Our children - the future of the 20th District - deserve a high-quality public education that prepares them for the 21st century economy. Our neighborhood public schools need to be well funded, regardless of the wealth of local residents, and controlled at the local level. We need to transition away from the idea that, in order to be successful, a student must attend a four-year university. Vocational training needs to be treated as an equally dignified path. If our children decide to attend a four-year college, we need to step up and ensure they can graduate without being deeply in debt.
We also need to rebuild our crumbling schools - and do so with the least amount of burden on municipalities and taxpayers as possible.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our criminal justice system is hardly just - and possibly criminal. Jennifer supports widespread reform starting with reducing mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders, eliminating for-profit prisons, and emphasizing treatment - not punishment - for people suffering from addiction and mental illness.
Our veterans deserve our respect, regardless of our views on any specific conflict. And when they return home, or leave the service, we need to take care of them and provide the tools and resources they need to thrive as civilians. Jennifer supports improving the educational benefits in the post-9/11 GI Bill and, as a mental health professional, is particularly passionate about helping veterans with homelessness, depression, and PTSD.
Not a single county in Virginia was spared from opioid overdoses last year. Sadly, too many of us have family members suffering from opioid addiction. Jennifer's professional experience in mental health illustrates to her the lack of resources at the community level. She supports increased funding for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation - but also insists on holding pharmaceutical companies accountable if they're prioritizing profits over lives. Jennifer supports expanding mental health and addiction services.
Jennifer opposes both the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. She pledges to stand with landowners in opposition to eminent domain takings that favor large for-profit corporations. Jennifer also supports reforming FERC so citizens and scientists have as much influence as fossil-fuel industry lobbyists. Jennifer refuses contributions from Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power. Our priority should be green energy infrastructure and jobs. Jennifer supports legislation moving us towards 100% clean and renewable energy as soon as possible.
Moving women forward
We all have mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters - women we couldn't live without. Don't they have a right to pursue their dreams, to be treated (and paid) fairly at work, to make decisions about their own bodies?
That's why Jennifer supports providing up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, wants to increase funding for domestic violence shelters, urges Virginia's General Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and wants to protect funding for women's health centers.
Legalizing hemp and marijuana
We need to start being reasonable about marijuana and hemp. Marijuana should be legal for medicinal and recreational adult use. Likewise, Jennifer believes we should be free to cultivate hemp legally.
Infrastructure and rural broadband
We need to increase capital lending to small businesses and expand high-speed broadband networks throughout the district. It is vital that we have rural broadband as it is crucial to the growth of the 20th district.
Jennifer also opposes the proposed toll for Interstate 81, a main artery of the Shenandoah Valley. Jennifer supports a slight increase in fuel tax to eliminate the need for a toll on I81.
Jennifer comes from a farming family, and she understands the stress and strains endured by family farms. She wants to encourage policy that allows farms to sell directly to consumers and restaurants. Just like in other industries, corporate conglomeration and monopolization has led to large agribusiness crushing competition from smaller farms. Jennifer supports tough enforcement of antitrust laws in the industry.
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. Our teachers, nurses, and other workers should not be working second and third jobs to make ends meet. 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. Jennifer supports removing “Right-to-Work” laws in Virginia as a start to the process in the ability for workers to collectively organize.
Most of us have family members who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. How can we deny them the right to be who they are? And how can we tell them who they can love, when our love for our family is often the only thing that gets us through the work day?
Jennifer believes all citizens of the 20th and the Commonwealth - regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation - should be treated fairly and equally under the law. That's why she supports providing non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people in education, credit, housing, employment, jury duty, public services, and federally and state funded programs.
Gun Safety Measures
In the wake of the numerous gun related tragedies, we have to ask each other: is it acceptable for our children to fear for their lives at school, or for others to be fearful to go to work or to the store? Let's set aside partisan politics and NRA-funded talking points. Let's instead embrace gun safety measures for the sake of our children, families, and ourselves. Jennifer comes from a family of hunters and is a member of the Deer Hunters Association and believes in protecting those rights of family, friends, and citizens that are gun owners.
Jennifer supports strengthening national background checks, expanding background checks to include gun shows and Internet sales, ending the sale of "bump-stocks," and raising the minimum age to buy an AR-15 to 21. She refuses to accept contributions from the NRA.
Jennifer supports prohibiting the sale, manufacture, import, transfer, or possession of a semi-automatic assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device. The Assault Weapons Ban grandfathers in weapons legally acquired before the bill’s enactment.
Campaign Finance Reform
Jennifer supports a constitutional amendment to eliminate corporate personhood and require federal, state, and local government to ensure all citizens have equal capacity to influence elections, regardless of wealth or power. She refuses to accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs, lobbyists, and the fossil-fuel industry. Creating a fair economy means taking on the big banks who brought our system down - and then were conveniently bailed out with our money. It’s time corporations and special interests stop buying our politicians in favor of friendly, self-benefiting legislation.