Political Endorsements

While Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC issues endorsements in state races, it does not endorse congressional candidates during federal election years. Instead, Virginia Farm Bureau sends a questionnaire to all candidates with questions regarding federal agriculture issues. Below are the responses received from the candidates.

Candidate Q&A

*Incumbent candidate

Virginia Senate

Tim Kaine*
www.timkaine.com
Corey Stewart
www.coreystewart.com
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. The passion that drives me to do this job is striving to ensure everyone has equal opportunities to succeed. The committees I've sat on, including Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Budget and HELP, touch on critical policies impacting all Virginians. I believe I am one of the few voices in Congress that can work across party lines and find common ground, when we need to, and stand my ground when we need to as well. I am running because Virginians need and deserve a U.S. Senator who can work with the Administration to get things done.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate? I'm focused on access to good paying jobs, education, and health care. I've fought against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and we need to continue improving access to affordable quality health care. I introduced legislation that would provide another option for low-cost health insurance and create competition in the marketplace. Finally, career and technical education (CTE) is a passion of mine that I believe can strengthen the links between the classroom and workplace.
  1. Growing our economy
  2. Securing our borders
  3. Rebuilding our military
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? In 2013, one of the first major bills that I voted on was an immigration reform bill, which included reforms to our agricultural visa program, which we still need to improve upon to make it easier for farmers to legally hire workers. We need an immigration reform bill that will fix our broken system and provide a pathway to citizenship for established undocumented farm workers that pass a background check. Seasonal labor shortages must be addressed through lawful visa programs – not blanket amnesty for illegals. I advocate streamlining the H-2A visa process, which is currently far too costly and slow-moving to meet the needs of American farmers. With a modernized process, H-2A visa utilization could easily resolve any farm labor shortages, just as the Bracero Program did many years ago.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? The Farm bill includes provisions that make technical changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, doubling funding from $100 to $200 million, providing farmers with the necessary tools to implement conservation practices within the Bay watershed.

We must also pass America’s Water Infrastructure Act, authorizing the EPA to provide grants and loans to state and local governments, public water systems, and other entities to support water infrastructure projects and programs to improve water quality.
To successfully focus on its core mission, the EPA’s authority must be limited and defined. I will fight against measures that are written so broadly they would count even man-made ditches as “bodies of water.”
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I voted in support of the bipartisan Senate Farm bill because it included:
  • Legalization of industrial hemp production to bring new businesses and jobs to Virginia.
  • Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, helping to provide farmers with the necessary tools to implement conservation practices.
  • Designation of George Washington National Forest as part of the Rough Mountain Wilderness and Rich Hole Wilderness areas, adding them to the National Wilderness Preservation System.
I liked the House version’s food stamp work requirements. Conversely, I favored the Senate version’s modest subsidy reforms (ensuring that non-farmers would be ineligible for subsidies). Neither version sought to repeal the 2015 “Clean Water Rule” – a missed opportunity, in my view.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? President Trump’s tariffs on our closest allies threaten the livelihood of Virginia farmers by starting a trade war making it harder to export products overseas. Our allies are retaliating by imposing steep tariffs on many Virginia products. I've urged the President to reverse course, making it clear that we are honest brokers. We should be, in some cases, improving existing trade deals pushing for fairer trade and more certainty for our farmers. As an international trade attorney, I understand the value of free trade. Having said that, I commend the President’s hard-nosed approach to trade. We need more reciprocity from our trading partners, as a matter of fairness to U.S. exporters, including farmers. I applaud recent efforts to pry open foreign markets (particularly those of Canada and Mexico) to more U.S. produce.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? Broadband access must be a part of any discussion regarding infrastructure investments. I urged the President to invest in communications infrastructure and streamline the deployment process in rural areas, as part of an infrastructure bill.

I introduced a bill that renames the USDA as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, to reflect the focus on rural areas by providing access to critical infrastructure, broadband, telecommunications connectivity, capital, and other essential resources
Diane Katz cautions that relying on subsidies would undermine the competition needed to build out rural broadband in a cost-effective manner. I believe low taxes and minimal regulations are the way to go. Broadband is the infrastructure of today that is necessary for growth, including within the agricultural sector, so I believe there's a limited role for governmental efforts to incentivize building out the “last mile” of broadband to rural areas.

