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The People's Platform

“Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

RUTH BADER GINSBURG

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I want to create trust in the legislative process in two ways: Through empowering people to effectively advocate for the policies they need, and by lifting the veil around how the General Assembly works. Years ago, we created our ‘You Write The Bill’ workshops to walk constituents through the bill-writing and lobbying process, so everyone could write and introduce real legislation. Now we are creating the People's Platform as our campaign is entirely powered by individual donors like you. 

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In my seven years in the General Assembly, I have worked to lower health care costs, pushed for intersectional justice through a Green New Deal, advanced the socio-emotional health of our children, and advocated for good government in limiting the influence of special interests in our government. Now let's hear from you!

POLICY OVERVIEW

A Green New Deal for Virginia Centered on Economic, Social, & Environmental Justice


Sam co-sponsored the Green New Deal Act to lay the groundwork for intersectional policies that will lower energy bills, create 200,000 jobs and improve the quality of life for every community in Virginia. A Green New Deal is not just about climate justice -- it’s also about the intersection of economic justice, racial justice, health care justice and worker justice. As a legislator, Sam has fought to: • Enact a Green New Deal that gets Virginia to 100% clean energy by 2036 • Establish a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects. The future of Virginia’s economy is clean energy, not more pipelines. • Create a just transition for fossil fuel workers into high-paying clean energy jobs • Declare a climate crisis in Virginia • Make sure fossil fuel companies and polluters, not regular Virginians, pay for the damage they’ve caused, especially in communities of color • Ban donations from state-regulated utilities like Dominion




Education and Holistic Child Development


When teachers do well, students do well. When students do well, our commonwealth has a bright future. As a product of the Roanoke Valley’s public schools, Sam understands investing in public education isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity. As Delegate, Sam has: • Supported increasing teacher pay to surpass the national average. (Virginia currently ranks 32nd) • Advocated for teachers to have the right to collectively bargain • Supported capital investments to make our schools safe and equipped for 21st-century learning • Passed legislation to move away from high stakes testing and toward holistic child development that focuses on social-emotional learning In addition to focusing on a child's cognitive development, we need to ensure we take a holistic approach to childhood growth. Studies show social-emotional learning is critical for building our children’s soft skills, and for developing their mental resilience. With a holistic approach, we can help our children to not merely survive, but to thrive. Sam’s bill, HB 753, passed in the General Assembly to require the Virginia Department of Education to develop effective implementation of social and emotional learning in public schools to replace and reduce current high-stakes standardized testing. Read the full policy here.




Affordable, Reliable Broadband


COVID-19 has made the need for equitable access to affordable broadband more urgent. Workers without a reliable internet connection in the home don’t have opportunities to work from home, and many of their children are falling behind their classmates in school who have broadband at home. Virginia residents from old to young rely on reliable, affordable internet as a way to connect with family and friends, get check-ups from their doctor and access medicine, and sustain their businesses. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will continue to stand up to the big telecoms and work to get rid of their undue influence through corporate campaign donations and lobbying. He will build on the success of municipal broadband and independent co-ops to lower prices and improve service. And he will work to close the digital divide by making broadband affordable and increasing access in the communities, urban and rural, who have too often been left out. Read the full policy here.




Voting Is A Right


Del. Sam Rasoul has served on the House Privileges & Elections Committee for eight years. He has fought tirelessly against Republican attempts to make it more difficult for Virginians to vote, particularly for Black and brown Virginians. As Lt. Governor, he will work to expand and protect voting rights in the commonwealth. In 2017 Sam was the only General Assembly member to refuse PAC donations. As Lt. Governor, Sam will continue to build on his record on campaign finance reform and work to increase engagement and participation in the democratic process. Read the full policy here.




