Jennifer Wexton

Jennifer Wexton

Summary

Current Position: U.S. House of Representatives (2019-) - Virginia 10th District
Affiliation:  Democrat

Mission Statement:
N/A

About

From Wexton’s Candidate Site

Senator Jennifer Wexton has been serving the people of Northern Virginia for almost two decades, as a prosecutor, an advocate for children, and as a legislator focusing on issues of concern to families.

From 2001 to 2005, Jennifer served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Loudoun County, prosecuting felony and misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases in all of the Loudoun Courts. She successfully prosecuted hundreds of trials, including the prosecution of criminals who committed domestic violence or sexual offenses. Among them were a number of high-profile cases, including the 2002 murder trial Commonwealth v. Clara Jane Schwartz.

Jennifer went into private practice after her second son was born, but remained committed to public service. She did a significant amount of Court-appointed guardian ad litem work, representing the interests of children who have been abused or neglected. In 2007, she received the Harry L. Carrico Award for her pro bono legal work. She also was the President of the Loudoun County Bar Association for the 2010-2011 term.

Jennifer gained a strong interest in Mental Health issues as a result of her legal work. She served as a court-appointed attorney, and a Special Justice, in mental health commitment hearings. This work led her to serve for two years as a member of the Loudoun Community Services Board, an advisory policy board that oversees the Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services.

In 2010, Jennifer was selected by the Chief Judge of the Loudoun Circuit Court to serve as a Substitute Judge in the District Court. This appointment confirmed her professional standing in Loudoun and served as a strong endorsement of Jennifer’s intelligence, temperament and good judgment.

Jennifer was elected to the Virginia Senate in January 2014, in a special election to take the 33rd District seat of the newly-elected Attorney General, Mark Herring. Jennifer earned over 53 percent of the vote in a three-way race, winning 44 of 47 precincts. She was sworn in as a Senator on January 24th, 2014. Jennifer was re-elected in 2015 with more than 56 percent of the vote and a 13-point margin of victory.

She has taken her passion for protecting others to the State Senate and has supported legislation that makes our children safer, combats the heroin and opioid epidemic, increases access to healthcare, prepares our children for jobs of the future, eases traffic congestion, and brings more businesses and jobs to Northern Virginia. During her four-year tenure, she has passed over 40 bills, all with bipartisan support.

A native of the Washington area, Jennifer graduated with honors from the University of Maryland in College Park, and earned her law degree in 1995 from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. She lives in Leesburg with her husband, Andrew, sons Matthew (age 15) and Jamie (13), and two rescued labrador retrievers, a mother-daughter duo named Wanda and Lady Bear.

Political Career

From Wikipedia

Wexton is a partner in The Laurel Brigade Law Group. She served as a substitute judge in Loudoun County, Virginia, and beginning in 2001, as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney where she successfully prosecuted Clara Jane Schwartz for the murder of her father, Robert Schwartz. Wexton ran for Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney in the 2011 elections, losing to Jim Plowman, an incumbent.

After Mark Herring, who represented the 33rd district in the Virginia Senate, won the 2013 election to serve as the Attorney General of Virginia, Wexton declared her candidacy in the special election to fill the seat. In the Democratic primary, Wexton defeated HerndonTown Councilor Sheila Olem. Controversy brewed over campaign ads endorsed by Wexton, with allegations the ads compared Tea Party activists to rapists; Wexton’s campaign denied the comparison. She faced Republican John Whitbeck and Republican-turned-Independent Joe T. May in the January 2014 special election, and won 53%–38%–10%. She assumed office on January 24, 2014 and was re-elected in the November 2015 general election.

In April 2017, Wexton announced that she would run in Virginia’s 10th congressional district election, 2018. Her state senate district overlaps with the congressional district around Leesburg and Sterling. In June 2018, she won a six-way primary to become the Democratic nominee for the November 2018 general election, where she faces Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock.

Policy Positions

From Candidate’s website

Criminal Justice Reform

The criminal justice system does not always work in ways that are fair or just. As a former prosecutor, substitute judge, legal advocate for children, and as a legislator, Jennifer has seen this all too clearly. One example: Virginia leads the nation in prosecuting kids criminally for even minor incidents that take place in our schools. That’s why she passed legislation to promote alternatives to suspension, including positive behavior incentives, mediation, peer-to-peer counseling, community service, and other intervention alternatives so that we’re sending fewer of our children into the school-to-prison pipeline.

