VA05 Side-by-Side Candidate Survey
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Cross-Grassroots Candidate Survey - Virginia District 5
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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http://www.cullopforcongress.com/http://www.rdforva.com/http://sneathernforcongress.com/
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https://www.facebook.com/CullopForCongresshttps://www.facebook.com/RDforVA/https://www.facebook.com/SneathernForThe5th/
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I. Candidate profile, experience, leadership skills, and campaign strategy
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1.  Prior experience with public office or role in your community prior attempts at public office; voting in past elections; elected office(s) held with years/terms served
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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Current occupation:
Financial Advisor
Current occupation:
Candidate
Current occupation:
Attorney
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I have served on a number of boards and community groups, including the Board of the UVA Children’s Hospital, the Albemarle County Police Foundation Board, and previously, the Charlottesville Retirement Commission. Running for Congress is a way of translating my public service into elected office.N/A● Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Albemarle County
● Attorney Advisor for the Office of Civil Rights in the General Counsel’s Office of the Department of Agriculture
● Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Spottsylvania County, Special prosecutor for domestic violence and sexual assault
● C4 Board Member, OneVirginia2021
● City attorney in East Prairie, MO
● Appointed as Prosecuting Attorney for Mississippi County, Missouri by Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan; later elected to same position
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2. Your story what inspired you to run for office, why people should vote for you over other candidates
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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I’m running for Congress because I was born in this district, I was raised in Virginia, and I’m raising my family here. I know we can do better than Tom Garrett, Donald Trump, and the policies we’re getting from Washington. When I see members of my community struggling to get a good job, to get access to quality and affordable healthcare, or provide a quality education for their children, those problems are personal to me. The people of this district are my friends, my family, and the people I grew up with. I want to spend my time in Washington working non-stop to make the lives of the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia better, and that’s what this district needs. I’m the only candidate who is from here and knows the district well enough to powerfully fight for our values and the solutions that will improve the lives of the people I’ve fought for my entire life.I come from a rural, southern family. None of my parents or grandparents even attended college. My parents both struggled with substance abuse growing up, and my dad drove a forklift for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years. Yet I was able to use merit-based scholarships to graduate from the University of West Georgia, serve as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq, attend Harvard Business School on the GI Bill, and co-found a technology company. In short, my family was able to go from the farm to the factory to the future in two generations because we worked hard and our country had our back. That promise doesn’t hold for too many Americans today, which is why I’m running for Congress to create a more inclusive, accessible economy in every community of Virginia’s Fifth District.

Despite the challenges our country faces, I still believe that the future in America includes everyone. I believe that my family’s story, coupled with this message of hope for the future, is the one that gives us the best chance to ensure that Tom Garrett is a one-term congressman.
Donald Trump and Tom Garrett inspired me to run for office. When I first thought about running, I was scared. I was scared for what it might mean for my family and what it might mean to put myself out there. But, I realized that I was more scared of a world led by Tom Garrett and his mentor, Donald Trump. I honestly believe that the future of our country is at great risk, and I decided that I needed to stand up for my two boys. I never thought I would run for Congress, but I never thought we would be in as much jeopardy as we are.

I believe that I am the best candidate to take on Tom Garrett. Much of the 5th district is rural, with an R+6 tilt. I’m a Democrat, but I’m a rural Democrat. I grew up on my family’s farm, which has been in my family for five generations. My mother still farms that land to this day. And I would still be on that farm now, but farming has changed dramatically and the economic opportunity isn’t the same.

