The candle is burning

In this campaign, I've made it a priority to write to you every Friday, sharing "behind the scenes" glimpses of the campaign trail.

So often, politics feels very removed from everyday life, and it's been important for me to hold space to remind you (and myself!) that I am just a human doing my best to fight for what's important.

In that spirit of honest and transparency, here is a graphic representation of my life right now:

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The election is 25 days away, and everything is happening at once. We're knocking on thousands of doors, attending 2-3 events per day, figuring out yard sign distribution, tracking the whereabouts of thousands of postcards being written by volunteers, and prioritizing and re-prioritizing task lists that never seem to get any shorter.

And of course, I'm still trying to raise the final $7,400 we need to fully fund our mail program.

It's overwhelming. And I could use your help.

Can you make an online contribution of $50, $100, $250 or $500 today?

Make Your Donation Now

Every donation gives me a little breathing room: to knock 10 more doors, squeeze in one more event, or perhaps even (gasp!) sit down for a meal with my family.

You, dear reader, will carry me through these last three weeks, and I am so appreciative.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU,
Jennifer

PS -- I've promised my kids that on November 6th, they can stay home from school and we will watch movies in our pajamas all day and eat as much popcorn as our bellies will hold. If you have recommendations for family-friendly movies that we can stream on Netflix, please let me know!

We can't afford for the media to ignore this election

In the last few months, our campaign has knocked on thousands of doors, talking to voters about what's at stake in the upcoming election.*

In general, people are thrilled to hear that there is a Democrat on the ballot (for the first time in six years!). But they are also asking the question: Why am I not hearing about this election in the news?

It's true. Local news organizations have decided to opt out of covering this election--and it's a disservice to our community.

For example, take a quick peek at WFXR's Local Election Headquarters and WDBJ7's Election page, neither of which have ANY recent stories about the elections happening in Lynchburg, Bedford, Campbell or Franklin.

The best way to change that is to call the news stations and say:

"Why are you not covering the General Assembly races this year? Your role is to provide us information on local issues and events. We need to hear about this election and where the candidates stand. I'm particularly interested in [XXXX]. Do your job!"

Please take 10 minutes to call the following news organizations TODAY and make your voice heard:

  • News and Advance: (434) 385-5400

  • WFXR: (540) 344-2127

  • WDBJ7: (540) 344-7000

  • WSET: (434) 528-1313

If enough people call, they WILL take notice. And every additional campaign story they feature in the next few weeks will reach voters and increase turnout. It's how democracy was meant to function!

In the meantime, our campaign continues to plug away. In particular, we need to raise another $15,650 to fully fund our mail program. Sending mail to every Democratic voter in the district is key to getting good turnout -- especially in our more rural regions where it's harder to reach voters at their doors.

Can you make an online contribution of $50, $100, $250 or $500? Will you email 10 of your friends and ask them to donate too?

Make Your Donation Now

One other option to consider: write a Letter to the Editor (LTE) of your local paper sharing why you are supporting our campaign. The best letters to the editor are just a couple of paragraphs long, tell a personal story, and then link it to the larger issue of the election. See examples here, here, and here. We're happy to help you craft an outstanding LTE. Just contact us here and we'll be in touch!

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

* Raising the minimum wage, generating more healthcare competition (and therefore lower prices), passing the ERA, expanding Virginia's involvement in renewable energy, protecting our LGBTQ neighbors from housing discrimination, implementing universal background checks for gun purchases, expanding rural broadband so that our counties can complete, raising teacher pay and investing in our schools, and So. Much. More.

It's time to get off the fence.

I'm going to be brutally honest: the hardest part of this campaign is good Democrats brushing me off.

Here are some of the excuses I've heard in the last three weeks:

  • I don't think local elections here are winnable, so I'm going to pass on a donation.

  • I'm focusing my time and money on the 2020 Presidential campaign, but best wishes!

