ROANOKE, Va. – Six candidates are facing off in the race to become the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor.
The Democratic primary is set for Tuesday, June 8.
Among their similarities is prioritizing COVID-19 recovery, fighting climate change, increasing affordable health care access and continued criminal justice reform.
On top of that, Del. Sam Rasoul, who represents the Roanoke Valley, wants to expand child development programs and increase teacher pay.
“I’ve always tried to do what I think is right for you. While I certainly try to advance progressive values, I’ve always said what is best for Virginians and that’s how I’ve always voted and can’t wait to do that as your next Lieutenant Governor,” Rasoul said.
Del. Hala Ayala said she’ll push for Medicaid expansion and better telehealth access for rural communities.
“I want to be the last woman in the room with the governor, whomever he or she may be, to just lean in and shepherd and continue to roll my sleeves up and work for every Virginian. I would be the first woman of color elected, the first national security person,” Ayala said.
Ayala is not the only candidate who’d be breaking barriers.
“I’d be the first openly gay Lieutenant Governor in American history,” Del. Mark Levine said.
Levine has an agenda set on dealing with gun violence and systemic racism and promises to elevate the position to a full-time job.
“I know how to get bills passed, I know how to get things done and then, of course, there’s that commitment, that full year-round commitment to visit all of Virginia counties and cities and make your voice heard,” Levine said.
That round-the-clock responsibility is also a commitment for Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan.
“I think Virginia has full-time challenges and having an active, being an active partner to the governor is going to be important,” McClellan said.
The environment and workforce development are among her priorities.
“I’m the only candidate who has local government experience and I can be that bridge between cities and counties and towns at the highest level of state government,” McClellan said.
Sean Perryman is an attorney and a former chapter head of the NAACP. He vows to be a voice for the working class and expand broadband access.
“The role is not very powerful and I’ve taken positions where I didn’t have a lot of inherent power and done something with it,” Perryman said. “I’m someone that just really cares about Virginians and wants to listen to them but knows how to pull the levers to get things done even when you don’t have inherent power.”
Danville native Xavier Warren is a federal grant-writing consultant and NFL agent. He’s focused on workforce development, school funding and attracting more business.
“To be able to bring that unique diverse experience, outsider view, new ideas and new leadership to state government to really bring a fresh start to Virginia and the Roanoke area,” Warren said.
The winner of the Democratic Primary will go on to face GOP nominee Winsome Sears in the November election.
While you may see the name Elizabeth Guzman on your ballot next week, she has withdrawn from the race.