December 6, 2023

Virginia voters on Tuesday will forged their ballots for each single seat within the state Home and Senate–all 140 of them. 

Democrats at the moment have a razor-thin majority within the Senate, whereas Republicans management the Home. Tuesday’s election might see one or each chambers flip occasion management. 

Since this election will decide occasion management of the state authorities, it’ll additionally decide how state cash will get spent – and who it helps and hurts.

Right here’s what 5 Democratic candidates for workplace need to say about Virginia’s financial system and what they’d do if elected or reelected: 

Del. Shelly Simonds, Home District 70

Newport Information-area Del. Shelly Simonds is operating for reelection to the Virginia Home of Delegates. 

In an interview, she highlighted Newport Information’ excessive fee of union membership relative to the state and mentioned she desires to make sure that the Home protects Virginians’ proper to prepare.

Simonds additionally desires to raised join college students to careers and be certain that highschool college students are given the chance to listen to concerning the “nice apprenticeship alternatives” accessible via the Worldwide Brotherhood of Electrical Staff and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

“I attempt to work with our unions on workforce improvement and help our native commerce faculties and our regional profession and training middle to make it possible for we’ve acquired a number of alternatives,” she mentioned. It’s actually necessary to make it possible for unions have a means to hook up with our college students so that they learn about these nice alternatives.”

Joshua Cole, Home District 65

Joshua Cole is operating to signify Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania within the Virginia Home of Delegates.

Cole was beforehand a member of the Home of Delegates however suffered a slender election defeat within the 2021 state legislative elections.

Like Simonds, Cole understands that financial points are high of thoughts for Virginia voters and pertains to the struggles they could be dealing with.

“Throughout my time within the legislature, I used to be the poorest delegate in Richmond, which I take as a badge of honor,” he mentioned. “I don’t draw back from that as a result of I need individuals to grasp that I’m a working class citizen who identifies with the individuals I wish to signify.” 

Via his conversations with voters, Cole mentioned that one theme that stored arising was how costly it’s attending to dwell in and across the area. 

“It’s costly to dwell right here,” he mentioned. “They’re constructing housing developments everywhere, however these are costly properties. Now we have to make it possible for we now have a legislature that understands the significance of reasonably priced housing.” 

Cole pointed to the truth that most of the individuals dwelling in Stafford, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania need to work in Washington D.C. to be able to afford to dwell the place they do. And due to this, Virginians are additionally spending extra on gasoline, even because it has grow to be extra costly in recent times. 

Cole mentioned that he desires to give attention to rising entry to public transportation so that folks can get round extra simply and for much less price. 

“These are all main points,” he mentioned. “Jobs and transportation that hit the pockets of on a regular basis working residents right here within the space.” 

Michael Feggans, Home District 97

Michael Feggans is operating to signify Virginia Seaside within the Virginia Home of Delegates. 

Feggans says that one of many largest points he’s seeing and listening to about from constituents is their lack of ability to buy a house. If elected, he plans to work carefully with the Virginia Housing Authority, town of Virginia Seaside, and neighboring cities to unravel this problem. 

In Sept. 2020, the median dwelling sale worth in Virginia Seaside was $312,500. As of Sept. 2023, that determine had risen to $355,000, a virtually 14% enhance, in line with Redfin. As of Nov. 2023, that common price of lease for a one bed room condominium in Virginia Seaside is $1,540, a 14% enhance from only a 12 months in the past. 

“Once you have a look at the quantity of lease people need to pay now versus how a lot a mortgage will price…you’re seeing people pay double what a mortgage would price,” he mentioned. “We all know that we are able to do extra.”

Feggans thinks that particularly, there ought to be a give attention to office housing so town can “appeal to or retain the subsequent technology of lecturers, of first responders.” 

Feggans mentioned that lots of occasions, the largest hurdle of proudly owning a house for individuals is dealing with the down fee. 

“Acquire a house…that’s top-of-the-line methods to really create generational wealth,” he mentioned. “That really an incredible quantity by way of somebody’s private and household economics.” 

Del. Rodney Willett, Home District 58

Del. Rodney Willett is operating for reelection to proceed representing Henrico County within the Virginia Home of Delegates. 

In an interview, he touted the direct money rebates that Democrats within the Virginia Common Meeting fought for this 12 months, that are delivering most taxpayers a rebate of as much as $200 for particular person filers and as much as $400 for joint filers. 

Willett mentioned he’d wish to see related laws to assist households which can be “struggling essentially the most.” 

“A 3rd youngster tax credit score might be the most effective factor we might do,” he mentioned. “I’d wish to see that completed federally. However actually there are states now taking issues into their very own palms, passing these tax credit. That has been confirmed to be one of the vital direct, most impactful issues we are able to do as a authorities to assist households in want. I actually want to see us give attention to that. That’s a Democratic initiative.” 

In distinction, Willet mentioned Republican politicians are targeted on reducing taxes “for these on the higher finish of the earnings spectrum” as a substitute of “the oldsters who want it most.”

Willett criticized the trouble and as a substitute known as for extra spending on public faculties.  

Willet, who has labored as a small enterprise entrepreneur and know-how advisor, mentioned he’s talked to enterprise leaders who’ve mentioned they want a “well-educated workforce” to employees their firms.

In an effort to obtain this, Willett mentioned there must be extra funding in “offering a strong training system.” 

Taking cash away from training and giving tax breaks to the wealthiest people is the precise reverse of what we ought to be doing,” he mentioned. 

Sen. Aaron Rouse, Senate District 22

Sen. Aaron Rouse is operating for reelection to proceed representing Virginia Seaside within the State Senate. 

He mentioned that the financial system is without doubt one of the “essential points” on the poll come Tuesday and spoke about his personal expertise of getting to work from a younger age simply to assist help his household. 

“From the early age of 10 years previous, I’ve been working,” he mentioned. “Whether or not it was reducing grass all through the neighborhoods, or working on the native supermarkets, working at McDonald’s, or working for the Virginia Seaside college bus storage washing buses. That took an incredible load off of my mom.” 

“I do know what it’s wish to get my palms soiled, to place in a tough day’s work,” he added.

However a tough day’s work isn’t affording Virginians a habitable wage in immediately’s financial system, Rouse argued. 

“Should you have a look at the place we’re immediately, the place the price of dwelling has repeatedly outpaced a habitable wage…that’s an actual problem,” he mentioned. “On the finish of the week, you have a look at your paycheck and also you go ‘Wow, all this work and I solely made $300 and I’m working greater than 40 hours per week, and but I’ve to purchase Pampers, I’ve to purchase garments, present lease and meals for my household.’” 

If reelected, Rouse desires to “prioritize individuals over firms.” 

Rouse talked about his work to increase the Summer season Youth Employment Program in Virginia Seaside, in order that younger individuals can study the advantages of arduous work early, like he did. 

Rouse additionally addressed the influence that local weather change is having on the native financial system and efforts to arrange Virginia Seaside for its results. For instance, he known as consideration to the $7 million the state funds allotted for “stormwater encroachment resilience actions” and pure house preservation within the Southern Rivers Watershed and Chowan River Basin. 

“Virginia Seaside is among the many most weak communities within the nation to the impacts of local weather change,” Rouse mentioned, highlighting the significance of those funds.

Rouse additionally mentioned that if elected, he desires to give attention to bringing extra companies to the Virginia Seaside space, and he plans to do this via “a powerful partnership with the state.”

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has labored at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, together with serving varied roles at CNBC, NBC Information, Philadelphia Journal, and Philadelphia Model Journal.

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