It's the day after Election Day and the results of the primaries are in. Qasim Rashid has secured the democratic vote for 1st District Congressional Elect in the state of Virginia. This news was announced following a concession from Rashid's opponent Lavangelene "Vangie" Williams at 9 pm Election night. Qasim Rashid and his team are now gearing up to face off against Rep. Robert Wittman in the General Election on November 3rd.
It is common knowledge that younger generations don't have the best track record for voter turnout. A common drawback that keeps young people from voting is the lack of information known regarding the candidates.
Here's the gist of it:
Who is this guy?
Qasim Rashid is an immigrant and proud American Muslim. He lives in Stafford, VA with his wife, Ayesha, and their three beautiful kids. Along with his career as a Politician, Rashid is an author, human rights activist, and human right's attorney.
He previously served as the national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.
He is currently a member of Masroor Mosque.
He was the Director of Civil Rights and Policy, Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights in the years 2016-2017.
He worked as a Pro Bono Attorney at the Virginia Poverty Law Center from 2011-2015.
What does he stand for?
With his law degree from The University of Richmond School of Law he has actively worked, "to combat domestic and sexual violence against women, uplift the incarcerated through prison chaplaincy, serve his neighbors through blood drives and highway cleanups, and advocate for children's education." (rashidforva.com)
When asked what the three key messages of his campaign were, he replied:
- Compassion through action will unite communities, instill a sense of belonging, and help us mobilize against the big issues that VA-01's working families are facing.
- Serving working families.
- Providing leadership in Virginia's 1st District.
Views on climate change
Rashid believes in the harmful reality that is global-warming. He agrees with scientists' beliefs that not enough is being done and emergency action must be taken with full understanding that the protection of many must be prioritized over the profit of few. Qasim believes a holistic approach that addresses the intersection of the climate crisis, economic inequality, and environmental racism is necessary.
Criminal justice reform
Our Dem. elect served as a Virginia state prison chaplain for four years. Throughout the duration in said position he mentored inmates on self-reform, peaceful conflict resolution, and on how to remain as positive and productive members of society upon release.
Qasim Rashid supports voter re-enfranchisement, reforming the bail system and is against the exploitation of prison labor.
Qasim Rashid grew up with two teachers as parents which instilled a deep commitment to the school system. This was only boosted by the entrance of his own children into the Virginia public school system. Regardless of race, gender, or economic background Rashid is determined to ensure all children have a fair, safe, and promising path set for their future success.
Qasim Rashid believes in the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings—regardless of faith, color, creed, sexual orientation or gender identity. He believes we must ratify the Equal Rights Amendment ("ERA") which will guarantee gender equality within our US Constitution. While Virginia has ratified the ERA, Qasim will fight in Congress to make sure it is added to the Constitution.
When it comes to people with disabilities, Rashid supports fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), eliminating the sub-minimum wage, and ensuring that the disability community is treated with dignity under the law.
Qasim believes in the indisputable truth that women's rights are human rights. Qasim has spent his career as a human rights attorney fighting for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, which are disproportionately women.
The Second Amendment
In the state of Virginia, the right to bear arms is a make or break for many citizens.
Rashid believes in protecting the Second Amendment but ensuring violent felons, domestic abusers, and otherwise dangerous individuals do not have easy access to guns. According to his campaigns website, Qasim supports:
- Universal background checks.
- Ban on automatic and military style semi-automatic weapons.
- Ban on possession or production of high capacity magazines.
- Close the Charleston loophole which allows the sale of a firearm if a background check is not completed within three days.
- Institute of a seven day waiting period for gun purchases.
- Red Flag Laws (extreme risk protection orders) that, when approved by a judge, grant law enforcement the ability to temporarily confiscate someone's firearms. These laws have bipartisan support across the country. As Indiana Governor, Mike Pence passed a red flag law to protect Indiana's residents. As Vice President Mike Pence praised Indiana's red flag law as a "blueprint for the entire nation."
Rashid agrees it is time to legalize and regulate recreational use of marijuana at the federal level. With the legalization of cannabis broader criminal justice reform surrounding the history of prosecuting drug crimes disproportionately against Black and Brown communities must follow. This includes:
- Expunging any criminal records for people convicted of simple possession of cannabis.
- Ensuring no drug conviction makes people ineligible for social services of any kind.
This is only a snippet of who Qasim Rashid is as a political candidate. Continuous education is required to allow any citizen to put their best foot forward for the state of Virginia and this country. To learn more about Qasim Rashid as a person and a democratic nominee check out his campaign website and social platforms. If you are not sure where to start, a simple google search can lead to a world of change for yourself. Stay educated, stay up-to-date, think for yourself, and exercise your right to vote!