Last week, we invited the three candidates running in the general election for House of Delegates race for the 49th District to write a post about why our readers should vote for them next Tuesday (Nov. 2).
Here is the unedited response from Alfonso Lopez:
It has been an incredible honor to serve our community in the Virginia House of Delegates for the last ten years. Over that time, I hope you believe, as I do, that our Commonwealth has changed significantly for the better.
When I was first elected by my neighbors and the citizens of the 49th District, I pledged to be a champion for our values in Richmond. I pledged to fight to improve our schools, protect our environment, increase transportation/transit funding, expand health care, empower small businesses, improve economic development, protect workers, increase job opportunities, protect immigrants and New Americans, create more affordable housing, build our social safety net, pass sensible gun violence prevention measures, and address issues of social and economic justice. Simply put, I promised to work tirelessly to build a Commonwealth that lifts everyone up and leaves no one behind.
Working with my colleagues, I’m proud to say that I’ve kept my promises to you.
When I was first elected, Republicans held the Governor’s mansion, the State Senate, and they had a veto-proof supermajority in the House. During that time, they remained the “Party of NO” regularly defeating efforts to protect the environment, expand health care, protect workers, reform the criminal justice system, support teachers, and pass gun safety measures. Instead, they pushed for radically invasive policies like trans-vaginal ultrasounds, tried to make it easier to ban books in schools, and used the power of the Attorney General’s office to target immigrant communities. This unfortunate list of policy initiatives could go on and on.
Thankfully, Democrats built a coalition of voters across Virginia that recaptured the Governorship and then the General Assembly. And look at the amazing things Virginia Democrats have been able to achieve in just the last few years:
- Expansion of Medicaid, which has provided life-saving medical coverage to over 500,000 Virginians.
- Reproductive Health Protection Act, which repealed decades of restrictions that made it extremely difficult to access abortion care in the Commonwealth.
- Significant criminal justice reforms, including bans on no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and the militarization of local police departments. Virginia became the first Southern state to abolish the death penalty. The General Assembly also passed my legislation empowering the Attorney General to investigate and act against police departments with a history of constitutional rights violations.
- Virginia Clean Economy Act, which has transformed Virginia from one of the worst states on climate change to one of the best and put us on the path to a 100% renewable energy economy.
- Virginia Voting Rights Act, the first of its kind in the South, and major expansions in voter access and early voting opportunities.
- Free community college for low- and middle-income students in high-demand fields, in addition to significant reforms I championed that expanded in-state tuition and college financial aid access to Dreamers.
- Common-sense gun violence prevention measures, like universal background checks and a red-flag law to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who are a threat to themselves or others.
This is just a snapshot of all the ways Virginia Democrats have fought to move the Commonwealth forward and make it a better place for all.
Unfortunately, as opposed to moderating their approach, Virginia Republicans have only further embraced Donald Trump’s far-right message and movement. Indeed, we’ve seen campaign after campaign where Republicans have leaned on racist dog whistles to make their case to Virginians, rather than policies that would benefit us all.
Rest assured, if Virginia Republicans retake control of Richmond they are planning to reverse all of the progress we’ve made. Moreover, they are already planning to push a litany of far-right legislative initiatives, including voting rights limitations and ugly, divisive Texas-style abortion restrictions.
With this in mind, I ask that you vote for Virginia Democrats up and down the ballot. Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, and Mark Herring need your support to fight Trump-style policies and continue our sensible, progressive reforms in Virginia. Please vote!
Together, let’s keep building a Virginia that lifts everyone up and leaves no one behind.
My name is Alfonso Lopez and I ask for your support and VOTE on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2nd. www.AlfonsoLopez.org
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