District 1

Rob Wittman*
www.robwittman.com
Vangie Williams
www.vangieforcongress.com
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. I have been honored to serve the First District in Congress, and it would be my privilege to continue advocating and delivering results to farmers and rural communities. I grew up working on my parent's farm in Westmoreland County, the contributions farmers make to Virginia and our nation are deeply ingrained in me and I will do all I can to keep farming as a critical and vibrant part of the First District economy. I want to work for all Americans, not just the well connected.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate?
  • To provide for a strong national defense and to keep Americans safe while continuing to improve veteran care.
  • Support rural communities with rural broadband expansion, improved infrastructure and accessible healthcare.
  • Ensure our nation's economy leads the world and that small businesses are able to thrive by lowering taxes, reducing burdensome regulations, and reforming the education system to provide low debt career and technical education options to prepare students for the jobs of the 21st century.
Investing in an economy for all, immigration reform, and rural broadband.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? Illegal immigration is a serious threat to our national security and additional significant steps must be taken to secure our borders. Any legislation considered by the House must secure our border, enforce the rule of law, and address DACA recipients. However, legal immigration and provisions to ensure temporary and seasonal guest workers are important to business, agriculture and local economies. I would support efforts that strengthen, improve and ensure a workable guest worker program. We need comprehensive immigration reform. We can have secure borders while still having an economy that works for everyone. First, we must account for the currently undocumented immigrants with a pathway to documented and legal residency. This brings millions of hardworking Americans out of the shadows and into gainful employment without fear of deportation. We must also enhance guest worker programs which bring people on a temporary basis.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? The federal government must continue to meet its funding obligations to ensure continued Chesapeake Bay clean-up progress. I have continued to successfully fight to restore $60 million for Bay restoration funding. Burdensome regulations weigh down families, farmers and business. I oppose efforts to increase the regulatory reach of the EPA by expanding the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. I believe we need to make government regulations more efficient, giving affected parties clear understanding of what is expected so that they can easily comply and get back to growing our economy. In the case of farming, one plan I have is to create an inter-agency office between the EPA and USDA so that regulations that affect farmers match.
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I was pleased to support the House of Representatives passed Farm Bill which provides much needed certainty and stability to farmers in the Commonwealth. The agriculture and forestry economy continues to face multiple challenges; this farm bill helps producers better manage risk with crop insurance, promotes food security and a strong farm economy. I am troubled by cuts to SNAP, but I appreciated increased protection for farmers who lose crops to disease and drought. Most importantly, the 2018 Farm Bill supported rural broadband, an issue for which I am passionate. I believe I would have voted in favor of it.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? Tariffs and retaliatory trade practices are harmful to farmers and many Virginia businesses and are not helpful in promoting free and fair trade. Trade assistance may offer temporary relief for some farmers but strong new trade agreements that expand access for Virginia farmers and producers around the world is the help the farm economy needs to grow. I'll have to quote Zippy Duvall of American Farm Bureau who said, "Farmers and ranchers are, by necessity, patient and optimistic. We know markets ebb and flow. But China’s threatened retaliation against last night’s U.S. tariff proposal is testing both the patience and optimism of families who are facing the worst agricultural economy in 16 years...We urge the United States and China to return to negotiations and produce an agreement that serves the interests of the world’s two largest economies.”
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? I have a record of successfully advocating rural broadband expansion, and I was glad to support the House passed Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018 that will help bridge the digital divide. This important measure will bring together public and private stakeholder to expand broadband access and increase the ability of farmers to utilize cutting edge technology to increase yields and better protect the environment. I have championed rural broadband since the beginning of my campaign. This gives better connection to Americans who need it the most. I would like to see federal regulation tied to our transportation infrastructure that lays down increased transmission lines all over America and connect all Americans

District 2

Scott Taylor*
scotttaylor.us
Elaine Luria
elaineforcongress.com
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. Did not respond to questionnaire. I’m running for Congress because we deserve better than what we see in Washington today. As a Navy commander, my philosophy was simple: “Be Good, Do Good Work.” That’s what most Americans wake up in the morning and try to do– for their family, their career, and the people they care about. But today, too many Americans are working hard and getting less. That’s because politicians in Washington aren’t looking out for them.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate? The core values guiding my campaign and that will guide me in Congress are promoting security, equality, and prosperity. Security extends not only to combating military threats, but also global challenges such as climate change and sea level rise. I will also fight for broad-based prosperity, not only for city residents beset by high housing costs, but also for farmers, crabbers, and fishermen struggling with this Administration’s misguided immigration and trade policies.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? When I talk to farmers, the one issue that comes up over and again is the difficulty of finding employees, especially seasonal employees. In Congress I will fight for immigration policies that keep our borders secure while also welcoming those who wish to contribute to our economies and communities. I will support targeted fixes such as simplifying the H-2A visa program and maintaining or expanding the number of workers who can participate in this program.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? While I am open to exceptions to avoid unduly burdening family farmers, I am opposed to the current Administration’s wholesale scrapping of the Waters of the US rule. I also support federal funding to help farmers comply with environmental protections.
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I will fight for a Farm Bill that protects and promotes family farmers and the rural economy and ensures all Americans have food security. I support much of the policy in the current House version of the farm bill, such as changes to the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs to better protect farmers. However, I cannot support restricting SNAP benefits for families in need, or scaling back environmental protections.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? Tariffs and other trade restrictions, when employed judiciously, can be integral parts of our nation’s trade strategy. However, the current Administrations tariffs were issued recklessly and with no regard to the disastrous effects they would have on our nation’s farmers. Soybean prices, for example, have already taken a 20% plunge in value. While the Administration’s emergency aid for farmers will help, the better approach would be to avoid a trade war in the first place.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? As of 2016, almost 40% of rural communities had no access to broadband. In Congress, I will fight for net neutrality so that consumers will have more options for internet service providers, and so that new rural businesses can afford their web services. For areas that still lack access to the internet, I would support regulatory flexibility to make it easier for those farmers to file by paper.

