I am so grateful for the opportunity I had yesterday to return to the Rappahannock Police Academy and connect with VA-01 voters around issues of criminal justice reform. My platform centers justice as the supreme standard. Justice for officers and justice for the communities they serve.
At this point in American history talking about these issues is more important than ever before. The Black Lives Matter movement has mobilized Americans in peaceful protest to address the injustices and racism in our criminal justice system. We owe it to Black Americans like Breonna Taylor, Marcus-David Peters, and so many others to make sure that we work tirelessly to ensure that policing in America keeps our communities safe. That includes law enforcement too.
As a nation, we must be united behind the idea that all Americans deserve equal protection under the law.
When elected to Congress I will fight for justice like I’ve been doing my entire career. I am a human rights lawyer. I’ve advocated for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. I’ve also served as a chaplain in Virginia’s prisons and I regularly speak with law enforcement officers who keep my community safe. My relationships with sheriffs, commonwealth attorneys, and police officers from all over the First District have informed my platform and I promise to take what I’ve learned from them to Washington.
When I represent VA-01 in congress, I will be an active and independent voice. When I believe my party is on the wrong track, I’ll speak out like I did when Democrats opposed a pay raise for officers this past winter. I will work across the aisle for policies that have justice for all at their core.
I believe that calling for policing reform does not mean getting rid of our law enforcement departments. The solution is to increase public safety and community health while better supporting law enforcement officers. That means recognizing that it is unfair both to law enforcement and to our communities to task police departments with every responsibility under the sun from violent crime to saving a cat stuck in a tree.
I want to make sure our officers are safe and able to focus on preventing crime. I believe we must shift tasks related to mental illness, homelessness, public education, and drug addiction to more appropriate agencies. A solution that is popular among my friends in law enforcement and voters alike.
A special thanks again to the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy and to Mike Harvey for hosting this forum. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you.