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Thursday, September 21, 2017 5:17 PM

Letter to the Editor: Bell stands in the way of insurance for 4,000 of our neighbors

The NewsLeaderFour thousand. That’s the number of your neighbors, friends, people you know, possibly family members, living in the Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro area who would have health care if the Virginia legislature had approved Medicaid expansion. These aren’t freeloaders. They are people in low-paying jobs who work for small companies that can’t afford to offer their employees health insurance. When adults sign up for Medicaid they are more likely to get their children coverage through the Children’s State Health Insurance Program. Kids with health care; that’s a good thing.

So why hasn’t the Republican majority in the House of Delegates, including our Del. Dickie Bell, approved Medicaid expansion? They say it will cost too much. However, the state will only pick up 10% of the costs, with the rest of the money coming from Washington. The cost of health care for people who don’t have Medicaid or other insurance greatly exceeds Medicaid costs, because people don’t get preventive care or early care. They wait too long and then the care is very expensive. My cousin died because she waited too long. My friend went bankrupt because she couldn't afford insurance and her bills were astronomical. We taxpayers and insured patients pay for the shortfall.

It’s time for the House of Delegates to move forward. For them to do so, we need to vote in new legislators.

Here in the 20th District, that means voting for Michele Dixon Edwards, who will help lead Virginia towards medical coverage for all. Her opponent, Dickie Bell, the incumbent, serves on the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee which has opposed Medicaid expansion. The USA needs to quit its backward stance on universal health care. We are the only developed country without it. As we continue to fall further behind the rest of the world, this area is one where we can catch up. We can start on the local level, getting coverage for those four thousand neighbors, with sensible health care decisions in Richmond. Michele Edwards can help get us there. Please look at and vote on November 7.


Article in the Staunton NewsLeader

Thursday, September 21, 2017 11:51 AM

Press Relase: Anti-Pipeline Candidate Michele Edwards outpaced opponent Dickie Bell

Michele EdwardsFor Immediate Release: Staunton, VA 09/19/17
Contact: Kirk Wesley, Campaign Manager | 540-255-9658

Anti-Pipeline Candidate Michele Edwards outpaced opponent Dickie Bell in raising funds in race for VA House of Delegates 20th District seat.

During the reporting period from July 1 to August 31, Edwards raised $23,768 while her opponent, Dickie Bell raised $14,910. All campaign donations over $100 are publically disclosed in Virginia.

Edwards, running for office for the first time, refuses to accept donations from corporations to support her candidacy, depending instead on contributions from actual voters who want to see a change in Richmond. And it’s working. Edwards made three major campaign appearances over the weekend of Sept. 16 in her district. She spoke to voters at the African-American Heritage Festival in Gypsy Hill Park, the Women for Michele event at Gaie Lea Farm in Staunton, and a benefit concert with Angela Lynn (running for the House of Delegates from the 25th district) in Waynesboro. Everywhere she appeared Michele was met with enthusiastic responses from a public eager for her to represent them in the General Assembly.

Her campaign manager, Kirk Wesley says, "This is just another example of Michele’s tremendous work ethic and ability to reach across party lines to gain the trust and support of the diverse constituency of the 20th district. Most of Michele’s donations were raised in small gatherings, in living rooms across the district, as she listened to the concerns of voters. People are responding to Michele's message of inclusive representation in a positive way and view her candidacy as a much needed breath of fresh air.”

To interview Michele Edwards, please call Kirk Wesley, campaign manager.

Edwards’ website is

This event is paid for and supported by the Michele for Delegate Campaign.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 5:35 PM

Letter to the Editor: Del. Dickie Bell tries to bring creationism into public school classrooms

The NewsLeaderThe General Assembly’s HB 207 was a bill to bring creationism into public school science classes. Don’t take my word for it: the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell, has said publicly that the “scientific controversies” mentioned in the bill include, among other things, “the theory of evolution.”

Let’s be clear: The only remotely convincing arguments that evolution is not the way the current diversity of life on Earth arose are grounded not in scientific empiricism but in religious faith. This bill, therefore, by its sponsor’s admission, is intended to let religious ideas into public
school science classes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 8:00 AM

Letter to the Editor: Voters of House Dist. 20 deserve a debate — now

As a concerned citizen of Staunton and Augusta County, why is there no debate between the three candidates running for the District 20 seat in the House of Delegates.

A nonpartisan invitation for debate has been requested of each of the three candidates and declined by one.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:24 PM

Press Release: Local Democrats announce State Sen. John S. Edwards will be the Keynote Speaker at benefit to “Paint the Valley Blue Again!”

