Current Position: Works at the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at JMU
Candidate: 2019 State Delegate
Source: Campaign page
Brent’s years of outreach and civic involvement in the 26th District have informed his awareness of the issues our communities face, and the collaborative solutions to address them. He has consistently done the work of outreach on behalf of other candidates that have run campaigns rooted in the values of dignity, equality and justice for all. In 2017, Brent ran for this seat and stunned the Republican incumbent by securing over 45 percent of the vote.
Since then, Brent has continued to participate with many local grassroots organizations and helped to mobilize an incredible local volunteer operation in 2018, when Sen. Kaine won in this district. Democrats in District 26 have an opportunity to claim a seat in the House of Delegates this year. The most experienced and consistently dedicated candidate is Brent Finnegan.
Brent has spent most of his life serving communities across the Shenandoah Valley. He was raised in Broadway, and lives in Harrisonburg, where he currently serves on the Planning Commission.
He has been an active volunteer, teaching citizenship classes at Skyline Literacy and raising funds for Our Community Place. He has produced TV shows and documentaries about immigration policy and farming issues. He founded and ran a local news website, hburgnews.com, which broke local news stories and implemented innovative ways to include readers in the news-making process.
Currently, Brent works at the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services at JMU, where he collaborates with local educators and health professionals to create online trainings and resources to reduce drug abuse and teen pregnancy, and support rural health initiatives in our community.
Brent takes a values-based approach to every issue. He believes we should treat others the way we would want to be treated, and protect and preserve our planet and natural resources. He will continue to push for equality, dignity, and justice for all Virginians. There is a better way of operating, and examples are all around us. We can learn from the successes and failures of other states’ policies to create a Virginia that works for all of us.
Source: Campaign page
Prioritizing the Common Good
Brent supports investing public money in programs and institutions that help the largest number of Virginians.
✅ Better funding for our schools, especially for our underpaid teachers and school counselors. Address the teacher shortage by restoring education funding to pre-Recession levels.
✅ Fund regional transit in the Shenandoah Valley, so that people in Timberville, Broadway, and Dayton have the option of getting to and from Harrisonburg without having to rely on a car.
✅ Prioritize public safety on I-81. That includes funding improvements for truck climbing lanes where necessary, as well as funding for freight rail programs to reduce the number of trucks on the interstate. In the long-term, we need to be planning and funding passenger rail in the Valley.
✅ Tuition-free community college and trade schools. Virginia should join Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee in offering “last dollar” scholarships for in-state students.
✅ Common sense gun laws that keep weapons of war off the street, out of our schools and places of worship, and prioritize public safety over the profits of the gun industry.
All Virginians deserve the dignity of working a job that allows us to support ourselves and our families, get adequate rest, and spend quality time with the people we love.
✅ Raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
✅ Ensure paid family leave for all Virginia workers.
✅ Repeal Virginia’s “Right To Work” (for less) law, which Virginia voters rejected at the polls in 2016.
Real Justice Reform
Brent wants to end this shameful era of New Jim Crow, over-criminalization, and mass incarceration in Virginia.
✅ Decriminalize and regulate marijuana. Use that tax revenue to better fund our schools. Let people in jail for marijuana convictions out, and expunge criminal records for past marijuana convictions.
✅ End cash bail debtor’s prison.
✅ Stop reimbursing local governments 25 percent of the costs of building new jails. People who struggle with mental illness and substance use disorders need treatment, not incarceration. We have a shortage of beds and in-patient programs for people struggling with mental illness and addiction. We should be funding that instead of building new jails.
✅ Stop incentivizing Virginia’s prison industrial complex. All state universities and institutions are currently required by the Code of Virginiato purchase furniture made with prison labor. Brent will work to change that.
✅ End voter disenfranchisement of felons.
Fight for a Livable Future
Virginia’s land, air, and water belong to all of us, and must be protected from fracked gas pipelines and other sources of pollution. We need to take immediate and meaningful action to stop the breakdown of our climate. Virginia must reduce our carbon pollution by 45% by 2031.
✅ Oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
✅ Support a bold green economic plan that leaves no communities behind, creates well-paying sustainable jobs, and transitions Virginia away from dependence on fossil fuels.
✅ Current state law discourages expansion of solar power in the state. Brent supports the Virginia Solar Freedom bill.
✅ Adopt better-than-federal motor vehicle standards to protect Virginians from dirty air, and reduce carbon emissions.
✅ Implement a just and equitable carbon tax that doesn’t put undue financial burdens on Virginians who can least afford to pay for it.
Liberty and Equality for All
Everyone deserves to be treated equally, with dignity and respect regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, national origin, sexual preference or identity.
✅ Ban housing discrimination against LGBTQ people.
✅ Protect Virginians’ 4th Amendment right to privacy, as well as data privacy.
✅ Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
✅ Protect the right to choose. There is no path to equality that doesn’t include the right of reproductive choice. Everyone has authority over their own bodies, and should have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.
✅ Enact and fund pro-people, pro-family policies like paid family leave, a living wage, contraceptive programs, and childcare support — policies that have greatly reduced the rate of abortions in other states.
✅ Our immigrant and refugee neighbors should feel welcome here. Virginia should issue driver’s privilege cards so that people who need to drive get proper training, and can get auto insurance.
Respect and Empower Local Communities
We should have the authority to govern ourselves. The state should empower localities to become sustainable, resilient, and self-reliant.
✅ Reform Dillon’s Rule , and give local governments the flexibility and authority to solve local problems at the local level. Let the state legislature focus on state problems and let Bridgewater determine whether the community center can sell liquor after 8 p.m.
✅ Allow localities more flexibility, state funding, and better options to address the affordable housing crisis.
✅ Rural broadband: support locally-owned high-speed internet options.
✅ Oppose preemption, and rein in state legislative overreach by forbidding special legislation targeting specific localities.
✅ Oppose the expansion of big ag monopoly power, and support family farms. The state should empower farmers to realize the profits from their labor by ensuring fairness at the bargaining table.
✅ Create a public banking option for Virginians that will work with local credit unions to invest in our own communities and avoid high fees and interest rates on municipal loans.
✅ Empower regional planning so that large corporations can’t pit Broadway against Timberville to elicit local tax incentives and bring in big box stores that harm small local businesses.
Healthcare is a Human Right
States should do everything they can to ensure nobody dies or suffers financially because they lack adequate insurance.
✅ Create a path to Medicare-for-All and lower healthcare costs by implementing an all-payer rate setting program in Virginia.
✅ Get rid of the onerous work requirements for Medicaid expansion.
✅ Lower the costs of prescription drugs by increasing pharmacy cost transparency and importing approved pharmaceuticals from Canada.
Reclaim Our Democracy
We need to end corporate control in Richmond, and put the power in the hands of the people, where it belongs.
✅ Fight for citizen-led ballot initiatives, so voters can go around unresponsive legislators.
✅ Refuse campaign donations from publicly-regulated monopolies and industry interest groups.
✅ Support ranked-choice voting in Virginia.
✅ Push for automatic voter registration.
Brent Finnegan 2019 Announcement | Virginia House of Delegates District 26
Brent Finnegan for Delegate
Published on November 20, 2018
By: Brent Finnegan for Delegate