I want to close the skills gap in Virginia. We can do this by making community college and technical school more affordable, or even free.
America’s middle class has eroded over the past 40 years and income polarization has increased. One way we in Virginia can energize our economy is by filling “middle skill” jobs, which require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.
There are almost 200,000 middle skills jobs in Virginia currently sitting unfilled. And nearly 70% of human resource professionals say their business’ performance is negatively impacted by an inability to bring in and keep middle skills workers.
I will work with the General Assembly to close this skills gap. We can do this by making community college and technical school more affordable, even free. We can partner with Virginia businesses to recruit students into programs that are hard to fill, bring a high value to the business and pay a decent wage with future advancement opportunities.
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I want Richmond to start paying its fair share to school districts in the valley.
Our teachers need the resources necessary to provide our children with a quality education. Teachers must be able to focus on teaching their students instead of being forced to teach to the SOL tests.
After 2008, the General Assembly adjusted the formula that determined how much funding went to each school district. That change in the formula placed the responsibility of funding over 10,000 jobs on local governments which disproportionately impacted rural school districts. Kids in Elliston and Newcastle deserve the same opportunities as those in Fairfax and Arlington.
We need to change that formula so our teachers have the resources they need to provide a quality education to our children. And, at the same time we will boost our local economies by refilling positions that were cut due to lack of funding.
We also need to pay public school teachers a competitive wage. Virginia is 30th in teacher salary, and when you cut out the top three wealthiest counties, we are dead last. Teachers are some of the hardest working and most dedicated people in this country. We need to offer wages that attract and keep the best and brightest teachers.
Campaign Finance Reform
I want to get large corporations out of Virginia’s elections. Our legislatures should be beholden to our voters not big donors.
I am fed up with big money owning politicians. I think the politicians are tired of being owned by big money. That’s why I am building my campaign on individual contributions and labor support. I am not taking money from corporations now nor will I ever do so. And when I get to Richmond, I will make campaign finance reform a priority.