Karen Arnold McPherson graduated with a B.A. in Economics ’69. Email her at email@example.com.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.
A recent guest editorial in The Flat Hat focused on the reasons why the College of William and Mary students should vote in the upcoming City Council election in Williamsburg. Today, I want to emphasize the broader issues that are at stake in the upcoming midterm elections and encourage students to pay attention to the contest for the area’s House of Representatives seat as well.
The College is in the First Congressional District of Virginia. This district not only includes York County and James City County and the cities of Williamsburg and Poquoson — it extends west through the western suburbs of Richmond and north through the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck almost to Fredericksburg. If you live on campus, in the City of Williamsburg, or in York County or James City County, you live in CD1.
The incumbent member of Congress representing CD1 is Republican Congressman Robert Wittman, who has held this seat since 2007. His opponent in this race is Democrat Herb Jones. Here’s what you should know about them before you vote:
Herb spent 30 years in the United States Army — 10 years on active duty and 20 years on active reserve, including two tours in Iraq. He retired from the Army as a full colonel in 2012. He was then hired as a government operations officer by the Department of the Army and served in that capacity in Afghanistan from 2012-2014. In his civilian life, he developed a successful career in finance and was elected to serve as the Treasurer for New Kent County, Virginia, for 12 years from 1999-2011.
Prior to his election to congress in 2007, Congressman Wittman spent 26 years working in state government, primarily as an environmental health specialist with the Virginia Department of Health. He served on the Montross Town Council from 1986 to 1996 and was mayor of the Town of Montross from 1992 to 1996.
They disagree about almost every policy issue. Here are some highlights of their policy positions:
Gun Control: Herb supports immediate and meaningful reform, including mandatory background checks, implementing red flag laws, and ending the gun show loophole. Congressman Wittman has voted against common sense gun control legislation like the Active Shooter Alert Act and the Assault Weapons Ban.
Reproductive Freedom: Herb believes that all women should have bodily autonomy and that each woman is best equipped to manage her healthcare and reproductive decisions, not the government. Congressman Wittman voted against the Right to Contraception Act, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and the reauthorizing of the Violence Against Women Act. He supports the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, which overturned the protections of Roe v. Wade.
Healthcare: Herb feels that all people have the right to accessible, affordable healthcare delivered with respect and appreciation for their cultural needs, values, and beliefs. Congressman Wittman voted against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010 and supported efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017. In addition, he voted against capping the out-of-pocket cost of insulin and against expanded healthcare for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.
Infrastructure: Herb knows our country needs expansive infrastructure and broadband investments to make it fully accessible to all and maximize our economic potential. Congressman Wittman voted against all of President Biden’s proposals to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 driven economic downturn, including the American Rescue Plan, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, the Build Back Better Act, and the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.
In addition, Congressman Wittman voted to oppose certification of the Pennsylvania electoral votes on January 6, 2021, feeding the frenzy about a “stolen election” that has challenged the American political system since that date. He has voted against every piece of legislation that would protect or expand voting rights. He voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, which would have codified the legality of same-sex marriage. He also voted twice against impeaching the former President.
During the four years of former President Trump’s administration, Congressman Wittman voted in line with Trump’s position 90.9% of the time, according to the FiveThirtyEight project.
The choice is clear. CD1 needs to hear from you.
Early voting began on Friday, Sept. 23, and extends until Election Day. Although the deadline for registering online or by mail is Oct. 17, Virginia now allows for same-day in-person registration on Election Day, Nov. 8. The website for the college’s Office of Community Engagement tells you everything you need to know about registering and voting in Williamsburg. https://www.wm.edu/offices/oce/programs/voter-engagement/registering-and-voting-faqs/index.php