Below are some issues that are close to Zach's heart as he strives to protect and change certain issues in Virginia Beach.
In Virginia Beach, specifically, the Pungo area, protecting the beauty of native wildlife is crucial. With miles of coastline, a national wildlife refuge, and hundreds of rural agricultural communities, VA98 is lucky to have so much biodiversity, thus it is our responsibility to advocate for the interests of native flora and fauna. With this in mind, Zach understands the importance of advocating for the preservation and protection of wildlife and naturally occurring environments. This includes the national wildlife refuge at Back Bay, First Landing State Park, as well as the beautiful beaches and sprawling grasslands in our own backyards. The natural landscape of our district is a treasure that can be taken for granted. However, he recognizes that our district relies heavily on the work of private and family farms that support our local community’s economy. Therefore, we must balance these initiatives without disenfranchising the hundreds of farmers and preservationists doing their own important work for our ecological communities.
With less than five years removed from the Virginia Beach City Public School K-12 system, Zach has a unique perspective on education. He has felt the frustration of teachers and observed policy changes firsthand, making him more equipped to understand how policy translates to the classroom. Teachers in VA98 are keystones in our community, and they deserve more say in the operations of the school and more support both inside and outside of the classroom, especially when dealing with policy changes made by folks who don’t have classroom experience. Therefore, Zach will advocate for teachers’ bargaining rights in VA. Additionally, he has seen the inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic such as unequal access to academic resources, technology, and the presence of other home-school barriers firsthand, and recognizes that they have yet to be rectified. He strongly believes that we must guarantee equal opportunity and success for each and every student that walks into our public schools.
Black Lives Matter.
In recent years, LGBTQIA+, AAPI, and BIPOC communities have made their voices heard both in our district and across the country. Despite the voices of advocates, VA still lacks many statutory protections for historically marginalized groups. As a member of the queer community in Hampton Roads, Zach knows there is love for all individuals throughout our community, but we need to ensure this love and protection is preserved for our future generations. He will fight tirelessly to ensure these groups are heard and advocate for additional protections to be codified into law, regardless of his status in the race.
The Dobbs decision has impacted virtually every special election throughout the country. Therefore, it is fair to say that this unpopular decision from the SCOTUS will be a deciding factor in upcoming races. Zach intends to be a voice for any person wishing to make decisions regarding their own reproductive health. Protecting these rights and allocating accessible resources to all in the Commonwealth should be a core function of the state assembly. Zach wants to join the sitting delegates and expand their ideas until access to resources and reproductive care is universal.
The finalization of the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use is well overdue. The 98th district wants retail sale of cannabis. Virginia wants retail sale of cannabis. Zach also recognizes the critical need for resentencing and releasing those wrongfully incarcerated for the use of cannabis.
Medical care and other related services must be expanded throughout the commonwealth, especially in rural areas. We must be able to be proud of the care we can provide for our community members. As a future board-certified music therapist, Zach understands the importance of expanding additional care, such as rehabilitation services, by the state. Simply defining these jobs in law, however, is NOT providing equal access to those services. Therefore, Zach is committed to ensure these services are equally accessible to all. Your zip code should not determine your access to healthcare.