Current Position: Physician and professor
Candidate: 2020 US Representative for US House District 4
A practicing physician, Cameron Webb returned to Charlottesville where he treats patients as a general internist, teaches students and serves as the Director of Health Policy and Equity at UVA’s School of Medicine. His wife, Dr. Leigh-Ann Webb, is an ER doctor who grew up in Appomattox County. They reside in Albemarle County where they raise their two children, Avery and Lennox.
Now, Cameron is running for Congress to serve his community at this critical time. In Washington, he will be a fierce advocate to ensure opportunities for health and success for all Virginians.
Source: Campaign page
Growing up in Spotsylvania, VA, Cameron’s mother, a public-school speech therapist, and father, an HR manager with the DEA, taught Cameron to take an active role in his community and serve others. His parents encouraged all their children to dream big and work hard—lessons that Cameron carries with him today.
After graduating from UVA and getting his medical and law degrees, Cameron was tapped by President Obama for the White House Fellowship. He served on the White House Health Care Team and also worked on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, where he helped tackle issues in education, workforce development and criminal justice reform.
P.O. Box 679
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Campaign Site, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
Among the social factors that impact health, I have seen few with as strong and as direct an impact as housing. Too often, I see how poor-quality housing is connected to increased rates of chronic disease, injury and poor mental health. Too often, I see how unaffordable housing destroys a family’s ability to meet all of the other critical needs that they have. For many of my patients, concerns about keeping up with doctor appointments or medications are often overshadowed by the pressure of making their next rent payment or finding safe and stable housing.
Thing is, access to fair and affordable housing is a necessity for folks to have opportunities for success. Beyond enabling them to meet their healthcare needs, it connects people to opportunity through access to good schools, jobs and transit—all of which are the foundation for a healthy, productive life.
Throughout the 5th Congressional District, people talk to me about challenges in housing. From the lack of affordable housing in Charlottesville to the aging housing stock and excess inventory in Danville, these issues are real—and they’re having a serious impact on communities.
In Congress, I will make it a priority to address these concerns. I support refundable tax credits to rent-burdened individuals, so that nobody is left to spend too much of their income on their rent payments. Also, to address the gaps in homeownership we should target tax subsidies toward lower-income, first-time homeowners, not to mention lower-income renters. With smart tax credits and thoughtful incentives, we can help families by making it easier to cover the bills and get or stay in a home that works for them.
Additionally, we need strong policies that put an end to the exclusionary zoning that maintains the legacy of redlining. We must incentivize the construction of affordable housing units to address our severe affordable housing shortage. We need to support and strengthen fair housing rules. We need to live—and govern—with the belief that everyone deserves access to a safe, affordable home.
Still, one of the great travesties in our society is how many people live each day without any place at all to call home. We have to do better. Homelessness doesn’t always look like people sleeping in the streets—especially for children and families—and that invisible reality has led to a focus on solutions that don’t fully address the range of issues at hand. We can fully address our homelessness crisis through supportive housing, rapid rehousing, more funding for case management, mental health services, crisis response systems and yes, affordable housing.
These challenges are large and they look different in different parts of our district. We need dynamic solutions that can be implemented all over and create fair opportunities for everyone.
Jobs & The Economy
The public health crisis we are living in has devastated our economy and devastated the financial well-being of too many families. Long before COVID-19, though, our communities were facing significant challenges in the economy. And while President Trump and his administration spent a lot of time over the past few years praising jobs reports, the reality is that there are vast inequities that continue to define the U.S. economy. We deserve an economy that works for everyone regardless of race, economic background or zip code.
While working in the White House for President Obama on his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, I got a unique perspective on how opportunities for good jobs are critical to shaping broader life outcomes for individuals. Over the past decade, layoffs and the closing of large factories and plants across the district has had a big impact on local economies. For our future, though, I believe the keys to creating and maintaining jobs here in VA-05 are building rural broadband infrastructure, encouraging entrepreneurship, allowing small businesses to grow and investing in a clean economy.
