Excerpted from Lena Dunham's LENNY Letter, 10/27/15:

Original post: http://www.lennyletter.com/politics/qa/a134/jill-mccabe-the-virginia-state-senator-battling-dick-black/


Jill McCabe: the Virginia State Senate Hopeful Battling Dick Black

By Jessica Grose 

Dr. Jill McCabe(Courtesy of the Jill McCabe Campaign)

Dr. Jill McCabe wakes up at 4:20 every morning. That’s what it takes to run for state senate in Virginia while also maintaining a day job as a pediatric emergency physician and raising a 13-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. Her description of her busy days is utterly no-nonsense. While waking up way before dawn would make the best of us want to whine to anyone within earshot, Dr. McCabe is without complaint, because she’s animated by helping families.

Dr. McCabe didn’t aspire to run for office before this year. But when Virginia lieutenant governor Ralph Northam, who is also a doctor, asked her to run to represent her district even though he’d never met her, she decided to take it on. Northam’s encouragement is incredibly important. There’s a gaping gender gap in political ambition, which means women are far less likely to be socialized, receive encouragement, or believe they’re qualified to run for office. It’s why only about 24 percent of state legislators are female.

But she didn’t decide to run just because she was asked; she was also motivated by the absolute vileness of the incumbent, state senator Dick Black (one could not even make up a better name for such a person). Emily’s List has a full account of the bonkers statements he’s made over the years about rape, abortion, and the LGBTQ community, but my personal favorite is this one, about rape in the military, which Black described as “predictable as human nature,” then added, “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?” By the way, he was a military prosecutor when he made those statements.

Here’s a brief Q&A with Dr. McCabe about why she’s running for office, why you should care about local politics (get out and vote on November 3, people!), and why it’s so important that doctors run for office when women’s bodies are being legislated.

JG: This is your first time running for office. What inspired you to run?

JM: I never thought I’d run for office until this spring. As a pediatric emergency physician, part of our mission is to advocate for families. I’m about 20 years into my career, and I was looking for another way to advocate for those families. Eighteen months ago, Virginia made the decision not to expand Medicaid, and I was particularly frustrated that our state legislature made the decision that was an economic mistake but also keeping 400,000 people from getting health care — families, people I deal with every day. Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam recruited me this spring. He’s also a doctor. He convinced me that it’s so important to have doctors at the table to represent the needs of our constituents. There are no doctors in our state senate right now. But the state senate has passed incredibly crazy [health] policies. I’d also say I read about our current state senator. I didn’t think he represented people I knew and their families.

JG: What’s a typical day like for you from start to finish? I know you’re still doing shifts at the ER and you have two kids.

JM: I usually wake up at 4:20 during the week because my son’s a swimmer and he swims from five to seven. I get him up and get him there or in the car pool. I also find that’s the time of day I can catch up on what’s happened overnight. It’s a weird job working as an administrator of an ER. Early morning is a good time to connect with the night-shift people.

I’m usually home around breakfast time when I’m not working a shift. Then, I am at meetings at the hospital. If I work a shift, it’s a seven-to-seven shift. At the end of the day, one of the things we do is have dinner at home whenever we can. We try to squeeze in 30 minutes of check-in time with the kids, talking at the dinner table. In the evening now, I either knock on doors or go to a campaign event. I get home between nine and ten. My husband is the associate deputy director of the FBI. I would say it’s part of why we’re politically aware. Though, until recently, we’ve been more focused on national security rather than local politics. He has an equally demanding job.

JG: Can you tell us a little bit more about why this local race — and local politics in general — is so important?

JM: So much of what represents people’s daily quality of life, especially if you’re a working woman or raising kids, or young women trying to get started, it actually has to do with what’s happening on a local level. Access to health care, education, transportation — all of that’s decided on a local and state level. My race also really highlights that someone like my opponent — who has such extreme positions and who says such hurtful things — that someone like that can be elected because people weren’t really engaged enough in what happens in local politics. I hope my race will really encourage people to know what they’re voting for.

