Here is Democrat Richard “Rip” Sullivan’s unedited response:
The election on August 19th is not just about the candidates. It’s about the values of this District’s voters and our shared vision of a more welcoming, innovative, forward-looking society.
I’m running to be your next Delegate because I share the core values of 48th District voters — opportunity, inclusiveness, and equality. I’m running because I refuse to sit back as 400,000 Virginians are denied healthcare services. I’m running so that our children inherit a clean environment. I’m running because voters of the 48th district deserve a Delegate who will passionately fight for their values, not minimize the importance of those values for the sake of winning an election.
The Washington Post endorsed my candidacy last week, noting that I’ve taken “forthright stances” and that “voters would know what they are getting with Mr. Sullivan.” Throughout this campaign, I’ve made clear where I stand and how I will vote on all the issues of importance to the 48th District.
- On Medicaid, I unequivocally support expansion immediately.
- On gun control reform, I support reinstating the one-gun-a-month law, universal background checks, limits to high capacity magazines, banning assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.
- On women’s reproductive health, I believe those decisions should be between a woman and her doctor. I will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose.
- On LGBT issues, I fully support marriage equality and ending workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- On the environment, I’ve shown how we can create a 21st century economy, with Virginia as a leader in creating jobs through clean technology and energy innovation.
In telling voters who I am, I have not tried to reposition myself or suggest that this is a single-issue election, because voters in the 48th District should base their vote on the many issues that will come before the General Assembly.
This is in stark contrast to my Republican opponent, Dave Foster, who is on the wrong side of so many issues. After interviewing him, the Washington Post concluded that Mr. Foster is a “shape-shifter,” saying “he has scrambled to rebrand himself… by taking vague, wait-and-see stands on several key issues.” The Editorial Board went on to highlight that his campaign strategy is “designed to mainly shift attention away from tough votes.”
And Mr. Foster acknowledges as much. At our most recent debate, Mr. Foster – again – refused to reveal to voters what his positions are on choice, gun control, marriage equality, or climate change. He sheepishly concluded to the audience that “I don’t talk about gun control and abortion… as I campaign for this because I know one has to establish priorities.”
Those are issues Dave will have to vote on in Richmond, and they are priorities to the voters. Voters are entitled to know where he stands before they cast their vote.
And on the subject of on whose behalf Mr. Foster is running, it is interesting that he recently received a large contribution — the largest either of us has received (and more than 10 percent of the money Mr. Foster has raised) — from Speaker Bill Howell, the architect of the Republican strategy in the House of Delegates. Dave has tried to sell the notion that he can moderate the Republican House majority. But make no mistake: the Speaker is all in on Dave’s campaign for a reason. The Speaker wants to push his anti-choice, pro-gun, anti-climate science, anti-Medicaid expansion agenda and claim that even Arlington supports that agenda by electing a Republican.
That’s why Mr. Foster wants to distract from the Speaker’s agenda and the real issues that will be important in Richmond. Instead, he wants to talk almost exclusively about a single local transit project — the streetcar — and conveniently omits the fact that we both support a streetcar referendum.
I have invited frank and open dialogue about the defining issues of our day. Our District deserves a thoughtful and transparent legislator, not one who hides his positions in the hopes that voters won’t have time in a short special election campaign to learn about his statements on guns, women’s reproductive health, climate change and Medicaid that are contrary to the views and values of 48th District voters.
My views and values are consistent with those of 48th District voters and with those of Bob Brink, who represented the District so well.
I ask for your vote on August 19th. Please call me with any questions you may have. My cell number is 703-969-6296.