Press Releases

32 VA Legislative Candidates Urge General Assembly To Prioritize Anti-Corruption and Democracy Reform

Oct 10, 2019

Candidates are calling for contribution limits, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and increasing government transparency

A group of 32 Democratic Virginia legislative challenger candidates today sent a letter to the Commonwealth’s General Assembly calling for the passage of major democratic reforms if elected to the body.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

Without major reforms to our democracy, we will be unable to retain the public trust or to successfully tackle Virginia’s pressing challenges, such as passing common-sense gun safety reforms, reducing the costs of health care and prescription drugs, strengthening our public education system, fighting pollution and climate change, and building an economy that prioritizes working families. Democracy reforms must pass in 2020 to set the stage for ongoing progress on these and other issues.

The letter was led by: Debra Rodman (SD-12), Larry Barnett (HD-27), Sheila Bynum-Coleman (HD-66), Karen Mallard (HD-84), and Phil Hernandez (HD-100).

“The influence of money in politics isn’t just corrupting Washington but state and local politics, too,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “These 32 challengers know that real progress can’t be made on critical issues without comprehensive reforms that unrig the system so it works for everyone. This letter sends a clear message to Virginians they hope to serve, and those currently serving in the legislature, that these candidates will lead the fight to take power out of the hands of corporate special interests and restore it to the people. End Citizens United applauds this group’s efforts to combat corruption and repair democracy in the Commonwealth.”

Key elements of the letter would include: creating contribution limits to combat the influence of big donors, ending partisan gerrymandering, banning contributions from corporations with business before the General Assembly, securing voters’ right to know the original sources of electoral spending, and removing barriers that prevent Virginians from exercising their right to vote.

The full list of the 32 candidates who signed the letter also includes: Missy Cotter Smasal (SD-08), Ghazala Hashmi (SD-10), Amanda Pohl (SD-11), Flo Ketner (SD-19), Annette Hyde (SD-24), Ronnie Ross (SD-27), Qasim Rashid (SD-28), Eric Stamps (HD-14), Laura Galante (HD-18), Jennifer Woofter (HD-22), Joshua Cole (HD-28), Irina Khanin (HD-29), Mavis Taintor (HD-33), Dan Helmer (HD-40), Morgan Goodman (HD-55), Juanita Jo Matkins (HD-56), Tim Hickey (HD-59), Trudy Berry (HD-61), Lindsey Dougherty (HD-62), Rodney Willett (HD-73), Len Myers (HD-81), Nancy Guy (HD-83), Alex Askew (HD-85), Suhas Subramanyam (HD-87), Jess Foster (HD-88), Shelly Simonds (HD-94), and Mark Downey (HD-96).

ECU was established in March 2015 to counter the harmful effects of Citizens United and reform our campaign finance system. Its affiliated project, Fight for Reform (FFR), focuses on bringing transparency and accountability to state and local elections around the country.