Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1
B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
Recently everyone’s life has been impacted by COVID-19. The public health measures like wearing a mask, social distancing, and handwashing are all recommended by scientists. These measures save lives. As a legislator who will begin work during the pandemic, I will always defer to doctors, scientists, and public health experts when forming legislation relevant to COVID-19. I believe firmly that when addressing our nation’s most important issues like climate change, rural broadband, and public health, we must follow the science and data. When in office I hope to work closely with scientists, statisticians, and subject matter experts to deliver for the American people.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
As a physician myself, and the husband of one, my life has been focused on the science around healing people and keeping them healthy for almost 20 years now. Through my work with patients and in leading research at the University of Virginia, I know first hand the power of data and making decisions based on what is borne out by science. Thus, if elected, my decision-making will always follow where the data leads me.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
COVID-19 has showcased a lack of leadership at the federal level—which has cost tens of thousands of lives, and thrown our local economies into upheaval. At a time when our leaders in congress and in the White House should’ve been warning us and following established and proven guidelines to protect public health, they were instead waving away the oncoming crisis and labeling the pandemic a hoax. We need honest, accountable leadership to help navigate us out of this public health crisis and to help recover and restart our economy.

We need a robust posture on healthcare, with the scaling up of testing being of utmost importance. It is wide scale testing that will effectively restart the economy, short of a COVID-19 vaccine. We must also use regular testing to ensure that front line essential workers are safe and not contagious. By using testing scientifically in the rest of the population, we can effectively trace the spread of the virus to kill off transmission lines. We must utilize the Defense Production Act to manufacture the equipment we desperately need, we have got to protect medical professionals and patients. Congress must step in and address this crisis.

We must also ensure that essential supply chains continue to flow—food, medicine, health care, masks, protective equipment, etc. The federal government must be able to step in to assist with these vital chains if the states are unable to.

The federal government must also ensure that workers and small businesses are protected. That means continuing to pass legislation that will protect paychecks and ensure that workers are not forced to go into workplaces where they may be at risk of spreading or contracting the virus.

Only once we have mass testing and scaled contact tracing, along with social distancing and mask wearing, should we begin to relax lockdown measures. This will ensure that those being released into labor markets are safe and healthy.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
I believe we need a federal plan to ensure national testing and contact tracing, completely cover the cost of testing and treatment for those affected, and ensure sufficient supplies of PPE for everyone in this country. All of these things are possible, we just need the political will to get them done.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
I'll do so via my Last Mile Broadband Plan, which you can read here. You can also read the underlying philosophy here. I believe that broadband should be treated as a public utility and that all Americans should have access to high speed, reliable, affordable broadband.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
On day one I will be a fighter for an historic investment in expanding rural broadband infrastructure, so that no Virginian is left behind in the new digital economy. That will take time to build and implement, so in the short term I support initiatives such as providing wireless hotspots for student without access at home, creating wifi hubs on school buses, and financial support for low income families that struggle with the cost of their internet bill.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
Vice President Biden once said, "Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value." I would make sure our federal budgets fully fund math and science education. We must be competitive on a global scale.

Additionally, I would fight to level the distribution of other resources. For instance, if a child doesn't have decent internet access, then their ability to do homework and research is severely limited.

Right now, the safest way to remain connected is to get online. This is true for our schools and our loved ones, for our jobs, for our healthcare providers, and for every house of worship. But this approach is just not possible for a lot of us.

Slow download speeds and unreliable satellite internet, especially in rural parts of our district, leave many of us up a digital creek and longing for a paddle. Something has to change. That's why I've released my Last Mile Broadband Plan.

Education is personal to me; both of my parents were educators. They instilled in me a deep sense of commitment to education, educators, schools, and public libraries. My wife Ayesha and I have two children in the Virginia public school system, so I observe first-hand the frustration and struggles of Virginia's school children, teachers, and parents. I also see the growth opportunities.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
I believe it starts with getting our schools, in every zip code, the funding they need to succeed. This includes paying our teachers a fair wage commensurate with their education, giving them the access to the continuing education programs they need to be successful, getting more resources to our schools so that they can provide the tools children need to succeed, promoting community school models that can provide the wrap around services many of our low income and disadvantaged students need, closing funding gaps between school districts, and infrastructure dollars to renovate and expand our incredibly old school stock that make kids sick and provide a poor environment for learning.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
Reliable high speed internet is the key to cultivating a diverse STEM workforce in Virginia. On my first day in office I would propose legislation to establish a Rural Broadband Expansion Authority with the power to manage every US Government grant or subsidy program. This new Authority would set fire to red tape, rescinding the waste and inefficiency of 14 different government offices. Instead, this Authority would unite telecommunications, information technology, construction, education, and agricultural experts under one team to assist local communities with the formation of effective and efficient broadband utilities.