I can speak to people that a typical Democrat can’t speak to. I’m a hunter and grew up with guns- I can speak to gun-owners about common sense gun legislation. I can speak to farmers about changes in agriculture and how Trump’s 2016 proposed budget would do away with 36% crop insurance, and how allowing wind turbines would allow you to have two crops as opposed to just one. I can speak to small business owners about tax incentives. I believe that I can be an honest broker and will work hard every day to make sure I am representing all constituents in the 5th district.
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3. What aspects of your experience will serve you best if elected? What are the most important qualities and leadership traits you bring to the campaign and the office you are seeking?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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I have experience in public education and in the private sector, and I know how the economy works. My time as an admissions dean for UVA meant I have been to every community college and high school in the 5th district of Virginia, so I have a deep knowledge of the problems our public education system faces. During my time in the private sector, I invested in companies and created jobs in the Fifth District. One of the most important traits in a leader is the ability to listen. I will bring this ability to my work in Congress. I have pledged to hold a town hall in every locality in our District during my first year in office - 23 in total. I will use the experience of my past to bring the voices of our district to Washington.I’ve been fortunate to have a wide variety of life experiences, and I think just about all of them would serve me well if elected. I’m able to empathize with working families, particularly those in rural communities, because many of the challenges they face today are similar to the ones my family and I faced when I was growing up (the struggle for affordable and accessible education, substance abuse, etc.)

I understand how to work alongside folks from different backgrounds to accomplish a mission without making excuses because that’s what I had to do every day in the Marine Corps. That skillset is clearly lacking in Congress right now, as we continue to see gridlock and discord in DC.

I have a background in the private sector and a good idea for how the changing economy works that will allow me to serve as a convener for our local, state, and federal resources, as well as our educational institutions, and the private and non-profit sectors. I want to bring folks from all of those backgrounds together to build a stronger and more inclusive economy in the Fifth District, where many communities have been left out of the nationwide economic expansion we’ve seen over the several years.

As a former trial attorney, small business owner and non-profit volunteer, I have built relationships and networks throughout my community and all over the 5th district. When I am representing my client, they have to place their trust in me. I worked hard to earn their trust, and to prove that I would do my best for them. I will treat the constituents of the 5th district with the same dignity and respect.

I am loyal and I can promise that no one will outwork me. I would be humbled to serve as Congressman of Virginia’s 5th district, and the responsibility would never be lost on me.
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4. How will you support whoever wins the Democratic primary?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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I fully plan on winning the nomination, but all of my opponents would be a better representative for our district than Tom Garrett, and the nominee will always have my contact info for anything they need from me to win.I will support the Democratic nominee in whatever possible way they ask of me.I was the first of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in this race to publicly state at a forum that “the hardest job for the voters of the 5th is to decide between four incredible candidates to take on Tom Garrett” and that I would be the first one hitting doors and making calls to support whoever wins the nomination. While I believe I am the best candidate to defeat Garrett and represent this District in Congress, I also recognize that the most important reason for running is to win back this seat for the constituents of the 5th District to ensure real representation going forward.
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5. What is your prior experience connecting/working with grassroots groups? How would your campaign use grassroots help – besides canvassing and phonebanking?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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I have worked extensively with groups like Indivisible Charlottesville and Forward Fluvanna, attending their meetings, joining in their protests, and coordinating their actions with other groups in the area. During the elections in Virginia in 2017, we harnessed that energy into lots of canvassing and phone banking, but these activist groups have done so much more. As my campaign covers such a large district, I want to use my campaign to help grassroots groups connect across large geographical distances. I want to have members of groups like Indivisible Charlottesville attend meetings and forums put on by groups in the more rural parts of our district, so that both groups can learn about respective issues in different areas of the district, and we can unite this diverse district to beat Tom Garrett.I worked as an volunteer for Veterans for Obama in the Massachusetts to New Hampshire primaries in 2008. In the campaign, we have partnered with and attended events for Indivisible Charlottesville, Nelson Indivisible, and Fauquier Indivisible. Grassroots groups - by definition - work most effectively with a bottom-up rather than top-down approach. Rather than dictating to groups what they should and shouldn’t be doing, my campaign will strive to provide our grassroots partners with the support they need to build our network of support across the Fifth District.I served on the C4 board of OneVirginia2021, a grassroots group whose aim is to end political gerrymandering through advocacy and education. It is crucial to build a network of grassroots support, and OneVirginia2021 exemplified that firsthand. We have to speak to one another, and we have to come together and fight for our common goals.