Virginia Marshall Plan for Moms


After the onset of COVID-19 and the closing of many of our schools and child care centers, millions of moms were forced to leave the workforce and assume the primary role as caregivers for both their parents and children. In December 2020, the U.S. economy lost a net of 140,000 jobs. All of them were held by women. This crisis has given us the opportunity and obligation to address this growing inequity. When we consider policies to rebuild our Commonwealth, we must take into account the impact COVID-19 had on moms, especially moms of color, from the wages lost to the career advancement forgone to the barriers to reentering the workforce after women have been forced to leave it. It’s time for a Virginia Marshall Plan for Moms that includes child care for all, paid family and medical leave for every worker and a living wage. Read the full policy here.




COVID Recovery and High-Quality, Affordable Health Care


Simply put, every Virginian should have access to high-quality, affordable health care. Hard-working Virginians should have the freedom and security to both pay their bills and take their child to the doctor. After a decade of experience working in health care, and serving as Vice Chair of the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee in the House of Delegates, Sam understands that we need real solutions now. This year, his bill to expand the scope of treatment by pharmacists passed the General Assembly, allowing Virginians without a general physician to access basic care, including vaccinations. Health care is more than just the right to be insured. It’s about having equal access to quality providers, and ensuring that all workers have paid family and medical leave so they can afford to access care when they are sick without financial concern. It’s about lowering the outrageous costs of prescription drugs, integrating mental health into health care, and making addiction treatment affordable for all so people can get back on their feet. This pandemic has taught us that health care is a collective concern, not an individual one. Our commonwealth can lead the way nationwide in making health care a basic right, and Sam has the experience to get us there. Read the full policy here.




Uplifting Working Families & Main Street Businesses


In recent years, Virginia ranked as the number one state for businesses, but the worst for workers. COVID-19 only made those worker conditions worse. As a small business owner, Sam knows how hard these establishments were hit during the pandemic. It’s crucial that we keep workers and small, Main Street businesses at the heart of our recovery. As a Delegate, Sam supported:

  • Increasing Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 per hour and indexing it to future inflation
  • Repealing the Right to Work laws, which prevent workers from collectively bargaining for pay and benefits, and making it easier to form a union.
  • Collective bargaining for public sector unions
  • Paid family and medical leave for every worker
  • Expanded sick leave
  • Fair scheduling
  • Tax rebates for small businesses up to $25,000
As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will stand up to large corporations who put their bottom line before the health and safety of their workers. He’ll fight for the small businesses that make our communities prosper.




Equal Rights & Criminal Justice Reform


Our criminal justice system has disproportionately affected people of color and low-income residents. In the wake of police-involved shootings, it’s more urgent than ever to change our court and law enforcement agencies to ensure Virginians receive equitable and just treatment. As a legislator, Sam has supported:

  • Breonna’s Law, which eliminated no-knock warrants
  • Going farther than restoring felon voting rights upon release and ensuring that the ability to vote is never taken away
  • Requiring the release of body camera footage within 15 days in instances of police shootings
  • Abolishing the death penalty
  • Ending qualified immunity
  • Legalizing marijuana use and investing tax revenue generated by cannabis sales back into communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs




People's Platform Policies


We know our democracy is healthiest when everyone has a seat at the table. That’s why we asked Virginians from across the Commonwealth to submit their ideas for progressive policy initiatives. This type of participatory lawmaking was at the heart of Sam’s “You Write the Bill” series, where participants learn how to write their own bills and lobby for them in the General Assembly. So far, three of these bills have become Virginia law. We’ve highlighted just a few of the many submissions we received. They include ideas to make voting more accessible, give small businesses tax breaks, and increase access to affordable health care. Read the top policy submissions here .




Safely Housing Virginia's Families


Del. Sam Rasoul believes that in a national as wealthy as ours, housing should be treated as a human right. Last year in Norfolk, Sam met a young woman named Tara who lost her job after a lengthy hospital stay. She's been homeless ever since. Most Virginians are only one accident or injury away from losing everything, and the pandemic only made it worse.