If we do this, we will profoundly help the economy. We will create, at minimum, tens of thousands of new jobs. When Terry McAuliffe was governor, he frequently spoke about Virginia’s tens of thousands of unfilled computer science jobs. Today we have more than 35,000 open computer science jobs. Their average salary is more than $100,000.

We need to fill future jobs. We need to support and protect present jobs. We need to get people connected. We need to do everything we can to build a sustainable future and keep our communities safe. So we must act urgently to bring people online.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
As I mentioned earlier, I think expanding broadband internet access is a key part of this. I also support building towards the economy of the future centered on high tech manufacturing, green energy production, and creating the industries of tomorrow right here in Virginia's 5th district. This will require prioritizing all of our educational institutions, from public primary and secondary schools, to technical training, vocational, and apprenticeship programs, to 4 year college. We need all of these to ensure we have a workforce that is ready to meet the needs of our changing economy and fully take advantage of the opportunities that it offers.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
I believe in streamlining processes that will lead to innovation, research, and development. I also believe that we must encourage competition in the marketplace and put an end to harmful patent strategies that block new drugs, products, and innovations from coming to market.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
I will consult regularly with scientists and experts. This is incredibly important to me and it will inform my policy making. That’s one of the reasons I fervently support re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement fosters a global culture that respects scientific evidence and encourages collaboration between scientists worldwide. It also encourages government accountability and innovation.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
As a doctor and a scientist, I always follow the data. I will lean on the experts that I have worked with from my medical training, law school, work in the White House, and my work at the University of Virginia School of Medicine to ensure that all my decisions are based on facts and science.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
I believe in the crucial need to recognize that harmful climate change is real, it is due to human activity, that we need to invest in protecting our environment, our air, water, and land. I know that we must listen to scientists when they tell us that the current timelines and steps on the table are not enough to save us, and that we need to take emergency action. I also understand that this means prioritizing the protection of the many over the profit of the few.

The US gives approximately $20 billion in direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. We need to end these subsidies and say NO to bailing out fossil fuels. It’s time to return the money to the people through:

● Mandatory LED lights in all publicly funded buildings, streetlights, and traffic lights, with the money and support provided by the federal government for implementation. LED lights reduce energy consumption by approximately 75% and last 25x longer. Every city that has installed LED lights has saved money. An example, Valparaiso, Indiana, a small city of 31,000 is saving approximately $80,000 a year due to the switch to LED lights in their buildings.
● Mandatory solar panels and other green energy measures on all schools and publicly funded buildings, with the money and support provided by the federal government for implementation. Middlesex County, VA is saving $50,000 a year initially from the solar panels that power the district’s elementary and middle schools. Those savings are expected to increase over time. Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, VA has solar panels and a geothermal-well system that heats and cools water. The building produces even more energy than it needs, allowing it to share power with nearby schools.

Current proposals and actions do not match the scientific timelines.

● According to the most recent IPCC Emissions Gap Report we need to reduce emissions globally by a minimum of 76% by 2030 to prevent a temperature increase of over 1.5 C. If we don’t achieve this, we will hit 2 degrees Celsius between 2035-2055
● If we pass 1.5 C we will start hitting tipping points, causing a cascading effect of exponentially increasing dangers beyond our control.
● As America is the second largest polluter in the world and the wealthiest nation, we hold a greater responsibility to far exceed 76% emissions reductions by 2030, and get as close to 100% as possible.

We need a holistic approach that addresses the intersection of the climate crisis, economic inequality, and environmental racism and we need to take action at emergency speeds. The Green New Deal is the only piece of legislation put forth making this commitment, and The Climate Mobilization Victory Plan presents the most detailed set of steps on how to achieve the Green New Deal’s goals. Together they will:

● Repair and upgrade infrastructure while eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and guaranteeing access to clean water.
● Create millions of good paying jobs while protecting our current energy workforce by training fossil-fuel workers in renewable energy jobs. These clean energy jobs will offer competitive benefits, income support, and retirement benefits.
● Require project labor agreements to provide a prevailing wage for clean energy jobs; and protect the right of workers to join a union without employer interference.
● Provide assistance and incentives to farmers transitioning to environmental agriculture practices, and provide more support to small and mid size farms.
● End new fossil fuel exploration, infrastructure, and exportation
● Stop the pollution faced disproportionately by minority and low-income communities, and stop the exploitation and destruction of indigenous lands. Cap and Trade is not the solution, it simply allows a “pay to pollute” system that doesn’t protect front line communities, as well as doesn’t reduce emissions enough to save us in time. The U.S. needs to institute a fair energy rationing system similar to rationing systems used during WWII. Those with higher needs can apply for higher rations, but rations cannot be bought and there will be no loopholes for the rich or well-connected.
● We also must act quickly to save the Chesapeake Bay while there is still time.

