Ray is grateful to have the backing of leaders in our community and beyond.

Michael Payne, Charlottesville City Council Member

“Ray’s years of work as a public defender and first-hand experience seeing the impact of the criminal justice system on his family gives Ray the knowledge, experience, and motivation to create reform. As Commonwealth’s Attorney, Ray will fight for decarceration and an end to our country’s failed war on drugs.”

Judy Le, Albemarle County School Board

“Public office is unpredictable — especially now — so values are everything. And I trust Ray’s progressive values. He understands the importance of treating addiction and mental illness, not locking folks up simply because of them. He understands the priority of ending the school-to-prison pipeline. These values, in addition to his work in the public defender’s office, make Ray someone I’m proud to support.”

Margaret Thornton, UVA PhD and educational equity advocate 

As a former city schools teacher, I am confident that Ray will partner with educators to keep kids safe and do his part to help break the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Sarah Burke, mitigation specialist and criminal defense investigator

“Prosecutors have extraordinary power over peoples’ lives, from individual charging decisions to city- and statewide policies. Ray acknowledges the racism and bias that is baked into our laws and our practices in Virginia and he will work to dismantle them from a place of power. His plan for Charlottesville will have a direct impact on people’s lives, specifically the people who are traditionally targeted by our criminal legal system: Black and brown people, people with mental health disorders, people who use substances, and children in the school-to-prison pipeline. I am supporting Ray Szwabowski in the primary because he is the candidate whose platform is closest aligned with my values.”

Hunter Smith, food and beverage entrepreneur

“I’ve known Ray since we were both active in the local music scene – and I’ve been proud to watch his growth find him as a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney. I know that Ray will bring real justice to our community as the progressive Commonwealth’s Attorney that Charlottesville deserves.” 

Dan O’Brien, criminal defense attorney 

“I’ve known Ray for years, and I have always been impressed with his intelligence, humility, and determination. He is serious about making the criminal system operate more justly and fairly, particularly for those most impacted by it. He has the know-how, experience, and temperament to make real progress. There’s nobody who’s going to work harder to make Charlottesville’s court system better reflect Charlottesville’s values.”

D.j. Williams, touring musician and producer

“I’ve known Ray since we were classmates and been following his journey leading up to this campaign. He’s a true advocate for more just policies especially in ending the failed war on drugs in Charlottesville.”