Current Position: Pediatrician
Candidate: 2019 State Delegate for VA House District 96
Source: Campaign page
As I enter my 18th year in practice as a pediatrician, I’m thankful to be a part of the lives of so many children and families in the greater Williamsburg area and surrounding counties.
I currently work as a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of Williamsburg, a practice of Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. When I’m not in the office, I enjoy swimming and rowing as well as volunteering my time for my neighborhood Queens Lake swim team, the Bruton High School swim team, and the Williamsburg Boat Club rowing team.
I’ve been a resident of the 96th District for the majority of my life, beginning when I moved here with my parents at the age of two, after my father retired from the US Air Force. I grew up in the Queens Lake neighborhood in upper York County attending Waller Mill and Magruder Elementary School, Queens Lake Middle School and Bruton High School. I graduated from Bruton High School in 1984 and focused on academics (Valedictorian) and civics (Senior Class President.)
I graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Chemical Engineering, but after working for four years as a chemical engineer, I decided to pursue a different path. I went to medical school at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. Again, I balanced my interest in serving my patients, achieving excellence in academics (Valedictorian) and leadership (Class President.) After my residency and starting my career as a physician, I returned to Williamsburg in 2001 to join Pediatric Associates of Williamsburg.
I’m honored to be the father of four fantastic children: Mae (20), Mallory (19), Zelly (16) and Joe (11), with my wife, Kristin, who I’ve been blessed to be married to for the past 21 years. Since moving back to Queens Lake I have strived to make our neighborhood as wonderful of a place for the next generation of children as it was when I grew up here. I want to do the same for our community.
As I look to the future I hope to take my passion as a pediatrician, father, and neighborhood volunteer to serve the wonderful people of the 96th District as their Delegate for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Source: Campaign page
EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION
I am grateful for the excellent education I’ve received in Virginia schools. From Queens Lake to Bruton to UVA to MCV, I’ve been able to take advantage of our excellent public school systems. Our children all deserve access to an excellent public education, regardless of what zip code they live in.
Advocating for early childhood education will be a cornerstone of my education policy. By investing in our children early, we set them up for success later in life. I will drive forward legislative efforts to make sure that our high school graduates are prepared with the skills they need for whatever path they choose. I will work to improve outcomes in our public schools, with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math, the areas where opportunity is likely to expand.
As a doctor, I trust women to make their own decisions about their health and reproductive rights. I would rather help prevent unplanned pregnancies and will work to expand access to LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) which has been shown to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and abortion by over 50% (Colorado).
Support- Passing ERA in Virginia
Support- Equal pay
ENCOURAGING ECONOMIC GROWTH
Our district is blessed with a diverse economy, with tourism, education, military and a growing start-up culture. We need to continue to grow our economy while creating a highly-skilled workforce for the future.
Offering incentives for young adults to pursue high demand jobs and the jobs of the future are an important part of preparing for the changing nature of work. I will push for tax policies that reward people for hard work, support small business, support our aquaculture, cybersecurity and clean energy sectors and keep our district moving forward. In addition, from my own experience, I’d like to see incentives for primary care providers, geriatricians, psychiatrists and rural health care providers to ensure we can meet the needs ahead.
INCREASING HEALTH CARE ACCESS
I work in the healthcare system every day, and while we can provide excellent care, it comes at an alarmingly high price. I see patients who have insurance but still have tremendous out-of-pocket costs that can make a visit to the doctor or a prescription drug prohibitively expensive. As a pediatrician, I bring knowledge and firsthand experience in what is wrong with our health care system and will work towards the most effective solutions for our district and Commonwealth.
I will work for accessible, affordable, and excellent healthcare for every American. I support efforts to invest in preventative care to reduce the epidemic of untreated chronic diseases that lead to expensive medical interventions down the line, costing us all. We have to prevent health problems before they snowball into other issues that affect the individual as well as our communities. This is particularly true for mental health and addiction, which can spiral quickly into critical situations that cost opportunities to contribute to our communities in addition to expensive health care and correctional bills, often paid by taxpayers directly. Prevention is less expensive than reactivity for all of us.
APPLYING COMMON SENSE GUN SAFETY
Guns are the third leading cause of death in American children. It doesn’t have to be this way – we have the tools to address our epidemic of gun violence, we just need to elect leaders with the courage to tackle this issue.
As a dad and pediatrician, I know how important it is to take action on common sense gun safety. Like many parents, I trust that my son and daughters will be safe when I send him to school, but we know that nowhere is really safe in a country that allows guns to easily get into the hands of people who would do others harm.
It is long past time us to take common sense steps to prevent gun violence. If elected, I will fight for solutions that protect our children and families, including accountable and responsible gun ownership measures, universal background checks and registration for both firearms and people who sell them.
HONORING OUR COMMITMENT TO VETERANS
Veterans, service members, and their families have made huge sacrifices for our country. They deserve to be treated with respect because of their service to our country. Part of respecting our servicemen and women, vets, and their families is ensuring they have access to the services and support they need.
I believe that even at the state level, we can ensure that the VA is working for veterans–and making connections so that vets receive the top-quality healthcare they deserve. We should promote policies for hiring veterans and support laws that increase job opportunities for veterans, while upholding our commitment to service members, and make sure they receive the retirement and disability pay they deserve.
FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
We need to take action to lessen the impact of climate change. Here in the Virginia, we are seeing the effects of sea level rise, which is undeniable. In recent years, fast-moving storms have flooded Norfolk and Richmond and the Peninsula has seen an intense increase in tornados and water-related damage. The York River is an important asset for the 96th district and we need to ensure that we treasure it as a natural resource.
We must champion policies to create new, sustainable, clean energy jobs and grow our economy. As scientist, I will apply evidence-based principles and methods to my evaluation of environmental policy and regulation and insist that our government agencies do the same.
CYBER SAFETY FOR ALL
Technology has given us many advantages, but new challenges arise as a result.
We need to ensure that our laws keep pace with our technology advances. I will advocate for stronger resources to enforce our existing laws and to ensure that we don’t lag behind in the keeping pace with advancements. We should be promoting the proper ways technology can benefit us, and discouraging illegal and uncivil behavior.
Civil discourse is often left behind as people hide behind their computers, venting rather than listening. Our kids are often the most affected and adults should set a good example, no matter how strongly they disagree with other people. I believe in sincere, face-to-face communication, and my code of ethics reflects my belief in how people should be treated, no matter what they believe. That’s how I’m running my campaign and that’s an issue I feel strongly about — if elected to the House of Delegates, that’s how I’ll behave, to set a good example for our kids.
WHRO Interview hearsay Mark Downey
Downey For Virginia
Published on May 23, 2019
By: Downey For Virginia