Editor: The November election is here and I am struck that my role as a parent is playing a significant part in my decision making at the polls. I attended several events with Wendy Gooditis to get to know my local candidate for House of Delegates. I was moved by her passion for helping others especially those less fortunate, her desire to represent all her constituents, and her dedication to her values. My role as a parent has me focused on my children’s health, education, and the environment in which they live and play.
Wendy is dedicated to helping families find healthcare they can afford. I believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, because when people do not have health insurance and access to the doctors they need, they die from preventable illnesses. This hurts families, communities, and our economy. Wendy also wants to fight for increased services for mental health treatment. She understands that clinical depression is one of America’s most costly diseases (on par with heart disease because of lost productivity and absenteeism). She knows that depression can last a lifetime if it goes untreated, but that the majority (about 80%) of individuals who receive treatment can overcome their depression. Her opponent Randy Minchew has been short sighted and fiscally irresponsible by blocking access to federal funds for Medicare expansions. He was short sighted because preventative care saves the health care system money in the long-term and fiscally irresponsible because taking Medicare expansion money would have saved the state budget more than $70 million a year. He blocked our federal money that should have come back to benefit Virginians and their health.
Wendy has been an educator in our district across many settings (i.e., public schools, private schools, as a home schooling parent). She is disheartened by the fact that Loudoun County public school teachers’ salaries are below the national average (by $7000 on average). She plans to fight to raise the pay of public school teachers to at least the national average so that we can recruit and retain excellent teachers. Minchew, her opponent, has continually withdrawn funding from Virginia public schools and given it to parochial schools and voucher programs instead (Minchew’s bill HB1605).
One of Wendy’s strongest values is her belief in taking care of our environment. She has promised to fight for environmental regulations to protect our water, green spaces, and air, to support innovations in renewable energy technology, and to consider environmental impact of local development. Minchew and his colleagues in Richmond failed to protect our local environment. We need Wendy to help shape a statewide renewable energy plan to make Virginia an economic leader in environmental protection.
It is paramount that we as parents stand for health care for all our families, exceptional education for all our children, and care and conservation of our local environment. Wendy Gooditis stands for these values; let’s send Wendy to Richmond on Tuesday, November 7th.
Liz Witmer, Leesburg