Democratic Candidate in 2018 for US House – Virginia 6th District
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September 17th Cline vs. Lewis Debate
10-11:30am at Spotswood High School
368 Blazer Dr. Penn Laird, Virginia 22846
Next Aircasts: TBD
Post Curator: Rubye Egley
Source: Former campaign site
Jennifer Lewis is a mental health worker, community advocate, and leader in the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. She’s been a civically active member of her community in Augusta County and Waynesboro, volunteering for various local groups, serving on boards and commissions, and fighting on the front lines for the values of the 6th District.
Jennifer grew up unloading hay and picking rock on her small, family-owned dairy farm. While she was away at college, her family made the heart-wrenching decision to sell their farm. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in environmental studies from the State University of New York at Oneonta – where she met her husband, Ben.
Jennifer has volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brother Big Sister, winning “Big” of the Year in 2009. She’s served as Chair of the Waynesboro Parks and Recreation Board for eight years and currently serves as Chair of the Office on Youth Commission.
She’s also a board member at Wild Virginia and an elected member of theHeadwaters Soil and Water Board. Recently reelected as Vice Chair of the Waynesboro Democratic Committee, Jennifer was honored to receive the Democrat of the Year award in 2013 and Grassroots Organizer of the Year award for the 6th District in 2014.
When Jennifer saw farms in the Valley being threatened by Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, she founded Friends of Augusta, a local pipeline opposition group. As President, she’s organized demonstrations, rallies, and meetings with FERC and elected officials. She’s also setup fundraisers and written columns in local papers addressing the disastrous effects the proposed pipelines will have on our land, water, and air – not to mention our property rights.
Jennifer spent the early part of her professional career working in the Virginia public school system, providing mental health services to at-risk youth. She currently works with adults with mental illness who are transitioning from inpatient care back into the community.
Jennifer lives in Waynesboro with her husband and their three cats and dog. Over the past four years, they’ve fostered scores of kittens through Cat’s Cradle in Harrisonburg.
Jennifer Lewis for Congress – Lexington & Rockbridge County Kickoff
Published on February 25, 2018
Jennifer believes all citizens of the 6th – regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation – should be treated fairly and equally under the law. That’s why she supports The Equality Act, which provides non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people in education, credit, housing, employment, jury duty, public services, and federally funded programs.
Our criminal justice system is hardly just – and possibly criminal. Jennifer supports widespread reform starting with reducing mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders, eliminating for-profit prisons, and emphasizing treatment – not punishment – for people suffering from addiction and mental illness.
Defense & Security
Our veterans deserve our respect, regardless of our views on any specific conflict. And when they return home, or leave the service, we need to take care of them and provide the tools and resources they need to thrive as civilians. Jennifer supports improving the educational benefits in the post-9/11 GI Bill and, as a mental health professional, is particularly passionate about helping veterans with homelessness, depression, and PTSD.
In the wake of the Parkland tragedy, we have to ask each other: is it acceptable for our children to fear for their lives at school? Let’s set aside partisan politics and NRA-funded talking points. Let’s instead embrace gun safety measures for the sake of our children.
Jennifer supports strengthening national background checks (Fix NICS Act), expanding background checks to include gun shows and internet sales (Toomey-Manchin proposal), ending the sale of “bump-stocks,” and raising the minimum age to buy an AR-15 to 21. Alongside Senator Kaine, Jennifer supports Senator Feinstein’s bill prohibiting the sale, manufacture, import, transfer, or possession of a semi-automatic assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
American politics over the past half century has been based on emphasizing and creating divisions. Both political parties thrive off of our tribal impulses as humans. But human history shows that it’s possible for a community to come together, to set aside differences in pursuit of a common vision.
Over time, we’ve seen a decline in civic organizations and citizens participating in community activities. As we retreat into our individualized digital worlds, our phones and tablets and favorite media outlets, we become detached… no longer sitting side by side, locking eyes, truly seeing and listening to each other. At the same time, we become deeply interconnected, more so than ever before.
The right to vote is fundamental to democracy; across the nation, we see continued attempts to disenfranchise Americans.Jennifer supports the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores the power of the Voting Rights Act in the wake of the 2013 SCOTUS decision in Shelby County v. Holder. This type of legislative solution will help us battle discrimination against people of color and Native Americans. She is also in favor of creating Election Day, a federal holiday aimed at increasing voter participation.
We’ve been taught that with hard work, discipline, and focus, in America we can find success and satisfaction. In reality, rising prices and stagnant wages have made it more and more difficult to simply break even each month.