As Congressman, I will work to ensure we leave a livable world and a healthy environment for our children.

a. Prioritizing Rural America (agriculture)

In 2018 the rate of food insecurity in rural areas was 12.7%. Many rural areas are considered food deserts, where people lack accessibility to fresh and affordable food. Adding to this tragedy is that some of these rural food deserts are in the same communities where agriculture is key to the local economy. A key solution to this problem is we must ensure that food can be enjoyed in the same communities where it is grown. This creates healthier communities, reduces costs associated with transportation, lowers the carbon footprint, and helps working families by strengthening the local economy. We can achieve these goals by:

● Promoting Food-Cooperatives: grocery stores in which consumers or workers are also owners, and which focus on sourcing from local farmers. Traditional grocery stores often do not come to rural areas because they don’t anticipate high enough profits.
● Promoting Community Supported Agricultural programs (CSAs): local residents pay local farmers at the beginning of the year and receive a portion of whatever is produced at the time of harvest. Having this money up front helps farmers with operational costs.
● Promoting Farm to School Initiatives: local farmers sell fresh produce directly to public schools or incorporate school gardens into meal programs, ensuring healthy food is served to students and teachers. This also provides further opportunity for education about local farms, gardening, and nutrition.
● Establish a Farmers’ Land Army (based on the Women’s Land Army of WWI and WWII) to quickly train new farmers in environmentally beneficial farming practices. Recruits to the FLA should receive student loan forgiveness.
● Support antitrust protections that safeguard small business farmers from agriculture monopolies.
● We need a US food policy focused on helping farming families, economic equality, creating a healthier population, fighting climate change, and preserving our environment.
● We must improve access to healthcare and mental health care in rural areas. We can do this by guaranteeing healthcare for every American. This will remove many of the financial barriers that keep medical facilities from opening in rural areas, and help remove many of the financial barriers that force currently operating facilities to close.

As Congressman, I will work to pass legislation that ensures that broadband access is treated as a utility and that the federal government makes the necessary investments to provide high speed broadband to rural and underserved communities.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
I believe that we need to take an aggressive approach to tackling the climate crisis, including historic investment in expanding green energy production and lowering our carbon emissions. These steps though can be huge economic drivers, creating millions of new jobs across the country, including tens of thousands right here in Virginia. In my district, we are already seeing the benefits that just the solar industry provides us, with multiple solar fields, solar panel installers, and solar project developers located right here in VA-05. In agriculture, promoting methods such as cover crops and no-till farming have been shown not just to cut down on carbon emissions, but also to increase yields and soil health, making these farms more economically viable and more sustainable for future generations.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
I would strenuously advocate minimization and preparation, and government support for both. Minimize damage by avoiding risky building practices; prepare for damage by taking additional safety precautions.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
I believe that adopting a single payer healthcare system would be the solution to many of these problems. This is why I support Medicare for All. Additionally, I support allocating more money towards healthcare for veterans, ensuring that they have safety and security in their lives.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
Expanding the scope and accessibility of telehealth mental health programs is a great first step for reaching those who have trouble accessing in-person providers. We also have a colossal shortage in mental health providers, with 112 million Americans living in areas identified as having a shortage of mental health services. We need to create incentives for people to pursue these careers, such as loan forgiveness programs, working to bring down the cost of mental health training programs, and expanding the number of these programs offered. Finally, we need to close disparities in mental health coverage so that people can get the care they need before its advanced to the most dangerous and life threatening of circumstances.

Qasim Rashid, Democrat, District 1:
Our Democratic process came under attack in 2016 and we will likely see that happen again in the future. We must take a multi-pronged approach to protecting our democratic processes and shielding digital data from misuse. Firstly, I believe we should secure our electrical grid. In terms of data, support strong privacy laws, repealing the PATRIOT Act, and holding corporations accountable for misuse of data. Finally, companies like Facebook and Twitter should be held accountable for disseminating misinformation and not being protective of users’ data.

B. Cameron Webb, Democrat, District 5:
I believe we need to move resources to shoring up the US' cyber security infrastructure, create national standards and guidelines for data encryption and encourage these practices for all sensitive data, and create Federal legislation modeled after California's Consumer Privacy Protection Act to ensure individual control over their personal data.