By Progress Virginia
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Election Day is Tuesday, November 5th
The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.
Incumbent Senator Adam P. Ebbin took office in 2012 after serving for eight years in the House of Delegates. Senator Ebbin is highly regarded in his community because of his track record of supporting progressive issues. He has fought to advance progressive priorities including preventing gun violence, making it easier to vote, and fighting for equality for all Virginians. He sponsored a bill that would provide prenatal care for undocumented mothers. He has also championed legislation that would provide equality for members of our LGBT community.
He is a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the School Readiness Committee, the Commission on Economic Opportunity for Virginians in Aspiring and Diverse Communities, the Task force to Commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science. He is also the Co-Chair of the General Assembly Gun Violence Prevention Caucus and a steering committee member of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention.
Running unopposed, Senator Ebbin is the progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Favola is running unopposed. Prior to her election as a state Senator, she served on the Arlington County Board of Supervisors for fourteen years (1997-2011) and chaired that body three times. During her service with the county, Senator Favola was the Board's leading advocate for children, youth and families, and her contributions to the community include establishing mental health services in public schools.
Senator Favola’s priorities are women’s reproductive rights, health care access, K-12 education funding, workforce training, safety net programs, helping foster children, preventing domestic violence and sensible environmental policies. Favola sponsored numerous progressive bills including one requiring universities to create memorandums of understanding with local sexual assault crisis centers and to provide survivors with access to other community resources. She has also sponsored a Bar Bystander Bill encouraging bartenders and others who serve or sell spirits in an ABC licensed or permitted establishments to undergo training to help prevent risky situations from becoming sexual assaults. Lastly, she has been a leader on making higher education more accessible and affordable.
Senator Favola is the progressive choice.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Janet Howell earned her BA at Oberlin College and her MA at the University of Pennsylvania . She was named National Child Advocate of the Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics for her work on behalf of children. She was the first woman to serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee in Virginia.
Senator Howell has been a leader in combating the student loan debt crisis impacting Virginians by working with Delegate Marcus Simon and Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl to find solutions to the student loan debt crisis. She has sponsored initiatives including a Student Borrowers Bill of Rights and the establishment of an Office of Student Loan Ombudsman. She also fought to require student loan servicers to be licensed. Senator Howell has also been a strong advocate for reproductive rights, gun safety, and redistricting reform.
Her Republican opponent is Arthur Purves. Purves is running because he disagrees with Senator Howell’s support for abortion rights, family life education, ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and, gun safety measures. Purves is a staunch conservative and once wrote in an article that, “public schools are graduating ‘socialists’, or as the Fairfax School Board puts it, ‘global citizens’.”
Senator Howell is the progressive choice in this race.
Senator Jennifer Boysko and her husband, Glenn, have raised their two daughters in historic downtown Herndon, where they have lived since 1996. Senator Boysko has volunteered with numerous organizations in her community including serving on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. She was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2016 and won a special election to the state Senate in 2019.
Senator Boysko supported legislation to establish hate crime protections for individuals targeted for violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and has voiced opposition to conversion therapy. She has been a champion for immigrant families, carrying legislation to provide in-state tuition to residents regardless of immigration status and establish driving privilege cards so families can safely get to school, work, and worship. She has also prioritized protecting and expanding access to reproductive rights and supporting families through establishing paid family and medical leave.
Her conservative opponent, Republican Suzanne Fox, is anti-choice. Little is known about her stance on immigration, gun safety, and issues impacting members of the LGBT community. Fox has served on the Leesburg Town Council since 2014.
Senator Boysko the progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Chap Petersen was born in Fairfax. He is married to Sharon Kim Petersen and has four children. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates between 2002 and 2006 and was elected to the state Senate in 2007. Senator Petersen has been an attorney in private practice since 1994 and his peers selected him as one of thirty “Leaders of the Law” in Virginia in 2011.