I will work to address the factors that make it hard for entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive. From difficulties related to access to capital (particularly challenges encountered by underserved populations, minorities, and women) to record levels of student loan debt, I will be a strong advocate for job growth across VA-05. Congress will need to navigate the risk-aversion that is sure to follow this coronavirus recession with thoughtful fiscal policy, and I will advocate for oversight to ensure equitable support in the recovery to come.
The availability of jobs is a critical step, but jobs can only meet people’s needs in our society if they pay a living wage. Today, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour—the same as it was in 2009. I support efforts to achieve a national $15 minimum wage in the next five years to ensure that low-wage workers share the benefits of economic growth. When we pass this $15 minimum wage, over 100,000 workers in VA-05 would see an increase in their wages, with an average increase in annual wages of $3,100.
We cannot address rising income inequality and responsibly meet the needs of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens without significant tax reform. With the wealthiest one percent of Americans owning as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent and with total wealth among those highest earners continuing to rise but wages stagnating for the majority of Americans, we must act to right the ship. We must raise the tax rate on top earners and increase the capital gains tax. We must close loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes and increase the number of IRS auditors to hold them accountable. Corporations absolutely must pay their fair share for our society to thrive.
My mom has worked as a public school teacher for over 30 years. Through her experiences, I know how important it is for schools to be able to attract and retain dedicated education professionals who can help equip our students with the tools they need. Through my mom, I learned that no kid succeeds in their education without having critical dynamics around them that can support that success.
Thoughtful and comprehensive approaches to education will make a world of difference for our students. I know that from my time working on education policy in the Obama White House as part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative. From MBK, I saw firsthand how we need both the resources and the will to address factors within students, classrooms, schools, homes, families, communities and society at-large that cause the widespread achievement gaps among rural, minority and economically disadvantaged students.
Every kid across Central and Southside Virginia deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential through their education. That’s every…single…kid—from Fauquier down to Danville. So whether they want to go to college or career school—if they want to go to community college or apprenticeship—I want to help make sure that there is a true path for them to their goals.
We need thoughtful and equitable—and long overdue—updates to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to make that goal a reality. We need to improve our standardized testing paradigms so that school districts are able to reliably assess and respond to their students’ needs. We need to incorporate planning for educational equity and standardized reporting to close achievement gaps. We must close the digital divide through ensuring access to broadband internet and necessary electronic devices to deliver on the promise of educational equity.
Here in VA-05—when it comes to higher education—just under 30 percent of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For many of those individuals, the costs incurred to obtain that degree can limit their opportunities for success today. We need to modernize the Higher Education Act to support opportunities for many more in our district. We must streamline the FAFSA process so that it works for more people, maximize the value of the Federal Pell Grant program, and leverage loan forgiveness programs to make school more affordable.
Finally, I support efforts to make community colleges and public colleges/universities tuition-free for lower-income individuals. We should also extend this support to other post-secondary opportunities—like career school, technical education, and apprenticeships—so that we’re truly unlocking the potential for everyone’s future success.
Protecting the Environment
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our nation and our planet. Four years ago, the Paris climate agreement went into effect because the science was clear that global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial levels would be incredibly damaging to live on this planet. Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report showing us how critical it is that we in fact limit global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C. With thousands of scientists weighing in from over 40 countries, the weight of the evidence is clear—we must make massive and unprecedented changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to the goal of 1.5°C.
Without decisive and appropriate action, there’s so much at stake. We risk droughts and precipitation deficits, rising sea levels and species loss and extinction. There are climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth. Unsurprisingly, the populations at highest risk are disadvantaged populations. From the proposed compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Union Hill to the proposed Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility in Cumberland, the threats to the environment—and to environmental justice—here in VA-05 come from so many different angles.
But climate change isn’t just a threat to the health of our planet—it’s also a threat to the health of our communities across Virginia every day. My colleagues and I see this each and every day in the hospital, as tick-borne illnesses like Lyme Disease spread farther and faster, the allergy season gets longer and worse, and rates of asthma among children continue to rise.