District 3

Bobby Scott*
bobbyscottforcongress.com
Unopposed
Did not respond to questionnaire.

District 4

Donald McEachin*
www.donaldmceachin.com
Ryan McAdams
www.ryanmcadamsforcongress.com
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. Congress has a responsibility to tackle difficult, pressing issues in a responsible, pragmatic way. I want to keep fighting for progress, and my experience as a small business owner and a longtime state legislator give me a valuable perspective—since coming to Congress, I have worked in good faith with partners across the aisle—and I have stood firm for the principles Virginians hold dear. I would be honored to continue that work. God has clearly called me and uniquely prepared me to serve the 4th District and the people of the District's diverse needs up in Washington.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate? While we face many challenges as a nation, and while Congress has a responsibility to address all of those challenges, I am especially focused on creating economic opportunity, security, and jobs; ensuring equal treatment and protecting all Americans’ civil rights; and addressing climate change and other environmental threats.
  1. Economic prosperity and opportunity for all - lower taxes, deregulation and workforce training.
  2. Veterans Services - timely and quality healthcare, transitional and affordable housing, vocational training.
  3. Affordable Housing/HUD Reinvestment - innovative ideas and design for public housing, public-private partnership, vocational training.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? I support continued use of tools like H-2A visas to ensure that farmers can find the workers they need and the reform of those tools to ensure that they can meet future demand in a way that helps growers and producers without disadvantaging U.S. citizens. I strongly oppose the current administration’s efforts to drastically reduce legal immigration and otherwise cut off other needed sources of labor. Help increase access to legal immigrant worker policies that are common sense and help bring consistency to labor needs for farmers. Streamline and expand the H2A Program and the rehiring of legal immigrants coming into this country to work. Along with immigration reform we must have a well thought out system where immigrants come legally come into this nation to work.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? Nothing is more important to public health than reliable access to clean water. In pursuing that goal, regulators at the EPA and elsewhere need to carefully balance the cost and benefit of any new rule.

Virginia has had significant success in using voluntary initiatives to improve water quality. I would support creation of new, more generous federal incentives for voluntarily protection of our water and efforts to offer greater technical assistance and support.
I believe we must ensure property rights of farmers while working toward clean water practices and policies. Without increasing the authority of the EPA, I believe the Federal Government can help educate and provide resources and technical information to farmers - such as to how to effectively and efficiently use nutrients/pesticides, the use of cover crops to build up the soil, etc. The government can also provide incentives to farmers to use organic practices in farming
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I've been present for the crafting of the Farm Bill that Congress will vote on this year. I have repeatedly met with growers and producers from across my district and, based on these meetings, I support most agriculture-related provisions. I hope to be able to support final passage of that bill; I have repeatedly urged conferees to remove partisan language regarding non-agricultural issues that prevented me from supporting the earlier House-passed version. I would vote for the House Farm Bill - funding crop insurance and making reforms to the SNAP program. I am for getting a Farm Bill completed and passed before it expires on Sept 30.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? Tariffs harm everyone involved and should be used only as a tool of last resort, and only then in a tailored and thoughtful way. Close engagement and respectful dialogue should be our first steps in any dispute over international trade.

My preferred outcome, which I will continue to work toward, is to end the conflict that this administration is pursuing, and seek to address legitimate issues using better-crafted and better-targeted forms of pressure.
In the long run I believe the Presidents strategy on tariffs will be a win for Americans and farmers. While negotiations continue, I agree with the President in helping farmers with subsidies for losses during trade war.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? Farmers need Internet as much as any other industry and the government has a responsibility to ensure universal access to high-speed Internet.

