Our economy should guarantee fundamental economic rights and a high quality of life for all and not just those at the top.
It’s no coincidence that in the same year Virginia was ranked the best state for business, we were also ranked the worst state for workers. Big businesses and those at the top have reaped the gains of Virginia’s rapid economic growth, and the multi-racial working class has been left behind.
In recent years, the costs of housing, healthcare, childcare, and higher education have skyrocketed while wages have barely budged. Black, brown, and low-income neighborhoods lack basic access to transportation, quality schools, and even healthy food, water, and air. Rural Virginians have seen good-paying jobs consolidate to a few successful areas of the Commonwealth without any tools to even the playing field. Women, and especially women of color, go underpaid compared to their men colleagues.
We didn’t make this two-tiered economy through inaction. We made it through deliberate policies that cater to the interests of the privileged few. In the race to be a ‘business-friendly’ state, we’ve forgotten that our economic agenda needs to focus on making Virginia a more affordable, healthy, and prosperous place to live for all. Investing in our working class is a surefire way to create a competitive economy where everyone who contributes to our Commonwealth’s success can benefit from it.
MY VISION FOR VIRGINIA’S ECONOMY INCLUDES:
- Strengthening the ability of workers to organize by repealing the so-called “Right to work” law that hurts workers and keeps wages low.
- Extending the right to collectively bargain to all public sector employees.
- Ensuring Virginia’s minimum wage is raised to keep up with the true cost of living over time.
- Guaranteeing paid sick, family, and parental leave for all Virginians.
- Investing in public education through equitable funding, more support staff, and competitive pay for teachers.
- Providing affordable childcare and universal PreK to all of Virginia’s parents.
- Expanding Medicaid to cover more working class Virginians, offering a public option through a controlled state insurance exchange, and pushing for a federal Medicare-for-all system.
- Creating thousands of new affordable housing units and promoting planning and zoning changes that address decades of racial and economic segregation in Virginia’s neighborhoods.
- Strengthening tenants’ rights and protecting renters from eviction.
- Empowering rural Virginia with green jobs in the infrastructure and technology sectors, improved connectivity, state funding for rural schools, and universal broadband.
- Realigning our tax code to promote families and small businesses rather than big corporations.
- Providing the Virginia Employment Commission with the resources necessary to ensure no one is left behind by our unemployment insurance system.