Joshua Cole is an exciting young preacher running as the Democratic candidate for Delegate for Virginia’s 28th District, in Stafford County and Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Joshua’s Story: Joshua is an Associate Pastor at Union Bell Baptist Church in Southern Stafford. He speaks with a charismatic minister’s rolling cadence – a delivery that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama shared. This young, polished preacher has great potential. On March 25, at a rally to unite Fredericksburg, he noted that the listeners were:
“Here in Fredericksburg, one of the strongholds of the confederate army, here in Fredericksburg, one of the stalwarts of the segregation movement back in the day. Today we stand on the ground of our history. Our past has become the fertilizer of where we are today. That dirt became the strength we needed to stand today for unity!
“We’re living in a time and age now where many of our liberties and freedoms are under attack. And because of this, unity is affected. We live in the state of Virginia, were we champion the phrase ‘Virginia is for Lovers,’ but where is the love?
“No matter who you are or where you came from, remember to shed compassion on everyone. You may not understand their story or their struggle, but recognize there is a struggle.”
Biography: Born in Washington, D.C. Grew up near Fredericksburg, Virginia; attended Stafford County Public Schools. Richmond experience: Page for the VA House and for Governor Mark Warner; staff assistant to the VA Senate chamber, 2016 session. Pursuing his Masters of Divinity at New York Theological Seminary in Manhattan. Assistant Pastor at the Union Bell Baptist Church in Southern Stafford. National Director of Ecumenical Affairs for the Holy Christian Orthodox Church. Also serves as a behavioral aide for students in the Richmond Public Schools. Volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of the Rappahannock Region.
Issues: Joshua will advocate for strong public education, transportation, health care, criminal justice reform, environmental protection, and LGBTQ rights. While he supports home-based education, he also will advocate to protect public funding for public schools, without gross inequalities among schools. He will support pay increases for teachers; restorative justice in schools, free college tuition for qualified students, a return to community policing, and mental health and addiction care to combat the opioid epidemic. He will work to bring higher paying jobs, increase the minimum wage, and resolve transportation and traffic issues.
Opponent: Bob Thomas. Born in Ohio; served in Marines; settled in Stafford in 2003; wife and 8 kids. Worked 3 years in McLean for SAIC, a large government contractor. Then started small business Capriccio Software. He opposes “big government,” primarily for budgetary reasons. Received an A(q) (pro-gun candidate) rating from the NRA. Pro-life. Will continue to support legislation so tax revenues are not used for abortions [read: will keep trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood even though government funds are not used for that part of its work]. Look under the hood, however, and his supposed business acumen and ethics appear to be a sham. HIs business continued signing contracts last year despite a revoked Corporation Commission license, and he received a $3,000 campaign contribution – and allegedly received forgiveness of $90,000 back rent owed to – a large landlord who had several upcoming land use projects before the Board of Supervisors, on which Thomas serves.
Recent elections: Hillary lost by just 1.1% to Trump, and Obama won by just 0.09% over Romney. Thomas serves on numerous boards and commissions, but as one blog said: “$90,000 in forgiven rent and a $3,000 campaign donation after two liens and a revoked status with the State Corporation Commission? That’s serious, if true.”