Home 2023 Elections Video: At Last Night’s HD65 Debate, Democrat Josh Cole Defends Freedom to...

Video: At Last Night’s HD65 Debate, Democrat Josh Cole Defends Freedom to Choose, While His Far-Right Opponent Declares, “Everybody is not concerned or worried about women’s rights”

The choice in this race really couldn't be clearer - go Josh Cole!

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From the Josh Cole for Delegate campaign:

ICYMI: KEY MOMENTS FROM THE JOSHUA COLE VS. LEE PETERS HD-65 DEBATE

Candidates diverge sharply on abortion

FREDERICKSBURG, VA —  Last night, candidates for Virginia’s 65th House District, Joshua Cole and Lee Peters, had their first debate of the general election. In many ways, the debate laid the groundwork for a race centered around the issue of abortion, with the topic coming up more than any other.

“This debate was a pivotal moment in this race,” said Joshua Cole, Democratic candidate for House District 65, after the debate. “We finally know where Lee Peters stands: he wants to criminalize a decision that should be between a woman and her doctor. I’m running to stop Lee Peters’ and the MAGA Republicans’ attack on women’s rights. We will not move Virginia backwards.”

The candidates also discussed topics including public education, transportation, and healthcare. See below for videos of key debate moments.

KEY MOMENTS

Cole Sets the Stage

Joshua Cole opened the debate by telling his personal story as the son of a single mother, a pastor, father, and public servant who was born and raised in Stafford County. He shared his successes in the General Assembly and set the stage for a debate and race centered around abortion and women’s rights.

WATCH THE MOMENT

Peters Defends Abortion Bans, Saying Not Everyone Is Worried About Women’s Rights

Refusing to answer a question from the moderators about what his top priority in office would be, Peters pivoted to defending abortion bans. He even said, “Everybody is not concerned or worried about women’s rights.”

WATCH THE MOMENT

Peters Embraces Abortion Ban

The debate pit a pro-choice champion against an anti-choice yes-man in a race that may well determine the balance of the legislature—and the Republicans’ ability to ban abortion. For the first time, Republican Lee Peters went on the record with his anti-abortion stance, a stance that is deeply out of touch with the voters he’s seeking to represent.

WATCH THE MOMENT

Cole Defends the Freedom to Choose

In the face of Peters’ support for an abortion ban, Cole named defending the freedom to choose as his top priority. Cole’s unequivocal opposition to abortion bans stood in stark contrast with Peters’ obedience to the extremist leaders of his party.

WATCH THE MOMENT

Lee Peters Admits to Being Handpicked Candidate by Extremist GOP Twice

Lee Peters admits to being the handpicked candidate of extreme GOP leadership – twice. He’s received $75,000 from Republican Speaker Todd Gilbert who has voted against abortion 40+ times.

WATCH THE MOMENTS HERE AND HERE

Cole Commits to HD-65

Joshua Cole closes the debate by highlighting what the stakes are of this election. From the economy to public education to women’s rights, Cole lays out his positive, hopeful vision for the region.

WATCH THE MOMENT

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Raised in our community, Joshua Cole served as a state Delegate representing the Fredericksburg area in the General Assembly. He is a local pastor, husband and father of two. Josh’s faith and commitment to service guided him as a delegate in bringing back historic investments in our schools, public safety, transportation infrastructure and better access to quality affordable healthcare. Now, he is running in HD-65 to fight for abortion rights and build an economy that works for all Virginians. House District 65 encompasses Fredericksburg City and parts of Stafford County and Spotsylvania County. You can learn more about Josh’s campaign here.

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