While all elected officials that have received the VEA Fund’s recommendation in their campaigns are strong public education advocates, those highlighted here are champions that deserve recognition for specific actions they have taken on behalf of public education.
You may know me as the former evening anchor of WDBJ7 Roanoke. Through that job, I traveled the region, talking to, and learning from you. I heard about and reported on the issues that impact your pocketbooks and your family. Now I want to do more. I believe the people of Southwest Virginia need a strong voice in Richmond. Someone who will advocate for our education system, expand access to healthcare, increase economic opportunity, and protect our natural resources.
Ben Chafin currently represents the 38th District in the Senate of Virginia. He was first elected to the Senate in 2014. Before being elected to the Senate, Ben served the 4th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.
In 2019, Delegate Carroll Foy carried sweeping legislation that came directly from the recommendations from the VEA’s Inaugural Teachers of Color Summit. Delegate Carroll Foy’s Teacher Diversity Act will open doors for minority students who want to enter the teaching profession and offers provisionally licensed teachers a path into the profession without the requirement to pass the battery of culturally biased, standardized tests that have no correlation to effective teaching. She is a champion for educators, for women, and for children.
One of two VEA members serving in the General Assembly, Delegate Turpin, a science teacher from Virginia Beach, has been fighting for solutions to the teacher shortage crisis since she was elected. As a member of the House Education Committee, she has partoned legislation that would require school divisions to collect and analyze teacher exit data so that we can build a strategy to address the reasons teachers leave the profession. In 2019, she carried legislation on the VEA’s behalf that came as a New Business Item from our Annual Convention. That legislation would have restored the Duty-Free Lunch Grant program to incentivize school divisions to make sure all teachers have a duty-free lunch period. She is a champion for the VEA and for the teaching profession.
There is no greater level of member activism than running for office. Delegate VanValkenburg is one of two VEA members currently serving in the House of Delegates. On the House Education Committee he is a thoughtful and influential voice on policies that effect our public schools. It is refreshing to have an actual public school teacher serving on that committee. In his first year in office, Delegate VanValkenburg patroned legislation on the VEA’s behalf to implement a school personnel climate survey to measure the impact of work environment on teacher turnover and followed up that bill in 2018 with a budget amendment in 2019 to help support full implementation of the survey.
The VEA can count on Senator McClellan to be a champion for equity and opportunity in our public schools. Since she was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2006, Senator McClellan has maintained a 100% voting record on VEA issues and patroned important legislation on our behalf. She is an important voice in the General Assembly for our public schools, our public school employees, our students, and our communities.