For immediate release: Staunton, VA 09/19/17
Contact: Frank Nolan | 540-294-0310  

State Senator John S. Edwards (VA- Roanoke) will be the Keynote Speaker for the first-ever Joint Social and Silent Auction Fall Benefit on Sunday, October 1, 2017, at Fairfax Hall in Waynesboro, VA from 5:00 to 7:30 pm. The Democratic Committees of Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro are sponsoring the event.

A significant portion of the proceeds from this benefit will be donated to the campaigns of Democrats Michele Edwards (20th District) and Angela Lynn (25th District) for their respective runs for seats in the House of Delegates in Richmond. Michele Edwards and Angela Lynn will appear at the gathering.

Senator Edwards was appointed the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia (1980-1981) by President Carter and currently serves in Virginia’s Senate, having been first elected in 1995. He previously served on Roanoke City Council (1993-95) and as Vice Mayor of Roanoke (1994-95).

Senator Edwards is also an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia Law School where he teaches trial advocacy.

During the event, attendees can participate in a social hour as they bid on the silent and live auctions to benefit the Democratic candidates.

Cost is $30 per admission.
In addition, interested folks can help the fundraiser by becoming sponsors:

• Blue Mountain - $500 = 6 event admissions
• Blue Sky - $250 = 4 event admissions
• Blue Valley - $100 = 2 event admissions


Friday, September 15, 2017 11:24 AM

Letter to the Editor: Elect Edwards to break with Virginia's political status quo

The NewsLeaderMake your vote count. Americans are moderate in temperament and practical in action. We are a nation of problem solvers. So why is it that we simply can't get our political leaders to do the same? It certainly wasn't always that way as past generations were able to work together to accomplish great things.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 4:11 PM

Letter to the Editor: Watch carefully; GOP still eyeing Obamacare repeal

The News LeaderThe fast pace of the news cycle can quickly let us lose track of what Congressional Republicans may still be trying to do to their constituents: Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Speaker Paul Ryan has not said that he has given up (despite two recent defeats), nor has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It is the duty of all of us to make sure that the Republican Party will not take health care away from millions of people. Without the ACA, my family would have lost our house and even faced bankruptcy.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 12:00 AM

Press release: Michele Edwards, Democratic Candidate for VA 20th District, to initiate the 'Women for Michele' group at Sept.17 event in Staunton, VA

For immediate release: Staunton, VA. 09/05/2017
Contact: Kirk Wesley, Campaign Manager
540-255-9658 |

Michele Edwards and Susan Swecker

On Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, Michele Edwards, candidate for delegate for the VA General Assembly from the 20th district will headline the initial event of “Women for Michele.” This group has been organized for local women to create a grassroots movement resulting in a significant gain of voters at the local polls on Election Day, November 7, 2017. The event will be held at Gaie Lea at 267 Bells Lane in Staunton. Interested women and others will learn how to encourage families, friends, and colleagues to get out the vote for the Democratic Party.

In addition to Edwards, other speakers include keynote speaker, Susan Swecker, Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Pat Hunt, former chaplain of Mary Baldwin University will introduce the speakers.

There is no admission charge to attend this event; all are welcome.

  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM - Social Mix and Mingle with refreshments
  • 2:45 PM - 3:30 PM - Pat Hunt introduces the speakers: Susan Swecker and Michele Edwards
  • 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM - Q & A from the audience for speaker participation

During this event, donations to the Michele for Delegate Campaign are encouraged.

Additionally, during this event, there will be a collection of non-perishable feminine and baby products for delivery to the Texas storm victims of Hurricane Harvey.

This event is paid for and supported by the Michele for Delegate Campaign.

Friday, September 1, 2017 1:58 PM

Letter to the Editor: I really believe in gender equality and improving the wage gap

The NewsLeaderAs a young woman I have become very concerned about women’s rights. I am very worried about the wage gap, girls and women’s access to education, and women and men having equal rights. The American Association of University Women says that white women make 80 cents to a white man’s $1, and the pay gap exists in most jobs. African American women get 63 cents and Latino women get 54 cents to a man’s dollar.

Thursday, August 31, 2017 12:00 PM

Letter to the Editor: How gullible does Gillespie think we are on taxes?

One of Republican Ed Gillespie’s campaign promises is to cut the state income tax by 10 percent, which according to his website will put nearly $1,300 per year into the pockets of a family of four.

Well, I did the math and you’d have to be naïve or gullible to believe it.

Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:22 AM

Letter to the Editor: Edwards has small business expertise the Valley needs

The News Virginian

It is estimated that 25 percent of American malls and retail stores will close in the next five years. Chains such as Sears, Kmart, JC Penney and Macy’s plan to close about 400 stores this year — that’s on top of the many that were shuttered in previous years.

