The Issues Janie is passionate about!
Janie is a Special Education Teacher at the Juvenile Detention Center in Farmville, Virginia. She believes that all of her students are amazing and deserve a childhood just like their peers, but they have made mistakes because they have been given opportunities to make poor choices. These have resulted in them being involved in the juvenile justice system. With after school programs available, many students could discover their passions instead of the “school to prison pipeline”, where students who struggle with managing their behavior are sent for punishment (and often incarceration) rather than having their needs assessed and addressed. These children need education, not prison.
Many will remember a time when kids could play a sport for free, spend time after school in Drama, Band, and Choir, stay after school to participate in any number of clubs, or work in a vocational class. Most of that doesn’t happen in present day schools. Some of that doesn’t happen in any school, especially in rural areas. When students don’t have activities to keep them busy after school, they are left with too much time to fill. That alone may increase the likelihood they will make poor choices. Every school needs money in all counties to provide fair and equal education and benefits for all students and teachers in the Commonwealth.
Rural Virginia cannot thrive without access to the rest of the world through high-speed internet. Students, job seekers, businesses, and families deserve the ability to do homework, apply for jobs, run their businesses, and enjoy simple connections with friends and family across the globe just like the rest of Virginia. Broadband access is essential for educational and economic growth. Relocating established businesses to our district can not happen without addressing the issue of internet access. There are rural broadband plans being developed across the country. There is no reason why the implementation of rural broadband access can’t be approached in the same way the Rural Electrification Programs were in the 1930s. Help Janie make broadband a reality for all Virginians no matter where they live.
Equal Rights Amendment:
Janie knows we need to make sure the the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is finally ratified. We cannot give up on women’s rights to be seen as EQUAL to men. When Virginia ratifies the ERA, it will become the 38th state to ratify the ERA, pushing the amendment over the three-fourths requirement to become part of the U.S. Constitution. Turning Virginia Blue will help all women across the nation, not just in Virginia.
Janie believes healthcare is a basic human right. We need to work to increase access to all healthcare providers in rural areas. This is especially urgent in the area of mental health and women’s reproductive services. Everyone has a right to choose the services they need for their helthcare and to have it close to home. Funding for Community Health Centers can make this happen. With health centers closer to small towns and rural areas, it will be easier for people to take care of medical needs when they happen instead of waiting until problems get much worse and they are forced to drive a distance to reach the nearest emergency room.
Virginia’s Climate Crisis:
Janie fully endorses the plan for a Green New Deal Virginia. The plan will work to create thousands of jobs while simultaneously addressing the issue of the climate crisis and restoring Virginia’s environment. The plan also outlines investments in local-scale agriculture in communities across Virginia ensuring that rural areas will benefit from economic growth as well as being ensured access to clean air and water.
Janie Zimmerman on ALL the Issues (This is from a detailed questionnaire I filled out)
● Budget: Janie believes that the budget needs an overhaul. We need to look at where our money is going and make sure it is going to the programs that are important to our constituents and not just big companies. Education, infrastructure, social services, and rural programs will be a focus for me as those are things that are historically underfunded.
● Job Creation: Janie believes that rural areas are in desperate need of jobs. Counties need to create an inviting environment in order for businesses to want to move to an underserved and underdeveloped area. She wants to attract businesses to small towns to bring them back to the glory they once were if at all possible. (Rural Broadband would also help bring businesses and jobs)
● Living Wage: Janie believes that everyone should be able to live on only one job. A $15 minimum wage is something she will fight for just as other cities and states are fighting for. She also believes that apprenticeship and trade programs can help people with on the job training that can pay while they learn and lead to a great livable wage. She would like to see more apprenticeship programs brought to smaller towns.
● Small Business: Janie believes that small businesses need incentives and tax breaks to be able to survive in the competitive world of Wal-Marts and other big box stores.
● Tax Policy: Janie believes that the 1% needs to pay more taxes and stop getting tax breaks from the federal administration. The middle and lower classes should have fewer taxes than they have right now, should have the most tax breaks, and an overall smaller tax bracket than rich people.
