Jerrauld “Jay” Jones is the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 89. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Candidate: Jerrauld “Jay” Jones
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 89
Biography: Del. Jay Jones was elected to represent the 89th District in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017. He is a lifelong Norfolk resident and comes from a long lineage of Virginian politicians, including both his father and grandfather. He serves on several committees, including House Appropriations, Transportation, and Counties, Cities, and Towns.
Why should Virginians re-elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
I’m asking for the constituents of the 89th to re-elect me because of my steadfast commitment to strengthening our community and improving our way of life.
I have prioritized the needs of the consumer by fighting for criminal justice reform, most notably through my co-patronage of HB2045, which creates a civil action for the deprivation of a person’s rights by a law-enforcement officer and provides that a plaintiff may be awarded compensatory damages, punitive damages, and equitable relief as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs. I was also co-patron on HB2263 which abolishes the death penalty.
I have also prioritized energy reform by carrying legislation that would get consumers the rates they deserve and been an ardent advocate for coastal resiliency efforts and sea-level rise, as my region and, more specifically, my district are greatly affected by both and disproportionately affecting black and brown people.
I have been a staunch supporter of workers and their rights, continuously advocating for them to collectively bargain and being the chief-patron on HB2207. This bill establishes a presumption that COVID-19 causing the death or disability of firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, and correctional officers is an occupational disease compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
What do you hope to accomplish, if re-elected?
If re-elected, I hope to keep criminal justice reform at the forefront while also prioritizing affordable, accessible, and equitable housing needs and continuing the fight for our students, teachers, and improving our education system.
What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?
I believe that the most important issue facing our district is housing insecurity. Specifically, we have to roll up our sleeves and prioritize affordable and equitable housing as lower income residents, particularly of black and brown communities, are disproportionately affected by the changing dynamics in our housing system. We must address the root systemic causes for inaccessibility and work with federal and local partners to remedy this pending crisis.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
Under the leadership of Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia navigated the worst public health crisis in a century. Not only were we able to quickly mobilize to keep hospitalizations low, we were able to maintain our economic standing and ensure that all citizens have access to the necessary tools and support during these trying times.
I am enormously proud of my bill HB2207, passed during the most recent legislative session, that establishes a presumption that COVID-19 causing the death or disability of firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, and correctional officers is an occupational disease compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The only way to emerge from this crisis is working together and I’m proud to say that I played a part in helping forge a path to recovery.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
Frontline workers are the backbone of this pandemic, and they were not protected under former Virginia labor laws. We ensured that they would be protected, and we still want to do our best to protect them, as this pandemic is not over.
Unemployment wages were crucial to individuals that lost wages due to the pandemic and many constituents were unable to get access to funds from the Virginia Employment Commission or are still waiting on payments. We must ensure that the Virginia Housing trust coffers and other state agencies like the VEC have the tools and resources to adequately help individuals.
One main issue that the pandemic laid bare was that minority communities were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. According to the Virginia Department of Health, almost a third of the diagnosed COVID cases in the Commonwealth are among black and brown citizens. Based on census data, both groups were adversely affected by COVID-19 more than other communities based on their population share. We must address the root causes of this by examining underlying issues that systematically black and brown people are more prone to and meet these communities in the middle by getting them necessary resources and tools to ensure similar health outcomes no matter the color of your skin or your zip code.