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Joshua Cole

virginia House of Delegates | District 65 | Open Seat
2023: Running
2021: Loss
2019: Win

Raised in the 28th District of Virginia, Delegate Joshua Cole knows not only what challenges people face in Fredericksburg and Stafford County but knows what it means to truly serve his constituents. Joshua is a pastor of music at Union Bell Baptist, serves on Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent’s Equity, Diversity and Opportunity Committee, the Greater Fredericksburg Area Interfaith Council, as the President of the Stafford County NAACP, and participates with numerous other local and community initiatives.

In 2019, Delegate Cole became the youngest person and the first Black person elected from the Fredericksburg region to represent in Virginia’s historic General Assembly. A product of Stafford County Public Schools and a student at the University of Mary Washington, Joshua is passionate about education and our public school system. In the House of Delegates, Joshua served on the House Committee on Education, where his expertise as a college Academic Advisor and public school behavior aid was put to use.

Delegate Cole also served on the House Public Safety and Agriculture committee – representing the Fredericksburg region as the only Fredericksburg-area legislator to represent farmers, environmental ideals, and agricultural voices.

Outside of politics, Hon. Joshua Cole is a Pastor, serves as the Chairman of the House of Clergy for the Union of Charismatic Orthodox Churches, is an avid Star Wars and Marvel fan, and a husband and father dedicated to making the Fredericksburg area better for working-class citizens, parents, the next generation and attracting more businesses that pay well.

On the Issues

Protecting Reproductive Freedom

Every year, conservatives in Richmond work tirelessly to deny citizens across the Commonwealth their reproductive liberty and body autonomy. Joshua Cole will work to block any attempt to criminalize abortion, silence victims of assault, and restrict access to contraceptives in Virginia.

Housing For All Virginians

We see more and more families expressing difficulty finding an affordable place to live in Fredericksburg and Stafford County. Shouldn’t the residents who work to make this community feel like home be able to afford a home of their own? Joshua Cole will work to make the Assembly take meaningful steps to ensure that rent-controlled, workforce housing is available to all Virginians.

Supporting Public Education and Our Educators

Joshua Cole’s top education policy goals are to increase teacher pay, work to make sure that diverse students are recruited to be educators, and fully fund SOQs. 

Investing in education is investing in our future, and Joshua believes that students across our Commonwealth—no matter where they live, their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background—have the tools and resources they need to get ahead. Eliminating disparities in education is one of the biggest challenges we are facing today, but the change starts by providing our schools with fair and equal funding. 

Further, as a former behavioral aid in Richmond and a student in House District 65’s schools, Joshua understands the impact of early childhood education and sees the need for improvement in the community’s school system. That’s why he supports universal preschool for all of the children in Virginia. Finally, ending the playground-to-prison pipeline is a top legislative priority for Mr.Cole. We must stop punishing children for being children. Delegate Cole believes that we must lead with compassion and implement more school councilors instead of armed resource officers in our K-12 public schools. Cole will fight to keep our children in classrooms and on a path to success.

Legislative Accomplishments

VA HB145: Treatment of Transgender Students (Discrimination Prevention & Support)

  • Drafted & Chief Sponsor 
  • Requires the Board of Education and educational institutions to enact policies and support options to prevent, address, and inhibit the discrimination of Virginia’s transgendered or non-gender conforming youth. 

VA HB 235: Voter Registration; Automatic Voter Registration

  • Chief Sponsor  
  • Enacts processes that make voter registration automatic for those 17 or older when utilizing services at the Division of Motor Vehicles, allowing them to opt-out if they so choose.

VA HB 416 Wage or Salary History; Inquiries Prohibited, civil penalty.

  • Chief Sponsor
  • Prevents employers from requiring prospective employees to provide wage or salary history as a condition of employment. Enacts a civil penalty for violators.

Why This Race Is Important

In 2021, Democrats narrowly lost the house by only a handful of votes due to down-ballot roll-off. As a result, the VA house passed numerous bills aimed at discriminating against marginalized groups like our LGBTQ+ neighbors and children, bolstering access to firearms, and reducing reproductive freedom to women and birthing people across the state. Thankfully, their efforts have been stopped by the Democratic majority in the Senate, but have still wasted precious time and taxpayer resources pushing their cultural and ideological agenda instead of addressing the real needs of Virginians. In 2023, we have an opportunity to turn the legislative tides by taking back the House, allowing the VA legislature to take real action to address the concerns of Virginians in 2024 and beyond. We must remind voters of the power they hold and the importance of voting all the way down the ballot in 2023.

