“Abigail took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath didn’t come with an expiration date.”
Written by Brandon Jarvis
I recently sat down with Abigail Spanberger, the former CIA operative that is looking to win the Democratic nomination for the 7th house district in Virginia. Abigail grew up in Short Pump, which is in Henrico County. She attended J.R. Tucker High School and then went on to UVA. After graduating from UVA, she worked to get her MBA from a dual-degree German-American program between the GISMA business school and Purdue University.
We discussed some of the important issues that are impacting the country and her district. Spanberger is listening to citizens across the 7th district as she meets them at various events and gatherings. She is garnering a lot of local attention and she already appears to be the frontrunner to win the party nomination for 2018. One of those primary candidates recently announced that she is dropping out of contention and throwing her support behind Spanberger.
— Abigail Spanberger (@SpanbergerVA07) August 22, 2017
This was met with praise on social media from activists in her district.
— #AskBrat (@Va7thTownHall) August 22, 2017
We discussed some of the controversial topics that are gripping D.C. currently. Read what she had to say below on topics like Charlottesville, Healthcare, Sanctuary Cities, and more.
Heather Heyer was killed by a man that drove his car into a crowd of people. 2 State Police officers passed away after a helicopter they were using to monitor the protests crashed, Berke M.M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen. This all happened in the town that Abigail attended college.
AS: “As an alumna of UVa, it was really really difficult to watch neo-nazis and klansmen walk thru the streets of the University. Particularly knowing that so many of them had come from all over the country to basically bully a town that I love. From a national perspective, as a Virginian and as an American, I think that we have to take Charlottesville as a point of reflection. We cannot deny that significant racism exists in this country. We cannot deny that there are significant problems that we need to address head on. I think for many people it was stunning to see those people walking down the streets.”
Rest in peace Heather Heyer. Thank you for standing up for peace in the face of racism and hate.
— Abigail Spanberger (@SpanbergerVA07) August 13, 2017
Rest in peace Berke M.M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen. Thank you for your example of service and commitment to our Commonwealth and communities.
— Abigail Spanberger (@SpanbergerVA07) August 13, 2017
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, deems sanctuary jurisdictions, cities, and states that do not cooperate with immigration officials or enforce immigration laws, ineligible for certain types of federal funding. Dave Brat, a Republican member of the House Freedom Caucus voted yes to this bill. The sanctuary bill has drawn sharp partisan attention, with Republicans rebuking any thought of sanctuary cities. Trump campaigned on ideas like these. He released this statement after the House passed the act: “Today, I applaud the House for passing two crucial measures to save and protect American lives. These were bills I campaigned on and that are vital to our public safety and national security. Sanctuary cities are releasing violent criminals, including members of the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang, back onto our streets every single day”.
Abigail has a different perspective on this than a lot of lawmakers with her background as a federal law enforcement officer.
AS: “Ultimately Sanctuary Cities are a localities decision. It’s a decision that should be made between the localities and local law enforcement. In terms of what their capabilities are. Having been in federal law enforcement myself I understand and recognize that at times when you have local officers executing search warrants or arrest warrants on a particular issue. They don’t necessarily have the resources to make an immigration arrest. That requires a significant amount of coordination with federal authorities. Overall I think it’s a complicated issue and I fully recognize that.”
Republicans have been promising for close to 7 years that they are going to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The GOP now controls Congress and the White House but the ACA is still the law of the land. The momentum that the Republicans seemed to have faded with a late night/early morning senate vote from John McCain nixing the final effort to repeal the law. That being said, healthcare is still at the top of the list for talking points in D.C.
AS: “It’s interesting you ask about healthcare because we have had a number of meet and greets across the district and a number of meetings with democratic committees and healthcare is across the board one of the top issues, if not the first issue people talk about.”
Her priority on this subject is making sure that everyone in this country has access to affordable health care.
AS: “There are many ways to achieve that ultimate goal, that can mean making adjustments to the existing Affordable Care Act. It was a compromise when it went into effect, and no-one could’ve predicted exactly how things would’ve come together. So there certainly are areas that we could be making improvements and rather than walking away from a system that does provide millions of Americans with their healthcare, that does ensure people with pre-existing decisions are supported, it does remove lifetime caps, rather than walking away from a system that has all those benefits, I think we should identify some of the places where there may be room for improvements and make those improvements.”
Availability to Constituents:
Abigail Spanberger vows to hold frequent town halls with her constituents. This is all while Dave Brat has been hiding from his constituents for the entire year. He either makes surprise visits to random locations across the district or speaks at invite only events. He recently compared the constituents at his town hall to the protestors in Charlottesville.
AS: “If elected my priority would be to make sure that I am listening to people across this district. This is a very mixed district as far as Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. I personally feel that elected officials have a responsibility to answer to all of his or her constituents to make sure it is known why they vote the way they do. I would want to hold more frequent town halls, I would begin holding town halls before even being sworn in to make sure that when I head to congress it would be with the knowledge of the things that are important to my constituents.”
Dave Brat is still not answering questions and is refusing to attend a town hall with Virginia activists.
Abigail Spanberger has the knowledge, experience, and will to fight for what is right. The 7th district has been lacking those qualities in their representatives for years. Keep watching out for Abigail, she will become very popular in the next 15 months.
*Correction: The original piece featured a quote that said she believed that healthcare “wasn’t compromised”. It has been corrected to say it “was a compromise”.