My name is Doug Ward, and I am excited to be a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates from the 18th District.

I am 71 years old, living in Rappahannock County with my husband of 22 years.

While in college I was undecided on how I wanted to spend my life, and so ended up joining the Peace Corps, where I served for three years teaching junior high school in a small village in Liberia, West Africa. This experience convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career helping others, and decided to go to medical school. After graduation I did a residency in Internal Medicine and then a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the NIH.

For the last 34 years I have been in private practice in Washington, DC, specializing in Infectious Diseases and the treatment of HIV/AIDS. I have a large practice, and am widely recognized as one of the leading experts in this field.

I am proud to run as a Democrat. Since the Democratic Party took control of the Virginia legislature two years ago there has been significant progress in the issues that concern me, but we still have a long way to go.

For obvious reasons I am concerned with issues of healthcare. The expansion of Medicaid in 2019 provided healthcare to more than 400,000 Virginians, but there are still significant problems with access to care, particularly in rural areas. We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic, and need competent leadership to get us through these difficult times. While dealing with Covid 19 however, we cannot forget the traditional medical issues and preventative healthcare that can be so difficult in rural settings.

I strongly support raising the minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 leaves someone working full time below the federal poverty line. This is unacceptable.

Broadband, and even cell coverage is a major problem in rural areas. This is more than a problem of convenience, but impacts education, healthcare, and the economy. It’s embarrassing that our access to this is so poor.

Equal rights, including LGBT rights, is another area where we have made progress. This session of the legislature has seen the repeal of the constitutional ban on gay marriage and a ban on the “gay panic” defense, but again, there’s still a need for more.

Green energy, including wind and solar and micro-nuclear power can improve the environment, reduce climate change, and be a source of new jobs.

Another issue important to rural areas is access to education, including community college and trades schools.

These are just a few of the many areas where progressive leadership in our legislature can improve the quality life in Virginia. I look forward to contributing to that progress.