  • I'm burned out on politics, since [2018 candidate] didn't win. I'm sitting this one out.

You know what? That's exactly the kind of thinking that has given my opponent a free ride in this town for the last two decades. And it's a self-fulfilling prophecy -- of COURSE we don't win when good people throw up their hands and choose to opt out of the fight.

I'm putting everything -- EVERYTHING -- I've got into this race because I believe that we can win. But even more than that, because I believe that the fight is worth it. I don't want to wake up on November 6th and wonder what could have been if I had just tried harder.

It's crunch time, and we need to raise $18,000 in the next two weeks in order to send mail out to voters in advance of Election Day.*

With only 39 days left, we can't afford to wait any longer. I need your support right now. Can you make an online contribution of $50, $100, $250 or $500? Will you email 10 of your friends and ask them to donate too?

Make Your Donation Now

Every little bit helps. But if you truly cannot make any financial contribution to the campaign, that's okay. You can help with our second biggest need: volunteering to knock on doors. Please sign up to donate 3 hours of your time here.

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

* Because our district is so rural, mail is the ONLY way to reach some of our Democratic voters -- so it's an essential piece of the campaign plan that we can't afford to skip.

When the candidate gets sick...

For the last four days, I've been sick.

I'm the kind of sick where it hurts to move, I can't breathe properly, and people shrink back when they see my blotchy face. I've gone through a 6-pack of Kleenex and have resorted to blowing my noise in toilet paper that I've liberated from the bathroom.

It's just a head cold, but I feel like death is at the doorstep. I know you've been there too.

But as awful as I feel, you know what I haven't been worried about?

  • Losing my job

  • Not being able to pay my bills

  • Being evicted from my home

Why? Because, unlike 41 percent of Virginia workers, I have access to paid sick leave.

While I sit on the couch, surrounded by cough drop wrappers and empty soup bowls, I know that my job will be there on Monday, when I'm back on my feet.

There are 1.2 million workers in Virginia who can't say the same -- and that's something we need to fix.

Paid family leave is something that's been killed in the Republican-held General Assembly for the last two years. It's time to elect leaders who will fight for change.

Of course, along with blowing my nose every two minutes, I've also managed to lose my voice. That means I haven't been able to call donors directly to ask for help with the final six weeks of campaign expenses.

Can you help me catch up by making an online contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100? My vocal cords will thank you!

Make Your Donation Now

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

PS -- Below, I've copied and pasted the Facebook message I shared on Tuesday night. But what's most important is what happened next. More than a dozen people reached out to me privately behind the scenes, offering to bring soup, watch my kids, drop off more cold medicine, pick up school supplies and dog food, and--above all--reminding me that it takes a village. It does, indeed, and I'm grateful to each and every one of you!

It's been a hell of an evening.

To all the moms who work a full day and then come home to one kid explaining why lunch detention was not really his fault, one kid dying of embarrassment because you are 15 minutes late to the after-school activity pickup line, and another kid with an ear infection that requires an immediate three hour trip to the walk-in clinic (only to discover they are out of the special ear drop medication): I SEE YOU.

When you only have energy to hit the McDonald's drive-through for dinner. When you are fighting your own cold virus, but can't slow down because your kid needs three bottles of liquid glue for science class tomorrow. When you finally get home at 9pm and realize there is no more dog food in the house and wonder if it's okay to feed them leftover tacos from the fridge. I SEE YOU.

I'm fighting for our families, so that an unexpected trip to the walk-in clinic doesn't mean you can't pay your electricity bill. I'm fighting for our schools so that teachers have classroom funding that covers basic supplies.

I'm fighting because some days are tough. And we need leaders who get it.

Who's supporting our campaign -- it's not who you think.

We are now 53 days away from the election, and I am pounding the pavement every day to reach voters.

I've taken a leave of absence from work so that I can put my full attention on the campaign. My kids know not to expect me for dinner most nights. My parents have come in from out-of-state to help bridge the gap.

