- Name: Vangie Williams
- Years in public service: Almost 32 years
- City/County of residence: King George, VA
- Virginia congressional district: 1st
- Party affiliation: Democrat
- Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
Tell us about your top three legislative priorities and why they are important to you and your constituents.
FROM VANGIE WILLIAMS
Healthcare. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the model of tying health care to employment is broken. All over the country, tens of millions of people are losing their jobs, and in addition to losing their income, they’re forced to pay for health care out of pocket. This model doesn’t work. We need a universal coverage system that takes care of people equally who aren’t employed and supports rural health care systems, while providing cost certainty to consumers both at point of service and afterwards. Our current system is complex, unwieldy, expensive and inefficient, and we can do better.
Infrastructure. The First District is growing rapidly, and the highways that connect us to job centers in Richmond and the D.C. area are clogged with traffic. We need massive investments in transit in order to relieve the burden on our communities, and that includes infrastructure to support rural communities throughout the Northern Neck all the way down to Virginia Beach. But infrastructure doesn’t just mean transportation, it also means rural broadband. To keep our rural communities vibrant, we need rapid buildout of high-speed internet to allow rural residents to be able to work from home and build thriving communities.
Racial justice. The murder of George Floyd showed that policing needed substantial reform. But the response to the protest movement has shown that policing is fundamentally broken. We are seeing non-violent protesters being beaten and gassed. We are seeing journalists intentionally targeted by law enforcement officers. We are seeing a law enforcement model that treats communities like occupied territory. This is how the black community has always felt, and now that indiscriminate, unaccountable police violence is being targeted at everyone, others are beginning to wake up to this reality. We need to fundamentally restructure the way policing is done in this country in order to de-emphasize force and emphasize de-escalation, conflict resolution and provision of social services. We do not need to send men with guns to deal with a case of selling loose cigarettes. That’s how Eric Garner died. We do not need to send men with guns to deal with a counterfeit $20 bill. That’s how George Floyd died. There is a better way, and I am confident that our states and cities can innovate to find out how we best address these issues.