There is already strong grassroots potential in this district. Swing Left has declared the 5th to be a target district, and due to Charlottesville’s recent spotlight and Tom Garrett’s voting records (or lack thereof- he has missed more than 15% of the votes), our race will explode. I am building a coalition of grassroots support now, because that is how we win the convention. We must have a strong ground game, utilizing grassroots organizing, to encourage people to participate in the nominating process. I am using Tom Perriello as a model for what must be done in the 5th district for a Democrat to win. We have to speak to everyone, and go to all parts of this massive district. We must tap into grassroots efforts like postcard writing and letters to the editor, because we have to use all tools at our disposal to reach all members of our community. There are already groups like Rapp Resist in Rappahannock doing exactly this.
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II. Issues/Policy
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6. Do you consider yourself a progressive? Why?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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I consider myself a progressive because I want to go to Washington to be a voice for all people. I want to help build an economy that works for everyone and not just the wealthy and big corporations. I’m a progressive because I fight for the people I see everyday in my district - people struggling to find jobs, healthcare, and a good education for their children. I want to expand civil rights and fight for economic opportunity for all. Our progressive values are not being represented in by Tom Garrett, and I want to take the voices of my constituents to Washington and make them proud.I consider myself a progressive because I believe in progress, which requires working together to get things done. To me, that’s the entire purpose of America. We were founded on the ideal that everyone is created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We’ve been working since 1776 to make that aspiration a reality, and I’m determined to do my part in Congress.I absolutely consider myself a progressive. I believe that progressive policies are what it takes to move our communities forward. I am constantly learning and always willing to adjust my positions based on new information. I believe that keeping an open mind is a strength rather than a weakness. Constantly listening and learning has been key to my progressive ideals

I am a Democrat because I believe that each of us have value. I believe that when any member of our community if suffering, we are all diminished by that suffering. I am proud to be a progressive Democrat, and will go everywhere talking to people about our values and why our values offer the best opportunity for everyone.
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7. What single issue has most motivated you to run for office? What proposals do you have to address/advance it?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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The issue of access to quality and affordable healthcare is of primary concern in my district. Please see my healthcare policies below.My number one issue is economic development. Too many Americans in too many zip codes are feeling left out of the future of the country right now, and it’s because we’ve failed to provide them with the opportunity to make their children’s lives better than their own.

My team and I are working on a comprehensive economic development plan for the Fifth District that will focus on aligning our research institutions with our community colleges and private sector to ensure that we are training folks with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. The plan will also discuss ways that we can make sure communities have the resources (infrastructure, access to quality, affordable education and healthcare) to build their economies from the bottom-up.
Healthcare, no questions asked. Insurance companies can no longer be trusted to make health and wellness decisions when profit incentives are their number one priority. It remains a travesty that the United States has the highest out-of-pocket healthcare costs per person (at just under $6,000 of income/person) and spends more of its GDP on healthcare for worse outcomes than any other developed nation. This is also the most important issue to members of my district; no matter how rural or urban the areas I have visited, every person I have talked to has mentioned rising premiums, long wait times, and in many areas a lack of access to quality care.