Even restaurants like Applebee’s are feeling the heat. That’s a lot of people losing jobs. That’s why I am encouraged by the candidacy of Michele Edwards for the Virginia House of Representatives. Michele works for a non-profit organization that supports small business owners in Haiti with training, mentoring, and access to capital. It’s the kind of knowledge and skill we need here in the Valley.

Saturday, August 26, 2017 12:00 AM

Letter to the Editor: Public education at stake in Nov. election

The News Virginian

I taught English for 30 years and am now retired and a relative newcomer to this region. Since January, I have been appalled that the current administration in the White House seems — with the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education — determined to eradicate public

Thursday, August 24, 2017 6:30 PM

Letter to the Editor: Edwards would make lasting change as delegate

NewsLeader Letter to the EditorOn Saturday, Aug. 19, through an organization I started called Local and Vocal, I sat and listened to a panel of women at Staunton Public Library discuss the issues that women face when struggling with poverty.

Thursday, August 24, 2017 9:50 AM

Letter to the Editor: Candidates have to be seen and heard

Augusta Free Press

The 20th District of the Virginia House of Delegates election is November 7, 2017.

The candidates for the election are Mr. Richard Bell, the republican candidate and current member of the house of delegates since 2009; and Ms. Michele Edwards, the Democratic candidate, who believes good public education, job creation, and business are the solution to poverty. Both, by their stated education and experiences seem to have somewhat similar credentials for the office.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 6:00 AM

Michele Dixon Edwards receives the Virginia AFL-CIO’s endorsement in her bid to unseat Dickie Bell in the 20th General Assembly district.

Michele EdwardsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2017

Kirk Wesley, Michele for Delegate, campaign manager | 540 255 9658 

On August 18, 2017, the Virginia AFL-CIO gave their endorsement in the race for delegate from the 20th district, Michele Edwards. The organization, a long-time advocate for working Virginians, actively monitors the Virginia General Assembly, seeks strong worker compensation and worker safety laws, supports heath care for retirees, and promotes civil and equal rights.

The Virginia AFL-CIO is the largest collective for workers in Virginia, and it has long recognized the need for support in the General Assembly for working people in Virginia. In endorsing Michele Edwards against incumbent Dickie Bell, it has clearly stated that Edwards will work tirelessly for the working people in her district.

Article on the Augusta Free Press

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:37 PM

Eye witness to events in Charlottesville

Michele EdwardsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 22, 2017

Contact: Michael Edwards,


Below is a statement released by Edwards, where she shares her experiences and reactions - as an eye witness - to Charlottesville:

I am sharing my thoughts about my experience in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12. That day will stay forever in our hearts and souls, seared there, but we can – indeed we must - use it to help one another and the Commonwealth move forward.

On Friday night Aug. 11, I, like many of you, was stunned as I watched a live stream video of hundreds of young white men marching on the grounds of UVA. I have no words to describe the disgust I felt as I tried to comprehend what and why they were doing what they were doing. Read more . . .

Friday, August 18, 2017 5:04 PM

Letter to the Editor: Michele Edwards would bring fresh approach to Richmond

The News LeaderAugust 18, 2017

Don’t we all want, for ourselves and our families, good education and training to qualify us for satisfying jobs, access to quality health care at affordable costs, security for our families, and clean air and water? Our state government and its House of Delegates are instrumental in helping citizens of the Virginia 20th District achieve those objectives. Does this, or any, election matter? Read more . . .

Thursday, August 17, 2017 2:43 PM

Democratic favorite and NO PIPELINE candidate Tom Perriello to headline NELSON COUNTY fundraiser for House of Delegates Candidate Michele Edwards



  • Larry Stopper
    Landline 434 361 2344
    Cell 201 988 2032
  • Kirk Wesley, Michele for Delegate campaign manager
    540 255 9658

On Thursday, August 24, 2017, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM at the Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, former Congressman Tom Perriello, who carried Nelson County in his bid for the Democratic Nomination for governor in June, will headline a fundraiser for Michele Edwards, candidate for the General Assembly in the 20th District. Perriello, who carried Nelson County on a No-Pipeline platform will be on hand to lend his support to Edwards, who also opposes the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Perriello will speak between 7 – 8 PM. Edwards will appear after that.

Candidates for Nelson County Supervisor, Ernie Reed and Justin Shrimp will also appear to offer support for Michele Edwards.

The event, to be held in the private function room at the Blue Mountain Brewery, is a fundraiser. Though there will be no entry fee, people who attend will be able to donate to the Edwards campaign. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

No Pipeline activists urged to attend, as are supporters of Edwards.