Y'all. This is hard.

What's also hard is the financial reality of this race. While MILLIONS of dollars are being poured into campaigns to help Democrats take control of the General Assembly, we (like most of the other candidates running in rural districts), are not receiving any direct financial support from the Democratic Party of Virginia or the House Democratic Caucus.

They have made a strategic decision to prioritize a handful of races they believe are most likely to win control of the state legislature. That's important.

But what's also important is that we support the Democrats running everywhere in the Commonwealth -- even (and especially) the tough races.

It's a chicken-and-egg problem. We can't run a competitive race without funding. And it's hard to get funding if you're not deemed a competitive race.

Help us end the cycle that keeps rural Virginia districts in Republican hands. We have a chance RIGHT NOW to show that we are here, we are serious, and we are worth fighting for.

Will you show your support by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100? The amount we raise this weekend will determine whether we can order a full run of yard signs (about $5,000), or whether we have to cut back to selected neighborhoods.

Make Your Donation Now

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

PS -- I want to share a friend's Facebook post below. On the hardest of days, I think about why I need to keep going. This sums it up better than I ever could. I hope it inspires you like it inspires me.

In thinking about immigration and all the abuses currently occurring; in thinking about child advocacy, and conversations around trauma, special education, foster care policy, and really any sort of advocacy ever--here are some things I've learned from the trenches, and from watching other people's fights:

Advocacy is:

  • Having conversations in public to publicize patterns occurring in private

  • Being shot down the first (few) time(s) you suggest a new idea or practice, and building that into your process

  • Gathering a little more information with each defeat or rejection about what you need to make your case compelling

  • Changing public perceptions slowly by talking out loud, in accessible ways, about an issue that people might not know about

  • Getting kicked in the teeth and eating dirt 9 times before you have a measurable success

  • Long, slow, and often discouraging or thankless work

But we persist:

  • Because those experiencing the problem may not know they are part of a bigger pattern, or might not know there is policy that should protect them, or may not have the knowledge or resources or safety to fight for themselves

  • Because the things that matter are worth fighting for

  • Because advocacy is never wasted, even when it looks like it

  • Because every time you ask for something that doesn't yet exist, it plants the seed that maybe it should

  • Because every defeat gives more information about motives and what evidence would be compelling for your next attempt

  • Because each time you talk about it publicly, you change the conversation around it, and shape public perception

  • Because staying silent is simply not an option

Charity vs. Justice

For more than a decade, I've been involved in various community non-profits: as a volunteer, as a donor, and sometimes as a board member.

I'm proud of the work I've done: coaching local entrepreneurs, advancing public art projects, facilitating anti-poverty initiatives, advocating for kids in the child welfare system, and (my kids' favorite) fostering dozens of puppies and kittens until they were big enough to be adopted.

But I would be remiss to think that my involvement in charitable causes is enough.

Charity is a stop-gap measure, a way to help our neighbors when they fall through the cracks. But it is not a substitute for laws, policies, and institutions that give people a fair shake from the start.

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We desperately need leaders in Richmond who will reckon with the big question of justice.

This is not about creating a welfare state where Virginia taxpayers foot the bill for the work that our local community organizations do now. Rather, it is about methodically and ruthlessly removing barriers that keep families from thriving here and across the Commonwealth. And it is about investing in people and communities, so that every person has the opportunity to flourish -- regardless of their race, their gender or their zip code.

I'm out there, every single day, talking to voters, meeting with community leaders, and hearing from our local non-profits. The need is significant, but it's clear: we can do better for our families and for Virginia. But we're going to need new elected officials in the General Assembly -- the old ones just aren't getting the job done.

Will you help us win this race with a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100? Your donation this week goes straight to paying for postage: we have more than 400 handwritten postcards waiting to go in the mail once we purchase stamps.

