By ALICEN HACKNEY
On Tuesday Nov. 7, polling places all around Virginia will open for the election of the state’s new governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. For many Mary Washington students this may be the first election they can participate in and for others this may be something they have done multiple times in the past.
Virginia Lieutenant Governor, Ralph Northam represents the Democratic Party. Northam served in the U.S. Army for 8 years, as an army doctor during Operation Desert Storm. Northam is a pediatric neurologist and is currently serving as Virginia’s lieutenant governor. As Governor, Northam plans to push for more regulation on gun control laws. He promotes more robust background checks, proper mental health screening and care. Also, he plans to invest heavily in the public education system to increase teachers pay and re-evaluate standardized testing.
In contrast, candidate Ed Gillespie, from the Republican Party, adds a different kind of experience to the mix. Gillespie has worked in government most of his life, he went from working as a Senate parking lot attendant to being the Chairman of the Republican Party Of Virginia and the Republican National Committee.
If elected Gillespie plans to cut income taxes by 10 percent for all Virginians and make travel safer and faster with more hands on traffic control. Gillespie also wishes to build a more comprehensive mental health system, specifically with more aid for people dealing with substance abuse and their families.
The candidate for Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax a Democratic Candidate, has background in all three branches of government, small business ownership and law enforcement from his time as Deputy Coordinator of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.
As a part of his platform, Fairfax recognizes the importance of family and what it means to be there for his community. If elected into office, he plans to reduce student loan debt, increase the minimum wage, grow small businesses and fight the drug epidemic, which according to an article in the Washington Post took the lives of over 1,400 Virginians in 2016 alone.
Jill Vogel, a Republican candidate, is running against Fairfax for the position of lieutenant governor. Vogel is a Virginia state senator, an ethics attorney and a mom of four. As a state senator, she has worked hard to guarantee quality health insurance for children with autism, protect women from domestic violence and end human trafficking. If elected Vogel plans to increase government transparency, end discrimination against LGBTQ people and continue her work to increase pro-gun policies.
Running for Virginia’s Attorney General, Mark Herring under the Democratic Party, is a former state senator and is the current attorney general. As Attorney General, Herring has already struck down the ban on same-sex marriage, worked to help survivors of sexual assault and has cracked down on drug dealing and gun running. If re-elected Herring plans to continue to work hard to protect victims of child sex trafficking and sexual assault, provide affordable health care, promote a clean healthy natural environment and promote common sense gun laws.
John Adams is running against Herring with the Republican Party. Adams has served in the Navy, been a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals and United States Supreme Court, a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s office. He is now a private practice lawyer, his work includes having fought drug smuggling in Central America, being the managing editor for the Virginia Law Review and representing Hobby Lobby in their fight against birth control access for workers. If elected Adams plans to fight the opioid epidemic through education, protect jobs in many different labor fields and increase access to charter schools giving parents a choice about their children’s education.
Local polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov, 7. In Fredericksburg the polling places are at the Dorothy Hart Community Center downtown, Hugh Mercer Elementary School, Walker-Grant Middle School and the Old Walker-Grant School. For students registered with their 1701 College Avenue address, the polling place is the Dorothy Hart Community Center. Be sure to bring a valid photo ID with you; this could be a license, passport, or student ID.
All information about the individual candidates and their platforms are from their official websites.