6th District Democrats competing for nomination for shot at seat vacated by Bob Goodlatte

Amy Friedenberger, The Roanoke Times.
June 10, 2018.

“Lewis, 36, a mental health worker, describes herself as a “bold progressive” who has been fighting on the front lines against natural gas pipelines and for other issues, such as women’s rights. She founded Friends of Augusta, a group that opposes the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and serves on the boards of Wild Virginia and the Headwaters Soil and Conservation District.

“After being an organizer and activist for 10 years, I said, ‘I have to take this to the next level and be the change I’ve been wanting to see in my elected officials,’” Lewis said.

Her battle against the pipeline touches on two personal priorities : protecting the environment and getting corporate money out of politics.

She has vowed not to accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs, and she supports a constitutional amendment to eliminate so-called corporate personhood, the notion that corporations share some of the same legal rights as individual citizens.

“We need to restore democracy and restore the power to the people,” she said.”

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Josh Stanfield
A Rare Shot At An Open Seat Energizes Democrats In 6th District [Audio]

David Seidel, WVTF.
June 8, 2018.

"For the first time since 1992, there’s no Republican incumbent running in the 6th Congressional District.  It’s an opportunity not lost on the four Democrats hoping to win their party’s nomination.

"Especially when Bob Goodlatte announced his retirement, I said 'This is it.  I’ve got to do this,'" says Jennifer Lewis.  She was already frustrated with the Trump administration when she decided to get in the race.

"People are tired of that feeling that the rich are getting richer.  That people in office get there and they forget what it’s like to come from where we  come from or  live the lives that we live," says Lewis, a mental health worker and Democratic organizer from Waynesboro."

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Josh Stanfield
6th District Democrats prepare for primary [Video]

Joe Dashiell, WDBJ.
June 7, 2018.

"I think that I've got the proven track record of being an advocate for the 6th District and for those who may have lost their voice along the way somewhere," said Jennifer Lewis. "And so I'm running to be that accessible congresswoman to everybody in the 6th District whether they vote for me or not."

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Josh Stanfield
6th district Dems attend candidate forum

Marina Barnett, WHSV.
June 3, 2018.

“Sergio Coppola, Jennifer Lewis, Charlotte Moore and Peter Volosin began by talking about the top three issues they care about. Healthcare, education, jobs and infrastructure were common answers.

The four then answered questions in two minute segments in front of the packed venue.

Jane Docherty, who attended the forum, said her main concern when she heads to the ballot box will be political corruption.

"We can't fix healthcare, we can't fix police brutality, or injustice, or anything, until we deal with corporate control of Washington," said Docherty, who said she would pick a candidate who can overcome divisions and talk to people on both sides — from farmers to environmentalists.”

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Josh Stanfield
Rival Democrats make their case in bid for 6th District nod

Bob Stuart, The News Virginian.
June 2, 2018.

“Jennifer Lewis of Waynesboro has been active in her efforts to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline while staying busy on the Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District Board. The 36-year-old New York state native told voters Saturday that her three priorities are health care, the environment and anti-corruption.

If elected, she said, she vows to serve only four terms. Lewis says she will push for a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, and will refuse contributions from corporate PACs, the NRA and fossil-fuel interests. She also wants to see the federal agency that considers pipeline applications include more diverse representatives, including scientists.

Lewis, who currently works with adults with mental illness who are transitioning back into the community, also supports Medicare for all and cutting the cost of out-of-pocket fees and prescription drug prices.

"Health care is the number one issue in the district," said Lewis.”

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Josh Stanfield
Who Will Replace Bob Goodlatte? [Audio]

Jessie Knadler, WMRA.
May 30, 2018.

”Four Democratic challengers seeking the nomination for the Sixth Congressional District agree that the key to beating Republican nominee Delegate Ben Cline in this predominantly conservative region is connecting with Independents and moderate Republicans. WMRA’s Jessie Knadler reports.

It’s not a coincidence that the Democratic Forum last week was held at the Virginia Horse Center in Rockbridge County. It’s part of a larger effort by local Democrats to bridge the county/city political divide.

The four candidates, Sergio Coppola, Jennifer Lewis, Charlotte Moore and Peter Volosin answered questions from a moderator before a standing room only crowd. On everyone’s mind: how to beat long time Republican Delegate Ben Cline in November.”

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Josh Stanfield
Independent candidate withdraws from 6th Congressional District race; endorses Democrat

Amy Friedenberger, The Roanoke Times.
May 21, 2018.

“An independent candidate in the race for the 6th Congressional District bowed out over the weekend and threw his support behind a Democratic candidate.

