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Priorities

The Opportunity of Education

If the pandemic did anything positive, it was to highlight the amazing work and level of responsibility our teachers have for the development of young minds. The education children receive from the time they enter preschool until they leave the educational system post-high school, technical school, or college, prepares them to be the future workers, problem solvers, leaders, and taxpayers of the future. It is the responsibility of Virginia leaders to ensure all children have access to quality educational opportunities. Dawn supports:

  • Paying educators what they deserve and raising teacher pay above the national average

  • Ensuring that our 3 and 4-year-olds in need have access to pre-k education

  • Investing in broadband expansion to ensure that every student is able to both access and afford online educational platforms

  • Tackling the digital equity gap by ensuring students have computers at home and building a strong foundation of access to knowledge, skills, and resources

  • Integrating STEM-H and computer science principles and skills into all subjects and grade levels in K-12 schools

  • Equipping educators with the knowledge and skills they need to understand and teach these principles and foster inclusive learning environments

  • Cultivating public-private partnerships to advance STEM-H and computer science literacy and build the workforce of the future

  • Creating a seamless pathway from K-12 to career, and expand work-based learning opportunities for students

  • Promoting career readiness with investments in Career and Technical Education and building internships and apprenticeships into curricula

  • Promoting affordability and flexibility in higher education, making it easier for students to make the transitions to higher education, between institutions, and from education to the workforce 

  • Streamlining financial aid to better address student needs and expand programs that ensure that students are able to benefit from higher education

  • Working with the executive branch and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to more quickly approve programs and get students into high-demand education pipelines like nursing, medicine, teaching, and more

  • Investing in Virginia’s crumbling school infrastructure

  • Strengthen community colleges and associate degree programs by funding advisors and support services, increasing short-term immersion programs and stacking credentials, and establishing Career and Technical Education certificate programs for educators

 

 

Healthcare Access and Affordability

Healthcare in the US must be reimagined and redesigned such that people have the expectation of healthcare coverage and not worry about a lack thereof. The pandemic highlighted the many weaknesses in our current healthcare system, the workforce shortage, and the lack of equity-based on race and class. Virginia can make significant changes to strengthen our workforce, increase access, and make healthcare more affordable. It will require courage and the will to take on the heavy hitters within the healthcare space lobbying for things to stay the same, but we can do this. This is why Dawn supports:

  • Increasing funding for mental health and substance use disorder treatment and expanding options for care

  • Creating a prescription drug accountability workforce and empowering them to serve as a watchdog for consumers, set upper price limits for certain drugs, and maximize Virginia’s ability to negotiate for the best drug prices

  • Passing a prescription drug price Sunlight Law to create clear transparency for prescription drug pricing for all to see

  • Holding Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Healthcare institutions accountable (by imposing substantial taxes/fines) when they engage in predatory practices, impose unjustifiable price hikes, or practice medicine without licensure to do so

  • Enshrining the tenants of Roe v. Wade in Virginia’s constitution and increasing access to contraceptive care.

  • Combating maternal mortality rates for Black women by expanding home visiting services, access to quality care, and community-based providers

  • Expanding the healthcare workforce by affording healthcare professionals the ability to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training and providing healthcare professionals opportunities to work in exchange for educational preparedness

  • Breaking down health care disparities by investing in federally-qualified health centers and telehealth, providing more basic health services in schools, and bringing virtual health clinics to local communities


 

Strengthening and Enhancing the Economy

With Virginia once again being listed as the “Best State for Business,” we know that the Virginia economy is strong despite the ravages of the pandemic. We also know we need to rebuild and support many of the small businesses unable to weather the storm of 20-21. That’s why Dawn supports:

  • Eliminating barriers and regulations that make it harder for businesses to get started and thrive

  • Supporting backbone organizations that drive entrepreneurship and improve access to capital with new state, local and private investments

  • As proposed and passed in 2020, implementing my proposal, a Commission on Wellness and Opportunity to create strong partnerships between institutions of higher education, backbone organizations, entrepreneurs, and investors to coordinate research and development legislators and the executive branch that will help solve our Commonwealth’s toughest challenges

  • Creating economic development hubs, deploying high-impact investments in a span of neighboring rural jurisdictions to drive sustainable economic growth

  • Supporting farmers by investing in smart farming technologies, increasing access to educational opportunities, and establishing rural Virginia as a major supplier of specialty crops

  • Rebuilding small businesses, particularly Black and Brown-owned businesses that have closed at disproportionate rates