Staying at or below a temperature rise of 1.5°C requires slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. Meeting this goal demands significant shifts in our approach to transportation; in energy, land, and building infrastructure; and in industrial systems. It means reducing our current coal consumption by one-third. It also demands a vast scale-up of emerging technologies, such as those that remove carbon dioxide directly from the air. And while it will be extremely challenging to reach that goal, we absolutely must try. Every extra bit of warming makes a difference. We cannot let our kids and grandchildren pay the price for these decisions.
I will protect the health of our planet the same way I work to protect the health of my patients—by following the science and making evidenced-based decisions. This will not only improve the health of our environment, but also the health of our 21st century economy.
In Congress, I will work to ensure the same ambitious action that we’ve seen here in Virginia to transition to a clean energy economy as soon as possible—and certainly no later than mid-century. I will work to establish a clean energy standard that urgently requires 100% of U.S. electricity from clean and renewable sources. I will invest in programs to eliminate carbon emissions in agriculture and land use through reforming economic support programs for farms to meet climate goals. Finally, I will help make sure that we can keep the jobs created by a 100% clean energy future right here in Virginia.
My perspective on our current coronavirus pandemic comes from the frontlines, caring for COVID-19 patients in the hospital. It is my duty as a doctor, first and foremost, to face this challenge with an emphasis on service, diligence, and following the emerging science. Still, this experience has made even more clear the importance of having experts in the room in our highest levels of government. Times like these help illustrate why it would be helpful to have a doctor in the House.
Patients walk into hospitals sick, scared and alone. My colleagues around the country show up for work each day ready to serve, but worried about resources and support. Every day, my wife, Leigh-Ann—an emergency room doctor—and I talk about how we will keep our kids safe after coming home from caring for our community in this pandemic.
Our current leaders have failed. Both in their preparation for this crisis and in the execution of their response to it.
This virus has laid bare inequities our society has faced for decades. Many students in rural areas lack the access to broadband internet to allow them to continue learning online while schools are closed. Tens of thousands of residents of this district who were already food insecure face an even bigger challenge as the suddenly increased demand has lines for food banks stretching endlessly. Issues with housing affordability for individuals and families make it harder to physically isolate for some who are most at-risk for the most severe health outcomes in this pandemic. Poor air quality—more common in low-income and minorities communities due to environmental injustice—has been correlated to more deaths from COVID.
Add to those challenges the unique dynamics of this pandemic and its economic crisis. How many of our most “essential” workers are the least paid, most at risk for the virus, and sometimes do not even have health insurance. How recently laid off employees are forced to navigate a complex and overrun unemployment system, rather than having access to paid leave that could keep them employed. How some workers have no choice but to go to work sick—even now—because they are not given sick leave, they have bills to pay, and they don’t qualify for any of the current economic stimulus programs. Or how small businesses are unable to get relief from the Payment Protection Program while large corporations are able to take advantage of loopholes and close relationships to big banks.
We must address the immediate health crisis, put in place wrap-around support systems that keep our communities housed and fed, and listen to the guidance of public health experts to re-open gradually when it is safe. This economic crisis we’re facing is not a typical recession. Instead, the threat of the virus required that authorities essentially shut down large swaths of the economy. As we neutralize that threat, we must keep households and small businesses afloat so that we have an economy to restart on the other side of this crisis.
OUR COLLECTIVE RECOVERY
Our collective recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should include the following:
1. Enable people to make safe decisions by ensuring that nobody has to choose between going to work sick or paying their bills.
2. Make sure our healthcare system is prepared for ongoing infections and the inevitable second wave.
3. Plan for maintaining business continuity and employment relationships until it is safe for people to resume normal participation in the economy.
Health & HealthCare
We need a healthcare system that is accountable to people, not pharmaceutical companies or insurance companies. We need a system that is fair and provides the opportunity for access to all. We stand in a moment where our healthcare system requires transformation in order to serve its purpose, and we must deliver the thoughtful, equitable, and sustainable reform that Americans deserve.