I am a strong proponent of single payer healthcare, but I do believe it must be done in a concerted and gradual process. This begins with offering a public option on the exchanges, which I fully believe Americans will move towards quickly. Additionally, I want to introduce legislation to revamp our rural hospitals and funding structures to ensure that smaller hospitals and physicians aren’t driven out of their localities.
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8. What have you heard from voters in your congressional district that is of primary concern to them and does it vary throughout the district?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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Every group of voters in my district is focused on 4 issues. The first three are always the same, no matter where we are: healthcare, jobs, and education. The fourth issue differs by locality - sometimes it is the environment, sometimes urban sprawl, etc. The underlying thread, though, is that special interest money is corrupting Washington. That is why I pledged early on in my campaign to not take a dime from corporate PAC money during my campaign or in the House. My job as a candidate is to speak powerfully about these issues, and we feel that people are responding well to this message.The primary concern of voters vary across the district. I’ve met with folks in Charlottesville who are concerned about the soaring price of health care. I’ve listened to mothers in Danville who have lost their children to gun violence. I’ve learned from entrepreneurs in Madison County who are working on expanding access to high speed broadband and farmers in Albemarle County who want to ensure the land they work is preserved for future generations. What’s been notable to me is that all of these issues tie back to building an inclusive, accessible economy in one way or another.In addition to the healthcare concerns noted above, voters in this district are most concerned about affordable access to broadband, the detrimental effects that the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines would have on this region, and ensuring that good, quality jobs remain in the District and are available to future generations.

Despite the fact that this district is the size of New Jersey, with a huge variation in demographics and political opinions, my message has always been about “meeting people where they are.” More than anything, voters are looking for someone to talk to them, to listen and to be a voice for them in Congress, something our current “representative” has not been.
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9. Please provide your top 5 policy priorities in order from highest to lowest, from the list of issues grassroots groups have identified as interests.
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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1. Healthcare
2. Jobs and the Economy
3. Education
4. Campaign Finance Reform
5. Environment
1. Economic development, jobs, living wage, innovation/science and technology
2. Education – e.g.: school funding, testing
3. Health care: maintaining ACA
4. Climate change/clean energy
5. Family friendly economy: affordable daycare and eldercare, paid time off, affordable college
1. Health Care: Maintaining and strengthening the ACA; working towards a public option and single payer; Medicare for All
2. Economic Development: Spurring rural job growth & economic opportunity
3. Education: increasing funding to public schools
4. Rural areas: Because the district is drawn to be primarily rural, I believe it is critical to reach all parts of our district with our progressive values.
5. Governance: Redistricting and ending partisan gerrymandering, campaign finance reform, term limits.
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10. For each of the 10 topics below (a) thru (j), what is your position and what are the specific policies and legislation you will be advancing? Answer all or answer only the ones you want to highlight the most.
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(a) Economy & Taxes -- Support vibrant and fair local economy and job creation; efficient and fair taxation
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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We need a tax policy from Washington that invests in our middle class and effectively pursues job creation. This GOP Tax Plan is the complete opposite, giving a feast to corporations and the wealthy while leaving crumbs for the middle class, and ignoring the way job creation works. We need to understand that there is no one silver-bullet way to create jobs in this district. I envision using federal tax policy as a way to encourage medium and small businesses to create jobs in our district across a diverse set of locations and industries. This diversity allows the area to avoid the shocks of consolidation that have allowed one industry to dominate a community and then devastate that community when the industry leaves.
I believe entrepreneurs and small businesses driving bottom-up job creation and economic growth is the key to inclusive economic prosperity. I know this to be true from my time working with technology startups, where I learned about many of the challenges facing new businesses. Twenty-five percent of employees in the Fifth District work for businesses with fewer than 20 employees—well above the national average.

I want to ensure folks have the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and their communities. That means expanding access to high-speed broadband, strengthening wireless networks, investing in workforce development, and reforming the tax code to provide lasting relief to working families and small businesses.
Congress can incentivize the economic behavior we want to see. We need tax policy that favors small businesses. I am committed to strengthening trades, empowering tradespeople, and fueling economic growth in Virginia’s 5th district by developing new programs that connect constituents to new employment opportunities and help business owners capitalize on existing opportunities like Worker Retraining Tax Credits. In addition, I believe that it's time to use the anti-trust policy we have on the books to break up the biggest growers, buyers and retailers to give local players a chance to compete.
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(b) Civil Rights & Criminal Justice – Equal Rights Amendment; racial justice (address racial profiling, mass incarceration and police brutality); LGBTQ rights and equality
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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We know our society continues to deal with racial injustice. At the federal level, I want to fight against a tide of voter suppression laws that disproportionately take away communities of color’s access to the ballot box. We need a new Voting Rights Act, oversight over the Jeff Sessions DOJ, and leaders committed to speaking out against all types of injustice.I often say that the future includes everyone in America, which is why I’m a strong supporter of civil rights
and criminal justice reform.

