Richmond Candidates Forum Recap
Read More: Commonwealth Attorney, Commonwealth of Virginia, Darrell Jenkins, David Bernard, Election Day, Henrico County, Henry Marsh, House of Delegates, Jennifer McClellan, Joe Morrissey, Matt Geary, Preston Brown, School Board, Shannon Taylor, State Senate, Vote
Monday night at the Gay Community Center of Richmond, candidates for public office from around the metro area gathered to answer questions from over a dozen organizations. Each organization posed one question and candidates had the option to answer as they chose within 10 minutes.
Election Day is Nov. 8. For a listing of ballot locations, voter status and candidates, click here. Below is a summary of candidate responses running for select offices.
Photo by Tara Gibson.
House of Delegates – 71st District
Jennifer McClellan (D)
Environment – “I sit on a lot of the committees that address these issues…I introduced legislation that would have put forward some of the recommendations from Tim Kaine’s commitee on climate change… More renewable energy was an important part of that…Coal and the old way of doing business is not the only way to create jobs…We can create whole new industries by bringing forward new technologies and energy sources.”
“We have a lot of natural resources in Virginia that are taken for granted – one of them is the view of the James River. Developers want to block that view…I put in a bill that would hopefully protect that view — Richmond got its name from the view of the James from Libby Hill – we should protect that…And also for the sake of the tourism it brings.”
Immigration — “[blocked] bills that would punish the children – they had no say in the matter…saying you can’t attend a Virginia college or university [if you are the child of an illegal immigrant]…We’ve had bills that even say if you get in you can’t pay in-state tuition – basically pricing kids out of college.”
Women’s Issues — ”I am unapologeticly pro-choice. [Abortion is] between a woman and her doctor and her God — and no one else…”
Equality — ”I have cosponsored legislation to have county governments and localities offer benefits to same-sex couples…I believe that a man and a woman can get married, a man and a man can get married, and a woman and a woman can get married… 40 years ago my husband and I couldn’t have gotten married.”
Bullying — “I have a son, when you are a parent — everything scares you to death. I look at him everyday and am terrified of what his future is going to bring…When I ran for the House, I didn’t have a child, but whether born in Church Hill, Gilpin Court, Monument Avenue [where my district covers], we must ensure they have access to a free high quality education, that they can walk the streets and know they are safe, and know that police will come and protect them and not revictimize them.”
Felon Rights Restoration — “Once they get out of jail, they shouldn’t have the word felony slapped on their face for the rest of their lives.”
House of Delegates – 74th District
Joe Morrissey (D)
Consumer Protection – “…We got a pay day loan reform bill passed…Now these folks have shifted to lending on car title loans.” [will work on protecting consumer]…
“There was a bill that came in the House that dealt with the sale of waterlogged cars. [On the books the law states] with over $1,000 damage, you have to give people notice of the damage. There was a bill put forward by the insurance companies to raise that to $5,000…You wouldn’t have to tell someone that there is $5,000 damage in a car you purchased. [I asked other legislators] what they would think if their daughter got her first job and bought her first car with $5,000 worth of damage. Wouldn’t you want her to know?…That bill was eventually killed in the Senate.”
Domestic Issues — “You can always get a protective order if you are married or live together and a victim of abuse…but if you were dating, you couldn’t get a protective order…I introduced [this bill]. It came into law this past year.”
Equality – “When Bob Marshall introduced the bill saying gay men and women were not worthy of serving in the National Guard – I introduced a bill saying exactly the opposite. Bob Marshall’s bill was killed…I’ve been fighting bullies since I was 14 years old.”
Senate – 10th District
David Bernard (D)
Immigration — How are we going to do that when we’re not providing the education or job opportunities for all? How are we going to do that if we don’t respect human dignity?
Environment – We need clean water…I’m also a canoeist…I’ve also been water quality chair with Sierra Club…I see a lot of money wasted without seeing much getting done…I see what states do with clean water…”
“The cheapest energy is the energy you never have to buy…Look at old windows and drafty houses in low income neighborhoods. Let’s see how to address that.”
Women’s Issues – On human rights, if I had been in the State Senate instead of John Watkins, the problem of increased and unneccessary regulation of women’s health clinics — I would not have voted on that.
Senate – 16th District
Henry Marsh (D)
Budget – We spend most of our time in the Senate killing bad bills that come from the House…The budget is the item that determines how our government operates. Every bill that has fiscal impact has to come through the finance committee. They can take a good bill and kill it…Or they can take a bad bill and reenergize it.”