During her time as a prosecutor, Jennifer locked up criminals, providing justice for victims and their families. Jennifer believes our nation should be able to provide justice while also correcting injustices that plague our criminal justice system and lead to mass incarceration. Congress should make our system more effective, efficient, and equitable for all. Jennifer supports reforming mandatory minimums, ending use of for-profit private prisons, working with localities and states to promote community policing, supporting reentry programs and voting rights restoration, supporting drug and veterans courts, and decriminalizing simple possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Disability Rights

In the State Senate, Jennifer has been a staunch advocate for people with disabilities. She passed legislation that closed a loophole and extended parental support for severely disabled and special-needs children over age eighteen, giving relief to single parents. She also created a law that stems the school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impacts children with disabilities, by implementing alternatives to suspension. She has fought for increased funding for Intellectual Disabilities (ID)/Developmental Disability (DD) Waiver slots to shrink waiting lists, the implementation of a more inclusive environment for students with disabilities, expanded state and local employment opportunities for those with disabilities, a focus on patient-centered, community-based centers and housing options, and Medicaid expansion to cover our most vulnerable Virginians.

In Congress, Jennifer will continue to be an advocate for a more inclusive America for people with disabilities. She will defend the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, expand educational and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and protect funding for Medicaid and other affordable healthcare programs.

 

LGBTQ Rights

In the General Assembly, Jennifer has worked hard to promote fairness and equal opportunity for all Virginians, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. She has repeatedly championed legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, and cosponsored legislation that would prohibit discrimination in public employment. She has also supported bills that would remove the same-sex marriage ban in the Virginia Constitution, expand Virginia’s hate crimes statute to include the LGBTQ community, end conversion therapy, and allow localities and school boards to establish their own non-discrimination policies.

She has opposed harmful Republican legislation that would have allowed government officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples, establish a Virginia version of the “bathroom bill,” and numerous other attempts to treat the LGBTQ community as second-class citizens.

In Congress, Jennifer will continue to be a strong advocate for LGBTQ community. She will support legislation to expand anti-discrimination statutes, fight against bullying of LGBTQ youth, and other initiatives to make our country more inclusive and equal for everyone.

Voting Rights

The right to vote is one of the most basic tenets of our democracy, and Jennifer believes that we need to make it easier, not harder, for people to vote. In the State Senate, she sponsored and voted for legislation to end gerrymandering, allow easier access to the polls, expand absentee voting options, and add more options for the acceptable forms of voter identification. She has consistently opposed voter suppression tactics by Republicans and she has consistently spoken out against the Republican myth of extensive voter fraud.

In Congress, Jennifer will fight against attempts to suppress access to the ballot box. She will vote to end racial and partisan gerrymandering, expand early voting, make Election Day a federal holiday, and reform our broken campaign finance system that benefits only special interests at the expense of normal citizens. Jennifer also supports sanctioning Russia for its interference in our 2016 elections, and taking active measures to dissuade future attempts to tamper with our electoral process.

Women’s Rights

Jennifer is a strong advocate for women’s rights. She believes women’s healthcare decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, and has continuously fought to keep government out of those decisions. In the State Senate, Jennifer has fought against the Republicans’ undue restrictions on abortion, championing legislation that would remove unconstitutional barriers to access like unnecessary waiting periods and TRAP laws targeted at women’s health clinics.

Jennifer has created several new laws that have expanded women’s rights in Virginia. She wrote and passed a law that finally gave mothers the right to breastfeed in public in Virginia. She created a landmark law that allows victims of revenge porn and surreptitious photos to sue their perpetrator for damages, and sponsored a bill to ensure women must not only receive equal pay but also equal benefits without being fired for asking about salaries.

In Congress, Jennifer will continue to be a true advocate for women. She will support legislation that expands women’s access to quality, affordable healthcare, family planning services, and contraception, establishes paid family and medical leave programs, ends violence against women, promotes women’s involvement in STEM and political fields, and ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

Defense & Security

Gun Violence Prevention

Jennifer is a strong advocate for gun violence prevention and has consistently fought for common sense legislation to keep our communities safe while also respecting the rights of responsible gun owners. In the State Senate, she has championed and voted for bills that would establish universal background checks and close the gun show loophole, ban bumpstocks, mandate the reporting of lost and stolen firearms, and keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers and those convicted of stalking. She has fought against legislation that would loosen restrictions on who can obtain concealed carry permits.