Senator Petersen sponsored 2008’s SB 510, legislation that guaranteed college students the right to a fairly priced student loan. More recently, he voted against legislation that would prohibit state funding for abortion services for low-income women and in support of raising the minimum wage. In an effort to increase transparency and end wage theft, Senator Petersen voted in support of legislation that would force employers to provide wage statements to employees on a regular basis.
Senator Petersen is running unopposed.
Senator Dick Saslaw grew up in Washington, D.C. He served in the U.S. Army for two years before earning a B.S. in economics from the University of Maryland. In college, he was a member of the track team and is still an active runner. He is a successful local businessman in the gasoline and auto service industry. Senator Saslaw and his wife, Eleanor, are proud grandparents and have lived in Northern Virginia since 1968.
Senator Saslaw, the Democratic leader in the state Senate, helped lead the charge to expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of Virginians without access to healthcare. He has always been consistent in his support for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and establishing commonsense gun laws. He supports universal background checks, banning the sale mechanical devices that accelerate the firing mechanism on weapons (such as bump stocks), and prohibiting civilian use of assault-style weapons.
Senator Saslaw is running unopposed.
Senator Scott A. Surovell has represented parts of Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford Counties since 2015. Prior to his time in the Senate, Surovell served six years in the House of Delegates. Surovell lives in Mt. Vernon with his wife and four children. He practices law and has dedicated his legislative career to fighting for Northern Virginia’s fair share, protecting consumers, and preserving our environment for future generations.
He supported legislation that would require background checks for all firearms transfers, prohibit the sale and ownership of assault weapons, reinstate Virginia’s “one-gun-a-month” law and prohibit concealed carry in restaurants, while consuming or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Senator Surovell also sponsored a bill that would establish a paid family and medical leave program. He voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia to 400,000 individuals and to raise the commonwealth’s minimum wage.
Senator Surovell is running unopposed and is the progressive choice.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Dave Marsden is a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia. Senator Marsden lives in Burke since 1977 with his wife, Julia, and three sons. He graduated from W.T. Woodson High School in 1966, Randolph-Macon College in 1970. After college, he began a career in juvenile justice as a probation officer with the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He went on to establish and operate Fairfax County’s shelter home for youth with severe family problems and was later appointed as the first Superintendent of Fairfax County’s Juvenile Detention Center. He served in the House of Delegates for 4 years before he was elected to the state Senate in 2009.
Senator Marsden has supported a number of progressive priorities including legislation that would ensure in-state tution for undocumented students. He also supported legislation that prohibits discrimination on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. He has long advocated to raise Virginia’s minimum wage. He has also proposed policies to expand access to voting, including automatic voter registration. He voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia.
Senator Marsden is running unopposed and is the progressive choice.
Incumbent Democratic Senator George Barker was first elected to the Virginia Senate in 2007. He moved to Northern Virginia 35 years ago and has been active in a number of civic and community organizations ever since. He is married with two grown children and has multiple grandchildren.
Senator Barker has two degrees from Harvard University, including a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Public Health and a master's degree in Health Policy and Management. For three decades he worked for the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia. He currently consults on health care issues.
Barker was rated 100% by Virginia ACL-CIO due to his suport of legislation that supports unions and workers and 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia because of his strong support of reproductive rights. He has also supported commonsense gun laws, including one that would penalize anyone who left guns unattended around minors. He also voted for Medicaid expansion and to raise Virginia’s minimum wage.
S. W. Hillenburg is the Republican candidate and a disabled veteran. Hillenburg is anti-choice and opposes commonsense gun laws. He has prioritized transportation improvements in his campaign.
Senator George Barker is the progressive choice in this race.
House of Delegates
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Kathleen Murphy has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2015. She is a member of the House Finance, Privileges and Elections, and Transportation Committees. Murphy is the mother of four children and two step-children. She and her husband, Bill Sudow, are long-time McLean residents. When the House of Delegates is not in session, Murphy serves as President of Johnson, Murphy, and Associates, a consulting firm. Before becoming a member of the House of Delegates, Murphy served as senior staff to Congressman Charlie Wilson, and she was once a co-writer and producer for Nickelodeon Television. She graduated magna cum laude from American University .
