“By prioritizing an end to childhood hunger and the expansion of early learning opportunities for children in Virginia, these candidates have earned our enthusiastic support.”
September 11, 2023 – Today, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) – the leading political voice for kids – is pleased to announce its endorsements of eight candidates for the Virginia Legislature and announce forthcoming in-state electoral activities in support of their campaigns. These candidates all share a passion for ensuring that children in Virginia have access to quality early childhood education and adequate nutrition. SCAN recognizes the critical importance of these issues to voters in the commonwealth and is proud to support these champions who are dedicated to advancing the well-being of children and families.
SCAN endorses the following bipartisan slate of candidates for election/reelection in Virginia:
- Terry Austin (R – VA House – District 37)
- Lily Franklin (D – VA House – District 41)
- Carrie Coyner (R – VA House – District 75)
- Nadarius Clark (D – VA House – District 84)
- Frank Ruff (R – VA Senate – District 9)
- Monty Mason (D – VA Senate – District 24)
- Russet Perry (D – VA Senate – District 31)
- Stella Pekarsky (D – VA Senate – District 36)
“Save the Children Action Network is proud to endorse a bipartisan slate of nine candidates in Virginia who understand the link between early childhood education, preventing childhood hunger, and a child’s lifelong success: Lily Franklin, Nadarius Clark, Terry Austin, Carrie Coyner, Monty Mason, Frank Ruff, Russet Perry, and Stella Pekarsky. Virginia voters recognize the urgency of ensuring children have access to quality, affordable child care and that they have enough nutritious food to eat. By prioritizing an end to childhood hunger and the expansion of early learning opportunities for children in Virginia, these candidates have earned our enthusiastic support. We look forward to seeing how they continue their work as champions for children and families in Virginia,” said SCANs Virginia State Manager, Matthew Hatfield.
In conjunction with the endorsement, Save the Children Action Network has additional efforts in place to support the election of these eight candidates who are committed to championing the expansion of access to early child care and child nutrition across Virginia. These additional efforts include paid advertising campaigns, targeted voter mobilization in the state, and candidate campaign contributions.
Early childhood education builds a strong foundation for lifelong success. Without it, Virginia’s kids will be left behind. Ensuring children have enough nutritious food is also critical to their growth and development, but too many of Virginia’s children aren’t sure when their next meal is coming. That’s why Virginia’s children and families need legislators who champion early learning and work to end child hunger.
According to recent surveys, 94% of Virginians agree that it’s important for elected officials to take action to expand access to child care, and 68% of working parents in Virginia are impacted by a lack of child care, with 86% willing to rejoin the workforce if quality child care is accessible.
In Virginia, 1 in 11 children faces hunger, affecting their school performance, health, and well-being. Expanding access to programs like school meals and SNAP will help ensure that children have enough to eat.
SCAN’s bipartisan slate of candidates are strong advocates for advancing early learning opportunities and preventing child hunger. These endorsements illustrate our commitment to shifting the dynamic in the Virginia legislature to build a strong bench of early learning and child hunger prevention champions.
Delegate Terry Austin (R – VA House – District 37)
- Delegate Austin has a strong voting record supporting child nutrition and expanding access to essential food programs.
Lily Franklin (D – VA House – District 41)
- Franklin brings a valuable teaching background to her candidacy, offering a unique perspective on the needs of Virginia’s children and education system.
- Franklin knows families are worried about how to pay for child care and, as a delegate, will prioritize making quality, affordable child care more accessible.
- As a delegate, Franklin is committed to supporting bills requiring schools to provide universal breakfast and lunch to all students who want it.
Delegate Carrie Coyner (R – VA House – District 75)
- As Chair of the Early Childhood Education Subcommittee, Delegate Coyner has a strong voting record in support of expanding access to quality, affordable child care.
Nadarius Clark (D – VA House – District 84)
- Clark’s top priority is ensuring funding for food security provisions like SNAP and WIC in Virginia.
- Clark supports state investment to boost child care provider salaries to help increase the quality of care and offset the cost to providers and families.
Senator Frank Ruff (R – VA Senate – District 9)
- Senator Ruff has a long history of supporting early learning programs, and he has worked to address staffing shortages in the child care sector.
- Through Senator Ruff’s leadership, in 2009 the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission became one of the first investors in Virginia’s early care and education systems-building work.
Senator Monty Mason (D – VA Senate – District 24)
- Senator Mason has a strong voting record supporting expanded access to quality, affordable child care.
- Senator Mason recognizes the critical role of the Child Care Subsidy program in enabling parents and caregivers to participate in education, work, and training opportunities and will continue supporting the expansion of this program.
Russet Perry (D – VA Senate – District 31)
- A lifelong public servant, Perry understands firsthand the challenges of affording child care.
- Perry believes access to affordable, quality child care is vital to the well-being of Virginia’s children, families, and communities more broadly and, if elected, will vote to expand access to high-quality child care.
Stella Pekarsky (D – VA Senate – District 36)
- Pekarsky is committed to advocating for additional funding for child care and early childhood education.
- She knows first-hand that a child’s care and education before entering kindergarten have a huge impact on their ability to succeed.
- Pekarsky has advocated for the expansion of after-school care during her time on the school board, and she believes that universal pre-k should be a top priority during the next legislative session.
Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) was created in 2014 as the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, to be the political voice for kids. We work to ensure that the issues critical to children’s lives and futures are given top priority by our elected leaders, building bipartisan support to make sure every child has a strong start in life.
Learn more about SCAN here: https://savethechildrenactionnetwork.org/
Paid for by Save the Children Action Network. Not authorized by a candidate.