In Congress, Jennifer will support legislation that expands mandatory background checks on gun purchases, closes loopholes that allow criminals to purchase firearms, establishes a ban on sales of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and allows the federal government to study gun violence as a public health issue.

Protecting our Children

Keeping Virginia’s children safe has always been a top priority for Jennifer, from her time as a prosecutor and court-appointed legal advocate for children to her role as a State Senator. She passed legislation that made it easier for local law enforcement to prosecute child predators both online and in our communities. She also wrote a new law that requires daycares and assisted living facilities in Virginia to use fingerprint-based background checks on their employees when they are being hired, making daycares safer by ensuring criminals are less likely to slip through the screening process. In Congress, Jennifer will continue to promote policies that keep our children safe, which includes keeping guns out of our schools and and reducing children’s access to firearms.

Democracy

Economy & Jobs

Jennifer believes we need to create an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Wages and benefits are not keeping pace with costs. In the State Senate, she voted in favor of several measures that would raise the minimum wage, and has introduced legislation that would ensure women doing the same job as men receive equal pay and employment benefits. She also introduced legislation that would have established Paid Medical Leave in Virginia.

Jennifer believes that making investments in our workforce is a key to growing our economy. As our state and our nation evolve from an industrial to a technology-based economy, our workers must be prepared for the jobs of the future, not those of the past. Jennifer supports increased investments in career and vocational training, and retraining for those who have been displaced from the workforce.

Too often, wages have not kept pace with costs and the increased use of low-bid or unrealistic contracts has resulted in an American workforce doing more work for less pay. In Congress, Jennifer will support increasing wages and salaries, establishing paid family and medical leave programs nationwide, revitalizing America’s middle-class, protecting and expanding workers’ rights, making affordable housing more accessible to Americans, reining in Wall Street, and supporting America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Education

Jennifer is a product of public education from elementary through law school, and both her children attend Loudoun County Public Schools. She believes strongly that every Virginian deserves a high-quality public education from their first day of pre-k to their college graduation. In the State Senate, she has advocated to eliminate unnecessary standardized tests and modernize the manner in which our kids learn and are taught. She passed legislation that will stem the school-to-prison pipeline by establishing alternatives to long-term and short-term suspensions which disproportionately affect minorities and students with disabilities. Jennifer also opposed reckless efforts by Republicans to take away local control of schools. Her strong support for education earned her the “Solid as a Rock” award from Virginia Education Association and the endorsements of the Loudoun and Fairfax Education Association PACs in her State Senate campaigns.

Jennifer is proud of the quality and standing of Virginia’s public colleges and universities, but she knows college tuition is too high, and often a college degree is out of reach or leaves students with crippling debt. In the State Senate, Jennifer has sponsored bills that would create a Student Loan Refinancing Program, which will give students opportunities to refinance their loans, and the Office of Qualified Education Loan Ombudsman, which will create a resource for borrowers and oversight of loan services in Virginia. She has also supported bills that give victims of on-campus sexual violence more resources and give colleges and universities tools to prevent more assaults.

In Congress she will fight against Betsy DeVos’ attempts to strip funding from public schools and hand it over to private schools. She will remain a dedicated advocate for improving educational access and resources for low-income students and children with disabilities. Jennifer will also support policies that raise teachers’ pay and benefits, promote STEM courses and careers, and incentivize career and technical training.

Energy & Environment

Jennifer believes we need to be good stewards of the environment and that we must protect our land, air, and water for our children and future generations. Climate change and sea level rise are real threats to Virginia and our nation, and Jennifer knows we must take active steps to address them. In the State Senate, she has been a strong advocate for renewable energy and our environment. Jennifer sponsored legislation that would expand consumers’ access to community solar energy, mandate quicker reporting on hazardous spills in Virginia waterways, and broaden the powers of the Department of Environmental Quality to go after polluters and stop construction of natural gas pipelines when they are adversely affecting our environment.

Jennifer has been a staunch defender of the environment during her time in the General Assembly, that is why she has received 100% ratings and numerous awards from major environmental groups, including the “Environmental Freedom” Award from Sierra Club Virginia and the “Legislative Hero” Award from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.

