Hero or Zero?
Welcome to Progress Virginia’s Hero or Zero, a weekly, unapologetically progressive take on this week’s heroes and zeros in Virginia politics. Check out this space every Friday, and Tweet us or post to our Facebook to nominate your own heroes and zeros.
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HERO: Alex Wheeler Is Our Hero
Navient (yup, the student loan swindlers) received a $204 million windfall from the Trump #TaxScam. Instead of helping student loan borrowers, they’re giving it all to shareholders.
That didn’t stop students and activists like Alex Wheeler from calling out their ridiculous, misguided priorities. On Tuesday, Alex joined Delegate Marcus Simon and our own Anna Scholl to protest Navient’s predatory practices. Alex was duped and strung along by Navient, pushing her deeper in to debt without so much care as returning her phone calls. She still can’t get information from Navient about her loans, and she won’t stop advocating and speaking out until students are protected from predatory lenders like Navient.
Watch the protest below—Alex starts speaking at 5:50.
ZERO: Republicans Reject Redistricting Reform
Republicans in the General Assembly this week rejected Governor Ralph Northam’s amendments, which would have instituted real redistricting* reform in Virginia. The amendments were attached to SB106 and HB1598—toothless bills that do nothing to change current standards and criteria around redistricting.
You know, that’s probably why Republicans like them! After all, why let Virginia voters actually choose their elected officials? It much easier (for politicians) to choose their voters instead.
In this game of limbo, it’s Republicans who always surprise us by stooping lower.
*In case you’re unfamiliar, redistricting is the drawing and redrawing of district lines and is intended to draw equally populated districts without lines denying minority voters equal opportunity. Politically-motivated redistricting generally aims to “give” your opponents a tiny number of “safe” districts and create more comfortable districts for yourself and your political party. This is often called gerrymandering.