Election Timeline

Last day to register for primary: June 20, 2023

Deadline to request absentee ballot (primary) June 9, 2023

Date of primary: June 20, 2023

Last day to register for general: November 7, 2023

Deadline to request absentee ballot (general) October 23, 2023

Date of general: November 7, 2023

About the District

The new 65th District is considered very competitive politically and one to watch this cycle. The District is centered around the historic City of Fredericksburg. Starting in South Stafford around Stafford Senior High School, stretching east to King George – Stafford County line, west to Celebrate on route 17, and down to North Spotsylvania around the Towne Centre area. The district encompasses farms, apartments, senior communities, and a perfect blend of how the entire Commonwealth looks.

Past Results in District

2021 State House:
Democrat: 48.93%
Republican: 50.95%

2021 Gubernatorial:
Democrat: 48.0% McAuliffe
Republican: 51.0% Youngkin

2020 Presidential Election:
Democrat: 50.5% Biden
Republican: 47.3% Trump

2016 Presidential Election:
Democrat: 46.8% Clinton
Republican: 46.6% Trump


Registered Population (as of March 2023: 68,188 Registered Voters — 54.92% in Stafford County
Race: White: 61.1%
Black: 18.4%
Asian: 4.0%
Ethnicity: 12% Hispanic or Latino/a

About the Opponent

Lee Peters, a Marine Corps veteran and former law enforcement officer in Virginia, aligns with a perspective that emphasizes reduced support for public education and increased funding for law enforcement, raising concerns that his agenda may prioritize the well-off over working families. As an endorsed candidate by Glenn Youngkin, his association raises additional questions about promoting Youngkin’s out-of-touch and potentially harmful agenda in our diverse and expanding state.

Why Virginia is important

We have a unique opportunity in Virginia to flip the House and expand the Senate Democratic majority in one election cycle. In 2021, Democrats lost the majority in the House by a total vote difference of 733 votes in the three closest districts.

The new state legislative maps are fair and provide Democrats with key opportunities in open seats and new districts. With recent Democratic wins in special Congressional and state senate elections, we have the momentum to compete in key swing districts that will decide the majority in the House and put us in the position to expand the Senate.


Redistricting & Gerrymandering

Following action by the Virginia General Assembly, on November 3, 2020, Virginia residents voted to amend the state’s Constitution to authorize the establishment of the Virginia Redistricting Commission. The Commission was established for the sole purpose of developing maps for Virginia’s state legislative districts and districts for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

With the 2020 change to Virginia’s Constitution, now the Commission will draw the maps for the General Assembly to approve.  If the Commission fails to produce redistricting plans or the General Assembly fails to approve the Commission’s redistricting plans, then districts will be established by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Following the 2020 Census, all House districts were renumbered. This means the current boundaries of districts bear no relation to the previous district by that same numerical designation.

Candidate in the News

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund Endorses 28 More LGBTQ+ Candidates

Virginia Reacts to Roe v. Wade Ruling

“As a pro-choice pastor — I am entrusted to shepherd my community. As a pro-choice pastor — I took an oath to protect and I’l fight to do just that. As a pro-choice pastor — I know where I stand and I won’t back down.” 

Stand Up, Fight Back

Delegate Joshua Cole Requests State Funding for Brooke Road

“It is unacceptable to me that residents here have had to lose precious time and money shifting their routines, risking their lives, and seeing their property values decrease due to flood damage. It’s a lot to bear, and no one deserves to be experiencing this,” said Delegate Cole. “Floods threaten both human life and property value. Finding relief to this issue is a top priority of mine. That’s why I’ve submitted this budget amendment.”

More information can be found here on The Free Lance-Star

Delegate Joshua Cole Announces Legislation to Address Police Brutality

“The path ahead will be difficult, but it is necessary. We must look beyond our present scope and build a state that moves beyond peace through oppression and to peace through mutual aid and justice.”

“Virginia’s elected officials must admit we must truly deliver change to our people. To my fellow representatives: the way we protest is not promises and compromises, the way we protest is through legislation.”


Paid for by Sister District Project.  Authorized by Joshua Cole, candidate for HD 65
candidate Joshua Cole thumbnail

Joshua Cole

virginia state house of representatives | 65 | Open Seat
2023: Running
2021: Loss
2019: Win
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