● After-School Programs: Janie believes schools need funding for after school activities so kids have something to do after school instead of getting in trouble. Many years ago there were FREE athletics and clubs kids could join. Janie currently works at the juvenile detention center in Farmville and she believes that if her students had more things to do after school they could have avoided getting into trouble.
● Funding: Janie knows school need funding in rural areas so students have the necessary resources to compete with students in more populated areas. Living in a rural area should not stop a student from having the career of their choice.
● Higher Education: Since college is a requirement for some jobs, Janie believes students should be able to get their PK-16 education free so they can begin their careers without the burden of excessive student loan debt. In rural areas, there are fewer opportunities for education available to students, and providing free education through community college would increase the odds that our young people will stay close to home.
● Trade Schools/Vocational Education: Janie believes more STEM programs and vocational classes should be available for students to explore their interests while in high school so they don’t have to waste time in college, if where they need to be is trade school.
● Climate Change: Janie supports Virginia’s Green New Deal, which proposes to create thousands of jobs while addressing the climate emergency and restoring Virginia’s environment, focusing on renewable energy, clean land, air, and water, as well as investments and jobs in local agriculture.
● Environmental Protection: Janie knows we live in a beautiful area which must be preserved for future generations. We need to protect farmland and forests to allow family farms to make a substantial living. Bringing in agribusinesses that focus on protecting land and not destroying it is very important to our future.
● Campaign Finance Reform: Janie believes that there should be limits and laws regarding who and how much can be given to campaigns. I think lobbying in general should be outlawed. No one should think they are obligated to vote a certain way because some power company (Dominion) or other industry donated to their campaign.
● Gerrymandering: Janie believes in redistricting in a nonpartisan manner. I would love it if it could be county based instead of neighborhood/street based. We need to reform the district lines in Virginia as well as other states that I have no control over. (The 5th district alone is ridiculous)
● Opinion of Trump: Janie’s opinion of Trump.....Well, I’m trying to not be too negative, but he’s an idiot. He is not worthy of being president. He has been terrible for our country, set us back years with other countries’ relationships with the US, and made us a laughing stock around the world. It scares me that anyone can still support him after all the terrible things he has done. He should have been arrested many times and I can’t wait for the day that happens.
● Term Limits: Janie believes that there SHOULD BE term limits for all forms of government. Some people sit in their comfy seat for far too many years and nothing changes. My incumbent has voted increasingly less often as his time in the District 60 seat has continued over time.
● Abortion: Janie is 100% Pro-Choice! No exceptions. A woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. Laws and other people’s morals/values should have nothing to do with a woman’s choices.
● Accessibility: Janie believes funding for community health centers can help people get the medical, mental health and reproductive services they need at a location close to their homes instead of traveling many miles to the nearest hospital. These centers allow people to choose to take care of medical needs when they need it instead of waiting until a health condition worsens.
● Affordability: Janie believes that healthcare is a RIGHT for everyone. She believes in universal healthcare. Most other developed countries already have universal healthcare. The insurance and pharmaceutical industries need to get out of politics and let people have the healthcare they need so there are no more deaths or bankruptcies just because someone couldn’t afford a needed medical service.
● Marijuana (Medical): Janie believes that medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized, regulated and TAXED. Other states that have done this are seeing great revenue from the taxes received from these legal sales. She also believes that anyone in jail/prison for a marijuana charge of any size should have their sentence pardoned and they should be released as soon as marijuana becomes legal. (It will happen someday in every state)
● Opioid Epidemic: Janie knows opioid addiction is ruining the lives of our families and loved ones. We need more funding to fight this. Regulating opioid prescriptions doctors prescribe is a good first step. For those already addicted, or who become addicted in the future, access to healthcare is also a must.
● Affordability: Janie believes that housing should be more affordable for the middle and lower class. There should be more low income housing, and more subsidized housing in all cities and towns. When she moved to Southern Virginia it was even hard for her to find affordable housing on a teacher’s salary.
