Republicans in two key Virginia Senate races voted against laws to help constituents
State Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant and Del. Emily Brewer opposed Medicaid expansion, living wages, and budgets that funded schools and public safety.
With new legislative maps and all 40 seats up for grabs, a handful of competitive Virginia Senate seats will determine which party controls the chamber for the next four years. State Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant and Del. Emily Brewer, the Republican nominees in two of those districts, have voted against higher wages, expanded health insurance access, and local services for their constituents.
Dunnavant is seeking a third term and is running in the 16th District, a slightly Democratic-leaning seat in the Richmond suburbs of Henrico County. She faces Democrat Schuyler VanValkenburg, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2018.
Brewer, after three terms in the House of Delegates, is running in the competitive 17th District, which includes parts of Hampton Roads and parts of Southside Virginia. Her opponent is Democrat Clint Jenkins, a state delegate first elected in 2019.
Dunnavant and Brewer both voted against a bipartisan 2018 law that expanded Medicaid coverage for more than 745,000 lower-income Virginians and reduced the commonwealth’s uninsured rate by 7 percentage points.
In 2015 campaign ads, Dunnavant, a practicing OB-GYN, said: “Lawyers wrote Obamacare and now crybaby politicians want to expand Medicaid. I say no. I can handle crying babies and deliver conservative results for you.”
Brewer told the Smithfield Times in 2018, ”Medicaid expansion under Obamacare has failed in nearly every state it has been tried, increasing their budgets beyond all projections.”
Neither lawmaker immediately responded to the American Independent Foundation’s questions about their records.
Virginia’s 2018 Medicaid expansion was part of a budget package that also included pay raises for educators and public safety employees. VanValkenburg backed the package; Jenkins was not yet in the Legislature.
That same year, the General Assembly approved the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a law that set strict environmental goals for energy utility companies and boosted consumer protections for their customers. VanValkenburg and Jenkins backed the law, while Dunnavant and Brewer both voted against it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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