Make Your Donation Now

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

PS -- I feel obliged to give a little pitch for the Lynchburg Humane Society foster program. Fostering kittens is SO VERY EASY and you get to see little faces like this!

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Your electricity bill is set to increase by $400 a year

A new report came out yesterday confirming what people all across Virginia already know: Dominion Energy has stacked the deck against consumers. And the General Assembly happily passed the laws (written by Dominion lobbyists) that now prevent us from getting a fair shake.

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) found that in 2018 Dominion Energy pocketed $277.3 million in overearnings — money collected from customers in excess of the monopoly’s allowed profit level — according to a report released today. Due to legislation backed by Dominion lobbyists in 2015 and 2018, the SCC cannot compel the monopoly utility to refund this money to customers or lower base rates to prevent overearnings in the future. The SCC’s report also found that household customers’ bills will increase by $32.60 a month in the next four years.

“Virginians are already overburdened by their energy bills and this report shows why — Dominion overcharged consumers in Virginia by $277.3 million last year and a whopping $1.3 billion since 2015. Given that one in ten evictions in Virginia are for delinquencies under $340, it is clear our energy bills play a part in this yet Dominion wants to increase its profit levels and our monthly bills even more,” Gilmore said. “This latest attempt to increase its rate of return is a greedy money grab by Dominion that has nothing to do with energy investments that would improve the lives of Virginians struggling to pay high energy bills.”

How does Dominion get away with this, year after year? One reason is clear: they donate millions of dollars to political campaigns. My opponent, for example, has taken more than $31,000 from Dominion Energy (and another $20,000+ from Appalachian Energy).

We deserve elected officials who will fight for our communities, not simply vote for laws that benefit corporations who write the biggest check.

Our campaign has publicly pledged not to take any contributions from publicly-regulated utilities like Dominion Energy and Appalachian Energy. That means we rely on individual people like you to help us raise the necessary fund for campaign essentials: like yard signs, postcards and postage, and a living wage for our small campaign staff.


We have until Saturday at midnight before our next filing deadline. Can you help us close out August with a bang by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

I'll be out knocking doors in Franklin County all today and tomorrow, reaching rural voters at their doors in areas that have been ignored for far too long. Your support allows me to get out there, and I appreciate it.

With much gratitude,
Jennifer

PS -- Thank you to everyone who participated in our donation matching challenge last week. We raised just over $600 in three days, $500 of which will be doubled by a generous donor. Woot!

Aren't the candidate's kids off-limits?

This week we ran a Facebook ad targeted to reach voters all across the district. One of those ads featured a photo of my family: Bill and me, with our three kids in front.

We woke up the next morning to comments like this:

I know I am going too get stomped on an yelled at but why has she hot the children dressed like they r on Little House on the Parie

Now, I am prepared to take on a lot of nasty comments from social media trolls -- it comes with the territory when you run for office. But my kids are just beginning to navigate the world of social media. They were going to see this comment and feel hurt and embarrassed. And no mom wants that.

I wanted to respond in a variety of different ways (some of them with some very colorful language). But in the end, here was my reply:

There are families going bankrupt from outrageous medical bills, people worried about losing their jobs, kids going to school in overcrowded classrooms, and politicians who don't bother to show up and fight for what our community needs. Forgive me if it's hard to take your criticism about my children's sense of style seriously.

When I decided to run for office, we talked together as a family about how some people might choose to be mean, or rude, or hateful. And how the internet made it easy to say stupid things. You have given us a great example to mull over at our family dinner tomorrow.

Why am I sharing this?

First, I want to give you a little taste of why good people don't run for office (besides the long days and the endless fundraising and the knocking on doors in 95 degree heat). It's because as soon as you step out into the public arena, people feel like they can criticize not just you, but your family.

Second, I want you to know that I am committed to keeping my eye on the ball. As a Delegate, I won't be drawn into personal spats, mud-slinging or name-calling. Yes, I will call out bad behavior, but I will stay relentlessly focused on policy. There is too much work to do, and we can not afford to be sidetracked.