Michael Frend said in a statement he decided to leave the race following the Republicans’ nomination of Del. Ben Cline at Saturday’s convention in Harrisonburg. Cline, a Lexington attorney and eight-term member of the Virginia House of Delegates, defeated seven other candidates for the nomination.

“This gives the Republicans by far their best choice and best chance at victory in November,” Frend said Sunday.

Frend has endorsed Jennifer Lewis, a mental health professional and natural gas pipeline opponent from Waynesboro. He said that by remaining in the race, he would only be sucking votes from the Democratic candidate in the November election.”

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Josh Stanfield
Corey Stewart’s Attacks on Kaine Family “Cheap and Cowardly” Says Sixth District Dem in Letter to New GOP Chair

Josh Stanfield, Blue Virginia.
May 23, 2018.

"Last weekend Virginia’s Sixth District Republicans chose their congressional nominee, Delegate Ben Cline, at their convention. They also chose a new Chairwoman for the Sixth District Republican Committee, Jennifer Brown. Ms. Brown was seen as a potential return to civility in replacing Scott Sayre, the contentious chairman whose perceived devotion to Cynthia Dunbar led observers to expect a wild convention.

When Republican frontrunner for the U.S. Senate nomination, Corey Stewart, began his speech at the convention, he pushed the same attack on Senator Kaine’s son that we’ve heard from him again and again.

In response, Jennifer Lewis – candidate for the Democratic nomination in the Sixth District – has penned an open letter to the new GOP Sixth District chairwoman and leadership."

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Josh Stanfield
Democrats say they're ready to take on Cline in 6th District

Amy Friedenberger, The Roanoke Times.
May 22, 2018.

“I can’t wait to take on Ben Cline,” said Lewis, a mental health professional from Waynesboro, when weighing in on Cline’s positions of defunding Planned Parenthood and creating measures that would inhibit the ability to receive an abortion.

She called Cline’s “Day of Tears” resolution to mourn abortions a “publicity stunt” and said he uses misinformation to push for restrictions on women’s health care services. To counter his religious arguments, she said, she’ll use facts."

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Josh Stanfield
Environmental Activists, Dominion Energy React to Court's Decision to Halt Pipeline Construction [Video]

Taylor Gleason, NBC 29.
May 16, 2018.

“Activists are applauding a federal court's order that may halt construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

On Tuesday, May 15, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an important statement on endangered species that affects the next steps for the pipeline.

Proponents of the decision say the court has finally realized that the claim has been a problem for a long time.

"Really excited, of course, to see that we've delayed this project again," says Jennifer Lewis, the president of Friends of Augusta.

Anti-pipeline activists say this court order is a win, but that the war is not yet over.

"There's always that hesitation of people getting too excited and people thinking 'Oh, it's done we can move on to the next fight,' I just want to encourage people to stay with this fight,” says Lewis."“

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Josh Stanfield
As Lawmakers Mull Medicaid Expansion, ER Visits Related to Opioid Use Continue to Rise [Audio]

Michael Pope, WVTF.
May 16, 2018.

”Since 2015, the number of emergency room visits for opioids has increased 25% in Virginia. One of the areas hardest hit is the tiny city of Waynesboro in the Shenandoah Valley. Back in 2015 Waynesboro had two ER visits for opioids. By 2017, it had 26.

Jennifer Lewis is a mental health worker for the community service board in Waynesboro and a Democrat running for Congress. She says some of the areas that would benefit the most from expanding Medicaid are also the most resistant.

“I would bet that a lot of people who are against expanding Medicaid, if these circumstances were impacting their family they might have a different opinion on that.”

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Josh Stanfield
Our District Needs Universal Health Care

Lewis Campaign, Blue Virginia.
May 11, 2018.

“What some people, particularly establishment DC politicians, don’t tell citizens is that universal health care is supported by the majority of Americans and that we are paying exorbitant costs for health care for the uninsured already: we pay for it when it costs too much, in emergency rooms and in prisons.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Jennifer Lewis supports a universal health care system that would prevent disease and cut out waste and fraud in both government bureaucracies and private insurance corporations. If we implemented a system of universal health care – as all advanced countries such as England and Israel have – it would save the average American $2,000 per year while guaranteeing coverage and improving health outcomes.

Jennifer believes that health care is a human right and that it’s our moral obligation to create a nation in which nobody gets sick or goes bankrupt from preventable illness. The Affordable Care Act was a historic start, but the insurance and pharmaceutical companies had too much influence over policy. Similarly, Jennifer also supports Senator Kaine’s Medicare X bill that would allow people under the age of 65 the option to buy into Medicare; however, Medicare for All would be better for the country because the Medicare X program would still leave too many Americans uninsured or at risk of going bankrupt should they face a devastating illness.”