I've voted for legislation that seeks to improve connectivity nationwide, and have worked to highlight grant proposals that would use public dollars to expand rural Internet access in my district. I support initiatives like the Connect America Fund and believe the federal government should continue to incentivize regulatory changes that expedite broadband deployment.
Rural Broadband is a must for farmers and rural citizens in general. I live in rural Charles City and understand the issue personally. I will work to get the needed infrastructure in place to see broadband in place and operational.

District 5

Leslie Cockburn
www.lesliecockburnforcongress.com
Denver Riggleman
denverforcongress.com/
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. Virginia needs a Congressperson with experience exposing Washington’s wrongdoings. I have 35 years of investigative journalism behind me.

I’ve owned a farm in Rappahannock County. I have fought for land conservation so farms can thrive. I've fought power lines, pipelines, uranium mining, and outside corporations seeking to exploit the 5th district.

I'll take on corporate lobbyists who are trampling environmental laws that protect our children’s health, our air, and our water.
My military service and background as a small business owner puts me in a unique position to tackle the issues that affect the 5th district in a reasonable and knowledgeable way. The 5th District of Virginia needs a "non-politician" to assist in solutions that enable agricultural and manufacturing success.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate? My three main priorities as a candidate are healthcare, jobs, and the environment.
  1. Promoting growth in jobs, infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture.
  2. Run on a platform of anti-regulation to help expand the economy.
  3. Making permanent institutional and personal tax cuts for continued growth.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? We need immigration reform. All agricultural associations in the 5th have this as a top priority. Dairy and poultry farms rely on immigrant labor as does the department of forestry for tree planting. We must also address the opioid epidemic which has hit the fifth hard. Many people find themselves unable to hold onto jobs. By addressing this epidemic, we can increase the availability of labor for the agricultural industry and hold Big Pharma accountable. By fast-tracking legal immigration and migrant worker policies we can ensure that the agricultural industry has the foreign workers available to staff the gaps. Congress must act to streamline the system while simultaneously enforcing rule of law on illegal immigration.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? The first thing that can be done is to define more clearly what is a waterway that can be regulated by the EPA. After their 2015 laws took place, the definition of water became significantly broader, encompassing more than just navigable waters. I support the use of renewable energy including the use of solar farms as a way to provide new jobs while keeping our waterways clear of pollutants and harmful chemicals. Local authorities need to take more responsibility for the water supply. The EPA regulatory burden is real but providing clean water is essential. I have experience with the regulatory burden of this act.
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I would have opposed the most recent Farm Bill. The Bill does not provide aggressive enough support for America’s farmers and agricultural industry and places partisan interests above the needs of farmers. A strong Farm Bill ensures the continuity of programs such as The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in order to guarantee children have access to healthy foods. It also ensures that funds are allocated to the critical SNAP program. I would have supported the Farm Bill. It provides strong support to farmers who may be suffering and is good for my district. In congress, I will work to make sure agriculture remains a priority.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? Achieving free and fair trade is crucial for Virginia’s agriculture. Current tariffs are devastating farmers. Dairy, grape, apple, and soybean farmers and breweries are all affected. We need to ensure our timber industry can sell to China. It is important to support trade deals including NAFTA which has promoted agricultural trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico. Trump’s 12-billion-dollar handout is inadequate and won’t make up for the 13-million that his tariffs have cost farmers. Trade tariffs can be effective based on the length of those tariffs and the goods involved provided fair and free trade is the objective. Negotiating directly with export/import partners is the only way to ensure a legal playing field. Regulatory burdens must be decreased for agriculture to ensure free-market policies allow businesses to be competitive.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? Without broadband, rural Virginians are excluded from the modern economy. The broadband issue has a long and checkered history. We need to ensure Virginia is next in line to receive the federal funding that has flowed to other states. Virginia needs to lure companies like Microsoft, that want to be part of a rural broadband renaissance. Microsoft’s data center is already in the district and the company is thus a natural partner for the 5th. Encourage private business to expand into rural areas through tax incentives, electric cooperatives familiar with the local communities could assist by using existing casements to build broadband infrastructure.

