Protecting our Rights
Reproductive Justice: Reproductive Justice: Elizabeth believes that personal health care decisions are best made by individuals, their families, and their doctors. She is committed to protecting the right to safe and accessible abortions, and as Delegate, she has supported a constitutional amendment to affirm this right in Virginia’s constitution. She has also supported legislation to require insurers to cover prescription contraceptives without a co-pay.
LGBTQ+ Rights: Elizabeth wants Virginia to be a safe, welcoming, and equal place for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. She has co-patroned a constitutional amendment to remove the Marshall-Newman amendment and its ban on same-sex marriage from our state Constitution. She opposes the Youngkin Administration's proposed harmful policy on the treatment of transgender and non-binary youth in our schools. As a member of City Council, she supported updating Alexandria's Human Rights Code to include gender identity and transgender status as protected classes. She will continue to work to make sure that all individuals feel safe, protected, and accepted.
Disability Rights: Elizabeth believes that Virginians with disabilities deserve respect, fair treatment, and economic security. As Delegate, she has championed disability rights, introducing legislation to expand curbside voting to people with non-physical disabilities that affect their ability to enter a polling place, and was the chief co-patron on legislation to prohibit employers from paying individuals with disabilities subminimum wages.
We must provide a high-quality education for all our children, starting at birth.
Early Childhood: The first three years of a child’s life are crucial for brain development and we must make sure every child has access to a quality and affordable early childhood education starting from birth. This is critical not only for the future success of our children, but to support working families given the unsustainable costs of childcare in Northern Virginia. On City Council, Elizabeth expanded access to early childhood education through additional funding and supporting zoning changes to help increase supply. She continues to work to expand early care and education in our communities as Delegate. During the 2023 legislative session, she introduced a budget amendment to increase funding for early childhood education and co-patroned legislation to create a Commission on Early Childhood Care and Education and provide recommendations and to track progress on the financing of a comprehensive birth-to-five early childhood care and education system.
Equity-Focused K-12 Education: All of our students deserve a quality public education. We need to set all students up equally for success, including students with disabilities. Elizabeth has supported increased state funding so that our schools have the resources necessary to educate our children, including safe buildings, new books, and small classroom sizes. Students must also have access to apprenticeships and vocational programs that provide alternative pathways to middle-class jobs. As Delegate, Elizabeth has co-patroned several pieces of legislation to support our public school students by improving how we teach our students to read, ensuring underrepresented students are represented on the STEM Advisory Board, and strengthening environmental education offerings.
Teacher Pay & Training: A quality education starts with our teachers. It is unacceptable that Virginia ranks last in average teacher pay compared to the average pay of citizens. We must invest in teacher training and ensure our teachers are paid good salaries. Elizabeth strongly supported the 10% raises for teachers that were included in the 2022-2023 biennial budget, and believes they deserve competitive salaries of at least the national average.
Childhood Hunger: Children cannot learn if they are hungry. Elizabeth supports expanding universal school meal programs and increasing the nutritional quality of meals served. Elizabeth has co-patroned legislation to provide free school meals for all students. On City Council, she expanded outreach to residents regarding SNAP benefits and personally managed the preparation and distribution of free school meals during COVID. No resident should go hungry and Elizabeth has also introduced budget amendments in 2022 and 2023 to increase SNAP benefits by $25/month for seniors to help prevent food insecurity in one of the most vulnerable populations in our community.
Economic Opportunity for All
In Richmond, Elizabeth will work every day to ensure our economy is fair and works for small businesses, families, and individual workers.
Paid Leave: 55 percent of working adults in Virginia are not eligible for even unpaid leave to care for themselves or a loved one. These policies disproportionately affect people of color, especially women. Elizabeth believes every worker deserves paid family and medical leave to care for themselves, a loved one, or a new family member. As Delegate, Elizabeth has co-patroned legislation to establish a state-run paid family and medical leave program and to require health care providers and grocery stores to provide paid sick leave.
Tax Reform: Our tax code is skewed towards the already wealthy and big corporations. Elizabeth will work to ensure our tax code helps our families and small businesses, and that big corporations pay their fair share. As Delegate, Elizabeth has co-patroned legislation to make the earned income tax credit refundable for low-income taxpayers, and she was chief co-patron on legislation to create a refundable state child tax credit for income-eligible households to put more money in the pockets of working families.
