Lee J. Carter

Lee J. Carter
Lee Jin Carter at volunteer appreciation event (cropped).jpg
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates

from the 50th district
Assumed office

January 10, 2018
Preceded by Jackson Miller
Personal details
Born (1987-06-02) June 2, 1987 (age 32)

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Political party Democratic
Other political

Democratic Socialists of America
Children 1
Residence Manassas, Virginia
Occupation IT specialist
Committees Manassas City Democratic Committee
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service   United States Marine Corps
Years of service 2006–2011

Lee Jin Carter (born June 2, 1987) is an American politician who has represented the 50th district in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2018. He defeated Jackson Miller, the Republican House Majority Whip, to win the seat. Born in North Carolina, Carter is a member of the Democratic Party, an IT specialist, and a former Marine. Carter serves on the Finance Committee and the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee. He was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), of which he is a member.

As a U.S. Marine, Carter served in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. His unit was also one of the first to respond to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.[1]

Early life and military career [ edit ]

Carter was born June 2, 1987, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[2][3] He was a member of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) from 2006 to 2011, having attended the USMC Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy. During his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, Carter completed tours in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. His unit was also one of the first to respond to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.[1]

Carter also worked as an IT specialist before running for office.[4]

Political career [ edit ]

2017 campaign [ edit ]

Carter was inspired to run for office after receiving a shock while repairing a lighting system in the summer of 2015 and subsequently struggling to receive worker's compensation from Virginia while unable to work. Before choosing to run, he had long identified as "to the left of where the Democratic party [is]" but was further inspired by Bernie Sanders to explore democratic socialism.[5]

Carter ran for the Virginia House of Delegates for the 50th district. He was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), of which he is a member.[5] His campaign mostly focused on issues such as single-payer healthcare and financial contributions to politicians. Jackson Miller, the incumbent Republican, distributed a mailer campaign that compared Carter to Communist rulers Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong,[5][6][7] an act the Democratic Party of Virginia condemned as fearmongering.[7] Miller called Carter an "anti-jobs candidate" and said his "ideas are so out of the mainstream, and so incredibly expensive."[8] On November 7, 2017, Carter won the race by nine percentage points.[9] He was one of 15 DSA members elected in 2017.[10]

During Carter's remarks on a tax bill, fellow Democratic Delegate Mark Keam surreptitiously briefly displayed the hammer and sickle on a laptop behind Carter, an action for which he later apologized;[11][12][13][14] Keam also apologized for violating Rule 57 in regard to the legislative body's decorum ("No member shall in debate use any language or gesture calculated to wound, offend, or insult another member").[15] Carter dismissed the affair as "clearly [...] a joke, but [...] in very poor taste and rooted in a lack of knowledge about the history of the political left."[12]

2019 campaign [ edit ]

Carter ran for reelection in the 2019 election, having defeated his primary opponent, Manassas city councilman Mark Wolfe, by 57.7% to 42.3% of the vote.[16]

In the general election, Carter defeated Republican Ian Lovejoy, another Manassas city councilman, by 53.3% to 46.5% of the vote.[17] Carter was endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who campaigned with Carter in Manassas the day before the election.[18]

Political positions [ edit ]

Labor [ edit ]

Since taking office, Carter has been an outspoken advocate for workers' rights.[19] In December 2018 he introduced House Bill 1806, which would overturn Virginia's 70-year-old right-to-work law.[20] Of the bill, Carter said, "When workers form a union, everyone in the workplace benefits from higher wages and better conditions [...] Taft–Hartley was created specifically to allow some people to stand opposed to their coworkers' union while still reaping the rewards for free. It was intentionally designed to bankrupt unions, and I'm fighting to end it."[21][22]

In late 2019, after Carter introduced or supported bills overturning restrictions on the ability of Virginia state employees to strike, he received a wave of death threats on social media, as critics mistook the exception of police officers from the bills for a case of their right to strike being removed.[23] These threats were severe and credible enough that Carter spent the day at an undisclosed safe location on January 20, 2020, the day a gun rights rally was organized at the Virginia State Capitol. This coincided with the declaration of a state of emergency by governor Ralph Northam in response to potential violence at the rally.[24]

In the 2020 session, Carter introduced a bill to address pay disparities for certain categories of workers. One bill would prevent employers from categorizing employees as "tipped employees" if state or federal regulations prohibit those employees from accepting tips. This bill targeted workers at Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, who are classified as tipped employees and are ineligible from receiving minimum wage even though they are prohibited from receiving tips.[25]

Healthcare [ edit ]

Carter introduced legislation in the 2020 session that would cap the monthly copay for insulin at $30.[26]

Gun rights [ edit ]

He supports the right to keep and bear arms, and sees proposed assault weapons bans in Virginia as a "terrible idea".[27][28]

Criminal justice reform [ edit ]

Carter introduced legislation in the 2020 session that would prohibit Virginia prisons and jails from strip-searching minors before visitation. The bill passed unanimously in subcommittee.[25]

Personal life [ edit ]