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Josh Stanfield
Not defeated, but defiant: Tree sitters energize local pipeline opposition

Jeremiah Knupp, The News Leader.
May 10, 2018.

“Becci Harmon of Swoope clutched a small pastel painting on her lap.

The canvas showed a large hand hovering ominously over and about to snatch a tiny red house. The spark coming from the outstretched index finger made obvious the reference to Dominion Energy’s former corporate logo.

The red house represented Harmon’s home. Though Harmon has successfully fought to save her one acre property from the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, on Wednesday morning she was supporting those for whom the struggle has reached their front lawns.

Harmon joined about 50 other people in the basement room of the Waynesboro Public Library to listen to the story of Theresa “Red” Terry, a Roanoke County resident who occupied a tree in an attempt the stop a court-ordered forced easement by eminent domain through her property for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Terry’s protest made international news and catapulted the fight of those in western Virginia against two encroaching natural gas pipeline projects into the national spotlight. The event was sponsored by RISE Waynesboro, a community action group, and Friends of Augusta, a local pipeline opposition group.”

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Josh Stanfield
2 Democratic Virginia congressional campaigns question whether party officials showed favoritism

Patrick Wilson, Richmond Times-Dispatch.
March 23, 2018.

"Heavy snow was falling in downtown Lynchburg, where at noon on March 12, two men waited outside the locked door of the Democratic Party office.

One was Sergio Coppola, one of the four Democrats running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th District, the son of an Italian immigrant who came to America and opened a pizza shop. The other was Kurt Schlegel, a representative for the campaign of Jennifer Lewis, an anti-pipeline Democrat known for calling out perceived corruption in her own party.

Nowhere to be seen were the two other candidates, Peter Volosin and Charlotte Moore."

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Josh Stanfield
To Politicians Who Blame the Mentally Ill for Gun Violence: We're Coming for Your Seats!

Jennifer Lewis, DailyKos.
February 24, 2018. 

"There's a lot of reasons I decided to run for Congress this year, here in Virginia's 6th Congressional District.

Yes, I've been an outspoken and vociferous opponent of outgoing Congressman Bob Goodlatte, infamous for everything from letting his staff author the Muslim Ban last January, to being less accountable and available than almost any other politician in the country- which, in this day in age, is saying something.

Yes, I've been helping to lead the charge in the fight against the two large pipelines being built across our district, destroying family farms via government fiat to help not the citizens of the 6th District, but a state energy monopoly and its shareholders. The worst examples of "corporate socialism" imaginable, where we'll destroy the farms and forests of our district forever just so some day traders and CEOs can make two-tenths of one percent on their margins.

And, yes, I'm not far removed from the fiscal instability that comes from endemic poverty; where your heart starts to beat as you load groceries on the belt, hoping you did your math right so you don't have to suffer the embarrassing indignity of having to put something back, knowing nothing you'd put in your cart could be considered "indulgent" or "extraneous".

Those all helped influence my decision. But for me, it ultimately comes down to a couple phone numbers I've got stored in my cell phone.

Numbers I can't get rid of."

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Josh Stanfield
6th District Hopefuls Talk Platforms

Ellie Potter, Daily News Record
February 23, 2018. 

"The four Democrats vying for the nomination for the 6th Congressional District race discussed their platforms with voters in Luray on Wednesday evening.

The Page County Democratic Committee hosted a question-and-answer session at the Luray VFW with the candidates, marking the first time all four stood alongside one another.

In November, U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte announced that he would not seek re-election this year for a 14th two-year term. Since then, four Democrats, eight Republicans and two independents have announced they are running for the seat.

Democrats Sergio Coppola of Hinton, Peter Volosin and Charlotte Moore, both of Roanoke, and Jennifer Lewis of Waynesboro will vie for the nomination in a June 12 primary.

In Luray, questions submitted by voters were drawn randomly from a jar and pertained to gun control, the environment and the chance of a Democratic candidate winning the general election in November, among others."

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Josh Stanfield
Pipeline opponent makes it 4 Democrats in mix for Goodlatte's seat

Carmen Forman, The Roanoke Times.
February 20, 2018. 

"A natural gas pipeline opponent from Waynesboro has joined the field of Democrats seeking the nomination in the 6th Congressional District.

Jennifer Lewis, 36, becomes the fourth person to seek the Democrats’ nomination in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County.

Lewis, a mental health professional, has worked with at-risk students in Virginia’s public school system and currently works with mentally ill adults who are transitioning from inpatient care to returning to the community.

In her campaign kickoff in Staunton Feb. 9, Lewis promised to advocate for a single-payer health care system, putting an end to gerrymandering and getting corporate money out of politics.

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Josh Stanfield