District 6

Ben Cline
bencline.com
Jennifer Lewis
jenniferlewisforcongress.com
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. The values and priorities of the Sixth Congressional District have been well represented by Congressman Bob Goodlatte for over 25 years, and with his retirement, it is critical that those values and priorities continue to be represented in Congress with strong and steady leadership. I am confident that with my experience and record, I can provide that leadership for the citizens of the Sixth District. As a mental health worker who was born and raised on a family farm, I know what it's like for people to struggle in service and agricultural jobs in rural America, and I'm running for Congress to make things better for working people.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate?
  1. Working to sustain the current economic growth that is helping employers create jobs for families across the Sixth District.
  2. Working to shrink the federal government bureaucracy and reduce the taxes and regulations that harm families and small businesses across the Sixth District.
  3. Working to expand freedom and opportunity for all Americans, especially those who live in the Sixth District.
I support universal health care so all Americans can live healthy, productive lives, and I want to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour to reward ordinary people who work for a living. We also need to change the broken system in DC, so I have pledged not to take any special interest money for my grassroots campaign.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? We must enact a combination of reforms that will help strengthen our borders and reform our legal immigration system, while ensuring that farmers have access to a stable and legal workforce. I support immigration reform that recognizes the reality that if we curtail legal immigration and deport all undocumented immigrants, then we will have crops dying on the vines in the heartland. I support a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, and I believe in expanding DACA and DAPA to further help parents of Dreamers, parents of legal residents, and families of citizens so they can find work here productively and legally.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? The WOTUS rule from 2015 is excessively intrusive and expands federal jurisdiction beyond what is constitutional, imposing unreasonable requirements on agriculture producers. It should be repealed. We've found success in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and local aquifers by providing farmers and landowners funding to ensure that they can meet government mandates. I would like to continue to protect our common wealth by working with industry and stakeholders so that our public waters, lands, and forests can continue to promote a healthy economy and citizenry.
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? The Farm Bill is critical to assisting farmers with agricultural markets and helping them compete with heavily subsidized commodities produced in other countries. It also helps farmers and ranchers survive natural disasters without having to come back to Congress for emergency legislation. While I am still reviewing the specifics of the most recent Farm Bills passed by the House and Senate, I'm hopeful a conference report can be successfully adopted in the near future. The Farm Bill is must-pass legislation, and I would vote for it. However, I will fight against decoupling the urban-rural compromise linking nutrition to commodity insurance, and would fight against cuts to programs in our district. In the pending Farm Bill, Congress should promote stability in agricultural markets by 1) removing the unconstitutional "Protect Interstate Commerce Act" from the House version of the bill and 2) protecting farmers from ill-conceived trade wars.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? Farmers across the Sixth District are using the Internet to make their businesses more efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly. I support policies that will encourage the rollout and distribution of high-speed broadband to more rural areas that can be utilized by farmers to improve their operations and remain competitive in a global economy. Farmers have become the innocent victims in a global chess game with few good solutions. If the Executive continues on its current path, then Congress must step in to provide price supports and government market procurement. The ideal vehicle for this the current Farm Bill, which should pass before the midterms. Ultimately, when other nations retaliate for American actions, we must negotiate in a way that protects American jobs.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? Farmers across the Sixth District support the goal of lowering global trade barriers, creating a more level playing field for the U.S. and its products, and thereby reducing our overall trade deficit. However, we must ensure that these ongoing trade negotiations protect our farmers and our agriculture exports, an area where the U.S. already has a trade surplus. I strongly support rural broadband, and the federal government has a role to play in providing access to the internet, which has become a basic utility. I would extend broadband to local, high-use community centers (hospitals, schools, libraries), and then incentivize local companies to provide access to local residents. For residents unable to access the internet, agricultural extension, post, and other vital government offices must remain accessible for phone, mail, and in-person visits.

District 7

Dave Brat*
www.davebrat.com
Abigail Spanberger
abigailspanberger.com/
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. Our economy is growing, wages are up, and Virginians are keeping more of their hard-earned money. Yet, we still have a fiscally irresponsible Congress, mortgaging our children’s futures to pay for programs we simply can’t afford. Then, there are the problems that hit our communities directly, like the opioid crisis ravaging our towns and the trafficking of young women across state lines. We need to do better, and that’s why I’m running. My background is one of service, and partisan politics driven by ideology do not serve the American people. We need members of Congress who are listening and engaging with their constituents to understand and address the needs of their districts. I am running to continue serving my community, engage with my fellow Virginians, and become their voice in Washington looking for pragmatic solutions to everyday issues.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate?
  • Fixing our broken immigration system and securing the border
  • The economy and a balanced budget
  • Healthcare
  • Accessibility to and staying connected with the people of Virginia’s 7th district.
  • Finding sensible, pragmatic solutions to the everyday issues facing Virginians.
  • Ensuring a government that is accountable to the people and lives up to the values of our founding.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? Everywhere across the 7th District, I hear that the labor shortage is a serious issue requiring action. As the Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, I held a hearing to discuss this issue where businesses offered insights into what our public policy should be.