I grew up wanting to be a doctor because I wanted to help people in my community. I wanted to make sure that everyone could get and stay healthy. I learned early on that there were lots of dynamics—both in our healthcare system, our politics, and in our communities at large—that stand in the way of people having access to healthcare.
As an internal medicine doctor, I take care of the residents of this community every time that I work in the hospital. I know, intimately well, the health care challenges that people all across this Commonwealth are facing. I know that health insurance options are too few and premiums are too high. I know that the growing unaffordability of prescription drugs makes people choose between food and medicine. I know that mental health services and long term care and reproductive health services remain inaccessible for too many who need them. I know that too many people are hurting because of the flaws in our healthcare system; flaws so entrenched in our systems and politics that I also earned a law degree to help my patients navigate them.
But even as a doctor and a lawyer, I still could not solve the problems that I see my patients struggle with. I went searching for more ways to help.
I worked on President Obama’s White House Healthcare Team, helping to increase access to affordable care and make insurance companies accountable for quality coverage. I was appointed by Governor Northam to Virginia’s Board of Medical Assistance Services—the board with oversight of Virginia’s Medicaid Program. Here at the University of Virginia, in addition to my duties as a doctor, I serve as the Director of Health Policy and Equity for the School of Medicine, where I teach and lead research. But, again, it is still not enough. My patients are still suffering, and there is more I need to do to help them.
And that is why I am now running for Congress. We need to redesign our system so that it prioritizes patients over profits. We need to ensure that every person in this country is safe from the risk of financial ruin when they seek the care that they need. We need to recognize that the Affordable Care Act was a good start, but we have a long way to go before we deliver quality coverage for all Americans. And that’s where I can help. We must:
- Establish a public health insurance option—offering comprehensive healthcare benefits and is available to anyone who wishes to choose it but allows others to keep private insurance if they want to.
- Reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs, extending those prices to all patients, closing anti-competitive loopholes exploited by drug companies, and establishing a cap for out-of-pocket drug costs.
- Expand access to mental health services
- Restore and increase funding to help ensure access to the critical reproductive health services provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood
- Invest in true health access in rural, low-income, and underserved communities
- Support disabled Americans’ ability to live and thrive in their own communities
- Advocate for long-term care policies that integrate public and private financing options to ensure that individuals and families can reasonably meet their long-term care needs
I believe that these are the correct next steps in fixing American healthcare, and I know that I have the background, the credibility, and the drive to help deliver on our hope for the future of American healthcare.
Among the biggest barriers to the development of thriving local economies in Virginia’s 5th District are deficiencies in the local infrastructure. Just as is the case across the Commonwealth, our district is home to aging highways, roads and bridges, old and crumbling school facilities, and aging drinking water, wastewater, and irrigation systems. Investing in the repair of Virginia’s infrastructure is not only the right thing to do because it is the lifeblood of the district’s businesses and families, but also because this work creates jobs across the district.
From my in-laws in Appomattox to my patients across the district, I know that one of our most critical infrastructure needs is rural broadband access. The lack of broadband access and resulting digital divide has a significant impact on driving inequities in education, healthcare, job availability and growth potential for local businesses. In fact, no one in the modern economy can survive without it. I will support ongoing and coordinated efforts in the Virginia delegation to get the necessary funding for broadband internet access through USDA’s ReConnect program, and fight to make sure we can deliver on this critical infrastructure.
Finally, I am committed to ensuring significant investment in historically marginalized communities as a means to redress historical injustices. From increased resources for transportation planning to investments in rebuilding and reconnecting historically underserved areas, I hope to make sure that all of our communities in VA-05 are connected to opportunity.
Reforming Criminal Justice
The most basic tenet of our criminal justice system is supposed to be “equal justice under law.” Our Pledge of Allegiance even speaks to our nation’s promise of “justice for all.” But our epidemic of mass incarceration and the disproportionality experienced by communities of color regarding criminal justice highlights the dire need of reform at every step: policing, prosecution, adjudication, sentencing and corrections.
