Michele Joyce is a longtime resident of Smithfield where she and her husband have raised their two daughters. She is best described as a "problem solver." Michele has a background in physics and has worked at Jefferson Lab as a computer scientist in Newport News, Virginia, for 20 years, writing software for the Lab’s particle accelerator. For the last decade, Michele has been a volunteer community leader and advocate, helping hundreds of residents in rural areas of HD-64 to find affordable access to health care.
Michele spent much of her childhood overseas (Iran, India and Indonesia) as the daughter of diplomat for the State Department. Her family moved back to the U.S. in time for her to complete high school in Northern Virginia. Michele graduated from William & Mary in 1993 with her B.S. in physics.
After witnessing a neighborhood family fall victim to a flawed health care system, she decided it was time to play an active role in helping folks in her community. Michele’s instinct was to help her community through engaging people. Her last decade of advocacy work has been guided by the belief that our democracy is stronger when everyone is engaged in the political process because we have more in common than different.
During her time as a community organizer, Michele fought and campaigned for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. When the full law was implemented in 2014, she became a volunteer Health Care Navigator, traveling throughout the District, educating the public about the new law, and helping over 100 families in Isle of Wight County, find quality, affordable health care.
In addition to her work as a health care navigator and community advocate, Michele has been actively involved with Smithfield Public Schools as a parent and is a board member for the Greater Hampton Roads Diaper Bank. Michele, lives in Smithfield with her husband, Pete, daughter Hailey, a second year at UVA, daughter Julia, a junior at Smithfield High School and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sir Isaac Fig Newton.
WHY I’M RUNNING
I have never worried about my health insurance. A few years ago, it became clear to me that access to health insurance was a privilege I’ve had, not to be taken for granted—and I want that for all Virginians, especially those with unique concerns in HD-64.
In 2009, my neighbor across the street developed a brain tumor. A recent widow, she no longer had health insurance through her husband’s employer. Making matters worse, she was a breast cancer survivor, meaning she had a pre-existing condition that made health care options wildly unaffordable and inaccessible. She chose to eat and feed her son over chemotherapy. As a homeowner, she could not access Medicaid or disability insurance. Bankruptcy became her only hope for assistance—my own neighbor, here in Smithfield, Virginia. That's when I first decided I wanted an active role in helping folks in my community, starting with finding access to affordable, quality health care.
Stories like my neighbor’s don’t have to exist in a country with resources like ours—that is why HD-64 needs an experienced advocate—someone smart fighting for them. In 2018, conservatives used Medicaid expansion as a partisan bargaining chip, but the truth was, they knew it would come at no additional cost to the state budget. I have years of experience wading through complicated health care policy and the bureaucracy of health insurance. HD-64 needs someone smart, someone who understands the fight to secure health care for our families and won’t get distracted by partisan framing.
A Decade as a COMMUNITY ADVOCATE
We can all agree, reliable health care for your family should not be a privilege only afforded to the wealthy. For over five years, I've been a health care navigator, helping hundreds of families right here in Isle of Wight get access to affordable health coverage—in some cases for the first time. My decade as a health care navigator isn't just part of why I am qualified to represent the 64th District, it tops my priorities list as an issue where I know I can affect change and stand up for rural Virginians.
HD-64 NEEDS SOMEONE WHO IS SMART
Rural Virginians need someone who will fight for affordable access to health care not use it as a partisan bargaining chip. I have years of experience wading through complicated health care policy and the bureaucracy of health insurance. HD-64 deserves someone smart, someone who understands the fight to secure health care for our families and won’t get distracted by partisan framing.
WHAT AM I DOING DIFFERENTLY? LISTENING
This district represents 80,000 people. I’ll be spending time in each locality as a part of my campaign’s Listening Tour. It’s my personal belief and a mission of our campaign that we have more in common than different, so I want to hear from you. Our best hope at having an impact for rural communities is to engage and listen to one another.