Who am I?
I’m Elizabeth Jones, Democratic nominee for the 16th District of the Virginia House of Delegates on the November 5, 2013 ballot. I was born in New York City on April 17, 1946. My parents had left Spartanburg, South Carolina for better jobs in the north. As a child, I always wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. That dream was realized when I graduated from City College of New York in 1968 and began my teaching career in the public school system.
I’m a hard-working woman who has enjoyed a long work history. I worked for 32 years as a classroom teacher, district coordinator and assistant principal before retiring in 2001. I have a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degrees in education and administration and supervision. I was also a licensed real estate broker for over 25 years, working to supplement my income and helping people find places where they wanted to live. I worked four years as the Pittsylvania County assistant voter registrar, retiring in 2011.
I’m a loving wife and mother. I’ve been married to Anderson Jones for 39 years and we have one married daughter, Afiya, who lives in Minnesota. My husband, Anderson, was born and raised in Chatham, Virginia on the family farm and always knew he would return. He left for better jobs in the north. We used to come “home” every year to see family and friends. When he retired as a food service manager for the Department of Corrections after 42 years of work, we came back to Chatham to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We bought a small farm ten years ago and have loved living in Chatham.
I am a person who believes in helping my community. I serve as the chair of the Pittsylvania County Democratic Committee. I’m a trustee on the Pittsylvania County Public Library board. I’m the branch secretary and youth advisor for the Pittsylvania County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I’m serving on the board of It’s All About the Kids, Inc. I’m also a member of the Pittsylvania County Historical Society and the Virginia Farm Bureau. I attend Shockoe Missionary Baptist Church where I write children’s church programs and serve as the Vacation Bible School Director.
I’m a highly motivated candidate in this election. I believe that the residents of my district deserve more than empty promises about jobs and education from tea party Republicans. We need someone who can get Southside noticed, not ignored in the General Assembly. That’s what I can do.
Why am I running?
I’m running to be the next 16th District Delegate of the Virginia House of Delegates because I want to be the kind of public servant that shows what is good about our government. I’ve been a civil service worker most of my career. As a retired educator I value the public school system that makes it possible for all children to become educated, productive individuals. I understand that our tax dollars make our government services possible.
As the chair of the Pittsylvania County Democratic Committee, I served on the district legislative committee searching for candidates for the November 2013 election. The incumbent Delegate, a two-term Republican, decided not to seek a third term. Two Republican candidates announced they wanted the seat and would face off in a June Primary. Despite the Democrats best efforts, no one filed for the seat. “Elizabeth, why don’t you do it?” was the question repeated over and over.
I thought long and hard about what people were asking me to do. I decided that they were asking me to help make Southside a better place to live. My husband and I talked it over. I could go to Richmond as a Delegate and give a “common sense voice” to the needs of the residents of Pittsylvania County, Martinsville and Henry County. I could vote for laws and pass a state budget that would benefit my District.
I said, “Send me!” The challenges that face the 16th District are numerous, but not unique: unemployment, uninsured workers and children, lack of resources in the public schools, infrastructure decay, and well-funded efforts to lift the uranium moratorium causing danger to our water and people. My election victory will make history. It will be a wake-up call to the tea party and Republicans in the General Assembly who are failing to move Virginia forward. Candidates elected to the General Assembly must put the people first and not ideologies. The laws passed must reflect what is good for Virginians. That’s my goal: To do what is good for Virginians.
My top three policy goals while in office are focused on the economic recovery of Southside Virginia which was hit hard by the great recession. They are (1) reducing unemployment, (2) improving public school education and (3) safeguarding our environment, especially from uranium mining and milling.
Reducing unemployment will lead to several other remedies to the poor economic recovery in the 16th District including home affordability and the uninsured. We’ve been waiting for small and large businesses to return to Southside, once a thriving manufacturing community with furniture and textile plants throughout the District.
I will support the initiatives to re-train the workforce in order to prepare for the businesses that will come as the national and state economies continue to improve. People who are on public assistance and people with disabilities will be included in the re-training to qualify for employment in the new Southside economy.
As an officer and member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), I have understood that job opportunities and education are important civil rights that should be available to all Americans. The unemployment crisis has hit the poor and minority communities particularly hard. I have marched in Washington, DC and lobbied with the NAACP to get political leaders attention focused on the neediest among us. I will continue to stand up for them.
I was a parent coordinator in a school district for 4 years helping parents get involved in their children’s learning at school and home. I was the liaison between the parent advisory board and the superintendent. I understand that education begins in the home and that parents must be involved and invested in securing a quality education for their children. I will support early childhood education because four-year olds deserve the benefits that a high-quality pre-kindergarten program can provide.
The schools in Southside are some of the least funded in the Commonwealth. We must meet our funding responsibilities with more state funding in order to meet the needs of our public schools. I will support a curriculum that is well-rounded. I will also support full funding for higher education so that affordability at our public universities provides fair and equal access. I will support teachers ensuring that they are treated as professionals. We must retain our teachers and give them fair pay.
I am an opponent of uranium mining and milling in Virginia. I live about 3 miles of Coles Hill where the largest deposit has been discovered. I want the uranium moratorium to be continued and extended. I believe Southside’s agriculture and manufacturing will be the sources of our economic recovery and not the uranium industry that endangers the environment and people. I plan to oppose any legislation to lift the uranium moratorium. I support all legislation to preserve Virginia’s natural resources. I have lobbied legislators with the Keep the Ban Coalition and made remarks at many of the state commission meetings.
My DFA Values
My campaign will embody the values of community, security and liberty.
I believe in community. My campaign is focused on how to make the 16th District a better place for the men, women and children who live here. I want my campaign to be clean and positive. It’s time that voters reject radical, right-wing agendas. Many elected Republicans have been neglecting the needs of the community. They are failing to hear or respect the majority. I want the community to thrive with innovative, safe schools. I support incentives that can attract and keep businesses in America. There are many hard-working people who should be getting decent wages. Elected leaders should unite and not divide the community.
I support our police, firefighters, all first responders and military. They need full funding to do their jobs. Their wages and benefits must be fair and adequate to meet their needs and support their families.
I believe in liberty. As the first African-American woman to run for Delegate in the 16th House District, I am an example of how far we’ve come in Southside Virginia. I recently attended an event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Monday in Danville when civil rights demonstrators were beaten and arrested for seeking an end to oppressive segregation and voting laws. My campaign will support equal treatment under the law. I support equal rights for women which includes the right to reproductive choice and equal pay for equal work. I support the LBGT community and respect the landmark court cases about same-sex marriage. My campaign will support religious freedom and the right to worship. As a person of Christian faith, I believe that ending poverty, caring for our environment and providing health care for the sick are important values in my faith. My campaign will reach out to the faith community around our shared goals. My campaign will reach out to people with disabilities to support their goals for equal opportunity and full participation including independent living and economic self-sufficiency.
My Campaign is People Powered!
My campaign for delegate is based on people not big business, politicians, or partisanship. Due to this I have begun attending every local community event, big or small, to spread my message of jobs and a better public education system to the people of the 16th District, including local organization luncheons, issue informational sessions, and county and city Democratic committee meetings. This way the people of my district will get to know just who I am and how I will make this district better as delegate; from focusing on 21st Century jobs that are economically successful and environmentally friendly to investing in public education so the children of Virginia all are given the opportunity of reaching their goals and potential. This early outreach will hopefully lead to a strong active field program that will lead my campaign to victory in November. This field program will be in the model of President Barack Obama’s and former Congressman Tom Perriello’s and will bring grassroots organizing to a rural area of Virginia through phone calls and door knocking by volunteers, my staff, and even myself.