Jeion Ward is the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 92. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Candidate: Jeion Ward
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 92
Biography: Del. Jeion Ward began serving as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 92nd House District, in 2004. As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, she serves as chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee. She also serves on the Transportation Committee, communication, innovation and technology, and rules committees.
Ward has been married to her high school sweetheart, James, for 49 years. Their roots run deep in the community. They are parents of 3 sons: James Jr., Jason, and Jeremy.
While working full time as a teacher assistant, wife and mother, Ward graduated from Thomas Nelson Community College and Christopher Newport University where she earned her bachelor’s degree and certification in middle school education.
In 1998, after serving four years as vice president, the Ward was elected president of the Hampton Federation of Teachers, a position she currently holds. She is a member of the Executive Council of the Virginia AFL-CIO and a proud member of the Hampton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC.
She has been a tireless advocate and a voice for working families and for education. She believes in investing in our economy by supporting small women and minority businesses, and providing a quality education for our children, one that will lead to a career or higher education is a priority. Ward is also a voice for working people to ensure everyone receives fair wages and safe working conditions.
Through all the seasons of her life, a quality public education for all children and dignity for workers have always been her top priority.
Why should Virginians re-elect you to the Virginia House of delegates?
I believe I should be re-elected because I have kept my word to listen to the people so I could be their voice in the state legislature. Since my first election, I have always maintained a local office with open doors where constituents can visit or call to discuss issues. I have provided other means of communication, such as, town hall meetings and by sending out regular surveys to gauge the pulse of the community. In addition, regular and weekly electronic newsletters are sent to constituents. I receive regular feedback through each of these formats. These open lines of communication equip me to be their voice. Each vote I have taken and each bill I have filed have been with their thoughts and comments in mind.
What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
If I’m re-elected, there are several things I’d like to accomplish. The following is not a complete list. As chairwoman of the Labor and Commerce Committee, I will focus on the issues that have and will come before my committee.
I want to ensure that the bill I carried to incrementally increase the minimum wage continues to increase until it reaches $15 an hour. I would also like to continue my work to guarantee that SWaM bushiness are treated fairly in the state procurement process. I will continue to work on ways to provide affordable housing and economic development in order to create jobs that will grow the economy. I will work to ensure that every child in every corner of this Commonwealth has access to broadband or WiFi, and that each child receives a quality, first class education. I want to ensure that every child graduates career or college ready.
For years, Virginia has been known as the best place for business, but few people knew that it had an Oxfam ranking in 2018 and 2019 as the worst state for workers. This year, Virginia moved from last place to 23rd. I would like to improve conditions for workers until Virginia receives the distention as being the best place for business and the best place for workers. Fair wages and safe working conditions are very important.
What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?
One of the most important issues facing this district is the increase in violent crimes committed by our youth. There are many reasons why our youth become involved in criminal activity. In order for us to find a solution, we must look deeply for the root causes. Our locality is not alone in dealing with this issue.
I believe some ideas will be discussed during Attorney General Mark Herring’s round table meetings. I am glad gun violence prevention is one of his top priorities, and that he is willing to listen to what those with experience have to say. I will be in attendance to hear ways we can prevent or intervene in youth violence. I’m sure the discussion will include the topic of easy access to illegal guns for our youth. I’m interested to hear what researchers have learned and what others are doing.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
During the early days of the pandemic, I believe we did the best we could do. We must remember that this was a totally new virus that had not been identified in humans and it was unpredictable and rapidly spreading.
At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, it was difficult to receive the necessary PPE to protect our first responders and our schools were not prepared to teach remotely. The pandemic exposed weaknesses that had gone unaddressed for years. Deficiencies in the VEC, food insecurity, lack of broadband access and affordable housing all made the situation more difficult.
I believe that as Virginia identified the problems we quickly amended our budget to allocate the $4.3 billion in COVID-19 relief funds. We are slowly on the path to recovery.
What are the three top issues created by the corona virus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
The top 3 issues created by the pandemic have always been with us. The pandemic magnified all of our weaknesses.
- The VEC was truly unprepared for the magnitude of the pandemic. They were understaffed and working with outdated technology. Moving forward we would like to make sure that we have a better, faster claims process. Updating the technology and providing training for VEC representatives is absolutely imperative to shorten wait times.
- Food and housing insecurity has always been an issue in our community. The loss of jobs and unexpected expenses caused by this pandemic have only worsened the problem. I will continue to work to attract good paying jobs with benefits to help families through difficult times. It is also important that we provide affordable, quality childcare for families with children. Parents cannot work without the assurance that their young children are being cared for
- As schools buildings were closed and students were switched to remote learning, we quickly learned the difficulties faced by families without WiFi or broadband. The lack of broadband affected families working from home, college students, and young children learning remotely. In our last budget we allocated $700 million to ensure that broadband will be accessible throughout the Commonwealth. These funds will help schools and businesses