2020 endorsements

Rise Up has made the following endorsements in the 2020 General Election:

"Endorsement" means that these candidates have our full support.  We interviewed them, collected questionnaires from them and/or invited them to a candidate forum, and then voted to endorse them because they are strong candidates who support our platform.

Federal Offices

U.S. Senate: Paula Jean Swearengin.


U.S. House of Representatives, District 2: Cathy Kunkel.

Cathy is a powerful organizer and a voice for a brighter future for West Virginia. A policy analyst by trade, after the 2014 water crisis she co-founded Advocates for a Safe Water System, which became a significant movement for drinking water protection in the region. After the 2016 election she co-founded Rise Up WV. (She left her role as chair of Rise Up WV in summer 2019 when she began her congressional campaign.) She also was part of the national team that launched the Sunrise Movement.  Cathy’s platform calls for new federal investments to help Appalachia make a strong and equitable economic transition from fossil fuels. These include infrastructure investments in water systems, broadband, reclamation and transportation. She also promotes policies to protect pensions, strengthen public education and eliminate student debt, and she supports Improved Medicare for All.


West Virginia Statewide Offices

Governor:  Ben Salango.


State Attorney General:  Sam Petsonk.

Petsonk’s ambitious platform shows how the A.G. office could better protect workers’ rights, fight the opioid crisis, support a quality public education system, and more. As an attorney at Mountain State Justice, Petsonk has tirelessly advocated for low-income and working West Virginians on issues including black lung, coal company bankruptcy, the loss of miners’ pensions, and corporate control of the poultry industry. 

Secretary of State:  Natalie Tennant


State Auditor:  Mary Ann Claytor

Mary Ann is highly qualified for the job of State Auditor and would put poor and working West Virginians first.  In her professional life she has decades of experience in governmental accounting that would enable her to look out for taxpayers' best interests.  In her political life she stands for Healthcare for All, disability rights, union and workers' rights, clean water and air.

Commissioner of Agriculture:  Bob Beach.


West Virginia State Legislature

Rise Up endorses the following candidates for the Charleston area districts of the WV legislature.  Here you can read the public statements that they and other candidates submitted during our endorsement process.

House 35th District: Kathy Ferguson, Rusty Williams, Kayla Young

  • Rusty Williams has turned his personal experiences as an uninsured cancer survivor towards advocating for Healthcare for All.  As a citizen advocate, he led the successful charge to pass the WV Medical Cannabis Act, pushed successfully for an insulin co-pay cap with the the Team for Insulin Affordability, and helped countless other people make their voices heard in the legislature.
  • Kathy Ferguson has fought for years on the front lines of environmental justice in the Kanawha Valley, and especially for the people of Institute, a historically African American community.  She supports economic diversification, a strong and fair public education system, ending Right to Work, and would bring an ethic of inclusion, tolerance, equity to the legislature.
  • Kayla Young has worked hard to build supportive networks for women, and would fight for pay equity, women's health, rural hospitals, worker protections, stronger schools, and full funding for PEIA.


House 36th DistrictAmanda Estep-Burton, Larry Rowe

  • Amanda Estep-Burton works hard as a legislator to make the government work for the people and not just for wealthy folks and corporations. She was the lead sponsor on a bill to provide every working West Virginian with paid family medical leave and fought to pass a bill that would cap insulin co-pays at $25. She also supports a $15 living wage, ending Right to Work, non-discrimination laws, campaign finance reform, and a clean and healthy environment.
  • Larry Rowe is a legislator who works to be a progressive voice for West Virginians who want to change the political landscape in the state and nation. He advocates for non-discrimination laws, ending Right to Work, and a $15 minimum wage. He supports stricter limits on campaign contributions and wants to reform our cash bail system to stop discriminating against low income folks and people of color. He also advocates for increased support for higher education, public broadcasting, humanities, and the arts and culture.

House 37th District:  Mike Pushkin

  • Mike Pushkin is a progressive voice in the Legislature. He stands with public educators and opposes charter schools. He also fought to help pass the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act and works to address racial inequities in the state. He has voted for bail reform, capping insulin co-pays, and increased foster care funding, while voting against privatization of foster care and raising the limits on campaign contributions.

Additionally, Rise Up WV has made the following recommendations in the 2020 General:

A "recommendation" means that, based on our research, these candidates are the better choice in their race. We did not interview or collect questionnaires from all of them, and they may or may not fully align with our platform and values.

State Senate District 8:

Glenn Jeffries

State Senate District 17:

Andrew Robinson

Kanawha County Commission:

Mark Hunt

Our printable voter guide:

Download a printable pdf of the Rise Up WV Voter Guide here.

Download an image (jpg) of the Rise Up WV Voter Guide here.

Rise Up WV is not affiliated with any political party or any candidates' campaign.

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