Earlier this year Rep. Donald Norcross and I introduced the Jobs Plus Recovery Act, which incorporates job training into drug addiction recovery programs.
American farms depend on the work of temporary immigrant laborers. In 2017, more than 160,000 H-2A visas were issued for temporary agricultural workers. However, these visas provide less than 4 percent of the workers needed to harvest crops and maintain farmland. To address critical labor shortages, Congress must pass a comprehensive immigration solution that prioritizes security, yet allows enough workers into the country to fill the positions required to support our businesses and agriculture producers.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? I’m a member of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus and support federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Earlier this year I introduced the Clean the Bay Resolution, which commemorated the 30th annual Clean the Bay Day, where Virginians come together to support clean water. The House passed the next Water Resources Development Act and Congress is working on finalizing the bill so we can send it to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The government must make the investments to ensure our water bodies and systems are adequate and safe for commercial, agricultural, and recreational uses. We must educate communities about the importance of water conservation. The EPA and state regulators play an important role in ensuring safe water quality and holding bad actors accountable, however, rules and regulations should be tailored to community needs and costs should be appropriately matched to the benefits they provide.
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? Weather and disease threaten crops and animals, and it’s in the interest of all to make sure our food supply is secure. After the House resolved the controversy surrounding the immigration bill, I voted yes on the recent Farm Bill. In addition to providing certainty to our agriculture producers and protection from commodity price fluctuations, I was pleased this bill addressed SNAP reforms and committed to helping able-bodied adults without kids escape poverty. This reauthorization of the Farm Bill must be completed on a bipartisan basis taking a pragmatic approach to the issues facing our agriculture communities. The House of Representatives Farm Bill was a failure. The House bill was drawn up on a partisan basis as a statement of messaging, but the Senate came together and passed a bipartisan bill. I would not have voted for the House bill, but would support the bipartisan Senate bill.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? Shortly after the announcement of the tariffs on steel and aluminum, I joined 106 of my colleagues in signing a letter requesting targeted penalties for bad actors. The letter stated that because tariffs make U.S. businesses less competitive and consumers poorer, any tariffs imposed should be designed to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices while minimizing negative consequences on Americans. This more targeted approach would protect workers from many industries from unfair competition. Trade agreements such as NAFTA have been beneficial for our agriculture industries, however, the current Administration is putting our nation's farmers at risk of losing long term market share abroad. Issues like intellectual property theft need to be addressed, but not on the backs of hardworking agriculture producers. Congress should look at improving export promotion programs to help farmers identify other export markets to expand the reach of their goods abroad.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? I hosted FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly for a town hall on rural broadband, I heard from a panel of experts on the current regulatory and operational environment limiting the ability of small telecommunications carriers to bridge the rural digital divide, I worked with Orange County to resolve an FCC grant issuer, I plan to coordinate a roundtable discussion with stakeholders to identify how we can work together to improve our rural broadband infrastructure. Congress and the Administration must prioritize the deployment of broadband speed internet across rural America. The reality is that in many rural areas, there are not the economies of scale necessary to incentivize private companies to invest the infrastructure needed to deploy broadband in these areas. It will take a cash infusion from the federal government through grants and guaranteed loans to build out this infrastructure.

District 8

Don Beyer*
friendsofdonbeyer.com
Thomas Oh
www.letuschangecongress.org
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. Did not respond to questionnaire. I served our country abroad, but back here at home, life gets more expensive by the day, adding to the struggles of the same working class I come from. Healthcare hasn’t become more affordable, homes are not affordable, rent gets higher, and at the same time, our nation gets further into debt. Corporations and lobbyists continue to buy our politicians, who already are among the elite.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate? Eliminate the crippling debt that will destroy our future, put the people before politics, and have long-term solutions.
Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? I am a proud Korean-American and I understand the struggles that come with immigration. We need to expedite the immigration process and make it easier to fill labor shortages. It shouldn't take several months to a year to process working permits.
Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? We need change transition out of products that are not good for the water such as micro plastics. Plastic is harmful for the environment and we need to use other bottling methods such as tin or glass. Local governments can be given grants as an award for having clean water.
If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I would have voted in favor because it protects livestock from disease, it makes food affordable, and mitigates risk for food assistance.
Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? I am against trade tariffs. The only reason why a Tariff should exist if another country was to use a Tariff against us. Trading with our allies should be mutual and be a voluntary exchange where all parties benefit.
From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? There can be a window for filing which allows time for mailing or fax. Also, there can be a local office in regional areas for Farmers to make an appointment and come in person.