Delegate Murphy is a strong advocate for progressive values. She supports abortion access, believing that people should make decisions for themselves. Delegate Murphy is also a strong advocate for gun violence prevention. She was personally impacted by the issue when her brother was shot and killed by two gunmen. As a Northern Virginia resident, Delegate Murphy wants to come up with transportation solutions but does not support adding tolls to I-66. Delegate Murphy supports equitable education, including funding for pre-K programs and freezing tuition hikes at Virginia’s public colleges and universities. She also supports equal pay for women.
Running against Delegate Murphy is Republican Gary Pan. He is a business owner who supports reducing government regulations that keep us safe and healthy. Pan has chosen to remain silent on important issues like abortion access, gun violence prevention, paid family leave, and raising the minimum wage.
Delegate Murphy is the more progressive choice in this race because of her support of abortion access and increasing teacher pay.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Mark Keam became the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean-American elected to any state-level office in Virginia when he was elected in 2009. Delegate Keam is an attorney who served as in-house counsel for a Fortune 15 tech company. Delegate Keam and his wife reside in Vienna where their two children attend public schools.
During his time as a Delegate, he has sponsored dozens of state laws to improve public education and healthcare, create green jobs, support military veterans and public safety, reform tax codes and business regulations, and provide more government transparency, accountability, and efficiency. He voted for Medicaid expansion, which allowed an additional 300,000 Virginians to get access to affordable health care. Delegate Keam also co-sponsored a bill that required feminine hygiene products be provided to incarcerated people who need them free of charge.
Running unopposed, Delegate Keam is the more progressive choice for this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Ken Plum was elected to the House of Delegates in 1982 and currently serves as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He is a retired teacher and school administrator. Plum and his wife, Jane, are the parents of four children. He graduated with a BA from Old Dominion University and earned his Masters of Education from the University of Virginia.
Plum supports many progressive priorities like increasing the minimum wage, reforms to make voting more accessible for everyone, gun violence prevention, and driving privileges for undocumented immigrants. He wants increased job opportunities, better funding for schools and teacher salaries, and to ensure the safety of his constituents.
Running unopposed, Delegate Plum is the more progressive choice for this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate David Bulova was elected to the House of Delegates in 2006. He currently serves on the General Laws, Education, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources committees. Delegate Bulova and his family live in the Middleridge community of Fairfax. He and his wife have three children.
Delegate Bulova supports increased transportation funding with investments for expanding Metro to Centreville, bike paths, and walking trails. He also supports giving local governments the power to require sidewalks when new developments are proposed. Delegate Bulova is a strong advocate for the environment. He sponsored a solar energy bill and supports investments in clean, renewable energy. He also supports fair redistricting reform so that voters can choose their representatives, not the other way around. Delegate Bulova voted for Medicaid expansion so an additional 300,000 Virginians can access affordable health care.
Delegate Bulova is running unopposed and is the more progressive choice for this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Kaye Kory has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2010. She has been an active leader in many community groups such as the Annandale Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the NAACP, and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.
Delegate Kory is a strong supporter of reproductive rights, including abortion access. She successfully sponsored legislation to require prisons to provide menstrual products to incarcerated women at no charge. She also supports ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.
Delegate Kory was a strong proponent of Medicaid Expansion to ensure that everyone can get the health care they need without worrying about the bill coming afterwards. She also supports increasing teacher pay, investing in our schools, gun violence prevention, and employment and housing non-discrimination for the LGBTQIA+ community.
She is running unopposed and she is the more progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Vivian Watts was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1981, but left in 1986 to serve as the Virginia Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety. She was again elected to the House of Delegates in 1996 and has served ever since. She is married and has two children and six grandchildren. Watts has been involved in many community groups and served as the Executive Director of Fairfax CASA.
As Delegate, she serves on the Courts of Justice, House Finance, and Science & Technology committees. Delegate Watts is a strong supporter of education and supports reducing class sizes and increasing teacher pay. She also supports access to reproductive health care, including access to birth control and abortion. In addition, Delegate Watts voted for Medicaid expansion and supports increasing access to mental health services for all Virginians.
