Our economy should guarantee fundamental economic rights and a high quality of life for all rather than only 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.
The cost 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 jobs consolidate in only a few successful areas of the Commonwealth without any tools to even the playing field.
We reached this two-tiered economy not through inaction, but 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 lifting up working people and making Virginia a more affordable, healthy, and prosperous place to live. Plus, investing in everyday people is a surefire way to create a competitive economy where everyone can contribute to our Commonwealth’s success.
My vision for Virginia’s economy includes:
- Strengthening unions and collective bargaining, and repealing the so-called “Right to work” law that hurts workers and keeps wages low.
- Ensuring Virginia’s minimum wage is raised responsively to keep up with the true cost of living at the time.
- Guaranteeing affordable childcare and universal PreK to all of Virginia’s parents.
- Investing in public education through more funding, more support staff, more resources and higher pay for teachers.
- Creating thousands of new affordable housing units and promoting planning changes that address the housing crisis.
- Empowering rural Virginia with green jobs, improved connectivity, and a goal of universal broadband
- Realigning tax and tax-relief priorities to promote working families and small businesses rather than big corporations.