District 9

Morgan Griffith*
www.morgangriffithforcongress.com
Anthony Flaccavento
www.flacc4congress.com
Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. I believe that I still have work left to do. I’ve been working to solve problems and there are several issues that I am continuing to pursue, which are reflected in my top priorities. I am a farmer and a working person and I believe that we need more working people in Congress. We have plenty of millionaires and lawyers already, and this has led to a very uneven playing field for working folks, family farmers, small businesses and rural communities. I want to help level that playing field, and bring attention and resources to the many 'bottom up' efforts underway to build stronger local economies and communities.
What are your three main priorities as a candidate?
  • Improving jobs and the economy by reducing burdensome regulations and creating a tax system that is fair and that stimulative.
  • Working to make healthcare affordable, including drug prices.
  • Looking for solutions to the current opioid epidemic and creating policies to avert similar drug-related crises in the future.
  • Economic revitalization through investment in local farms, businesses, infrastructure and schools.
  • Healthcare, with two main components: Strengthening rural health care through rural clinics and expansion of drug and mental health treatment capabilities; and a Medicare for All system, based on affordable rates of premiums and co-pays.
  • Strengthening public schools and assuring they are fully funded, that teachers are adequately paid, and the federal government doesn't force educators to 'teach to the test'
  • Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? I have signed on to HR 6417 AG & Legal Workforce Act. This bill will provide up to 410k visas for agricultural workers. Farmers are trying to do the right thing by hiring legal workers. We should not be making their jobs harder, especially, since they are doing the good work of putting food on our plates. The H2-A program is still far short of what's needed in terms of farm labor. I support expansion of H2-A and immigration reform enabling those here illegally - who haven't committed a crime and pose no danger - to achieve at least temporary legal status. As a small farmer, I also support improved ag education in our schools and a range of 'apprentice' programs that would encourage young people to pursue farming.
    Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? I support conservation programs that enable farmers to willingly improve their impact on the environment through new developments in technology. Burdensome and unreasonable regulations can kill any industry which is why I pushed back on Obama Administration EPA’s overreach since my first day in congress and will work to see more checks placed to prevent overreaches by the EPA in the future. I support the 'working lands' programs within USDA that were effective in helping farmers protect streams, rivers and waterways while also making their farms more productive and profitable. These programs and others often have a long waiting list and should be expanded, not reduced. I also support a range of efforts that would encourage farmers and ranchers to improve their soils, pasture and forestland, to their benefit and to ensure stewardship of our environment.
    If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I voted in favor of the most recent farm bill for many reasons. Two very important issues that have a direct effect on my farmers are crop insurance and broadband. If a farmer can lose his entire investment because of weather, the farmer never starts farming and lots of farms stop producing, and banks and other financial institutions won't lend farmers money because the risk becomes too great. I support the Senate version of the Farm Bill more than the House version at this point, as it provides much stronger support for "local food" marketing efforts and for working lands farm conservation programs. As someone who's helped start and manage farmers markets and aggregation and distribution for farm products, I have seen how effective these can be in creating new markets, increasing farmers' income and profitability, and improving access to healthy foods.
    Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? I do believe trade tariffs are an important tool and used properly will protect American industries from unfair foreign mischief. On a level playing field, America competes very well on the global market. In ongoing negations there can be some temporary pain but I believe the money collected from tariffs should be used to support industries that are negatively affected. These negotiations are temporary, and we have already seen some success in the European market. Trade is critical to US agriculture. I am not entirely opposed to targeted tariffs, though I think generally they hurt US farmers far more than they help them. I firmly believe that we can help American farmers as much by supporting the emergence of local and regional supply chains as we can by tariffs that risk a trade war.
    From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? I am co-sponsoring bi-legislation to do just that. MAPPING NOW, ACCESS BROADBAND, Precision Agriculture Connectivity, and Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access, these are just some of the bills that we have passed out of the House. This ensures rural areas stay competitive. Congress needs to fund new technologies and innovations like Microsoft’s trial using White Spaces in between TVs unused frequencies is just one potential to make rural access to the internet easier. It is unfortunate that extending any utility is more expensive in rural areas. That's the reality, and we must develop new sources of capital to ensure those areas have high-speed internet access. I support experimentation with new technologies that are relatively inexpensive and in some ways better suited to rural areas; and creation of a bond-funded National Infrastructure Bank that will create a pool of capital for broadband, roads and other infrastructure.