My kids write a thank-you note for every donation we receive. As they gear up for a note-writing party tomorrow morning (complete with pancakes, so sorry if your envelope is sticky!), I would love if they saw your name on our list of supporters for the week. Will you send a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

These are the moments when I can really feel the community support behind this campaign, and behind my family.

Thank you for fighting alongside us,
Jennifer

PS -- When I talked to the kids about the nasty comment above, I had to explain what "Little House on the Prairie" was. They were highly offended once they understood, but also asked if we could watch a few episodes. Now they are calling me "Ma" and giggling uproariously.

Fighting for our most vulnerable kids

Each week, I sit down to write you a letter and tell you a little bit about what's happening in my life, what I'm seeing on the campaign trail, and why I'm fighting to make things better.

Today, I want to talk about the kids in our community.

  • We have a surge of new kids coming into foster care, stretching our social workers to the breaking point.

  • We have kids eating out of dumpsters, and property managers stonewalling efforts to bring them food.

  • We have kids with diagnosed special needs who are not getting the support services they are legally-mandated to receive.

  • We have kids that are on the verge of adulthood, who have never lived in a stable home for more than a year at a time.

These are not abstract cases -- these are specific examples brought to my attention over the last week. (I can't say more because of privacy concerns.)

It's so easy to think that politics is a game, that it doesn't really matter. But our elected officials make (or don't make) the laws that impact us in every important way:

  • Do we invest in our social workers, so that they have the skills and training to deal with the situations they witness every day?

  • Do we raise the minimum wage, so that parents working 40 hours a week are able to make ends meet, get adequate rest, and spend time raising their children?

  • Do we hold slumlords accountable, so that families have access to safe, affordable housing that meets the required regulations and codes?

  • Do we prioritize mental healthcare, recognizing that families need more than just physical well-being to thrive, and that for too long we're overlooked the generational effects of stress and trauma?

  • Do we fund our public schools and hire enough psychologists, special education teachers, social workers and guidance counselors, so that teachers can focus on teaching?

Where is our current Delegate on these issues? Where are the tough calls she's made in favor of our kids? In the 20 years she's been in elected office, where is her leadership?

It's time for change.

If you believe there are no "other people's kids" -- that we must fight for all of them, then please help us today. Support our campaign with a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100.

Make Your Donation Now

It's going to take each and every one of us to overcome the political inertia in our District. But together, we can win.

Thank you,
Jennifer

What the climate crisis means for Virginia (hint: it's not just an environmental problem)

This past week the eastern part of the United States (including Virginia) experienced record breaking temperatures. Everywhere you looked were warnings to stay inside, hydrate, limit time outdoors, and shelter pets from the heat.

And then, just when the heat broke, we had back-to-back severe thunderstorms that brought down trees and power lines all over the district.

This is our new normal.

The climate crisis means hotter summers, more extreme rainfall patterns (more drought and deluge cycles), and more damaging tornadoes and hurricanes. It means:

  • more blackouts and resulting loss of property (mostly refrigerated foods and medicine)

  • more heat-related injuries and deaths (especially for children, the elderly, and the infirm) -- see this weekend's news of 20 people (including children) being treated for heat-related illness at a swim meet in Bedford

  • unpredictable planting seasons for farmers (and therefore higher food prices)

  • more school disruptions as kids are sent home on extra-hot days (or the entire school day is cancelled because our aging school infrastructure can't keep classrooms at a reasonable temperature)

  • more wear and tear on our homes and our municipal infrastructure (and more road closures for repair, and therefore more pressure to increase taxes to cover those costs)

  • more travel delays, as airports, roads and rail tracks are impacted by extreme weather (both during storms and after)

In short, it's going to impact every area of our lives.