I support the Equal Rights Amendment. It is the first bill the General Assembly should pass in its next session. I support reforming bail, so that no one is punished for their poverty, and sentencing reform, to reduce the prevalence of unjust and costly mandatory minimums.

I also support LGBTQ rights. I grew up in a conservative, southern Baptist household but have come to believe strongly that we cannot treat people differently because of their sexual orientation. I have written in the past about how I came to support gay marriage.

The passage of the Equal Rights Amendment is long overdue, as is equal pay. It is critical that we do everything we can to fix inequality, and we must look for solutions to bolster the civil rights of all our citizens: especially for women, for people of color, for the disabled, for our LGBTQ community, and for all other marginalized and disadvantaged populations.

Systems are in place to hold people back, and to maintain inequality. One such system is mass incarceration. When I was a prosecuting attorney in Missouri, we were operating with the three strikes approach. One man ended up having to serve nine years because he was caught with crack cocaine- he wasn’t dealing, he wasn’t doing anything else illegal- and it was his third strike. That case fueled my desire to change the system. I started one of the first rural drug courts in Missouri, to help people treat their addictions. I fought to treat these defendants like addicts rather than criminals. I believe that creating tools like drug courts are key to pushing back against oppressive, often privatized for-profit systems that are financially incentivized to keep citizens imprisoned and to encourage recidivism, rather than to treat and assist defendants and prisoners to become contributing members of society.
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(c) Climate Change/Clean Energy – Aggressive transition from fossil fuels to clean energy; develop green jobs; Do you oppose: hydraulic fracturing; offshore drilling; construction of new large fracked gas pipelines?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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We need to commit to investing in renewable energy so that we can not only create jobs but ensure that our planet is here for generations to come. I am opposed to the two pipelines that would run through the Fifth District: the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines. These pipelines have the potential to do great damage to our environment and will continue the Commonwealth's reliance on fossil fuels for our energy needs. We also need a tax policy that puts renewables on the same level as fossil fuels. If that were the case, I think we’d find that renewables are far more competitive than fossil fuels.I want to live in America where everyone is able to collect, sell, and store their own energy. I wrote extensively about my plan for getting there in a policy paper.I oppose the construction of ALL new fracked gas pipelines (specifically the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines which would run through much of the 5th district), find it abhorrent that the federal government will not respond to Virginia’s requests to exempt our coastlines from offshore drilling and oppose any attempts to do so. As such, I would encourage a ban on hydraulic fracturing because of the major health and safety concerns such activities pose. I have also signed NO Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, as well as the Activate Virginia pledge to refuse campaign donations from Dominion Power and Appalachian Power. But it’s not enough to be against fossil fuels. We must also provide a positive vision of clean energy and how investment in green technology benefits communities, spurs economic and job growth, and will ensure a better environment for future generations. I will strive to work with clean energy visionaries in Virginia and beyond for the environmental & economic benefit of my constituents.
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(d) Education - Support public school funding; make college more affordable
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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As the child of two public school teachers, I know that public schools are the key to ensuring our children’s future. I support universal pre-K. We have denied our public schools the funding they need to educate our kids, and in Congress I would work to stand against vouchers and other programs that are gutting funding for public schools. I support making access to higher education more affordable, including community college and vocational programs. Our district would see the benefits of a large re-investment in trade schools and vocational training, which would equip our students with the skills they need to enter our rapidly changing workforce. Our teachers and students have done what we have asked of them, but we need to give them the resources they need to thrive in a changing education landscape.Public education was the great equalizer for me. My high school chemistry teacher, Mrs. Susan Smith, literally changed my life by inspiring me to attend the University of West Georgia on the merit-based HOPE scholarship, where I became the first in my family to graduate from college. Every child deserves a great school and a Mrs. Smith in their life because their is no better engine of opportunity than equitable access to a high quality education.