In the state of Virginia, it’s a very important race. Right now, the state legislature has 19 Democrats and 21 Republicans. The Republican majority is preventing Medicaid expansion from happening. Without Medicaid expansion, our state is not getting a lot of funding we can really use. Many of the people affected by Medicaid not expanding are employed. I take care of young adults, and I’ll be seeing a 20-year-old who is working part-time and going to community college who has diabetes or asthma. He’s doing all the right things, but he doesn’t have health insurance because politicians in Virginia wanted to make a political statement. We’re all vulnerable to being in that coverage gap. The more and more data we have shows that people are healthier with insurance coverage, which ultimately reduces costs too.

This race is also important because it highlights the unreasonable views of my opponent. The more people get to know me, and the more people get to know the views of my opponent, the more they like me. Reasonable people don’t choose someone with those discriminatory views.

Jessica Grose is Lenny’s editor in chief.


  1. Michelle's avatar
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    What an embarrassing article for you! It is very poorly written and uses adjectives and verbs that are extremely immature. You really should have reconsidered posting this one. Ouch!
  2. Jenn's avatar
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    The mentality of a middle-schooler is not what I look for in a leader. The remark about his name is childish, at best. Definitely not a characteristic of a leader. You won't be getting this "unsocialized" woman's vote.
  3. CC's avatar
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    "Emily’s List has a full account of the bonkers statements he’s made over the years"<br /> Did you attend journalism school? The English department is calling, they are asking for your diploma back. Score 1 point for improper grammar. <br /> <br /> As I continued reading the sentence, I am giving you another point for taking a quote out of context. Sen. Black was actually Trying to enforce strict regulations on rapist, not "put 19-year-old girls under your control". The statement was made when attempting to help AGAINST rapist. A little research would help you educate yourself.<br /> <br /> "when women’s bodies are being legislated." What is that even supposed to mean? Are you talking about the sale of infant body parts here? What does this have to do with our state and local politics?<br /> <br /> "I take care of young adults, and I’ll be seeing a 20-year-old who is working part-time and going to community college who has diabetes or asthma. He’s doing all the right things, but he doesn’t have health insurance because politicians in Virginia wanted to make a political statement. " Didn't Obamacare cover children under their parent's health insurance policy until they were 26? Where is the free healthcare?<br /> <br /> By Jill MCCabe's own admission she did not even aspire to run for this office. Why vote for someone who doesn't even want the job?
  4. Cammie's avatar
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    I agree with with the above comments. Patients keep her animated? This article shows me exactly why Jill McCabe is not "leadership material." The comment about Senator Black's name is incredibly disrespectful and immature. A doctor okays this article? Wow.
  5. Rick Canton's avatar
    Rick Canton
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    LENA DUNHAM? That's the Hollywood B actress who wrote an autobiography detailing that she PHYSICALLY MOLESTED HER OWN SISTER!!!<br /> <br /> What common sense Commonwealth resident in Virginia's 13th District, or ANYWHERE in Virginia, for that matter, would want a leader who looks up to such a disgusting person for guidance?<br /> <br /> Between Planned Parenthood's selling baby parts for profit and Lena Dunham's child predatory past, can ANYONE vote for Jill McCabe without getting nauseated? Wow.....
  6. Ric's avatar
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    Poor Jill..............<br /> <br /> She REALLY is as stupid as she appears to be.
  7. George's avatar
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    Jill:<br /> <br /> As a so called "pediatrician", how can you possibly support Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue???
  8. Chris's avatar
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    The state Senator battling Dick Black... so he's battling himself? Obviously Lena Dunham understands the ins and outs of this race, and is an authority you should cite. I guess Senator Black should just decide he's a doctor too.
  9. John's avatar
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    So you attack Senator Black because he tried to tighten laws surrounding the prosecution of rape, even though his entire career was based on prosecuting spousal abuse and child abuse. And then you CITE a woman who ADMITS in her own autobiography that she sexually assaulted her sister???<br /> <br /> I QUOTE: "One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island... my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist..."