Delegate Watts is being challenged by Republican candidate Nick Bell. He decided to run because of his opposition to abortion access, which is the only issue he talks about on his website.
Due to her support of reproductive rights, Medicaid expansion, and increased funding for our schools, Delegate Watts is the more progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Dan Helmer is running against incumbent Republican Delegate Tim Hugo. Helmer is a combat veteran. His wife, Karen, is a public school teacher in Fairfax County. They live in Fairfax with their children.
Helmer is in favor of increasing teacher pay and investing in public schools. He supports Medicaid expansion and other solutions to increase access to affordable health care. He also supports abortion access and believes abortion is health care. As a progressive, Helmer also supports increasing the minimum wage, gun violence prevention, clean energy, and fair redistricting reform.
Delegate Tim Hugo was elected to the House of Delegates in 2003. He voted against Medicaid expansion. In 2012, he voted in favor of legislation that required people seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory, medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound. He also has a record of making it harder to be an immigrant in Virginia by voting to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition at Virginia colleges and universities.
Dan Helmer is the more progressive choice in this race because of his support of increasing the minimum wage and health care access.
General Progressive: Progress Virginia
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn has served in the House of Delegates since 2010. She is currently the Minority Leader, the first woman to hold that role. Delegate Filler-Corn is a member of the Rules, Finance, and Commerce & Labor Committees. Prior to her election as Minority Leader, she served as Vice Chair for Outreach of the House Democratic Caucus and the House Democratic Whip.
Delegate Filler-Corn is an advocate for abortion access and has supported bills that would increase birth control access and promote consent-based sex education. She supports gun violence prevention and she sponsored a bill that would have eliminated sales tax from gun sales under $1,000. She also sponsored a bill that would have increased the felony threshold to $1000, ensuring that people who make a one-time mistake aren’t branded a felon for the rest of their lives. Delegate Filler-Corn also supports increasing the minimum wage so that all Virginians can afford to live with dignity. She was a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion.
Delegate Filler-Corn is being challenged by Rachel Mace, a Libertarian, and John Wolfe, an Independent. Mace is against gun violence prevention. She also is opposed to meals taxes that help fund important projects like affordable housing. Additionally, she opposes the elimination of student debt, but offers no solutions to the student loan debt crisis. Little information is available on Wolfe’s positions on key issues.
Delegate Filler-Corn is the more progressive choice in this race because of her support of abortion access, criminal justice reform, and Medicaid expansion.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Kathy Tran was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017. She is one of the 15 progressive candidates who were elected that year. Tran and her parents came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam when she was a child. Delegate Tran and her husband, Matt, live in West Springfield with their four children, Daven, Charlotte, Quinn, and Elise.
Tran is a strong progressive champion who supports access to abortion, gun violence prevention, immigrant rights, clean renewable energy, and investments in public education. She sponsored a bill to ban assault weapons in the commonwealth.
Republican candidate Steve Adragna is running against Delegate Tran. He believes the government should be as small as possible and that taxes should not be used to create a safety net for the most vulnerable members of our communities. Adragna does not support access to abortion. He would not have supported expanding Medicaid and does not believe that the government should be responsible for finding solutions to our health care crisis.
Delegate Tran has been a strong champion for Virginia families and is the progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Mark Sickles has served in the House of Delegates since 2004. He currently sits on several committees centering the environment, including the House committees on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, and the Energy and Environment Commission. He also sits on the Appropriations committee and the Privileges and Elections committee.
Delegate Sickles is a member of the LGBTQ community and co-sponsored a bill that would criminalize discrimination based on sexual or gender identity. He also voted against a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate based on sexual or gender identity. Delegate Sickles has voted against requiring specific, state issued photo IDs for voting, a bill that made it harder for some people to make their voices heard in our democracy. He is a supporter of the immigrant community and voted against legislation that prohibited sanctuary cities in Virginia. Delegate Sickles also supports access to abortion and affordable health care access for everyone. He voted for Medicaid expansion, which allowed an additional 300,000 Virginians to see a doctor when they need to.