My life experience has taught me that post-high school education is the key to success in the 21st century economy. In Congress, therefore, I will work to ensure that students who are willing to work hard can graduate from college without a mountain of crippling debt. I will also fight to support a wide variety of pathways used by today’s students, including our robust network of community colleges across the Fifth District, work-based and experiential learning, and national service - all of which can provide the credentialed skills that lead to a solid job and good wages at a fraction of the cost of a traditional four-year degree.
With more than 173,000 K-12 students in the 5th district, we must focus on a strong public education system that will prepare our children for success in the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, teacher pay in Virginia is 30th in the nation and funding for our schools is being slashed by the Department of Education. Furthermore, proposed voucher programs would destroy public accountability in our school systems and leave our schools failing too many students. I am committed to fighting for expansion of early childhood education programs for all Virginians (including offering pre-K education to every American), raising teacher pay to keep quality educators in our schools, supporting classroom innovation that will raise the standard of education, and investing in STEM education and classroom technology.

Additionally, expanding access to higher education is a critical investment we must make. With the University of Virginia at the center of the 5th, we must ensure the school remains accessible to Virginians by looking at tuition increases with a more critical eye, reforming student loan debt and ensuring that it can be discharged in bankruptcy, and revamping our federal aid programs. I am also strongly in support of making community college tuition free, to ensure that rural Virginians in particular have access to the education they need when they need it, not when they can afford it.
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(e) Workers Rights & Family Friendly Economy – Raise the minimum wage (indicate to which level in your district); paid time off, paid sick leave; affordable day care and eldercare; right to collective bargaining/form unions
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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American workers deserve a raise. When outlining policy for raising the minimum wage, we need to take into account regional differences in areas like my district. I support the use of a Living Wage Tax Credit, wherein businesses and employers would receive tax incentives to raise the wages of their workers to an actual living wage. This would run alongside an increase in the federal minimum wage. I also fully support paid family and sick leave, allowing workers to accrue paid time off, and the right to collectively bargain.My dad was a UAW worker who drove a forklift for Ford his entire career. The union helped ensure he had a good wage and benefits to provide for our family, despite the fact he only had a high school diploma. I am a strong supporter of unions because I believe an adversarial system of bargaining ensures the best outcomes for our workers and our economy.

