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Oct 19, 2023

In this week’s episode, co-host Ryan Coonerty talks policy and balancing work and family life with Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker. They discuss how Bennett-Parker uses her master’s degree in food anthropology to inform fresh food programs and policies in Virginia, her continuing efforts to expand SNAP benefits for senior citizens, and the push for free, universal school meals. She explains how she has achieved bipartisan support for her bills and the challenges of getting stuff done while juggling the "scheduling gymnastics" of Virginia's part-time legislature, crediting robust collaboration with her staff and colleagues. Bennett-Parker talks about her experience as a new mom in the House of Delegates, as well as some of the steps state legislatures can take to make serving in elected office more accessible for new and working parents. The conversation also examines the prospects for Democrats in a critical off-year election and the future of reproductive rights in Virginia. Tune in for this insightful conversation. 

  • [1:29] Welcome to Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker. 

  • [2:01] Delegate Bennett-Parker’s involvement in food-based nonprofits, where this interest came from, and its role in her policy-making. 

  • [3:36] The Food Crop Tax Credit bill that the Delegate passed. 

  • [5:08] Her efforts to expand benefits for senior citizens and K-12 students.

  • [6:39] Virginia’s alcohol prohibition for formerly incarcerated food industry employees and efforts to lift it. 

  • [9:01] How Virginians work across the aisle to pass bills, and how Delegate Bennett-Parker works to promote legislation. 

  • [11:45] Part-time legislature and Bennett-Parker’s experience managing the legislative session. 

  • [13:04] What inspired her to run for office and what her experience was like. 

  • [17:12] The state of Virginia heading into 2024. 

  • [18:58] Top issues on Virginians’ minds this November. 

  • [20:11] Serving the community as a new mother and policies that would make elected office more accessible for new parents.