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Friday, June 16, 2023

You’ve probably seen the stories about the abortion debate between our two Democratic candidates for Virginia’s House of Delegates District 55. We did, too. And after reading a handful of articles, we were left with a lingering question: What is Kellen Squire’s position on abortion rights, and how does it differ from Amy Laufer’s?

If we were unclear, we figured some of you might be, too. So, we asked them.

A group of women stand in an intersection facing away from the camera. One holds up a sign above her head that reads "keep abortion legal."
Credit: Credits: Mike Kropf/Charlottesville Tomorrow

The abortion squabble in the primary: How candidates Laufer and Squire differ (and don’t)

In case you are new to this story, here’s the background. Over Memorial Day weekend, the Laufer campaign sent out a mailer that accused Squire of being an untrustworthy supporter of abortion rights. It cited an unpublished blog post he wrote in 2017, where he said he was “fervently and unashamedly pro-life.” The post goes on to explain that, while abortion should be eliminated, criminalizing it is not the way to accomplish that.

The reason this issue has grabbed such attention is abortion rights will be a critical voting issue during the next legislative session. Governor Youngkin supports a ban on abortions past 15 weeks, and has said it could happen in Virginia

But for it to happen, it would need to pass both the state’s House and Senate.

Democrats have the majority of seats in the Senate right now, making that highly unlikely. But, should Republicans win control of the Senate this fall, and maintain control of the House, where they lead by four seats, an abortion ban becomes far more likely.

That’s an outcome both Laufer and Squire say they want to avoid. And both have promised to vote for the other in the general election this November if they don’t win the primary on Tuesday.

A woman sitting at a table in front of a brick wall speaks into a microphone. A man sits beside her.
Credit: Screenshot from Charlottesville School Board meeting

Four of Charlottesville School Board’s seven seats may turn over this fall, bringing in entirely new leadership for the district

In other election news, Charlottesville is about to get a whole new complement of people on its School Board. Four of the seven seats are up for election this fall, and three of the incumbent board members have said they won’t run again. The fourth incumbent has not said if she’ll run or not, but she’s not filed the necessary paperwork to run, which she must do by Tuesday, June 20.

What does this turnover mean for the future of the School Board? No one is quite sure, not least because we don’t know who the new members will be. As of Thursday, only two people had filed paperwork to run. The deadline to do so is Tuesday.

A collage shows the headshots of five people each smiling at a camera. In the middle of the collage are the words "Charlottesville Tomorrow." At the edge are the words "2023 Voter Guide."
Credit: Photos provided by candidates

City Council Voter Guide: Charlottesville candidates lay out their stances on zoning, transportation, taxation, and public safety.

Our Primary Election Day is Tuesday. And, as we keep saying, this is where the City Council election will likely be decided. If you need any help deciding who to vote for, check out our City Council Voter Guide, where each candidate answers the same seven policy questions.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. And, maybe see you at the polls Tuesday!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.