Ensuring Access to High Quality, Affordable Healthcare

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Access to affordable health care is a fundamental human right. Health is the basis of everything - without affordable health care, a good job and education opportunities are often out of reach. Expanding Medicaid was an incredible achievement, allowing 400,000 additional low-income Virginians access to affordable healthcare. But the work isn’t done, there are still challenges that affect the well-being of all Virginians:

The opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across our state. Facing this crisis requires a public health first approach, rather than the primarily criminal offense one we have tried, and failed, for decades.

Virginia has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the nation, with specific and unique needs. We must make sure our state government can supplement the care and attention our state’s veterans need when national services fall short.

The gap between rural and poor segments of our community and the wealthier parts is staggering. Health infrastructure and concentrated programs must supplement Medicaid expansion to ensure equitable health care outcomes.

Investing In Education

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Virginia, and especially Henrico, values strong public education. Investing in our education starts with investing in our teachers. We have started to address teacher pay by raising salaries 5%, but meeting the national average should be the bare minimum. Additionally, we must hire support staff, from nutrition workers to bus drivers, so that teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning with the proper institutional support.

State support for public schools systems is about 10% less per student now than they were pre-Recession, leaving localities holding the bag, and our standardized testing system is a burden on schools, students and parents. At the higher education level, our state is the 7th most expensive in the nation and that costs is growing at the 7th fastest rate in the nation - we need access to all forms of higher education from community college to apprenticeships to four year universities and beyond to be a realistic option for all Virginians who want it.

 Reinforcing School Safety

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A school that is safe is a school where a student is safe to learn. We must approach school safety from a holistic perspective by addressing student mental and emotional health. In the past session, we made the decision to hire more school counselors, looking to meet the national standard of one counselor to every 250 students, ensuring that students would be able to get the help they need before issues arise. But before our schools can keep this legislative promise, we must follow through with state funding for the counselors and mental and social work professionals we need.

Keeping our schools safe also means we must do everything we can to keep our students safe from guns including penalizing improper storage, restricting access to minors, and putting into place Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as Red Flag Laws.

Protecting Women’s Reproductive Health

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A woman in consultation with her doctor should have the ability to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions when it comes to her body and her health, whether that is saying no to unwanted sexual advances, no to an unintended pregnancy, or yes to becoming a parent. When a woman makes a decision to have an abortion, it should be safe, affordable, and free from punishment, judgment or political interference.

With increased threats to reproductive healthcare across the country, and politicians passing outright bans on access to abortion-- it’s critical that policy makers here in Virginia stand up and fight to protect access to safe and legal abortion care.

Regulations like Virginia's TRAP regulations also known as (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) laws, passed intentionally by anti-choice politicians to shut down women’s health centers-- have placed cruel and unjustifiable limits on both a woman’s ability to access healthcare and a woman’s core human right to bodily autonomy.

Schuyler will defend women’s healthcare and reproductive rights and increase access to affordable birth control. When people are free to make informed decisions that are best for them and their families, we build communities where each of us can participate with dignity and equality.

Dealing With Climate Change

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It is indisputable that climate change is happening now, all around us. We see it in the hottest months on record. We see it in erratic, dangerous weather patterns all over the globe. Here in Virginia, our unique Chesapeake Bay ecosystems, our crucial naval bases, our Appalachian vistas, and our rivers are all at stake. Even more than that, We have a responsibility to our children and our grandchildren to act and do it quickly. But I reject the notion that we need to sacrifice our economy to take action on this existential threat. By investing in green energy like solar, biofuel, and wind, and making smart moves to decarbonize through energy efficiency we can do three things at the same time: protect our planet, save Virginians in energy bills, and bring new modern jobs to our economy.

Expanding Economic Opportunity

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We need to create an economic environment that creates opportunity for all. In the past two years, I have sponsored and worked on legislation that would give Virginians more opportunities to engage in apprenticeship programs and job training, eliminate the use of non-compete clauses to restrict the opportunities of low-income workers, and prevent people from losing professional licenses for unpaid student debt. Virginia’s prosperity is remarkable - we have some of the lowest unemployment and highest income to cost of living rates in the nation - but we must make sure it is accessible to everyone. We can be a state that’s good for business and good workers by continuing to invest in infrastructure, our education system, and embracing diversity. The more people participate in our commonwealth’s economy, the better off we all are.

Improving Our DEMOCRATIC Process

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Giving citizens access to the ballot, open information about how government is working, and preventing distortions of power and influence-peddling is essential to preserving our democracy and giving people an effective voice. One area we need to reform is the gerrymandering of districts to benefit incumbents and parties in power. We started the process of gerrymandering reform by voting for the first stage of an independent redistricting commission amendment in 2019, but that commission needs additional stages and implementing legislation which we must follow through with, including banning the use of partisan data in the commission process.

Voter registration must be made more accessible, reform and extend voting times and precinct efficiency, and make absentee and early voting easier. Many populations with burdens on their time and ability to get to physical polling places, from college students to the elderly to those with high-travel jobs, are badly punished by Virginia’s current inflexible systems of voting.

Expanding Equality For All Virginians

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LGBTQ Equality

Virginia has failed to recognize or protect the equal rights of LGBTQ individuals in our state for too long. We remain one of only a few states where it is perfectly legal to be fired from a job, refused on a rental application or loan, or refused services because of your sexuality or gender identity. This cruel and backwards approach is disrespectful to the spirit of equality enshrined by the 14th Amendment, harms LGBTQ families and people directly, and dissuades entrepreneurs and students from coming to our state and bringing opportunities with them. I have fought and will continue to fight for laws to protect all our citizens from discrimination.

Women’s Equality

Virginia had a chance to put itself on the right side of history last year by ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, and it squandered that opportunity. I was proud to push for the ratification of the ERA, and I will do so again. Even without the Equal Rights Amendment, pay discrimination, pregnancy and motherhood penalties in the workplace, sexual harassment, and everything down to unfair taxes on health products all burden women in our Commonwealth unfairly. I will advocate for laws to mitigate these unfair penalties, which deny women their equal human rights and professional opportunities.

Restorative Justice

Virginia has a long and ugly history of racial oppression, disenfranchisement, discrimination, and dispossession. Our communities of color have been denied everything from fair housing loans to schooling to even graveyard maintenance. I will advocate for restorative justice policies in areas ranging from policing reform to small business aid in order to make Virginia a place of equity and opportunity for those who it has harmed for generations - and often continues to harm through policy choices in the present.

Developing Our Communities

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Virginia's state government can do more to help its counties and cities build infrastructure, fund crucial projects, and strengthen local programs on the ground. I’ll work to ensure that the Richmond metropolitan region has the funding and communication necessary to promote our economy. From revitalizing Lakeside Avenue to working with local planning authorities to mass transit planning like the GRTC pulse, shared growth and prosperity is key to Henrico and the region’s future. With better shared infrastructure and economic planning we can reduce traffic, make pedestrians and cyclists safer, make access to new jobs and regional commerce easier, and save money on road maintenance