As a sustainability consultant, I have been working on climate-related issues for the last 20 years. I know that we have technology, policy, regulation and innovation that can help our communities adapt to intense climate pressures in the coming years. I'm ready to talk science and pragmatic problem-solving. My opponent is not.

If you believe we need to take the climate crisis seriously, and that we need people who understand science in leadership roles, please help us win this campaign by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100.

Make Your Donation Now

We are almost certain to have more extreme heat days in the coming weeks. Remember to stay safe and remember what we're fighting for!

Thank you,
Jennifer

When I feel discouraged

Campaigning is tough--physically, mentally and emotionally. And this was a hard week.

The most recent campaign finance filings came out, and we were out-raised by our opponent. Yup, she raked in $17,572 in June, compared to our $13,642.

Now, it's frustrating to be out-raised. But what makes me fighting mad is that 100% of her money came from corporations and PACs. Not a single individual person made a contribution to her campaign fund.

Her donors are big corporations that throw money to long-serving incumbents--not because they support her policies or believe she is doing a good job--but because it greases the wheels of politics.

Don't get me wrong, we made a good showing. More than 90 people made an individual contribution to our campaign during the month of June, including 75 people who made small-dollar contributions of less than $100.

That's what politics is supposed to look like--campaigns powered by grassroots support, with real people chipping in to rally behind a candidate who will fight for them.

We have got to elect people who understand that big corporate money in politics is killing our democracy and drowning out the will of the people.

To change Virginia's campaign finance laws, we must first win this election. Will you be part of this fight by making a campaign contribution of $10, $20, $50or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

We have 16 weeks to go until the election. If each person on this mailing list donates $5/week, we could raise more than $96,000. That would be less than half of what our opponent has in the bank, but it would cover our two major expenses (paying our staff a living wage and printing/postage costs). Every little bit helps, and we are so appreciative of your generosity!

Thank you,
Jennifer

Family First -- Always

When Bill and I decided to become foster parents, we knew we were facing the most challenging test of our lives. And it was: standing in the gap for scared and traumatized kids stretched me in ways I didn't know were possible. It was the hardest, and also the best, thing I've ever done.

We adopted our son and daughter in 2013, and their sister joined us this past November. We're now a family of five, which still blows my mind sometimes!

As part of our commitment to open adoption, we spend the first week of July with our kids' extended biological family. Every year, fifteen of us pile into a shared beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and make wonderful memories.

For that week, there is no difference between "biological" and "adoptive" family -- we're all in it together. It has been incredibly healing for our kids, and an unexpected blessing for Bill and me.

What does any of this have to do with my campaign for Virginia House of Delegates? A lot, it turns out.

This year, I was told by multiple political insiders that I needed to stay in town over the 4th of July holiday, so that I could participate in the local festivities. I was told it was essential to be seen at the parades, the BBQs and the picnics.

Reader, I said no.

I am writing this email to you from the Outer Banks, where my three kids are currently losing a water balloon fight against their uncles, whose excellent aim has apparently not been passed down through the gene pool. There is much laughter and excessive shrieking, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

While skipping out on "essential" campaign events maybe looked down upon by the political insiders, I hope you see a candidate who:

  • Prioritizes family over easy photo opportunities

  • Does the right thing, even when it's hard

  • Keeps her eyes on what really matters

If you would like to see a progressive, family-focused candidate representing our district, please help by making a campaign contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100.

Make Your Donation Now

I missed my fundraising quota this week because I was busy picking wet towels up off the carpet, applying sunscreen to squirming bodies, and negotiating the appropriate number of times a person should be allowed to have ice cream before dinner.*

If you can help me get back on track, I will be very grateful!

Thank you!
Jennifer

PS -- if you have thought about becoming a foster parent, I would be delighted to talk with you about our experiences. My schedule is a little hectic, but I'm always delighted to carve out some time to talk about fostering/adoption.

* The correct answer is once a week.**
** Unless you're at the beach. Then you can do it every night as long as you put your ice cream bowl in the dishwasher before mom sees it.