Carter has been married and divorced three times. He has a daughter with his second wife.[29] According to Carter, his third wife physically and emotionally abused him, which resulted in police involvement and an emergency protective order. He has also alluded to being abused earlier in his life.[2] In October 2018, to get ahead of any potential attempts at "personal smears",[29] Carter admitted making "homophobic, transphobic, sometimes sexist or racially insensitive" comments online as a teenager.[29]

Electoral history [ edit ]

Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Virginia House of Delegates, 50th district
Nov 7, 2017[30] General Lee J. Carter Democratic 11,366 54.32
Jackson H. Miller Republican 9,518 45.49
June 11, 2019[31] Primary Lee J. Carter Democratic 1,441 57.73
Mark Wolfe Democratic 1,055 42.27
Nov 5, 2019[32] General Lee J. Carter Democratic 10,693 53.25
Ian T. Lovejoy Republican 9,333 46.48

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b "District 50: Lee Carter". Virginia Grassroots. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Carter, Lee (9 May 2019). "Why I didn't report my abuser… until I did". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  3. ^ M. Kirkland Cox, G. Paul Nardo. "Virginia House of Delegates Manual 2018-2019". Clerk's Office of the House of Delegates.
  4. ^ "Virginia House of Delegates Member Listings". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Vyse, Graham (8 November 2017). "How a Socialist Beat One of Virginia's Most Powerful Republicans". The New Republic. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Democratic Socialist candidate Lee Carter wins an unlikely victory in Virginia". Mic. 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  7. ^ a b Wilson, Patrick (2 November 2017). "GOP delegate Miller's mailer compares Democratic opponent to Stalin, communists". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. ^ Koma, Alex (25 October 2017). "Miller turns to holding off Carter's challenge in 50th District". InsideNoVa. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  9. ^ Day, Meagan (10 November 2017). "Meet Lee Carter". Jacobin. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (10 November 2017). "Revenge of the Obama Coalition". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  11. ^ Palermo, Jill. "Fairfax delegate apologizes to fellow Democratic Del. Lee Carter for hammer-and-sickle joke". Prince William Times. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b Moomaw, Graham (February 26, 2018). "Democratic lawmaker in Virginia holds hammer-and-sickle image behind colleague aligned with Democratic Socialists". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  13. ^ "Democratic lawmaker holds hammer-and-sickle behind colleague". WVEC. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  14. ^ Del. Mark L. Keam [@MarkKeam] (2017-02-26). "This morning in @VaHouse Finance Committee meeting, my colleague @carterforva and I debated a tax bill. We hold divergent views on these policy issues, so I made a light-hearted visual joke about our differences. I apologize to Del. Carter for going overboard with my stupid joke" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Bryan, Alix (2018-02-26). "Democrat delegate apologizes after he mocks peer with Communist image". Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Budryk, Zack (2019-11-06). "Sanders-backed democratic socialist reelected in Virginia". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  19. ^ Nichols, John (January 7, 2019). "Lee Carter's Campaign for Labor Rights in Virginia Is Important for All Working Americans". The Nation. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  20. ^ "Lawmaker Files Bill to Repeal Virginia's Right to Work Law". The Republican Standard. December 30, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  21. ^ "Lee J. Carter on Twitter: "When workers form a union, everyone in the workplace benefits from higher wages and better conditions. But ever since 1947, Virginia has allowed some to freeload off of their coworkers' hard-won union without paying dues. I've filed HB1806 to end this 70+ year injustice."". Twitter. December 30, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  22. ^ Stockman, Farah (2019-01-17). "How One Socialist Lawmaker Is Trying to Change His State's Pro-Business Policies". New York Times. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  23. ^ Carter, Lee ☃ (2019-12-30). ".@Iraqveteran8888 FYI, your video titled "Gun Gripes #217" starts off with blatantly wrong information about one of my bills, which you disseminated to your 2.2M subscribers. People have been threatening to assassinate me over that misinformation. Retract it and let's talk". @carterforva. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  24. ^ "Death Threats Will Force Virginia Lawmaker To A Safe House During Pro-Gun Rally". DCist. Archived from the original on 2020-01-17. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  25. ^ a b Sullivan, Patricia (2020-01-25). "Virginia's socialist delegate passes his first bill out of the House, two years after taking his seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  26. ^ O'Connor, Katie (October 4, 2019). "Carter to propose copay cap on insulin". Prince William Times. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  27. ^ Carter, Lee ☃ (2019-12-28). "Arm the left. Arm LGBTQ folks. Arm communities of color. Arm the poor. Demilitarize the police. Decommodify the basics of survival. And for the love of god SOMEBODY tell Nick to shut his lying-ass mouth". @carterforva. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  28. ^ Beckett, Lois (2020-01-17). "Pro-gun activists threaten to kill state lawmaker over bill they misunderstood". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  29. ^ a b c "A Virginia politician's novel approach to personal scandal: Tell all before opponents do". Washington Post.
  30. ^ "Elections: House of Delegates District 50". Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  31. ^ "Virginia Election Results: June 12, 2018". The Virginia Public Access Project. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  32. ^ "2019 November General". Retrieved 2019-11-06.

External links [ edit ]

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