramanyam I don’t see anything on his website about these issues.
Hassan AhmadWrites on his website: “Income equality is a critical part of an effective housing strategy; when working people are not fairly paid, no housing is affordable. Fixing this starts with Virginia instituting a competitive, commonwealth-wide living wage.”
Akshay Bhamidipati – I don’t see a detailed issues section on his website or anything about workers/labor issues.
Johanna Gusman – I don’t see a detailed issues section or anything about workers/labor issues. Has tweeted support for a $15/hour minimum wage.

House District 88 (Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fauquier Counties and Fredericksburg City; 54% Ed Gillespie district; Republican incumbent Mark Cole)
Jess Foster –  On her website, she writes: “Employees of all backgrounds should earn a living wage”
Kecia S. Evans – I don’t see anything on her website about workers/labor issues.

House District 91 (Hampton City, York County, Poquoson City; 51% Ed Gillespie district)
Michael Wade – On his website, writes: “Make the minimum wage a living wage, because no one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty.” .
Martha Mugler – I don’t see anything on her website about workers/labor issues. In her announcement on Facebook, she wrote, “I will support efforts to raise the minimum wage in an incremental manner, workforce development and jobs creation.”

House District 96 (James City County, York County; 53% Gillespie district)
Rebecca LeserOn her website, she says “Supports an increase of the state minimum wage” and “Supports the worker’s right to unionize for better pay and working condition.” She also says “‘Right to Work’ is wrong!”
Mark Downey – I don’t see anything on his website about labor/workers issues specifically.
Chris MayfieldI don’t see anything on his website about labor/workers issues specifically.


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