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Candidate Essay: Stephanie Clifford

Earlier this week, we asked the two Democratic candidates for the 49th District House of Delegates seat to write a sub-750 word essay on why the district’s residents should vote for them.

Here is the unedited response from Stephanie Clifford:

I have lived in Virginia’s 49th District for nearly a decade and am a proud member of this community. I am a mother, small business owner, and a proud Democrat. I am running for the House of Delegates because I care deeply about our community, and I want to ensure that our shared community values continue to be heard in Richmond.

When meeting with members of our community about the needs of our district, we’ve talked about many issues that affect us, including:

  • Transportation and the Environment
  • Education
  • Equality for ALL Virginians

Transportation

The Columbia Pike corridor is the most heavily traveled bus route in Virginia, and is at the heart of our district. As your delegate, I will ensure that the voices of this district’s residents are heard when it comes to projects like the proposed Columbia Pike Streetcar.  Our community will benefit from increased development, but it should not come at the expense of losing the diversity that makes this district a great place to live.

Environment

A well-funded public transportation system is the key to smart growth and better jobs for our district.  Smart growth will benefit our community by putting in place environmentally friendly policies which address air quality, energy usage, and runoff into our waterways. Virginia must be a leader in this area, and as your delegate, I will continue to identify hazards to our health, and work to improve our environment for our community.

Education

Today Virginia ranks in the bottom half of the country in terms of access to universal Pre-K education for children. In order to attract and maintain quality jobs and a strong economy, we must have a workforce that is better-educated than that of our competitors.  When the Kaine administration abolished the estate tax, Pre-K education felt the pinch and has suffered from underfunding ever since.  As your delegate, I will fight for the reinstatement of the estate tax to help pay for this very important program.

Equality

My candidacy is as much about people as it is about policies. A primary reason for my entering the race was that I witnessed LGBT individuals and families, including close friends of mine and many members of our district, being treated as second-class citizens due to Virginia’s discriminatory laws.

Elected officials have a responsibility to maintain the dialogue about the unequal treatment our of fellow community members. I am proud to be a strong ally of the LGBT community, and I have been an active member of groups such as the Arlington Gay & Lesbian Alliance, the Human Rights Campaign, LGBT Democrats of Virginia and Virginia Partisans, and the Arlington Young Democrats LGBT Caucus.

All families should be recognized with the rights that comes with marriage and adoption.  Whether it’s in the tax code, employment policies, or simply the status associated to the term “marriage,” full equality and civil rights for all Virginians are critical to the future of Virginia.

Women’s Rights

I am a fierce defender of choice and will work to strengthen a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health care. Earlier this year, the GOP controlled legislature passed a law that could close the majority of reproductive health care clinics in Virginia. This is simply unacceptable, and as delegate I will be a leader for women’s reproductive rights.

Elected officials, past and present, with years of experience, including Sen. Patsy Ticer, Del. Kaye Kory, Congresswoman Leslie Byrne, Arlington Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy, Arlington Treasurer Frank O’Leary, and Arlington School Board Member James Lander, have endorsed my campaign because they recognize my collective experience, personality, and work ethic will be assets in Richmond for our community.

Community leaders including former ACDC Chair Peter Rousselot, VA Partisans President Tiffany Joslyn, and Virginia NOW’s Marj Signer have endorsed my campaign, because they recognize that strengthening our community is paramount.

Advocacy Groups like NARAL-Pro Voice Virginia, Women’s Campaign Forum, The LGBT Democrats of Virginia PAC – Virginia Partisans, and Virginia NOW have endorsed my candidacy because I have made equality for all Virginians a cornerstone of my campaign. These groups recognize that I will be an effective voice for women’s choice and LGBT rights.

The next 49th District Delegate must be someone who has the practical experience, temperament, and judgment to advance our shared community values in Richmond.  I am that candidate.

On August 23, I ask for your vote as the candidate with the perspective and experience to bring your values and your voice to Richmond.

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