Delegate Sickles is running against Independent G. Gail Parker. Parker’s primary stance as a member of the Green Party is mandated clean energy and usage of renewable resources.
Delegate Sickles is the more progressive choice in this race because of his positions on health care access, equality, and voting rights.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Paul Krizek was elected to the House of Delegates in 2015. He is a strong supporter of gun violence prevention. He has sponsored several bills, including one that would mandate universal background checks that would have ensured community safety. Delegate Krizek also supports increasing the minimum wage and raising teacher pay. He is a strong supporter of immigrant rights and has fought against prohibiting sanctuary cities in Virginia. He supports expanded access to affordable health care and voted for Medicaid expansion.
Delegate Krizek’s Republican opponent, Richard Hayden, doesn’t support abortion access and believes that politicians should be able to make medical decisions for people who are pregnant. He doesn’t take firm stances on other issues on his website.
Delegate Krizek is the more progressive choice in this race because of his support of gun violence prevention, increasing the minimum wage, and raising teacher pay.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Mark Levine was elected to the House of Delegates in 2015. He co-founded the Virginia Transparency Caucus, which is dedicated to ensuring committee and subcommittee meetings in the General Assembly are accessible to the public.
He is one of only a few openly gay members of the House of Delegates and a supporter of equality. In a previous role, he helped to craft the D.C. marriage-equality law with Councilman Phil Mendelson and successfully defended the law in court.
Delegate Levine is an advocate for those who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Levine supports reproductive rights, investing in public schools, increasing teacher pay, and raising the minimum wage. He supports clean energy, unions, and criminal justice reform. He also supports expanded health care access and voted for Medicaid expansion so an additional 300,000 Virginians can see a doctor when they need to.
Delegate Levine is running unopposed and is the more progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Patrick Hope was elected to the House of Delegates in 2009. When not serving in the House of Delegates, Hope is a health care attorney. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Arlington.
Delegate Hope is a strong proponent of affordable health care access and supported Medicaid expansion. He also supports increased funding for public schools and transportation. Additionally, Delegate Hope pushes for clean energy and tax credits for constituents who purchase energy-efficient appliances.
Delegate Hope is running unopposed and is the progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Rip Sullivan was elected to the House of Delegates in a special election in 2014. He is an attorney who graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as the President of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, which helps low-income people access legal services in the region. Delegate Sullivan and his wife, Beth, have 4 children and recently welcomed their first grandchild.
As a Delegate, Sullivan has supported increased funding for education, transportation, and affordable health care access. He is an advocate for equality by backing the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive rights. He opposes discrimination against the LGBTQ community and believes in fair housing.
Delegate Sullivan is running unopposed and is the progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez was elected to the House of Delegates in 2011. During his time in office, Lopez has been a strong supporter of workers and families, passing legislation like the Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund, fighting to strengthen protections for tenants against retaliatory evictions, working with the labor community to protect Project Labor Agreements, and fighting to save funding for Child Advocacy Centers.
Delegate Lopez is a strong supporter of increasing the minimum wage and organized legislators in Northern Virginia to successfully push the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to increase the minimum wage for contract employees at our local airports. He is a reliable pro-choice vote. He supports the LGBTQ community, opposes any discriminatory laws, and supports clean energy.
Delegate Lopez’s opponent is Terry Modglin. Modglin is anti-choice. He wants to raise the minimum wage, increase education funding, and supports Medicaid expansion. He also wants to increase gun violence prevention and to protect the environment.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Marcus Simon was elected to the House of Delegates in 2013. He attended law school at American University's Washington College of Law. After graduating, Simon joined the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps as a Captain, where he handled officer misconduct and criminal cases. In 2008, he co-founded the Law Firm of Leggett, Simon, Freemyers & Lyon and Ekko.