Education – One of my missions when I’m re-elected is to encourage education institutions to inform Virginians on how government works.
Preston Brown (I)
WCLM Radio Website (Brown manages the station and produces a newspaper)
Equality – Supports…”If you can’t stand to see a man marry a man or a woman marry a woman, don’t go to the wedding.”
Felon Rights Restoration – “When a person goes to prison to make his debt to society. We should go one step forward. If they’ve ever been convicted of a felony, we need to take it off the job application and put it in the personal interview part of the job….A lot of times, the doors are locked…we need to open up the door for these people.
Henrico Commonwealth Attorney
Shannon Taylor (D)
Environment – ”…As top law enforcement officer, you’re bound to uphold the laws to the extent that they address polition and regulation…In Henrico, we do have issues with the landfill in the eastern part of the county…There are people that contribute to the polution that are companies in the county and we will make sure they follow the rules.
Immigration — “When we talk about immigration – it can affect labor, individuals, as well as people themselves…sometimes [we] are affected by certain contractors that try to use illegal immigrants to avoid paying certain taxes. We want to go after some of the contractors and subcontractors that are using them…There has been a proposal about whether or not you can go up and ask for identification – that is not a law right now on the books for the Code of Virginia. I believe we need to be mindful of our constitutional rights that may or may not be affected by local regulations. As the top prosecutor, I have an obligation to makes sure it’s not an abuse of constitutional rights…”
Equality – “When it comes to equality, I can’t think of anything that’s more important than treating everyone the same. A county office should represent the county…gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that wish to apply for in the office should get an equal opportunity.”
“That goes into bullying with the schools too….One of my issues that I’d like to support is crime prevention – we need to talk about crime on the front side. Bullying is a real issue in our schools – especially for those trying to figure out their sexual identity. We need to protect the children…”
“I will say that I have two lesbian family members. I embrace the idea of choice and I do support the marriage of any two people. The idea of discrimination on any basis should not be tolerated.”
Felon Rights Restoration — “We know that Del. Joe Morrissey has been working hard on the restoration of rights for felons…I support the idea of felon restoration.”
Matt Geary, (R)
Capital Punishment – “I’ve been the Chief Deputy Commonwealth Attorney in Richmond…I believe that the death penalty is appropriate but very rarely.”
Immigration — “We ought to have a common sense policy…they’re going to have insurance, go to school, pay taxes, take better care of themselves and not be scared of other citizens.”
Equality – ”If someone is targeted on race, gender, sexual orientation – as a prosecutor, I have the desecration on the case. I don’t think the law should say if you [commit a crime and the person is] gay, you should go to jail for [however long].”
“As long as you have a competent prosecutor, you don’t have to have policies that carve out certain groups – which is not treating everyone the same.”
“Shannon and I both agree on the value of diversity in the office. In the City of Richmond, we were the most diverse office in Virginia…Henrico’s office is the opposite of diverse right now. That Commonwealth Attorney’s office does not reflect diversity…I grew up in Varina – why are there not more African Americans in that office?
“In terms of bullying, my children have gone through the Henrico County School. I took my son to Pocahontas High School on a session about Cyber Bullying…We’ve seen situations where children have been bullied so bad that they’ve killed themselves. As a parent, you have to know what’s going on…Bullying is important topic for me as far as being a father of five children.”
Felon Rights Restoration — “I support the automatic restoration of rights to anyone that is a non-violent felon.”
Henrico County School Board
Darrell Jenkins (I), Brookland District
Environment — ”I was on the design team of the new Glen Allen High School…We started working on the facility that became one of the first schools that are [green certified].”
Budgeting — “We have to continue to look at ways that are not wasting our funds. It’s tough on the national level, state level and we need to make sure we are not throwing money away.”
Equality – “You can’t be a successful teacher if you can’t recognize the differences in young people and give them the respect they deserve. Wust have a zero tolerance on bullying. Thanks to former Brookland representatives, we worked hard to get the sexual orientation part included [in the County's policy]. We’ve got to be equal to all of our students.”
Sponsoring organizations covered progressive issues including environment, immigration, women’s issues, equality and civil rights restoration. Those sponsors included VA Sierra Club, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia New Majority, Virginia Organizing, Alliance for Progressive Values, Women’s Issues, Richmond/Virginia NOW, Mothers & Others of Virginia, Gay Community Center of Richmond, Equality Virginia Advocates, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, A. Philip Randolph Institute – Central Virginia, NAACP Chesterfield.
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