IssuesPolicy Platform

Strengthening Education

As a longtime teacher and educational leader with a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy, I have a rare combination of policy expertise *and* practical classroom experience. I will work to make our public education system stronger and more equitable for all students. Investments in our educational institutions are investments in our students and investments in our future.  I support:

  • Making sure the Commonwealth fully meets its educational funding obligations.
  • Raising the salaries of teachers and ALL other K-12 public school staffers. Virginia is the one of the 10 wealthiest states but ranks among the lowest 10 in teacher pay.
  • Bringing the SOQs (Standards of Quality) in line with what it takes to properly educate our kids and fully funding any state-issued mandates. 
  • A state grant program for funding school infrastructure and facilities to modernize Virginia’s crumbling school buildings. 
  • Reducing gaps in opportunities and outcomes for students of color, special education, English Language Learners, and low-income students. 
  • Policies that accommodate and include transgender and nonbinary students.
  • Standards of Learning (SOLs) that include Virginians’ complete and shared history and that reflect the lives and experiences of ALL people.
  • Reversing disinvestment in our institutions of higher and continuing education and taking the financial burden off of Virginia’s students and their families.
  • Strengthening laws and enforcement of laws that safeguard PK-12 and higher education student and educator privacy, especially of data, and that prevent cyber attacks on and increase cyber security of our Virginia school districts, colleges, and universities.

Expanding Access to Healthcare

I believe that healthcare is a human right. I will work to ensure that we all have access to healthcare and that healthcare, treatments, and medications are affordable. As a mother of children with Type 1 diabetes and other disabilities, I know how important it is that ALL Virginians have access to the medications they need and access to medical health providers when they need them. I support: 

  • Lowering or capping prescription drug prices.
  • Expanding access to Medicaid.
  • Adequate funding and resources for mental health services including for substance abuse disorders.
  • Safeguarding our reproductive rights, freedoms, and expanding access to abortion, contraception, and reproductive healthcare.
  • Reducing racial, socio-economic, and gender-based disparities in access to adequate and appropriate healthcare.
  • Parity of mental health benefits and services with medical and surgical benefits and services.
  • Instituting a medical debt relief program.
  • Decoupling healthcare from employment.
  • Building capacity for the provision of behavioral and mental health and medical disability services.

Environmental Preservation, Conservation, and Opportunities

We must live within our energy means and preserve our environment for our children and grandchildren and take meaningful action before it’s too late. As a legislator, I will uphold my commitment to environmental preservation, to passing legislation to conserve land and resources, and to making renewable energy sources affordable and viable industries. I support:

  • Transitioning to renewable energy sources while making renewable energy sources affordable.
  • Fair, comparable wages for renewable energy workers.
  • Halting new pipelines and gold mines.
  • Building & developing our public transportation infrastructure including sidewalks, bike lanes, and hiking and walking trails.
  • Protecting historic and vulnerable communities such as Brown Grove here in the 59th District.
  • Exploring possibilities for establishing protective trusts for rural land.
  • Connecting the agriculture possibilities in the 59th District with creating jobs that feature bio-friendly products.

Promoting Positive Criminal Justice Outcomes

The people of the 59th District want to be treated fairly. They want public safety networks that serve and protect them and that are representative of their communities. I will work to remove current burdens on law enforcement agencies and shift them, with funding, to where they belong: mental health and social services.  I support: 

  • Fair compensation and better training for first responders, public safety officers, and criminal justice workers.
  • Better training for law enforcement officers.
  • Full funding of courts, including competitive pay for courts staff.
  • Fully funding mental health services and interventions, and increased capacity thereof, when appropriate in place of law enforcement involvement.
  • Treating drug use as a substance abuse & mental health (not criminal) matter.
  • Promoting the use of non-lethal force.
  • Providing the option for civilian oversight of sheriff’s offices *and* city police departments.
  • Raising the felony larceny threshold.
  • Automatic expungement.
  • Ending or minimizing jail time for non-violent offenses.
  • Ending the practice of trying children as adults. 
  • Shifting the burden of enforcing parking and traffic violations to a non-armed civilian agency.
  • Higher standards for accepting jailhouse informant testimony.
  • Video recording of and prohibition of the use of deception during interrogations.
  • Establishing fair guidelines for police lineups and identifications.

Promoting Economic Fairness

ALL Virginians deserve to have access to meaningful employment that pays living wages. ALL Virginians deserve to be compensated fairly for their labor, to have safe working conditions, reasonable benefits, and job security. Furthermore, our tax dollars should not be subsidizing corporations who don’t pay living wages or offer benefits, relying on the taxpayers to support their employees.  I support:

  • Competitive pay for Virginia’s public servants and first responders.
  • A $15 minimum wage.
  • Paid sick and family leave for all workers.
  • The right to collective bargaining for employees.
  • Repeal of anti-worker laws.

Supporting Families

I support honoring all kinds and types of families. Just because someone’s marriage or family is not exactly like mine doesn’t mean it should be invisible or be banned. I will represent ALL constituents of the 59th District, from all types of families. I will support policies that support families, including:

  • A strong, full-funded public education system.
  • Access to affordable healthcare.
  • Fair compensation, including paid sick and family leave. 
  • Affordable, accessible, and high quality, affordable and accessible prenatal and childcare.
  • Marriage equality for LGBTQ people.
  • Increasing resources and programs to prevent sexual, dating, and domestic abuse and violence, and to protect victims thereof.

Preventing Gun Violence and Ensuring Gun Safety

We must support responsible gun owners while keeping our communities and children safe from gun violence. Gun violence, deaths from gun accidents, and deaths by suicide with guns are a public health crisis. I support:

  • Funding programs and initiatives to educate and train people about safe gun use and to prevent gun violence.
  • Expansion of background checks to private and gun show sales.
  • Giving families and law enforcement tools to intervene when there is evidence that someone poses a risk to themselves or others with a firearm while protecting due process.
  • Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
  • Secure firearm storage policies.
  • Prohibitions on dangerous weapons, including ghost guns, assault-style weapons and those with high capacity magazines.
  • Limiting firearms in sensitive places.

Protecting Voting Rights & Free and Fair Elections

I was raised in a home where civic engagement is expected, where voting is not just a right but a duty. I’ve never missed an election. I will ensure that my constituents never miss one, either, and will work to stop current efforts to disenfranchise Virginians and to undermine free and fair elections. I support:

  • Greater access to voting and other democratic processes.
  • Fully funding voter & elections services and tools.
  • Public financing of elections.
  • Ranked-choice voting. 
  • A full time legislature.

Following Through with Broadband Access

High-speed internet is essential and should be treated like a public utility.

In districts like the 59th District, especially in our more rural areas, it’s not sufficient to subsidize internet bills; we must establish full infrastructure for high speed internet. Without it, our students, families, and small businesses will struggle and will be left at a disadvantage.

I will do whatever it takes to help all residents of the 59th District get affordable broadband access. To start, I support increasing funding to the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative to help defray costs of broadband access. I will also push the electric utility companies in the 59th to do their part to provide broadband access.

PoliciesTax Reform

I am a proponent of tax reforms, so that the Commonwealth is accessing every viable and reasonable source of revenue possible, while removing some of the burden on the working and middle classes.
Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Rachel Levy - 59th District
PO Box 869, Ashland, VA 23005
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