As a Delegate, Sam supported:

  • An eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic
  • Helping Virginians with back payments to cover their rent and mortgages
  • Strengthening tenant protections and laws
Too many people fall through the cracks in our current housing system. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will expand access to housing vouchers and take a new approach to the predatory zoning laws that got us here.




Fighting for Women, LGBTQ, Minority, & Religious Rights


All Virginians should have the right to know they won’t be discriminated against based on who they love or how they worship. We have made great strides in Virginia in recent years, but the fight for true equality is far from over. We must continue to make progress toward equal rights for all Virginians. Sam will continue to advocate to preserve and expand protections and end harmful practices that disproportionately affect LGBTQ & minority communities. As a legislator, Sam:

  • Supported the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Fought for a woman’s right to choose
  • Supported closing the gender pay gap
  • Introduced legislation that protects domestic violence survivors from housing discrimination
  • Supported removing the constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage

Too many people still face discrimination and barriers in the workplace, and we must take every opportunity to stand up and fight for equality. There is much more work needed to do to ensure women are on equal footing in the Commonwealth.




Common Sense Gun Safety


Del. Rasoul has been a member of the Public Safety House Committee since his first term in the House of Delegates. After Democrats took the majority, he joined his colleagues in passing Governor Northam's gun violence prevention package to ensure we keep our communities safe. Throughout Sam's four terms in General Assembly, he has consistently supported policies to curb gun violence in Virginia through common-sense gun safety legislation—including mandatory background checks, a ban on weapons of war and high capacity magazines, and red flag laws.




Helping Virginians with Disabilities


A society can only live up to its potential when there is equity among its citizens. Sam has seen time and time again that we leave people behind. It’s especially difficult for young people with disabilities when they age out of assistance programs only provided to minors. There are still too many barriers to education, work, and health care access for people with disabilities.

Sam consistently fought for the expansion of disability waivers, one of the easiest ways to provide folks with assistance finding a job, independent living, and reliable transportation. He voted to increase the minimum wage of workers with certain disabilities. Sam has also pushed for affordable, safe housing opportunities that fit the unique needs of people with disabilities.




People-First Politics


Virginia is viewed as a national bellwether because it’s the first state to hold elections after a presidential year. After achieving a Democratic Trifecta in Virginia and electing a Democratic president, our party is uniquely poised to build on this momentum and fight for a legislative agenda that helps the most Virginians. We have to seize this moment as an opportunity to ensure we never go back to 2016. Del. Sam Rasoul has crafted a strategic plan for how we approach politics. This fundamentally different model leans on the wisdom of our cumulative experience. It’s an assemblage of lessons learned, proven neuroscience, and a bold vision for Virginia’s future. Sam’s plan includes:

  • Steps for strengthening our grassroots coalitions
  • Aggressive incumbent protection measures
  • Ensuring a statewide party presence
  • Programs to build trust and goodwill with voters
  • Strategies for building a deeper bench for future success
This model centers on operationalizing our party values of uplifting diverse voices across the Commonwealth. It requires hustle, grit, and robust planning; but it’s attainable. Sam’s initiatives like Democratic Promise and the Impact Center are proven, effective ways to earn trust among voters while streamlining our operations so we can laser focus on winning long term. This unifying method will help Democrats guide the Commonwealth into a new era of inclusive politics for all Virginians. Read the full policy here.




The Press Is Essential For Democracy


Del. Sam Rasoul has watched escalating layoffs in newspapers and other news outlets across the state with rising concern. He knows that the press is integral to the survival of democracy through its role as watchdog of the government. The crisis is unprecedented, and it’s not a partisan issue: Local news coverage has declined by 60 percent since 2000, and today, some 1,800 communities have no local news outlet. Since COVID, another 36,000 newspaper employees have been laid off. The local press in America is vanishing. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will work to give the news business the support it needs to keep providing reliable information to local communities. He knows that the relationship between the press and the community is part of what knits people together and promotes participation in the democratic process. Read the full policy here.





 
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