Individuals vs. Corporations - Who "Owns" a Politician

I was looking at the public fundraising numbers, and my opponent has raised more than $94,000 this year. But only 1% has come from individuals -- the rest has come from corporations and "other" sources. That's insurance companies, payday lenders, tobacco companies, and Dominion Energy sending thousands of dollars straight into her campaign coffers.

That's a striking contrast to this campaign, where 100% of our campaign funding has come from individuals, including more than $28,000 that we've raised from small dollar donors (those giving less than $100).

Our next fundraising deadline is midnight on Sunday -- less than three days away. Please consider supporting our campaign with a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100.

Make Your Donation Now

It seems like every politician says that "it's up to you" but in our case, it's really true. We are counting on you to help us win this election.

And when we do, I'll be directly accountable to you -- not a list of corporations.

Thank you!
Jennifer

10,709 more people with health insurance -- that's big news

Last year, Virginia became the latest state to expand Medicaid insurance access. Now, six months into the enrollment period, we're starting to see data come in -- and the news is great for our area.

How great? According to a recent study, 280,000 people have signed up across Virginia, including 10,709 from our area. Here's how that breaks down:

  • 2,397 people in Campbell County

  • 3,771 people in Lynchburg City

  • 2,445 people in Bedford County

  • 2,096 people in Franklin County

That's 10,709 people who can now see a doctor when they are sick, without waiting for it to become an urgent situation requiring a trip to the emergency room.

And because the federal government pays virtually all of the costs of expanding Medicaid, Virginia is now benefiting from a $1.1 Billion injection of federal dollars into our economy.

Add that to the $510 million in expected GDP growth and 3,600 new jobs as a result of better access to healthcare, and we have a win-win situation that's great for the entire Commonwealth.

My opponent (and our current delegate) was vocally against expanding Medicaid, going so far as to predict: "This is a turning point for Virginia."

I hope so.

In this election, we have the opportunity to make Medicaid expansion the first step in a much larger healthcare reckoning: one that includes a comprehensive approach to the opioid crisis, bolstering gaps in our mental healthcare workforce, and addressing rural healthcare access disparities.

My opponent has taken $206,272 from healthcare companies and their executives, and another $62,100 from insurance companies. It's clear where her priorities are.

It's also clear that only one of us is going to fight for affordable access to healthcare that meets the needs in our community.

Please consider supporting our campaign with a contribution of $10, $20, $50or $100.

Make Your Donation Now

If you have already donated to this campaign, thank you! We do a little dance every time a new contribution arrives. That said, would you consider kicking in another few dollars this week?

The end of June is our next financial reporting deadline and we would love to show a wave of grassroots support. Whether you are a new donor or a stalwart cheerleader with a recurring monthly donation, it's going to take all of us to flip this seat.

Toward our collective good health,
Jennifer Woofter

PS: curious about the economic impacts of expanding Medicaid? See all the statistics here.

Mom, will you be safe?

Nothing prepared me for the weekend I told my kids I was going to run for the House of Delegates. At first, they were thrilled at the idea that their mom might be on TV. We would be famous!

But late that night after everyone had gone to bed, my youngest daughter crept into my room and asked very quietly, "mom, will you be safe?"

You see, we've talked to our kids about gun violence -- about the active shooter drills they practice regularly in school, about mass shootings in the news, and about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, my second cousin, who was shot in the head because someone didn't like her politics.

My 8-year old daughter had been laying awake in bed, worrying that her mom was going to be targeted just like Gabby.

It was a gut punch, and it made me realize just how much gun violence affects not just the immediate victims, but also their families, our communities and our nation as a whole.

I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do know that we must do something to curb the epidemic of gun violence. With the recent events in Virginia Beach, I'm reminded again that we cannot afford to wait.