In Washington, many lawmakers have succumbed to corporate lobbyists and campaign contributions from corporate PACs. The result is public policy that reflects the interests of donors, not everyday citizens. It’s no wonder people believe the system is rigged in favor of the rich and connected.
Jennifer believes the corporate stranglehold over D.C. must be broken. She supports a constitutional amendment to eliminate corporate personhood and require federal, state, and local government to ensure all citizens have equal capacity to influence elections, regardless of wealth or power (H.J. Res. 48). And she refuses to accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs.
Economy & Jobs
Creating a fair economy means taking on the big banks who brought our system down – and then were conveniently bailed out with our money. Jennifer supports a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to separate commercial banking from the risk and unpredictability of investment banking. She supports breaking up the big banks so they can no longer hold the economy hostage, and she believes we should fortify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Dodd-Frank measures.
Jennifer also believes it’s only fair to pay our workers a living wage, a wage that makes sure full-time workers don’t live in poverty. She supports raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. as soon as possible. To protect workers from being exploited, Jennifer supports The Wage Theft Prevention and Recovery Act. And to reduce unfair discrepencies in pay between men and women, she supports the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Our children – the future of the 6th District – deserve a high-quality public education that prepares them for the 21st century economy. Our neighborhood public schools need to be well funded, regardless of the wealth of local residents, and controlled at the local level. We need to transition away from the idea that, in order to be successful, a student must attend a four-year university. Vocational training needs to be treated as an equally dignified path.
If our children decide to attend a four-year college, we need to step up and ensure they can graduate without being deeply in debt. Jennifer not only wants to reduce interest rates on student loans, she also supports tuition-free public college and university. It makes no sense to tell students to work hard, study, graduate from college, and then spend decades paying off the debt.
Energy & Environment
We in Virginia’s 6th are deeply tied to the land. We understand that our rivers, forests, mountains, and valleys are gifts, and it’s our responsibility to protect and pass them onto our children. More immediately, we have to combat the destruction and poisoning of our environment.
Jennifer opposes both the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. She pledges to stand with landowners in opposition to eminent domain takings that favor large for-profit corporations. Jennifer also supports reforming FERC so citizens and scientists have as much influence as fossil-fuel industry lobbyists. She has taken Activate Virginia’spledge to refuse contributions from Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, and she’s taken the broader No Fossil Fuel Money pledgecovering the entire industry.
Our priority should be green energy infrastructure and jobs. Jennifer supports the100 by ’50 Act – moving us towards 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050.
We need to start being reasonable about marijuana and hemp and legalize them.Jennifer supports H.R. 1841, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which removes cannabis from all schedules of the Controlled Substances Act. Likewise, Jennifer believes we should be free to cultivate hemp as our ancestors did; she supports H.R. 5485, The Hemp Farming Act of 2018.
Jennifer comes from a farming family, and she understands the stress and strains endured by family farms. She wants to encourage policy that allows farms to sell directly to consumers and restaurants.
Just like in other industries, corporate conglomeration and monopolization have led to large agribusiness crushing competition from smaller farms. Jennifer wants tough enforcement of antitrust laws in the industry.
We need to increase capital lending to small businesses and expand high-speed broadband networks throughout the district, as well. Jennifer supports a comprehensive approach to jobs and infrastructure along the lines of the2015 Rebuild America Act introduced by Senator Sanders.
Jennifer believes that healthcare is a human right and that it’s our moral obligation to create a nation in which nobody dies – or goes bankrupt – because they lack insurance. The Affordable Care Act was a historic start, but the insurance and pharmaceutical companies had too much influence over policy.
Jennifer supports establishing a national health insurance system in line with the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. She believes it’s necessary to keep out-of-pocket and prescription drug prices down, reduce premiums, guarantee a high quality of care, and safeguard individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Sadly, too many of us have family members suffering from opioid addiction. Jennifer’s professional experience in mental health illustrates to her the lack of resources at the community level. She supports increased funding for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation – but also insists on holding pharmaceutical companies accountable if they’re prioritizing profits over lives.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants were brought to the United States as children – commonly known as DREAMers – and Jennifer supports a path to citizenship for these individuals. The Dream Act doesn’t go far enough – Jennifer believes in expanding DACA and DAPA to further help parents of DREAMers, parents of legal permanent residents, and parents of citizens. A nation founded by immigrants cannot justify breaking up law-abiding families.
Jennifer also wants to protect Social Security. Working Virginians who’ve paid into the system for years shouldn’t feel uncertain about their benefits, and it’s our responsibility to keep our promises to these citizens.