The FIRST STEP Act of 2018 laid a critical foundation for the necessary reform. It gave judges more latitude in imposing mandatory minimum sentences, increased programming to reduce recidivism, and expanded opportunities for inmate placement into residential reentry centers or home confinement. As a bipartisan effort to move toward reform in criminal justice, it was truly an important first step—but only that.
Building upon the FIRST STEP Act, additional sentencing and prison reform is necessary to truly press toward justice. I support further reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and eliminating the discrepancy between crack and powder cocaine sentences. I support continuing oversight and improvement regarding prison conditions, healthcare access and rehabilitative offerings. Finally, I am in favor of phasing out detention centers and private prisons—certainly for federal prisoners.
In Congress, I will work to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline which results in marginalized youth constituencies being over-disciplined resulting in higher drop-out rates and more justice involvement. I will work to end our system of cash bail that places those in poverty at the highest risk of remaining in contact with the criminal justice system. I will support efforts to decriminalize mental health crises and to legalize marijuana. These are the tools that have been used to create our system of mass incarceration, and I intend to fight to disassemble them.
Finally, It is critical that we legislate reforms to help ensure a positive path forward for reentering citizens. I will support a federal “ban-the-box” law that would update the hiring practices of federal agencies and contractors. I will work for the removal of barriers for formerly incarcerated to fully reintegrate into society, including eliminating restrictions on housing, occupational licensing and formally reversing the federal ineligibility for food stamps for individuals with drug-related felonies. I support restoring the voting rights for citizens with past criminal convictions. I firmly believe that once people have paid their debt to society through incarceration, they should not continue paying it for the rest of their lives.
As a physician, I see far, far too many women who have been told that the pain they are experiencing – the tightness in their chest, the aching, the elevated heart rate – is just anxiety. I’ve seen times when women were instructed to go home and relax rather than listened to, evaluated and treated for the heart attack they’ve experienced. And—for as tragic as this is in healthcare settings—the unfortunate truth is women’s words and experiences have all too often been ignored across our society.
Here in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, women earn, on average, just 86 cents for every $1 earned by men. The wage gap is even larger for most women of color. The combination of occupational segregation, the lack of paid family leave, disproportionate responsibility for caregiving and other unpaid obligations and outright discrimination are major drivers of this gender wage gap. I will advocate for robust work-family policies like paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, comprehensive equal pay legislation, and other anti-discriminatory policies to speed the closing of the gender wage gap and dismantle this form of systematic disadvantage.
I will not just support the Equal Rights Amendment, I will use my platform in Congress to advocate on its behalf so that other states will follow Virginia’s lead and help guarantee the same legal rights for all Americans, regardless of gender. And I will use my experience in the Obama White House and on Virginia’s Medicaid Board to ensure that every woman in our commonwealth, regardless of race, income, or ZIP Code has access to quality healthcare including access to reproductive care.
It is completely unacceptable that the Violence Against Women Act has been expired since February of last year. It is unconscionable that this legislation is being held up by the Senate, and that the law’s current unauthorized status threatens the health, well-being, support and protection of millions of women. We must reauthorize VAWA, including provisions to close the boyfriend loophole, ensure protections for LGBTQ+ victims of domestic abuse, and address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
As a physician, I know how fundamental the notion of bodily autonomy is for everyone. I believe deeply in the notion of self governance over one’s own body without external influence or coercion. To me, it is a matter of equity and human rights that we protect a woman’s right to choose when, with whom and under what circumstances to start a family. I believe that we must act urgently and decisively to protect women’s fundamental health and human right to choose.
I’m not committed to women’s rights because I love my mom and my three sisters. It’s not because I respect my wife and believe that she deserves the dignity of fair treatment. It’s not even because I want my daughter to have every opportunity for a fair shake as she grows older. Each of their experiences and outlooks sharpen my perspective as a man engaging these issues, but I’m committed to women’s rights because it is equitable and just. It’s because I believe that our society should be fair for everyone, and I know it is all of our responsibility to advocate for that future.