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, address pay disparities, and ensure that every Virginian has access to paid sick, family, and medical leave while supporting small businesses through tax incentives/credits 

 

Energy and Environment

The health of our air, land, coastal waterways, soil, lakes, rivers, and forests reflects the quality of our health as individuals and communities. We must confront the crisis before us and do all we can to reverse the ravages of climate change and promote health and wellness in our day-to-day engagement with Mother Earth. We can make a difference for our future generations. That is why Dawn supports:

  • Accelerating Virginia’s path to 100% clean energy by 2035 and ensure a just transition that protects communities that have been impacted the most

  • Restructuring Virginia’s regulatory system to protect consumers and incentivize the transition to 100% clean energy

  • Reducing energy consumption by investing dramatically in energy efficiency.

  • Expanding clean energy jobs and building the workforce needed to supply the clean economy with highly qualified, skilled workers

  • Equitably improving access to clean public transportation, electric vehicles, and EV charging infrastructure

  • Establishing rural communities in Virginia as the energy innovation capitals of the East Coast

  • Aggressively planting trees in urban areas and mangroves along coastal waterways

 

Community Health, Safety, and Equity 

Over the last two years under Democratic leadership, Virginia has made great strides to ensure that all people are afforded the respect of being seen, heard, empowered, and protected. Affording people the respect of equal opportunity is critical to the health and wellbeing of Virginia. That’s why Dawn supports:

  • Rebuilding trust between communities and public safety agencies by increasing accountability for and transparency of serious misconduct as well as investing in community policing initiatives and body-worn camera programs, and supporting accreditation for local agencies

  • Addressing racial health disparities by lowering premiums, promoting health literacy, diversifying the health care workforce, and combating maternal mortality

  • Passing a second resolution to put before Virginia voters to secure approval for a constitutional amendment enshrining the automatic restoration of rights in Virginia’s constitution

  • Equitably implementing marijuana legalization, reinvesting revenues back into communities that have been impacted the most, and ensuring equitable ownership opportunities in the new industry

  • Advancing civil rights by enshrining the automatic restoration of voting rights in our constitution and creating more opportunities for Black communities to vote

  • Requiring health care and public safety professionals to receive cultural competency training and establish a statewide social determinants of health Coordinator

  • Repealing Virginia’s “conscience clause” to open up foster care and adoption to LGBTQ+ people, and pass an anti-bullying law to protect LGBTQ+ youth

  • Addressing housing instability with permanent supportive housing and investing in inclusive shelters that meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons, and getting high-capacity magazines, and “ghost guns” off our streets

  • Creating an Office of Gun Violence Prevention to identify and coordinate solutions to gun violence across state agencies

  • Investing in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund to increase the supply of affordable housing, promote Black and Brown homeownership and prevent homelessness

  • Combating the historic effects of redlining by fighting back against discriminatory lending practices and ensuring critical state resources are accessible to Black Virginians

  • Leveraging federal dollars as available to expand participation in federal child nutrition programs

  • Strengthening ‘food as medicine’ programs and educational programs for healthier eating and lifestyles

  • Promoting “Virginia Food for Virginia Families” so that Virginians can benefit from the Commonwealth’s incredible agricultural assets

  • Ensuring school nutrition departments successfully implement proven distribution models

Accomplishments

Democrats have only been in the driver’s seat for the last two years. During that time, we have done much more than expand Medicaid, which was arguably one of the most significant accomplishments prior to 2019. Since 2019, we haven’t just talked about getting things done; we got to work!

 

And yet, there is so much more to do!!

 

As Virginia’s only Democrat in the General Assembly practicing medicine (as an autonomous nurse practitioner), Virginia needs Dr. Adams’ lens on policy. Dawn believes that the quality of our lives is built on how successfully we can navigate opportunities for living in a healthy environment with clean air, water, land, and green space; diverse educational and career opportunities; reliable transportation and affordable housing; access to excellent affordable healthcare; and the ability to live and work within community safely and without trepidation regardless of one’s race, sex, ethnicity, orientation, heritage, identification, or whom one chooses to love.

 

Below are just a few of her (and her colleagues’) recent accomplishments that demonstrate (not just talk about) Dawn’s commitment to a better, fairer Virginia, through decisive action.