  10. Shelly's avatar
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    You put a headline on your website that calls you the state Senator? Well, if you're going to lie, go all out! Seriously!
  11. Nate's avatar
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    Calling yourself a "state senator" before a single vote is even cast. Very unprofessional and very presumptuous. <br /> <br /> You have the backing of Lena Dunham, a truly sick individual and admitted pedophile who is not even a resident of Virginia. Good job, there's one vote who can't even vote for you. <br /> <br /> You have the backing of Planned Parenthood, an organization which admits on video to using different abortion techniques to harvest fetal body parts for profit. That doesn't bother you, instead you celebrate what they do.<br /> <br /> Why would anyone with a conscience cast a vote for Jill McCabe?
  12. G.W.'s avatar
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    Jill:<br /> <br /> Since when are YOU a Virginia State Senator???<br /> <br /> Did your buddy Obama do another of his infamous "executive actions" just for you???<br /> <br /> You may call yourself a pediatrician, but I wouldn't let you within 10 feet of my children.
  13. Ric's avatar
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    Jill:<br /> <br /> If you have the endorsement of Planned Parenthood AND Lena Dunham, you've LOST my vote!!<br /> <br /> I encourage ALL of my friends here in Virginia to vote for the REAL Virginia State Senator, DICK BLACK!!!
  14. Lisa's avatar
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    I came to this website to read about her stands on issues. I'm am horrified by what is here! Endorsement by a known pedophile?! THAT is women's rights to you? What about the rights of her sister who she molested repeatedly?? SICK! You know a lot about a person by the company they keep. I want nothing to do with someone who touts an endorsement from a sick woman who molested children. (And I would NEVER let "Dr." McCabe anywhere near my children knowing this). Maybe getting up at 4:30 am has ruined your brain.
  15. Marco's avatar
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    "SENATOR" Jill McCabe?! As a psychologist, I think this shows a bit of delusion on her part. Just for your information, Senator Dick Black is our Senator, the year is 2015, and the election has not yet been held. Get some more sleep....and take some meds.
  16. Jordan's avatar
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    Senator? Shame on you for lying to the voters of the 13th District.
  17. Nancy's avatar
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    This makes me embarrassed to be Democrat. Staying home November 3rd.
  18. Tami's avatar
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    There are no words to describe how appalled I am after reading this. Are you trying to drive away the women voters? Is so, well done.
  19. Dave's avatar
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    The people who have this far commented on this article are delusional. The vast vast majority of reasonable people who outnumber the kooks above 1000 to 1 are the people who will decide this election..and for that I am thankful.
  20. Kelly P.'s avatar
    Kelly P.
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    So, let me get this straight. You ran for office because someone you have never met asked you to. You are posting an article by someone who doesn't know you are not a senator. Am I missing something here?
  21. T.Barlow's avatar
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    I don't care what time you get up in the morning. I don't care what your children are doing. I don't care when and what you eat for breakfast or dinner. I DO care about what your stand is on real issues and I AM tired of the "commonsense solutions" crap. Talk real. What are you going to do in office? HOW will you fight $17 tolls? HOW will fight Common Core? HOW will you make time for those you represent?
  22. Gary's avatar
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    You are bragging about being endorsed by someone who is dressing up as an abortion doctor for Halloween? That speaks volumes. Thanks
  23. Martine's avatar
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    Hey, tell us about the contributions you recieved from Clinton allies. Tell us a bit more about your FBI husband and his cover up of how he helped get Hilary Clinton off the hook. If anyone believes a Democrat is good for business thye need to have their head examined, but this one is mixed up in all kinds of dirt. Your hubby has made the prime time and gets mentioned on the news often today, and not in a good way. Corruption is wrong. If your husband is dirty, then your morals can't be great either.
  24. Joyce's avatar
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    This is like a bad SNL skit, only funnier!
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