Delegate Simon has been outspoken about the need to pass commonsense gun laws like universal background checks. He has also been a champion for student loan borrowers and has proposed a bill that would protect borrowers by creating a Borrower’s Bill of Rights to ensure that predatory lenders can’t take advantage of students. He also supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Delegate Simon is running opposed and is the progressive choice in this race due to his support of increasing the minimum wage and combating the student loan debt crisis.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Karrie Delaney is dedicated to bringing innovative economic growth, world-class education, and healthcare for all to Northern Virginia. She is a mother of two and former Communications Director for Shared Hope International, a non-profit working to end sex trafficking.
A Delegate since 2017, Delaney has been fighting for Fairfax as an advocate for women and children. She sponsored a bill that would invalidate settlement agreements and NDA clauses when a sexual harassment victim is not represented by counsel.
Delegate Delaney is running unopposed and is the progressive choice for this seat.
Incumbent Democratic Delegate Ibraheem Samirah was born in Chicago. He’s a second-generation Palestinian-American whose parents were refugees. On February 20, 2019, he became the second Muslim elected to the Virginia General Assembly.
Delegate Samirah’s priorities are healthcare, transportation, education, and the environment.He believes that healthcare should and must be a right for all Americans. He voted to expand programs in the Virginia Department of Health and fights to preserve Medicaid expansion. He is also a strong advocate of expanding access to public transportation and decreasing the cost of tolls in the busy I-66 corridor. He defends school funding and advocates for universal pre-k. One of his top priorities is preserving the environment and Virginia’s natural beauty. Delegate Samirah promises to fight climate change, expand renewable energy sources, and vows to never accept money from Dominion Energy.
Delegate Samirah is running unopposed and is the progressive choice in this race.
Democratic candidate Suhas Subramanyam served on Capitol Hill as a health care and veteran’s policy aide. In that role, he worked to draft legislation to increase job opportunities and funding for veterans. He later earned his law degree with honors at Northwestern University School of Law, volunteering at the Center for Wrongful Convictions. Subramanyam also clerked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he helped re-introduce the DREAM Act and worked on criminal justice reforms.
Subramanyam’s platform includes increased healthcare access, increased education funding, and common sense gun reform. He also wants to pass equality legislation such as anti-housing discrimination, anti-hate crime, and equal rights laws.
His Republican opponent, Bill Drennan, is an Air Force combat veteran and former presidential military aide to President Ronald Reagan. Drennan is campaigning on his desire to limit reproductive rights in Virginia. He also opposes common sense gun violence prevention legislation and raising the minimum wage.
Subramanyam is the more progressive choice in this race.
Jeffrey McKay is a Fairfax County native and currently lives in Lee District with his family. Morris Glen, an affordable senior housing complex in McKay’s district, is named after his grandmother. She was a well-known advocate in the area, and McKay cites her as the inspiration for his life in advocacy. McKay received his undergraduate degree in Public Administration from James Madison University, and is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. Previously, McKay served as Supervisor Dana Kauffman’s Chief of Staff. After over ten years of working with Kauffman, he was elected Lee District Supervisor in November 2007.
He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Legislative Committees. McKay is working to increase transit options through his membership as Chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) and on the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC). McKay states that his goals include creating inclusion through social and racial equity, including supporting and advocating for his residents against the discriminatory policies of the current administration. McKay supports the policies One Fairfax, an initiative to foster inclusivity and equity throughout the county.
During his time as Budget Chairman, McKay passed a budget to fully fund schools in the area. He aims to continue to make education a priority by increasing teacher pay and expanding equitable programming to all students and districts. He supports clean energy, and if elected will remove barriers to solar power and push forward initiatives to lower the county’s carbon footprint. McKay wants to improve the lives of residents by increasing public transportation and access to affordable housing and healthcare. He also believes in common sense gun violence prevention laws and wants to foster community between the police force and the residents.
McKay’s opponent is Republican Joe Galdo. He ran for Congress in 2014 as a Green Party candidate. He wants to “make Fairfax great again.” While he supports green initiatives, Galdo wants to increase funding for law enforcement as opposed to implementing more equitable practices. He alsos supports collaboration with ICE. Galdo’s website uses pejorative language referring to “illegal” immigrants and urges local police to enforce detainers issued by ICE. This would allow police departments to hold people past their release date so ICE can determine what their next move is, which can lead to deportation.
