Q&A with Jennifer Lewis
Q: How did you come to the decision to run for the Virginia 6th District seat this year?
A: During my work and service in the community, I was blessed to meet and engage with extraordinary people of all political beliefs who are fed up with the way Washington has been co-opted by big corporations, lobbyists and special interests. I’m a farmer’s daughter, and I know what it means to work hard just to make ends meet. As a mental health worker in the district, I understand the suffering and struggles everyday people are facing. I decided that the best way to contribute my experiences and passion would be to run for office.
Q: Why do you want to serve the 6th District?
A: I am not a career politician. My only goal in running for this office is to make things better for people in our district. I’ll always prioritize the people of our district when making decisions. My independence from corporate contributions, special interests and political party leaders makes me the only candidate in this race you can trust (who) will put people first and serve you.
Q: How do you plan on working with other House leaders who may sit on the opposite side of the aisle than you?
A: I have devoted my life to listening to all ideas and reaching across the lines to help people. For example, I’m proud to support Republican State Senator (Bill) Stanley’s school modernization effort at the state level. It’s a brilliant, bipartisan plan to address our rundown school facilities, and I also support a federal school modernization bill backed by Senators Warner (and) Kaine, but also Republicans like Eric Cantor and George Allen. I am an independent voice, and I’ll immediately reach out to members of the other political party to discuss collaboration on shared concerns.
Q: What is a personal belief you hold that grounds your political work?
A: I believe in a free government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Corruption in our government and our corrupt campaign finance system are at the root of so many problems in our nation. It ensures that career politicians go to Washington and prioritize the interests of their donors. I refuse to accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs, special interests, and the fossil-fuel industry, and I believe electing politicians free from corrupting influences is the first step of reform. We should also pass legislation requiring more transparency, more lobbying disclosures, and ultimately aim for a constitutional amendment to ensure all citizens have equal capacity to influence elections, regardless of wealth or power.
Q: Why should college students vote for you?
A: College students should vote for me because I take positions on the issues that affect them and their futures. I want to make college debt-free so that recent graduates can enter the workforce with more freedom. I believe we need more democracy, and we need to break the stranglehold lobbyists, large corporations, and the superrich have over our government. I believe we need to seriously address global warming and rapidly transition to 100 percent renewable energy. These are all issues we must address immediately, and I’m the only candidate in this race willing to do so.
Q: Representative Goodlatte is retiring after 13 terms serving the 6th District. How do you plan to follow such a prominent legacy and position in the community?
A: Representative Goodlatte was a contentious figure, and I plan to follow him by working across the aisle and seriously and regularly meeting with constituents. I was honored that Congressman Goodlatte’s son, the person who knows the Congressman better than any of us do, endorsed me in this race.
Q: If elected, what type of working relationship do you foresee having with the current White House administration?
A: It’s important we have a member of Congress who will work with the president when he is right but stand up for the citizens of our district when he is wrong. The Democrats are going to win control of the House in 2018, and we need somebody in office who will be able to work with them, with our Democratic senators, and with our state legislators. If Delegate Cline wins this election, Democrats will ignore him because of his extreme views, the president will ignore him because Cline has little influence, and the people of our district will be powerless in Washington.