The 6th congressional district of Virginia covers the west-central portion of the state. It contains all of Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Winchester, Staunton, Salem, Waynesboro, Lexington, Buena Vista, Covington, Frederick County, Rockingham County, Augusta County, Shenandoah County, Warren County, Botetourt County, Page County, Rockbridge County, Allegheny County, Clarke County, Bath County, Highland County, and parts of Roanoke County. The 6th congressional is one of Virginia’s most reliably Republican districts and has voted Republican for over twenty years. Incumbent Ben Cline won the 2020 election with 64.59% of the vote.This election will be held on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Congressman Ben Cline (R), a lawyer and business owner who has held the District 6 seat since 2019, faces Jennifer Lewis (D), a mental health worker and community advocate.Jennifer Lewis (D), is a community advocate and mental health worker based in Waynesboro. She grew up on a small, family-owned dairy farm and attended SUNY Oneonta in New York for college. She has volunteered with a number of organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brother Big Sister, the Waynesboro Parks and Recreation Board, the Office on Youth, and Waynesboro Cultural Commission. Lewis runs a free pantry in Waynesboro.
Lewis advocates for a number of environmental causes and rejects contributions from utility monopoly Dominion Energy. She has firmly opposed both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. She believes in prioritizing the move towards clean energy and removing our fossil fuel dependency. Further, Lewis supports a full move to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. She was endorsed by the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter during her 2018 run for Congress.
Lewis supports abortion access and said the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade “lessens the clause and right to privacy afforded in the 14th Amendment.” She has volunteered for Planned Parenthood and Blue Ridge Abortion Fund. In addition to reproductive rights, Lewis supports policies aimed at helping families thrive, such as the Equal Rights Amendment, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the American Rescue Plan, the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harrassment Act, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act, and paid family and medical leave.
Lewis supports non-discrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ communities, stating, “everyone should be treated fairly and equally under the law, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.” She believes these protections should extend to educational settings, credit, housing, employment, jury duty, public service, and federally funded programs. During her 2018 campaign, she was endorsed by Judy Sheppard, LGBTQ advocate and mother of Matthew Sheppard. Lewis has spoken out on how the Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent with regards to privacy.
Lewis supports widespread criminal justice reform. She believes mandatory minimums should be reduced for non-violent offenders and that for-profit prisons should be abolished. In addition, Lewis supports more resources for treatment for those who suffer from addiction and mental illness. To combat the school-to-prison pipeline, Lewis advocates for tools for school administrators to avoid suspensions. She also supports the Industrial Hemp Farming Act and legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana use for adults. Lewis has also spoken out against jail fines, noting that even those who are found innocent must pay jail fines.
Incumbent Ben Cline (R) is a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. He voted against the Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021, and the Protecting Our Kids Act. He supported the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as a lawsuit to bar Electoral College votes for then President-elect Joe Biden. Cline and Lewis previously ran against one another for the 6th District seat in 2018.
Because of her strong support for abortion access, environmental justice, equal rights, and criminal justice reform Jennifer Lewis is the more progressive candidate in this race.
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