 

 

Healthcare- Increasing Access and Affordability

HB 66 Prohibits charging greater than $50 per 30-day supply of insulin

HB980 Ensures broad access to reproductive care and removed the TRAP laws

HB 1251 Prevents surprised billing

HB 1737 Removes practice barriers for nurse practitioners  

HB 1817 Removes practice barriers for certified nurse midwives

HB 1953 Removes practice barriers for licensed certified midwives

HB 2007 Requires prescription drug price transparency

HB 2162 Requires medical facilities to allow support persons for people with disabilities

HB 2218 Ensures expanded access and expertise for medical cannabis patients

HB 2230 Directs DBHDS to develop and implement a program to educate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families about the availability of supported decision-making agreements

HB 2333 Requires VDH to establish a program to enable eligible health care providers to volunteer to administer the COVID-19 vaccines

HJ 537 Recognizes that racism is a public health crisis in Virginia

SB 1220 Repeals the requirements that the Commissioner of DBHDS determine the nationality of each person admitted to a state facility and, if the person is a non-US citizen, notify the United States of Immigration officer

SB 1227 Ensures payment of hormonal birth control for Medicaid patients

 

Dr. Dawn Adams will continue to provide healthcare leadership for the General Assembly and continue her work to increase access to affordable healthcare throughout the lifespan.

 

Education

HB 1800 Approves a 5% pay increase for public school teachers and professors

HB 2204 Allows for free community college for low- and middle-income Virginians enrolling in high-demand disciplines

HB 1904 Ensures regular training and evaluations for teachers on cultural competency

HB 1940 Allows for a one daylong excused absence for students attending civic events

HB 1554 Mandates mental health first aid training for teachers

 

Dawn continues to work with her colleagues to bring solutions to educational infrastructure, from staffing issues to curriculum requirements and school construction.

 

Economy

SB 7 Raises the minimum wage in Virginia to $15 per hour by 2026

HB 582 Allows for labor unions for public sector

HB 2137 Ensures paid sick leave for home healthcare workers

HB 789 Caps the interest and fees allowed for short-term loans

HB1663 Passed the Virginia Values Act; prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, or credit

HB 2063 Requires employers to compensate overtime work at a rate of at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay

HB 1848 Expands the Virginia Human Rights Act to include persons with disabilities

HB 1864 Ensures that domestic workers are included in the definition of employer-employee relationship

HB 2032 Ensures domestic workers are included in worker protection laws

HJ1 Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment providing gender equality and equal rights

 

One of Dawn’s top priorities, along with her colleagues, is ensuring a robust economy, especially as we traverse post-pandemic Virginia. We must build on recent accomplishments ensuring safety and fairness for employees, help fund diverse training pathways for the jobs of the future and support our small business communities.

 

Environment

HB 1526 Virginia Clean Economy Act; establishes Virginia’s transition to clean energy

HB 1965 Establishes low-emission vehicle and zero-emission vehicle programs for new automobiles beginning in 2025

HB 586 convenes a work group to study environmental impact on PFOA and PFAS in drinking water

HB 1257 Directs the State Board of Health to establish maximum contaminant levels in public drinking water systems

HB1902 Prohibits single-use expanded polystyrene food service containers 

HB 1979 Provides rebates for electric and low emissions vehicles

HB 2282 Requires the SCC to report on proposals to accelerate transportation electrification

 

Without clean air, land, and water we cannot live a healthy life. Dawn remains committed to environmental protections and has had the consistent support of Virginia’s environmental groups due to her strong advocacy for preserving our environment for future generations.

 

 

Criminal Justice Reform

HB35 Provides an opportunity for parole after serving 20 years for individuals who committed a felony as a juvenile

HB 2263 Abolishes of the death penalty

HB 2312 Legalizes of responsible adult use of marijuana

HB5043 Requires the establishment of a Marcus Alert system in response to 911 calls

HB 5099 Bans no-knock warrants/police searches

HB 2113 Ensures automatic expungement for some crimes

HB 2133 Ensures expungement of certain convictions for survivors of human trafficking

 

Over the last two years, Virginia has pushed forward the most aggressive right-sizing of injustice ever. Dawn has been proud to stand firm with her colleagues to vote for measures that begin to bring fairness and equity to our justice system.

 

As the 68th’s first Democratic representative in decades, Dawn has brought leadership, diversity, thoughtfulness, and decisive action to Virginia’s General Assembly. We can’t afford to quit now. If you’re in it to win it this election season, sign up to be a part of the team and let’s get to work preserving the Democratic vision for Virginia.