    District 10

    Barbara Comstock*
    www.barbaracomstockforcongress.com
    Jennifer Wexton
    jenniferwexton.com
    Please tell us briefly why you are seeking this position. II've worked and built relationships with the technology, defense, medical, agricultural, education, financial services, charitable communities, as well as our diverse and talented population for over 35 years. My knowledge and passion for good public policy and service to this entire community has enabled me to bring my lifetime of experience to the table to bring people together and get results that improve the lives of my constituents as well as people throughout the country. I’m running because I believe that public service is about working every day to make people’s lives better. I’ve spent the past two decades serving the people of Virginia - as a prosecutor, an attorney for at-risk children, and currently as a State Senator. I am running for Congress because I am truly fearful of the lasting damage that can be done to our nation in the next three years under the Trump administration.
    What are your three main priorities as a candidate?
    • Jobs, the Economy and opportunity for all. It's for this reason I supported the tax reform that cut taxes for our families and businesses to make us more competitive and increase job opportunities in all industries.
    • Public Safety and opioids. I fought to get more funding for community policing to protect our communities, fight against gangs, and combat the opioid epidemic.
    • Infrastructure. I've attained more resources for relieving traffic congestion and improving our transportation network.
    • Healthcare
    • Gun Violence Prevention
    • Education
    Farmers are struggling to find workers who are willing and able to provide the manual labor required in the agriculture industry. Therefore, farmers have to rely on foreign workers to fill these gaps. What can be done to resolve the critical labor shortage? I support providing more visas for flexibility for our farmers that complements our domestic workforce to better meet demands especially peaks of varying growing and harvest seasons across the country. To that end, my office has secured additional labor for constituents through the cumbersome H-2A program and I have worked with our agriculture community to address the labor shortage and make positive changes on immigration issues for the agriculture community. We need comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. This is important to ensure that our borders are secure, and that workers who want to come her legally and fill important jobs have the appropriate channels to do so. Northern Virginia has long thrived thanks in part to legal immigration of workers in a number of industries, and it is important to have federal legislation that ensure this continues.
    Many bodies of impaired waters are showing signs of recovery but federal funding is decreasing, and threats of increased requirements continue. What can be done to continue the improvements to water quality without expanding the jurisdictional authority of EPA? I resisted efforts to defund the Chesapeake Bay Program and consistently prevailed in getting the full $73 million in funding the federal government provides to our watershed. In my visits with our farmers, they have showed me their efforts to be good stewards of the land and water and stressed the importance of these federal investments in conjunction with state and local oversight and avoiding unfunded mandates that will harm the livelihood of farm operations. Balancing the interest in ensuring clean water with the needs of agriculture is one of the most challenging issues facing farmers. In addition to working with the EPA on water conservation, it is important to take a state and regional approach with the input of local farmers. Finally, there needs to be adequate government funding for best management practices cost sharing programs so burdens of ensuring water quality falls not just with individual farmers.
    If you are an incumbent, did you vote in favor of the most recent Farm Bill? Why or why not? What were the most important aspects of the most recent Farm Bill that you believe helped Virginia farmers? If you are a challenger, would you have voted or again the Farm Bill? Why or why not? I voted for the Farm Bill because it had positive reforms like protecting crop insurance and making sure our farms of all sizes remain globally competitive. I fought proposed cuts to crop insurance because farmers need risk protection. I look to the agriculture community to inform my decision-making on these important measures and conduct an annual farm tour of my district as well as regularly visit with our agricultural businesses. I would not have voted for the Farm Bill if I had been in Congress. This most recent Farm Bill did far too much to provide handouts for millionaire and billionaire farmers and actively made it harder for beginning farmers and ranchers to access capital. In addition, the bill eliminated funding for farmer’s markets which would make it harder for communities to have access to local and organic food.
    Are trade tariffs an important tool to ensure fair trade? What can be done to help protect agriculture goods from unfair trade practices? With ongoing negotiations, how can agriculture goods be protected from a trade war? I pushed for aid provided recently by the administration for our farmers and I am a staunch proponent of free trade because no one wins a prolonged trade war. I have been working with my colleagues and the administration to seek an end to retaliatory tariffs on agriculture and reach new trade arrangements as soon as possible that allow market access for our producers. The tariffs associated with President Trump's recent trade war are misguided and counterproductive. While our country, and especially our farmers, have long faced challenges associated with global trade, the answer is not a trade war with some of America’s largest trade partners. Trade needs to be considered in a holistic manner, and federal and state governments need to consider ways to support communities and industries who are victims of the ever-changing global economy.
    From precision agriculture to regulatory agencies requiring online filing, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly reliant on web-based technology. What can be done to make sure that rural Virginians with limited or no access to the internet stay competitive and comply with laws and regulations? I've advocated for funding for rural broadband because I hear regularly about this vital tool for their businesses. I fought for $600 million in the March appropriations package so we continue investments to expand Internet access. The Farm Bill I supported builds on that with provisions including reforms to grants, direct-lending, and guaranteed-lending programs to better allocate resources, and open investment in innovative methods that reduce upfront costs and maintenance. Inadequate access to broadband internet is one of the largest challenges facing many rural communities in America. High-speed internet is vital and should be considered a basic utility. Every level of the government, including the federal and state levels, should work with telecommunications companies to create public-private partnerships and incentivize the development of rural broadband infrastructure in places where it does not currently exist.

    District 11

    Gerry Connolly*
    gerryconnolly.com/
    Jeff Dove
    doveforcongress.com
    Did not respond to questionnaire. Did not respond to questionnaire.

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