No entry fees, nor are tickets or reservations required.

The brewery is located at
9519 Critzers Shop Rd
Afton, VA 22920

Article on the Augusta Free Press

Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:00 AM

Newsletter: An update from the campaign

Michele Edwards at Augusta County Fair with volunteer Robert Horowitz, her niece and Campaign Manager Kirk Wesley

Read the latest newsletter from the campaign with highlights about our new campaign manager; thoughts about Charlottesville; and information on how you can join in to support our team.

We are also excited about the launch of our new "Interns for a change" program for high school and college students who want to join in to experience a political campaign first-hand.

Friday, August 11, 2017 10:32 AM

Letter: Friends of Augusta endorses Michele Edwards for 20th House District seat

Augusta Free Press

Published Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, 10:32 am

Friends of Augusta is pleased to announce that we are endorsing Michele Edwards for House of Delegates, representing the 20th District, a seat currently held by Dickie Bell. Read more . . .

Thursday, August 10, 2017 6:15 PM


With regret we have to announce that the SPUDATHON scheduled to take place on National Potato Day, August 19, has been cancelled. Event planners will announce a new date still to be determined.

The event – a family fun outing at the Augusta Expo – will feature games, including Potato Cannon Competitions, potato sack races, and potato hunts, with proceeds going to:

  • The Augusta, Staunton, and Waynesboro Area Schools Food Program through direct donation
  • The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Attendees who bring a non-perishable food item will get $1 off admission
  • Valley Mission will receive triple the amount of potatoes used in the competitions
  • Michele Edwards will be on hand to compete in the fun and games.

The event will also feature stuffed roasted potatoes with all the fixings and French fries, in addition to local food and beverage trucks.

Saturday, July 15, 2017 12:00 AM

OPINION: Monkey puzzles and lawmakers: make 'em take the pledge!

The News Virginian

Here’s a start: 45 House of Delegates candidates so far, mostly Democrats, have signed a pledge that they'll refuse to accept campaign cash from Appalachian Power and Dominion Energy, the two state-regulated electric power monopolies. Among them are two House candidates: Michele Edwards, a candidate in District 20, and Angela Lynn, a candidate in District 25.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 12:00 AM

Augusta Expo to host potato cannon competition

FISHERSVILLE – Augusta Expo in Fishersville has hosted tractor pulls, rodeos, agricultural events and will soon be able to add to its list the first ever Spudathon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 12:00 AM

Potato cannon competition coming this August

The event is being put on in part with the Michele Edwards for Delegate campaign. Edwards is vying for the 20th seat in the Virginia House of Delegate, currently held by Va. Del. Dickie Bell.

Saturday, June 10, 2017 12:00 AM

Staunton Democrat opposes Incumbent House 20 Del. Bell

WAYNESBORO — Michele Edwards is a former special education teacher and a strong proponent of Virginia's public schools — experience and passion she hopes to bring to the House of Delegates.

Sunday, May 28, 2017 12:00 AM

Our Candidates

Candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in District 20. Standing up for Virginia citizens in Augusta, Highland, and Nelson Counties.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 12:00 AM

Democratic Committee hosts Lt. Governor forum

Many from throughout the Shenandoah Valley came to Mary Baldwin University on Monday night to watch a live stream debate between Ralph Northam and Tom Periello, the two Democratic candidates vying to be Virginia's next governor.

The event was sponsored by the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro Democratic Committee.

It allowed community members to hear from House of Delegate candidates, Angela Lynn and Michele Edwards, as well.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:00 AM

Democrat announces bid for Bell's seat

Staunton resident Michele Edwards announced her intention Thursday to seek the Democratic nomination for House District 20. Bell has held the 20th District seat since 2010.

Friday, March 17, 2017 9:46 AM

Staunton Woman Announces Campaign for 20th District Delegate

More than 50 people were in attendance as Michelle Edwards announced her candidacy to seek the Democratic nomination on the steps of the Augusta County Circuit Court Thursday.

Friday, March 17, 2017 12:00 AM

Democrat Michele Edwards Rises to Challenge

District 20 is being contested by a Democratic candidate this cycle. The seat is currently held by Republican Richard "Dickie" Bell.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:00 AM

Edwards Announces for the 20th District

Today, on the steps of the Augusta County Courthouse in Staunton, Virginia, Michele Edwards announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 20th district seat in the House of Delegates.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:00 AM

Bell gets Democratic challenger for delegate seat

Democrat Michele Edwards will challenge Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, for his District 20 seat in the House of Delegates, she announced in front of the Augusta County Courthouse Thursday.

Committee to Elect Michele Edwards
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