If you believe that we need candidates who are unafraid to talk about gun safety, and who are willing to have an honest conversation about balancing public safety with individual rights, please consider making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 to support my campaign.

Make Your Donation Now

Hug your kids tight tonight, and tell them that we have good people fighting to keep them safe. And let's not rest until we've made real progress on this important issue.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Woofter

Grassroots Support Wins Elections

Yesterday I talked with another Democratic candidate from a neighboring district. I love these conversations, because it gives me a chance to compare notes, share successes and commiserate on challenges.

Our talk turned to fundraising -- specifically, the incredible pressure on candidates to raise money every campaign finance reporting period (which vary from 1-3 months, depending on the time of year.)

The most recent reporting deadline was last night at 11:59pm. And we did great! We're still tallying up the numbers, which will be publicly reported next week, but we're very satisfied with our totals.

That said, the next reporting period begins today. Can you help me get off to a great start by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 this week?

Make Your Donation Now

The more we raise now, the more flexibility we have in getting our message out -- snail mail, email, billboards, social media commercials, postcards, radio spots, yard signs, oh my! All of it takes an investment of campaign staff time and money.

And here's the most important part: getting a head start in our fundraising now frees up more of my time to get out in the district, talking directly with voters. There is so much I want to hear from them -- and your contribution (of any size) helps me do just that. So THANK YOU!

With optimism,
Jennifer Woofter

Who's Fighting for Our Veterans?

Growing up in a military family, I was taught that it is a duty and a privilege to fight for what matters. I take that message with me every day on the campaign trail.

As we head into Memorial Day Weekend, I'm thinking about the 725,000 veterans call Virginia home, including the 19,300 that live in Bedford, Campbell and Franklin counties and the City of Lynchburg.

They’ve served in every conflict since World War II, represent all branches of the military, and come from all walks of life. And they deserve elected officials that will fight for policies that honor their sacrifice.

I am committed to honoring our military families and making real legislative progress that will enable our Veterans to succeed in civilian life. That means:

  • Fighting for rural broadband expansion, so that veterans can access telemedicine to get faster, lower cost, and more effective healthcare services.

  • Ensuring clean air and clean water, and protecting our public lands for recreational activities such as hunting and fishing.

  • Expanding mental health and opioid treatment services, so that our veterans get the support they need in times of crisis.

  • Promoting affordable housing options, to ensure that service members transitioning out of the military find stable housing for their families.

Will you help me bring that fight to the House of Delegates by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 this week?

Make Your Donation Now

If you can’t make a donation at this time, that’s okay. I hope you'll join me this weekend taking time to remember the service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our most precious American values.

Warmly,
Jennifer Woofter

Who's Working for You?

Every day of this campaign, I get the chance to demonstrate the kind of delegate that I will be: engaged, listening, and working relentlessly to find solutions to our most challenging problems.

Take Thursday. I spent the day in the district talking with people about practical ways we can improve life here – including:innovative financing to help our small businesses grow,reforming Medicaid practices so that families with special needs kids can get better access to adaptive technologysimple ways that Central Virginia can get more federal funding when natural disasters strike. I’m running for the Virginia House of Delegates because I’m tired of elected officials who don’t show up except to cut ribbons, complain about the other side, and occasionally fill out the crowd at press conferences.

We deserve better from our representatives.

If you are frustrated with elected officials who choose to spend their time in PR stunts (or are completely off the radar!), then please donate to our campaign as we fight for change.

Your contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 this week will go straight to the cost of printing a “walk card,” the simple piece of literature we give to voters when we talk to them at events and at their doors. Each one costs about 50 cents – which means that every $10 you give will help us reach 20 voters.

Make Your Donation Now

If you can’t make a donation at this time, that’s okay too. This campaign is fighting for every single person in the district, not just those who can write a big check.

Thank you for believing in this campaign. Together we are going to do great things, and I’m privileged to work alongside you.

Warmly,
Jennifer Woofter