Small Business: Small businesses are a crucial part of our economy, and Elizabeth knows we have to invest in small business owners, especially during times of crisis. She works to ensure Virginia is a welcoming place to start and grow a small business and co-patroned legislation to establish the Retail Small Business Grant Program and Fund to support our small businesses.
Racial and Social Justice
Our Commonwealth’s legacy of racial oppression and inequitable practices and policies have created unjust disparities for Black and Brown members of our community across all measures of well-being, including health and wealth.
Systemic racism has pervaded our institutions since Virginia’s founding and we have significant work to do to dismantle white supremacy. We need to make sure our government is providing equitable opportunities and access to healthcare, education, housing, transportation, and economic opportunity, and that our work to fight climate change is environmentally just.
With her colleagues on City Council, Elizabeth hired Alexandria’s first Racial and Social Equity Officer, established a behavioral health co-response program, supported the creation of a strong Citizen Police Review Board with subpoena power, increased the supply of affordable housing, and made Alexandria's public bus system free for all riders.
Elizabeth works directly with women returning from the criminal justice system and recognizes that while the General Assembly has made significant steps towards reform, much more is needed. She will work to abolish mandatory minimums, end cash bail, reform pre-trial detention, increase funding for public defenders, and ensure voting rights.
During the 2023 legislative session, Elizabeth introduced legislation to expand employment options for those with felony convictions, and it passed both the House and Senate. She has co-patroned the constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to those convicted of felony convictions upon release, as well as legislation to ensure perinatal health care providers complete implicit bias training and to create the Virginia Black, Indigenous and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund.
Too many of us feel the impacts of outdated or insufficient infrastructure in our day-to-day lives. We must modernize and expand our infrastructure, including transportation, sewers, and housing.
Transportation: Elizabeth knows we need to modernize our transportation infrastructure and invest in public transportation. As the former chair of the Virginia Railway Express, she led one of the largest commuter rail systems in the country, which effectively removes one lane of traffic from both 1-66 and 1-95/1-395 during rush hour. In Richmond, she continues to work to improve transportation options and mobility for all Northern Virginians.
Housing: Northern Virginia has an affordable housing crisis. On City Council, Elizabeth increased funding for affordable housing and expanded the number of affordable units created. However, Richmond limits local authority regarding what can be required of new housing projects. As Delegate, Elizabeth has introduced legislation to provide localities additional authority, tools, and funding to preserve and expand affordable housing. She has also introduced legislation to help Alexandrians remain housed and prevent evictions by requiring large landlords to offer payment plans before filing for eviction when the amount due is less than one month of rent. She also co-patroned legislation to increase the “pay or quit” period from 5 days to 14, before large landlords could file for eviction.
Flooding: The combination of outdated sewer infrastructure and climate change with increasingly more intense and frequent storms has had disastrous consequences for too many residents. As Delegate, Elizabeth has supported additional funding for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund and introduced legislation to expand the scope of the state Coastal Resilience Technical Advisory Committee to include other types of flooding, like those experienced by Alexandria. She also worked with Senator Ebbin to pass legislation that expands the Joint Subcommittee on Recurrent Flooding to include members with experience of inland and stormwater flooding. As Vice Mayor, Elizabeth accelerated stormwater capacity projects to reduce flooding and advocated for increased federal funding.
Climate change is not only a national emergency, but is also a state and local emergency.
Elizabeth supports Virginia's continued participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which has provided significant environmental benefits and funding towards projects to mitigate flooding in our community.
On City Council, Elizabeth was one of the Co-Chairs of the Eco-City Steering Committee, sponsored a Council-passed resolution declaring a climate emergency, and amended the revised Green Building Policy to ensure that all new buildings built by the City will be net-zero in carbon emissions. She also supported the development of a local commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) program, a tool that helps encourage commercial property owners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on commercial property. Elizabeth will continue to work to ensure a just transition towards 100% renewable energy. She does not accept campaign contributions from any public utility companies. As Delegate, she has passed legislation to better prepare our infrastructure for electric vehicles, and she plans to continue this work.
Paid for and authorized by Elect Elizabeth Bennett-Parker
107 S. West Street #152, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314
All photographs on this website were taken prior to the outbreak of COVID-19