The minimum wage has not been raised since 2009 and lost significant purchasing power since then. I support raising it and tying it to inflation so that politics never again block this pay increase for millions of hard working Americans. We also must work to ensure that those working minimum wage jobs have access to the training and educational opportunities that will allow them to move into the middle class jobs of the 21st century.
We must support our union brothers & sisters, and support the right for all workers to unionize. Virginians deserve the right to work for a wage that can support a family and a real voice on the job. Unions not only built this country but the middle class itself. As we have assaulted and reduced the unions, we have also assaulted and reduced our middle class. When companies force state governments like Virginia to compete in a race to the bottom, our workers lose out. I'm proud of our union families and what they've done for Virginia, but Democrats have been too willing to leave unions out to dry. We need to fight back against right to work legislation passed across the country, and support federal legislation that evens the playing field for companies that recognize the value of organized labor.
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(f) Gun Safety – Close background check loopholes; ban assault weapons; ban large round ammunition clip; ban bump-stocks
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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We need to have a discussion about all of these topics, especially getting weapons of war off of our streets. As a lifelong sportsman and gun owner, I know the difference between weapons used for hunting and weapons designed to kill people. This issue is also a problem of corporate money in politics. When I was growing up, the NRA was a group that focused on gun safety and on families hunting together. Now, it is essentially a dark-money lobbying group for gun manufacturers. If we get money out of politics, our path to meaningful gun reform becomes much clearer. That is why I've pledged not to take a dime from corporate PACs and groups like the NRA.I’ve published two pieces on gun violence in the past week. One is a letter to my dad , who was a card-carrying member of the NRA, about why I’m supporting an assaults weapon ban. The other is a detailed policy paper that walks through the ideas I would bring to the table for the conversation about how to reduce the number of gun deaths in America.We must allow research into gun violence and gun control measures, and overturn the Dickey Amendment. Promoting and enacting common sense gun control measures can no longer be a talking point – as we saw in Virginia in 2017, running on a responsible gun control platform is possible and winnable. Universal background checks are a necessity. I believe that any modifications that make guns act like automatic weapons such as bump stocks should be illegal to produce, transport, possess, or sell. Additionally, we must do away with large capacity magazines. I hold these positions as a lifelong gun owner, as an avid hunter, and as someone who knows that because of my experiences I can share this message and these positions in a rural district.
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(g) Health Care – Expand access to health care; support and improve ACA; move toward single payer?
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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My approach to healthcare is a deeply personal one. My daughter Elizabeth was born severely premature and spent the first 2 months of her life in the hospital. When we got the statement of charges for her stay, the total was north of $500,000. We were fortunate to have insurance, but it shouldn’t take good fortune to be healthy in America. That’s why I support Tim Kaine’s Medicare X proposal. That would put a public option into the marketplace and give people the option of a very low cost, high-efficacy plan that should drive costs down while maintaining care and increasing the risk pool. Medicare X also goes into effect 1st in areas with only one private insurance provider. The Fifth District of Virginia includes many such areas, and Medicare X would be a major step forward for healthcare.I believe that healthcare is a right and will fight in Congress for a health care system that provides every American with access to affordable, quality care. This goal is not a partisan one. Our leaders need to be open-minded and data-driven about how we’ll get there. The Affordable Care Act provided health insurance to over 20 million previously uninsured Americans, enhanced protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and removed lifetime caps on insurance. We should celebrate that progress and continue to improve the law by finding ways to lower costs and expand access.

My wife Emily is an OB-GYN, so I know well the Affordable Care Act also did much to improve healthcare for women by eliminating the practice of gender rating, which allowed them to be charged more for coverage than men, and improving access to contraception. I will fight to protect that progress and ensure that the federal government does not dictate health decisions to Emily and her patients.
Health is a fundamental element of wellbeing, and access to affordable and quality healthcare is an obligation that we owe to all our citizens, not an opportunity to score political points through petty obstructionism. I support improving the Affordable Care Act by incorporating a public option program for Americans under 65 that will expand coverage and reduce costs- by expanding Medicare to everyone. I hope that by moving to a public option we will be moving towards an ideal future where universal, single-payer healthcare gives every American peace of mind. Ultimately, single payer is the way to deliver affordable healthcare to every American.

