Democratic challenger in the 18th arrondissement proud of his party’s work | Nvdaily
He’s a country boy at heart who seeks to pursue what has interested him in being in the medical field: helping others.
Douglas Ward, 71, of Sperryville, is the Democratic challenger seeking to overthrow Republican Michael Webert in the 18th District, which includes the Happy Creek District and the East Shenandoah and South River ridings of Warren County, all covering mainly the counties of Rappahannock, Fauquier and Culpeper.
“I can’t think of any accomplishment from the Republican-controlled legislature,” Ward said. “With the last election, Democrats have taken over and look at what they’ve done in one term.”
Originally from suburban New York City, Ward lived in Arlington as a general practitioner with a focus on HIV for 32 years in that region. Also providing courses to medical students, Ward was a representative of several pharmaceutical companies.
Having an interest in the outdoors, he and her husband bought a weekend home in Sperryville 10 years ago. About two years ago, Ward made Sperryville his permanent electoral residence. He said he is entering the stages of retirement and has no plans to renew his medical license next year.
“I never really had a connection to Arlington, living in a high rise condo,” Ward said as he familiarized himself with politics in the predominantly Tory area. “While I really feel a sense of community in Sperryville. “
With a background in the medical field, Ward touted the act of the General Assembly last session to approve the expansion of Medicaid, providing healthcare to 540,000 Virginians. He noted that one of his former patients was having difficulty paying for his HIV medication because his condition was not considered pre-existing until he received insurance under the action.
“He was not rich, but was making enough money that he was not entitled to Medicaid,” Ward said. “That’s the kind of feeling I have about expanding Obamacare or Medicaid, providing health care to people who need it or who might not otherwise be able to get it.”
With the expansion of Medicaid, state governments can free up funds because the federal government will cover 90% of health care costs, a significant portion of Virginia’s budget, Ward said. The burden of paying on taxpayers is a transfer from the state to the federal government, he admitted.
Another area of Ward’s interest is increasing healthcare facilities, which are scarce in rural areas, especially for preventive care which can lower medical costs.
Another of its objectives is to increase access to broadband in rural areas. His absence, as well as cell phone service at his home, is a major inconvenience and requires him to have satellite internet, which is expensive, he said.
The transition to more carbon-free sources under the Virginia Clean Energy Act is necessary to cope with the “real” change in climate, as evidenced by wildfires in the west and 106-degree temperatures in Seattle, he said, adding that it will also lead to the creation of new jobs, which the state needs.
Ward said he did not want to tie the hands of the police or reimburse them, but “clearly” there have been many instances where there has been abuse by the police, as seen in notable cases at across the country, including the guilty verdict against former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
“The problem is, you have to do something. You can’t judge the impact it will have for trying it out, ”Ward said in response to the claim that law enforcement change has come at a rapid pace. “And our law enforcement isn’t stupid. They will find a way to work with all the restrictions that we place on them. “
The increases to law enforcement officials in the recent special session allocating the $ 4.3 billion the state received in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act were justified, Ward said. The minimum wage should be raised to provide workers with a living wage, as well as to increase teachers’ pay, Ward said, adding that workers should share in a company’s profits.
“If you can’t afford to pay your employees, then you probably shouldn’t be in business,” Ward said, quoting President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
More funding could have been spent on broadband, education and clean energy law efforts, Ward said of ARPA allocations, but he was not against letting an unspent portion for emergencies.
Ward welcomed the passage of the amendment on equal rights and the authorization of same-sex marriage by the legislature, noting that the former symbolically supports women’s rights and the latter brings the state into conformity with the constitutional right.
Vaccines, which prevent severe cases of coronavirus and can reduce transmission, are critical to the COVID-19 pandemic, and masks are very important, Ward said. Supporting vaccination mandates, he said some vaccinations are needed for schoolchildren and hospital staff.
Proof of vaccination, which may negate the need to wear a mask, should also be required, Ward said. With the trend of increasing cases, crowd restrictions and other precautions make sense, he said.
“But if everyone  received a vaccine, then we wouldn’t have to worry about the masks, there would be almost no transmission, ”Ward said. “Since this is not the case, we should always do everything possible to reduce transmission. More than half a million in this country have died from COVID and they are still dying. We cannot ignore it. Vaccines are the most important thing we have.
Critical Race Theory, the education program aimed at teaching systemic racism, is an “important historical interpretation of our past,” Ward said, adding “that there is” no doubt “that the country has a racist element.
“I don’t think we can just ignore it and say, ‘I can’t teach it,’” Ward said.
Not everyone needs a college degree to get a job, and there are opportunities to improve education with community colleges and trade schools that should be encouraged, he said.
Despite no evidence of voter fraud in the last election, voting rights laws passed in Texas and Georgia are aimed at restricting minority voting, Ward said, noting that he was in favor of election day being a federal holiday.
On the subject of abortion, having an abortion is a tough decision for a woman, Ward said. The state has already passed an “absurd” law, he said, requiring women to have a transvaginal ultrasound, which is not necessary. But more importantly, funding should be directed to family planning and contraceptives, Ward said. Colorado has provided free long-term contraceptives and has seen a decrease in the rate of pregnancies and abortions among young women, Ward said.
Growing up with a father and brother who traveled to a shooting range for target practice, Ward said he was not averse to owning firearms for recreation, including hunting and self-defense. But he doesn’t know the need for a military-style weapon, Ward said. He is not sure of a response to gun violence, but restricting access to it would help, he said, noting that the average citizen in Canada does not own a gun and this country does not. There is no gun problem.
“If someone is at risk of suicide, how can anyone complain about taking their gun,” Ward said.
Fixing the local composite index to more equitably allocate funds to counties based on wealth averages needs to be done, Ward said. Rappahannock County has a few wealthy residents who are skewing that number, preventing their ability to receive more funding for schools, he said.
The election is November 2. Advance voting has started.