● Homelessness: Janie believes that homelessness is a huge problem, especially in bigger cities. People move to bigger cities because there are more resources in general. She feels that part of the reason there are so many homeless people is partly because of the lack of mental health services, substance abuse programs, and affordable housing options.
HUMAN RIGHTS / EQUALITY
● LGBTQ+ Rights: Janie believes that LGBTQ+ rights are civil rights. Everyone deserves the same rights. LGBTQ+ people have the right to marry the person they love, to be protected from discrimination in the workplace, to be protected from discrimination at businesses, and to be protected anywhere they choose to go. This country is not a Christian country, it is filled with many other beliefs and non-believers. No one has a right to put their religious convictions onto ANY other person.
● Criminal Justice Reform: Janie believes that our criminal justice system is long overdue for reform. Right now it is a racist system that incarcerates more people of color for more crimes than any white people. (and usually for lesser charges) There needs to be more training for officers so POC, and people with mental health conditions, are not arrested as often and definitely not convicted for the amount and type of crimes as they are today.
● ERA: The passage of the ERA is long overdue. Women deserve equal pay for equal work. The passage of the ERA would be a significant step towards achieving this goal. Virginia could be the 38th state which is the necessary minimum to put this amendment in the Constitution.
● DACA: Janie believes the DACA program is a great program. Children who were brought across the border with their parents had no decision as to where they lived. They should be allowed to grow up and go to college in, most likely, the only country they know.
● Family Separation/Detention: Janie believes that what is happening at the border is horrendous. It should have NEVER happened. Our ‘president’ is racist and just bowing to his base while doing this. Families need to be reunited and granted the asylum they are seeking.
● Broadband: Broadband is needed in rural areas to level the playing field for many people. Students need it to complete homework that their peers in the city have an easier time completing. Adults need it to look for jobs as many applications are now online. Most entertainment, which now streams over the internet, requires lighting fast speeds which are unavailable to most people in rural areas, if they have internet at all.
● General: Janie knows many small towns are dying out and turning into ghost towns, even though the residents still lives in the same houses surrounding the town. Janie will work with smaller towns to build infrastructure, whether that’s road improvements, attracting businesses in areas where jobs are hard to find, or improving access to broadband and emergency services.
● State Mandates: Janie believes limiting state requirements is a good thing for rural areas. We don’t need to use our money to improve courthouses when we don’t have the same problems, such as crime, that more urban areas do. Money in our rural areas is better spent focused on issues that rural areas have, not using up valuable funds for unneeded state mandates.
PUBLIC SAFETY / LAW ENFORCEMENT
● Gun Safety: Janie believes that guns are a safety issue the way they are handled now. She believes in universal background checks with a database the connects across all states. Automatic weapons and large magazines should be outlawed. Open carry laws should not allow people to carry a gun anywhere they choose, there should be more restrictions, just as an officer can’t bring a gun into a prison, civilians should not be able to bring guns into a school, a church, or other highly populated areas.
● Marijuana (Recreational): (Same as medical above) Janie believes that medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized, regulated and TAXED. Other states that have done this are seeing great revenue from the taxes received from these legal sales. She also believes that anyone in jail/prison for a marijuana charge of any size should have their sentence pardoned and they should be released as soon as marijuana becomes legal. (It will happen someday in every state)
VETERANS’ ISSUES: Janie’s father is a Vietnam Veteran so Veteran issues are a personal issue to her. She believes there should be more services for veterans in housing, jobs, and especially mental health services. PTSD is a serious problem for most vets and the stigma behind mental health services needs to be eradicated so veterans feel more comfortable seeking treatment for PTSD or other mental health issues.
SENIORS: I was recently reminded by a wonderful gentleman I met in Halifax County that candidates don’t talk about senior citizens other than when talking about health care. He reminded me that many seniors need transportation to their medical appointments, they need food and companionship that they do not have access to if they are homebound. It is even more difficult if they live in a rural area far away from any of these services. When I am elected I pledge to look into ways to focus on the needs of seniors in the 60th district as well as the rest of the commonwealth. I don’t have all the answers now, but I am glad this gentleman brought this to my attention. I have a new area of focus.