Right now, healthcare if oftentimes not affordable. Healthcare premiums have gone up everywhere, and in Charlottesville for example we have the highest premiums in the country. While the pharmaceutical industry and the private insurance companies will fight affordable healthcare tooth and nail, a healthy and productive workforce is too important. Making sure every American, regardless of what they make or where they live, receives quality health care should be a national priority.
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(h) Immigration – Preserve DACA; no deputation of federal immigration enforcement to local police forces
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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We made a promise to these young people when we created DACA: that we would protect them and allow them to flourish if they came forward and out of the shadows. To rescind that promise is un-American. Congress needs to work out a solution to our immigrations problems that avoids mass deportations of immigrants and allows for people to find opportunity in America. The current administration wants to take 6 these young people and rip them away from the only homes they have ever known, and we have to put into place policies that will prevent that from happening.
I believe we need a strong, bipartisan effort to tackle immigration reform that will preserve protections for Dreamers. A possible model for this legislation would be the 2013 bill that passed the Senate with close to 70 votes and would have provided a path to citizenship for those already here, fast tracked permanent residence status for U.S. university graduates with advanced degrees in STEM, and offered approximately $50 billion of additional funds for border security.
DACA supports those who have been in the United States for years- people who got an education here, who have jobs and support the economy here, who pay taxes here. They came to the U.S. through no fault of their own. We need to provide them a path to citizenship, not boot them out. I fully support preserving DACA while looking for better solutions for comprehensive immigration reforms.
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(i) Governance Reform -- Voting rights, protect/increase voting access; fair redistricting; campaign finance reform; overturn Citizens United
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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Corporate money in politics is one of the most serious threats to our democracy. That’s why I’ve pledged not to take a dime from corporate PACs during this campaign and during my entire time in Congress. I support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. I believe this is a leadership issue, that if I can take a stand on this issue, it will prove to others that they can get elected without this money, and they can stay elected without this money. It will make it so representatives have to respond to their constituents rather than their big corporate donors. I also support reinstating the repealed portions of the Voting Rights Act in order to ensure access to the ballot box. We need to work against attacks on our democracy, which also involves partisan redistricting. We need to advocate for maps that are drawn fairly instead of having maps drawn to keep representatives from losing elections. Gerrymandering stacks the deck for extremist incumbents and makes our government less responsive.It is paramount that we defend the right to vote. In Congress, I would fight to restore the Voting Rights Act and support other measures that would make it easier for Americans to vote through early and absentee voting.

Campaign finance reform is an important element of making our government in DC work on behalf of the people again. Overturning Citizens United is a worthy goal, but one that will likely take a long time to accomplish. In the meantime, I will support measures to significantly increase transparency and reduce the influence of dark money in the system - technology can play a huge role here - as well as expanding small dollar matching programs that will allow the voices of everyday Americans to be elevated alongside those of special interests and the well-connected.
As a former board member of OneVirginia2021 I have been fully committed to ending partisan gerrymandering for years – voters should choose their representatives not the other way around! I have outlined significant policy proposals to support term limits on Congressional representatives, working to end the disaster of big money in politics, and how we can redraw fair Congressional maps. When elected, I have pledged to support the U.S. Term Limits Amendment, the DISCLOSE act to ensure that corporate and PAC money is public record, the “Government by the People” Act to compete with big money in politics, and will work to ensure non-partisan redistricting reform becomes law for the health and strength of our democracy. Additionally, the efforts by Republicans to enact voter identification laws and restricting access to the polls in an attempt to push a narrative of “voter fraud” must be pushed back upon. I will support legislation that expands early voting initiatives, that protects secured voter identification information, and that prohibits the use of restrictive tactics such as voter identification laws.
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(j) Womens Reproductive Rights -- Support access to safe and legal abortion
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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I am pro-choice, and will fight attempts to undermine women’s healthcare.As I mentioned, Emily is an OB-GYN, so we talk about women’s health every day in our household. I am a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose, because I don’t believe politicians in distant capitals who know nothing about women’s healthcare should get in between a woman and her doctor.I am pro-choice and believe that issues about an individual’s pregnancy and health should only be between a doctor and the individual, not the government. Safe and legal abortion must not be a political debate made by mostly men in D.C. and State Houses. Part of this position also includes continued funding for Planned Parenthood and community health centers, as well as fully funding CHIP and a commitment to greater access to affordable health insurance.
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Other information you would like to share
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Benjamin CullopRoger Dean HuffstetlerAndrew Sneathern
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My policy paper on addressing the opioid crisis.
Our values page, where you can read about the three core values of our campaign: Duty, Empathy, and Commitment.
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March 2018
 
 
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