Political newcomer hopes for upset

Published 11:09 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

Rebecca Raveson may not have much money, but she believes her background, coupled with not having ties to anyone, will bring its own set of advantages that will help the Democrat on Election Day.

Raveson, who is semi-retired and living in Suffolk, is taking on Chesapeake Republican John Cosgrove for the Senate District 14 seat. She studied anthropology while in college at George Washington University and traveled a lot while her father was in the Army, spending time in Tripoli, Libya.

She was a loan officer for about 15 years. Before that, Raveson did myriad jobs — a print buyer for Charles Schwab, an owner of a printing company in Florida, an art director, copywriter and proposal preparer. She has also renovated six homes, including one in Suffolk.

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“Everything that I have done has given me a unique set of tools, and a way of looking at things that aren’t necessarily in the political realm,” Raveson said. “I think that I’m very creative and emphatic. I am a total bookworm and I read all the time to try to educate myself on everything. I’m not beholden to anybody, so I think I’m in a unique position that I can come with ideas and work with people to make legislation.”

Raveson said she got into the race to challenge Cosgrove and his more conservative voting record, especially on the issue of guns.

She supports universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, limiting single-day gun purchases, red flag laws and tracking private gun sales. She also wants to ban the sale of assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines and silencers.

On other issues, Raveson supports universal pre-kindergarten. “I think that would level the playing field for entering school,” she said, “and I think that’s very important. That’s the age when kids are the most susceptible to learning, particularly behavior and manners and empathy. I think it’s important that those things be taught early on.”

She also wants to expand broadband access in rural areas, and wants Virginia to consider having its own state exchanges as a way to increase access to health care available to more people while saving money.

Raveson is also pro-choice and advocates family planning classes for teens.

As someone who moved to Suffolk about four years ago, Raveson wants to see downtown grow and wants to see a study to determine if it is practical or feasible to build an overpass to encourage more traffic through downtown. She would also like to see Amtrak stop at the city train station.

“We have the makings of a great community, but the rest of Suffolk doesn’t even know we’re here,” Raveson said. “I believe that the railroad crossing contributes to the lack of familiarity. Many people don’t come through downtown because they’re afraid of getting caught by the train.”

Though she has had help and encouragement from other House of Delegate campaigns and more recently from a few volunteers, Raveson said she has gotten no financial support from the state Democratic Party, and according to the Virginia Public Access Project, she has received just four contributions to her campaign, totaling $330. That hasn’t stopped Raveson, as she has been knocking on doors, passing out literature and making phone calls.

She hopes that just being on the ballot will allow district voters to see they have a choice.

“I am the darkest of dark horses,” Raveson said, “but I’m hoping for an upset.”