Aliscia Andrews: Founder and Leader of the ‘Wexit’ Movement
Mike Allers Jr: I’m here with Alicia Andrews running for the Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. It’s great to have you here, Alicia!
Aliscia Andrews: Well, thank you for having me!
Let’s get into it. What made you run for the Tenth? It’s a pretty tumultuous time in Virginia politics. The GOP is on the defensive and Jennifer Wexton is in there. How do we get that seat back?
I think that’s a very interesting question. I think the reason why I joined was because I’m tired of being on the defensive, I think it’s time to be on the offensive, and I think we take back the seat by not doing what we’ve done in the past, because what got us here isn’t gonna get us there.
We have to look and try some new things. We have to bring new people in. We have to be more inclusive as a party and welcome people from different walks of life and show people that feel like they’re in the politically homeless section, that they have a home here, and they have a home in Team Andrews.
Do you feel like the Virginia Republican Party, by not welcoming — on the surface level, at least — people of color, having a mixed message on the LGBTQ rights … do you think that is what caused [losses] in Virginia, that we’re not getting with the times, so to speak […]?
We lose a lot of voters, and … and I don’t know if that is specifically the reason why we lose them — the LGBTQ community, the People of Color Community — but I know that I don’t care who you love. I don’t care what color your skin is, you’re wanted in — you’re walking in my camp.
And that’s the message that I’ve been arguing for years, because that’s not just being a good Republican or American. That’s just being a good human.
I’m a Christian, and I truly believe that you have to show people Christ’s love, and part of showing someone Christ’s love is it’s not my place to judge someone else for who they are or what they do. That’s between them and their maker. My job is to show someone love, someone grace, and I think that’s the best thing I can do for my community.
What separates you from Jennifer Wexton?
Well, I believe in the Constitution, all of it, and not just cherry-picking. I think that when you go to Capitol Hill, a lot of times people just forget about who truly they’re representing. I don’t believe that you should be held to a particular person. What I believe is that she’s held to Nancy Pelosi, and I think going to Capitol Hill, she should be representing Virginia 10.
For me, Virginia 10 is where my family is. It’s where I go to school, where my kids go to school. It’s where we live, where we volunteer, it’s what matters. At the end of the day, I think Jennifer Wexton cares more about representing the people of San Francisco than she
does Virginia 10, and to me, I’d much rather be here in Virginia 10 and where my family is, and protect my family….
There’s a lot of Republicans that I feel try and go along to get along, whether that’s higher up with the President, whether that’s in the state government — how do you keep that independent streak and keep an independent brand for yourself?
I don’t try to be somebody else to please anyone else and I believe the Constitution is what it is and it’s not up for debate. It’s not an Etch-a-Sketch. You can shake and make it magically fit your narrative and, you know, I do support the President of the United States, but I am my own person and there are things I agree with and things that I don’t, but I think that at the end of the day, we have to be willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle in order to get things done. It does no one any good for Congress to not get any
legislation passed because we’re at a complete stalemate. We have to be willing to work together for the American people because that’s our job. That’s what we sent to Congress to do.
What are your thoughts on, and what previously attracted me to your campaign, is that you are willing to take on issues that the Republican Party on a state level or national level. What are your plans on Republicans embracing a pro-public school agenda and reforming education because it’s a one-sided issue. The Democrats have total control of it and we’re not. We’re just giving it to them. How do we change that?
It non-partisan, really, going forward. Virginia teachers so strongly take the hell, you know that they took on the capitol because they’re not being supported. They’re not being paid very well and we have such a crazy infrastructure — the Department of Education that continuously put all of this money into the federal government that doesn’t need to be there. They are putting so many things — in a way — of these teachers that are keeping them from being able to be inspired and being able to teach the kids that they know that they want to teach.
I want to inspire teachers. I had a principal of my son’s that welcomes students in a Cat in the Hat costume. I want teachers to be excited to teach my children and I don’t think that we should have teachers that are so bad. We have teachers that work through the day’s end and don’t get paid. We have teachers that don’t get maternity leave. That’s unacceptable.
And even in some of the richest counties in the state — in your district….
I don’t have the perfect solution, but these issues have to be addressed, because I think you don’t have legislators inspire people to be somebody, and I can tell you I can remember my favorite teacher in American History — that’s why I’m taking on these challenges. I don’t know the right answer but I’m willing to fight for teachers because they matter, not because of a partisan issue because they’re forgotten about and they’re used in partisan tactics. And I think that they matter and I want to fight for them just as I would anyone else.
Especially, if Virginia is not competitive […], you know, and a lot of democratic policies you can argue are going to push businesses out of Virginia. This is happening while Maryland is increasing pay. And I, as a teacher, I can tell you the responsibilities add up to about 100 grand-we are surrogate parents, doctors, lawyers, advocates-we do it all, we can’t be separated from these duties.
Speaking of separation, how do you feel about some of the counties in the Tenth wanting to join West Virginia?
I think that’s a little bit of a stretch for us wanting to go to West Virginia because I think the Virginia really has its strengths. It’s unfortunate what happened last November and elections have consequences, and we’re really feeling the burn of that right now. So we show them that [with] elections you have consequences and we take back the Federal Hill and then come the 2021 elections.
But one of the things that I think is the most important thing is we need to really appreciate the fact that West Virginia has stepped up and said, “We stand with Virginia” and that’s important. We were marching down in Richmond for the Second Amendment — North Carolina, Oregon, Michigan, all over the country — stood with Virginia! That’s — that’s empowering. That tells us in a world where you can feel so alone, but we’re not — I don’t think we need to join West Virginia, but we need to feel grateful we have brothers and sisters right across the line that are willing to help us in our time of need, and be able to support them when they need us too. Thank you, but no thank you — I am happy to be a Virginian.
Last question. As you, the state, the country know, the impeachment trials are going on. As a Marine, what would you say to your Marine brother, John Kelly – coming forward and supporting John Bolton’s claim that the President basically was giving lip service and favors to authoritarian countries? How do feel about him coming forward, even if he is your brother in arms?
Well, I think the impeachment itself is a sham, but it’s a lot of people who have had a hard time dealing with an election having consequences. My husband and I both served under Mr. Kelly, and — he is my Marine brother — and I think sometimes people feel like they
have to step up and do what they feel is right, and I think this whole process will show that due process does work. I hope that the Senate and everyone on Capitol Hill will allow due process to take place, and I am comfortable and confident the President did nothing wrong,
and that will be shown in due time.
Cover photo: Alicia Andrews and Michael Allers Jr.