That's right! There are three courageous Black women vying to be Virginia's next Governor, and we reached out to each of them to learn more about their platforms, and to introduce them to you - our village!
Meet Jennifer Carroll Foy!
Please share your background with our readers:
I grew up in Petersburg, Virginia, a town with one of the highest child poverty rates in the Commonwealth, a town that has been ignored, neglected, and left behind. My grandmother raised me, and she taught me, “If you have it, you give it”– even if you don’t have much to give. I watched her work every day as a health aide at a mental health hospital, saw her open our home to members of our community struggling to get back on their feet.
But I’ll never forget, after my grandmother had a stroke and became a quadriplegic, sitting at the kitchen table with my aunt and facing the impossible choice of whether we were going to pay for our mortgage or the medication keeping my grandmother alive.
That’s where my journey running for Governor began. I’ve lived the struggles that so many Virginia families face. I’ve spent my entire career being a voice for the voiceless – as a foster mom, public defender, and member of the House of Delegates. In the legislature, I was a proud part of the successful fight to expand Medicaid to more than 500,000 Virginians, raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and stood up to Dominion Energy to clean up toxic coal ash ponds across Virginia. We have made so much progress in Virginia but too many families are still being left behind by the broken status quo. I’m running to be Governor to move our Commonwealth forward, not back, and fight for a Virginia where everyone has an opportunity to thrive.
Please tell our readers five priority issues that you will fight for:
As Governor, my number one priority is to rebuild our economy so that every Virginian has the opportunity to thrive. We can and must be the best place in the country to do business, while also the best place in the country to live, work, and raise a family. From protecting and promoting our small businesses, to ensuring Virginians have access to paid family and sick leave, I’ll fight to revitalize our economy and bring diverse, high-paying jobs to every corner of the Commonwealth.
Another key priority is ensuring every Virginian has access to quality, affordable healthcare because no family should have to face the kind of impossible choices my family has had to face, deciding between paying for medication or paying the bills. It was healthcare that saved my life and the life of my twin boys when they were born premature. That’s why I fought so hard to expand Medicaid coverage to more than half a million Virginians, and why I’ll fight as Governor to bring down the cost of healthcare, rein in the prices of prescription drugs, and expand access to care across the Commonwealth.
Third, Virginians have been demanding real reform to our criminal justice system, and with good reason. As a public defender, I’ve seen the two different justice systems Virginians face: one that works for the wealthy and well connected, and one that works against Black people, poor people, and other marginalized communities. And as a mother to two young boys, I share the fears that so many Black moms have in America when it comes to law enforcement. I will work tirelessly as Governor to ensure that our criminal justice system in Virginia is just and fair, and I will work just as hard to end police brutality and hold bad actors accountable. I will fight for an equitable justice system — for my sons and for all Virginians.
In addition, every student in Virginia deserves to have not just a chance at success, but a likelihood of success. I remember going to school in Petersburg without textbooks to take home, accredited teachers leading the classroom, or counselors to keep after us. That’s why as Governor, I’m committed to strengthening our public schools, supporting our teachers and ensuring that students are equipped with an education that will meet the growing demand by employers for skills to power a modern workforce. And I’ll make sure that broadband access is expanded so we decrease the homework gap in marginalized communities. I will fight to ensure my budgets equip schools with the resources they need for students and teachers to succeed.
What connects all of my priorities is a question that every elected official faces: who do we fight for? For too many politicians, the answer is special interests and large corporations. That’s why I’m committed to getting corruption out of our politics and elevating the voice of the people. I have a plan to ban corporate contributions, limit big donations, tighten rules on lobbying, and more. Because when we give the special interests a seat at the table, we kick the people out of the room. It’s time we strengthen our democracy by prioritizing the needs of the people. You can read about all of my plans here: https://jennifercarrollfoy.com/issues/
Please share any specific issue you plan to address, that will directly impact Black citizens in the Commonwealth:
I’m fighting for folks in this Commonwealth who have been ignored, neglected, and left behind. And for too long, Black Virginians have been disproportionately hurt and harmed by inequities in our economy, our healthcare system, our schools, our criminal justice system, and more.
I firmly believe that it’s time for bills and budgets to not just be written for Black people, but by Black people. I don’t just understand the challenges Black Virginians have faced, I have lived them.
Just one example has been my commitment to tackling the Black maternal health crisis. After I gave birth to my beautiful boys, I felt pain that was even worse than labor. But the nurses and the doctors told me that what I was feeling was normal, and that it would go away. It wasn’t until the pain literally brought me to my knees that my husband, Jeff, rushed me back to the hospital, where the doctors discovered a postpartum complication that could have cost me my life if we had waited even a day longer. This is the experience of too many Black women across America, who are more than twice as likely as white women to die due to pregnancy complications. It’s why my healthcare plan includes funding for doula care through Medicaid to drive down racial disparities in childbirth and increasing funding for the Virginia Maternal Mortality Review Team.
With all of my plans, I will always work to ensure we are not leaving behind Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities and build a Virginia that truly works for all.
As a Black woman, are there any specific challenges you have faced while running for Governor? If so, please let our readers know what they can do to help:
I am acutely aware that people, Black people, especially Black women, have been taken for granted in politics. But if we’ve learned anything from this past presidential cycle, when Black women organize, we win.
Investing in Black women during elections is essential to winning any Democratic seat, but investing in Black women candidates will help us break that hardest and highest glass ceiling.
It’s hard to be what we can not see. We are no longer asking for permission, we are forging our own path. I’m a woman who knows how to get things done, and an organizer at heart, and if I’ve learned anything during my time in the legislature, it is that I am committed to creating a better future for all Virginians.
In your own words, what does it mean to be the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia?
To be the Governor of Virginia is to be the people’s advocate. I know what it’s like to face the challenges that so many Virginians have faced — trying to survive on a minimum wage, not having access to healthcare, and not having the same opportunities as wealthy communities. We need a leader who understands Virginia’s challenges and is ready to solve our problems, not apply band-aids that get us from one crisis to the next.
I’ll fight every day to ensure all Virginians have the opportunity to get good wages, fair benefits, and a first-class education, because I’ve lived the challenges that too many families in Virginia continue to face thanks to a broken status quo that has left working people behind. We desperately need change, and we can’t get it by recycling the same policies and politicians of the past. I’m ready to fight every day to ensure we start a new chapter in Virginia.
How are you taking care of your self-care, while running for Governor?
It’s rare to have time off from the campaign trail, but when I’m not working on sharing my message with Virginians, I’m spending time with my husband Jeff and my two boys, Xander and Alex, or taking a nice long bath to unwind.
I also love to fix cars, salsa dance and listen to music — my favorites are Jill Scott, Marvin Gaye, and of course Beyoncé!
How can our readers get involved with your campaign?
We are building a grassroots, people-powered movement that is organizing across our Commonwealth. We need your help sharing our message with your friends, family members, and neighbors across Virginia, whether that’s through sending texts, writing postcards, knocking on doors and making phone calls, and more.
To learn more about how you can get involved, please join us at my website https://jennifercarrollfoy.com/.
Social media links: Twitter: https://twitter.com/JCarrollFoy Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennifercarrollfoy/?hl=en Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferCarrollFoy
To find an event near you, visit: https://www.mobilize.us/jennifercarrollfoy/
Please visit the Virginia Department of Elections to update your voter registration and find election information.