John Winfrey contacted 50 Ways-Rockbridge to announce that he is running as an independent candidate against Ben Cline for our district’s seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.  While 50 Ways cannot endorse any candidate for any office, we are pleased by the attention John’s campaign will bring to at least two essential issues in Virginia: gerrymandering and Medicaid expansion.  Below is John’s own statement:


I am running against Ben Cline because Ben Cline is letting down his Republican base on the two most vital issues facing Virginia.

The federal government has been trying to give Virginia millions of dollars to expand Medicaid for 400,000 working families. Many Republican states have decided to provide this health insurance.

Our Republican House of Delegates has refused. This means that these families suffer. They forego preventive health care until it is too late. Many of our community hospitals have had to shut down.

A second issue Ben Cline should address is our unfair political system. The Republicans in the House of Delegates have chosen to play politics rather than pass legislation that Virginians need. Virginia rivals North Carolina and Texas in its successful use of Gerrymandering. Even though the majority votes against Republicans in the House, they still keep their strangle hold on the Legislature.

Yet Virginians are fortunate that we did not sink as deeply into Tea Party rule as our neighbors in North Carolina. The Governor Pat McCrory instituted the whole Tea Party wish list of curtailing civil rights, unemployment insurance, public education, and health care.

Adam O’Neal, the life-long Republican mayor of Belhaven, pleaded with McCrory to accept the Medicaid Extension. Belhaven had just lost its community hospital. O’Neal predicted that people would die if they had to be transported to the nearest emergency room. O’Neal tried to gain publicity by staging a “daily march” towards Washington. Ironically, a young woman had a heart attack and had to be transported to Greenville. She died on the way. Would she have lived? Probably; we don’t know for sure. We don’t even keep the figures–not that people like Ben Cline and Bob Goodlatte would feel any responsibility.

The good news for North Carolina is that in the 2016 election the Tea Party was overwhelmingly repudiated. Their new governor, Roy Cooper, will promote public education and health care. The bad news is that North Carolina is extremely gerrymandered so that the Republicans have retained power in the legislature. They are attempting to limit Cooper’s power as much as possible.

The lesson for Virginians is that it will take much more than a simple majority to rid us of the Tea Party malignancy. Fortunately public opinion polls show Trump and Congress with the lowest levels ever recorded.

We need for the GOP to start the process of filling its ranks with moderate conservatives, like when it was truly the Grand Old Party. First and foremost, we need to Clean House. We need your vote.

John Winfrey, Lexington