In Congress, she will continue the fight to combat climate change, oppose drilling off Virginia’s coast, adhere to the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Accord, and protect our natural resources, public lands, and waters.

Health

Health Care

Jennifer believes that access to affordable healthcare is a right for all Americans. In the State Senate, she has fought alongside her fellow Democrats to expand Medicaid to 300,000 hardworking Virginians and bring over $10 billion back to Virginia’s economy. She has fought for a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions and to more easily access reproductive, family planning, and contraception services. She has also been a champion for mental health reform and combating the heroin and opioid crisis in Virginia.

Jennifer believes that Congress needs to stop playing politics with Americans’ healthcare and find a bipartisan solution to problems within our current healthcare system. In Congress, Jennifer will fight to protect coverage for those with preexisting conditions, eliminate lifetime caps, fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and keep Medicare and Medicaid strong and accessible. She supports allowing the Federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices to help keep healthcare prices under control. Jennifer also believes Congress should devote greater funding resources to expanding access to affordable healthcare, improving our mental health system, expanding innovative medical research, and helping to combat addiction.

Heroin and Opioid Crisis

The heroin and opioid epidemic has ravaged Virginia and our nation, as the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses now far exceeds deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and by firearms each year. As a State Senator, Jennifer served on the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, and she has been working to change how doctors prescribe opioids, as well as to improve access to treatment for addiction and overdoses. She has patroned and passed bills to improve Virginia’s prescription monitoring program, help get the lifesaving overdose reversal drug Narcan into the hands of more people, and allow Child Protective Services to help substance-exposed newborns and their mothers gain access to more resources to get and stay clean. She has also supported and advocated for Drug Courts, Virginia’s Good Samaritan law, and laws that allow police and prosecutors to pursue charges against predatory drug dealers.

In Congress, she will continue to work to secure funding for substance use prevention and treatment, to stem the overprescribing of dangerous opioids, and to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare, including treatment services.

Supporting our Veterans

As a member of the State Senate and the Board of Veterans Services, Jennifer has fought for Virginia’s veterans and their families. She has supported measures that increase resources for mental health services for active duty and retired military, expanded veteran entrepreneurship programs, eradicated veteran homelessness in Virginia, made it easier for service members to vote overseas and lowered tuition and fees while expanding veterans’ resources on community college campuses.

Jennifer believes we should never send our men and women into war without ensuring the care and resources they and their families need is in place when they return home. In Congress, Jennifer will continue to be an advocate for our active duty military, veterans, and their families. She will support establishing veterans courts across the country, expanding access to healthcare and mental health services, fully funding and reforming the VA, and providing college, training, and workforce development programs so our veterans and their spouses can obtain good paying jobs.

Infrastructure

Jennifer knows traffic and transportation are major concerns across Northern Virginia. She has focused on transportation solutions as a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, and has worked to bring resources to her district to relieve congestion, fix problems with Metro, and advocate for smart growth in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. She has introduced legislation that would give localities more control over, and funding for transportation projects in their jurisdictions. Jennifer opposed tolls on I-66 and repeatedly carried legislation to reduce the tolls on the Dulles Greenway.

Jennifer knows that America needs to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. She supports a full-scale investment in new green infrastructure that will create millions of good paying jobs. She believes this investment should include updating and expanding our roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and rail lines. She believes Congress should also invest in infrastructure that will help build a clean energy future, expand the availability of high-speed broadband, and fix and modernize our electric grid and water systems.

Social Security

Immigration

America is a nation of immigrants and my family is among those who came here seeking freedom, safety, and opportunity. Rather than working together to find bipartisan policies that will improve our immigration system, the President and Congressional Republicans are promoting fear-mongering tactics, like raids and roundups, against immigrants. As State Senator, I have consistently voted against and spoken out against Republican attempts to stigmatize immigrants, including their anti-Sharia legislation, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bills, and legislation that would have required Virginia to track and report on the location of refugees who resettle here.

Jennifer believes Congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrant families, protects DREAMers and their futures, prioritizes the deportation of violent criminals over status offenders, shuts down inhumane private detention centers, and ensures money that this administration would spend on building a wall instead be spent on securing and modernizing our borders and defending national security.

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