Freeda for the House of Delegates
VA-17 in VA http://www.cathcartfordelegate.com
1917 Franklin Rd
Primary Election Date: 2013-06-11 General Election Date: 2013-11-05
Who am I?
Freeda Cathcart is the Director of the Blue Ridge Democrats, a grassroots networking organization with the mission to support democratic candidates and committees in Southwest Virginia. Freeda’s background includes a strong combination of private- and public-sector experience which prepares her well for doing an outstanding job of representing the 17th district in Richmond.
As an appointee of Governor Tim Kaine, Freeda served as a Consumer Representative on the Advisory Board for Midwifery. Prior to that, she founded Mothers United for Midwifery, a network of civic leaders who worked to change the laws in Virginia in order to legalize Certified Professional Midwives. Since the Certified Professional Midwives have been legal dozens of new small businesses have been created in Virginia. Freeda worked successfully with Virginia State Senator John Edwards in 2012 on dense breast tissue legislation that passed unanimously in the House and Senate. Freeda is the Founder of Mothers United Against Uranium Mining and worked with a bi-partisan coalition to stop uranium mining in Virginia.
Freeda has been a public school social studies teacher and has worked as a Reinsurance Specialist for Shenandoah Life Insurance Company. While at Shenandoah Life Insurance Co. she earned her Fellowship in the Life Management Institute, a professional health and life insurance degree.
She left Shenandoah Life to raise her children. While being a mother at home, she became an International Certified Childbirth Educator and created the Birth after Cesarean Program at Lewis Gale Hospital. Freeda also has worked for the Child Health Investment Partnership where she helped to develop the First Step program. As a CHIP Parent Educator, Freeda helped families with newborn babies throughout the Roanoke Valley from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Freeda was also the President of the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op in the early 1990’s. She took decisive action to save the Co-op from bankruptcy and to set it on course to prosperity by creating a profit sharing program for the Co-op’s employees. Freeda was one of the Founders of the Left Bank Land Co. in Floyd, Virginia. She worked with the shareholders to create a Land Trust on their property in 1995, years before the Virginia Land Trust organization was formed. The property associated with the Left Bank Land Co. supports several successful independent cottage industries.
Freeda currently serves on the board for her church Unity of Roanoke Valley and is a delegate for the Roanoke Valley Aquatic Association. She is a member of the Vinton’s Women’s Club, associated with the General Federation of Women’s Club, and a member of the Westchester Garden Club.
Freeda’s eldest child graduated from Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) and is currently attending Roanoke College. Her middle child is currently attending VWCC. Her twins will be attending VWCC this fall. Freeda and her husband, Clinton Stoneking, are graduates of Roanoke College and have lived in the Roanoke Valley for over 30 years.
Why am I running?
I enjoy the challenge of working on state legislative issues. I have a successful record of working on bi-partisan issues against powerful opposition. I worked with grassroots activists to build a bi-partisan coalition to pass legislation to legalize Certified Professional Midwives in Virginia. Last year I worked on legislation with Sen. Edwards on legislation that passed unanimously in the House and Senate the first time it was introduced. This past year I worked with a bi-partisan coalition to stop uranium mining in Southside Virginia.
I like helping people and solving problems. Stepping up to run for the House of Delegates is a deeper commitment to continue the work that I have been doing for three decades.
My opponent has spent his first term in the General Assembly advancing far right wing agenda Instead of focusing on needs of our community. He was one of the sponsors for the mandatory ultra-sound bill and went on record in the Roanoke Times saying that he would vote to outlaw abortion.
He also would not stand up for our local public schools when they needed him in the last legislative session. When the budget was being debated on there was a 2% raise allocated for our teachers and school administrators with matching state funds. The Roanoke County schools had given a raise the year prior without matching funds and asked my opponent if he could work to make this retroactive. This did not happen, and the funds were not made retroactive. Roanoke County missed out on $700,000 that could have been going to our schools.
I want to make sure that this does not happen again. I will be the advocate that our students and teachers need by protecting their interests and making sure that our district receives the resources that we need.
I will work to make sure that public schools receive the funding that they need. The General Assembly has not been honoring the spirit of the constitutional amendment to send the Lottery funds to our public schools. The money from the Lottery is deposited into the General Fund. Over the years the revenue from the Lottery has been increasing but instead of seeing this revenue adding to the money that the state sends to the schools systems there has been a decrease of $800 million dollars since 2008.
Our government needs to stop wasting funds on exploring whether to allow a toxic industry that isn’t economically viable in Virginia. Last year over two million dollars was wasted on the Uranium Mining Working Groups that could have been spent on public education. We need to educate the public on sustainable energy sources and energy conservation methods, like passi haus construction, which will help to stimulate our economy by creating new businesses.
I will focus on legislation that will help women. Recently the General Assembly has passed legislation that is disrespectful of women and erodes women’s rights. Chris Head, our opponent, has supported extreme legislation that has been dismissive of women’s rights and needs. The TRAP regulations need to be repealed or amended to grandfather the existing clinics. The mandatory ultrasound bill needs to be repealed. I will support legislation so that women prisoners can be unshackled when they are in labor.
My DFA Values
I believe in empowering people to participate in our democracy and to be involved in our community. As a leader in our community for the last three decades I have worked to build coalitions to support many issues that have helped to improve the lives and well being of families. I believe that it is our government's responsibility to provide the best public education it can, and we cannot allow the state to continue shortchanging our public schools. I believe in legislation that would expand healthcare coverage for all citizens regardless of their income. Families and doctors should make medical care decisions and not the government. I believe in preserving our natural heritage and protecting our environment. Achieving these goals will make the Roanoke Valley the most attractive place to start a business and to raise a family.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I have been a civic leader and volunteer for over three decades in the Roanoke Valley. I have hosted organizational meetings and trainings to encourage people to participate in our democracy over the last four years. Since I have announced my candidacy people have been joining our volunteer base. My campaign has knocked on close to a thousand doors since the beginning of February. We have been hosting regular phone banks and canvasses since March. Many people have offered to host Meet & Greets throughout the district and we are in the process of scheduling them.