McKay is the more progressive choice for this race.
Democrat Steve Descano has lived in Fairfax with his family for the past 8 years. He is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot. After his time in the military, Descano attended Temple University’s law school. During the Obama Administration, he was recruited through the Attorney General’s Honors Program at the United States Department of Justice, and spent the next six years as a federal prosecutor. In 2016, became the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Paragon Autism Services. His role is to provide behavioral therapy to children who currently lack access to services.
Descano previously served on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and Fairfax County NAACP Criminal Justice Committee. He is currently a member of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.
As Commonwealth’s Attorney, Descano will center community, justice, and equality. He wants to eliminate the cash bail system, which has proven to be an unjust process that incarcerates lower income residents who have not been convicted of a crime. Descano recognizes the economic and racial disparities in the criminal justice system and is committed as Commonwealth’s Attorney to ensuring his office treats everyone equally. Descano wants to end mass incarceration and the War on Drugs.
Descano wants to focus on serious crime and healing of families. If elected, he plans to save the commonwealth money by not spending resources on low level crime and lessening the usage of the death penalty. Descano supports our immigrant communities, and does not believe in tearing families apart. His platform supports transparency and communication between the justice system and residents to foster trust.
Descano’s opponent is Jonathon Fahey, a former federal prosecutor under the Trump Administration. Fahey does not support criminal justice reforms. His major concerns are the opioid crisis and gang violence.
Descano is the more progressive choice for Commonwealth’s Attorney.
A first-generation American, candidate Rachna Seizmore Heizer received her law degree and Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from the University of California at Berkeley. Her advocacy for students stems from her children. Heizer advocated for her daughter to enroll in advanced classes regardless of her mental health, and for her son to enroll in music classes in tandem with his special needs classes.
She previously taught Constitutional and Criminal Law at George Mason University. Currently Heizer is the Coordinator of Online Human Resource Development Curriculum and Instruction and teaches Employment Law, Leadership, Staffing Strategies, Human Relations, and Diversity and Cultural Competency online at Texas Tech University. Heizer was appointed to the board of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and the Fairfax County Public School Board’s Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities. She is also a board member of the Fairfax County Alliance for Human Services, the Fairfax County Special Education PTA, and the Fairfax County Public School’s Inclusion Workgroup.
Heizer’s platform is centered on equity and inclusion. She wants to close achievement gaps and ensure all students have an equal opportunity to succeed regardless of who they are or what their interest is. Heizer wants to ensure that teachers have the proper training to support their students so their differences are not seen as limitations or issues. She is concerned about student safety, both mentally and physically. She wants to implement holistic approaches to teaching and supporting, in addition to increasing mental and behavioral health services. Heizer also wants to limit the use of student restraint for extreme cases. If elected, Heizer plans to implement green initiatives and a program that will increase student civic engagement. Heizer has been endorsed by Casa in Action.
Heizer is a progressive choice for this race.
Abrar Omeish is a second generation student of Fairfax public schools. She co-founded GIVE (Growth And Inspiration Through Volunteering And Education), a youth-led non-profit that has been providing free tutoring and mentorship for over 10 years. She chairs the Student Human Rights Commission and is the appointed co-chair of the School Board Advisory Committees. She is President of the county-led Fairfax County Public School Superintendent’s Advisory Council. Omeish amended county policy on bullying with a 12-step plan entitled "Bring It On". She has experience with youth in political fields, including founding the Robinson High School Young Democrats.
Omeish’s first priority is equity in education. She wants to implement programs to close achievement gaps within schools to ensure students have equal opportunity to succeed. Because mental health is another priority, Omeish wants to incentivize anti-bullying procedure and plans within Student Government and Student Council Alliances. She wants to ensure that teachers are treated well, and this concern traverses equitable hiring practices to adequate salaries.
Omeish is a progressive choice for this race.
Karen Keys-Gamarra has lived in Fairfax County since 1990. She received an undergraduate degree from Tulane University and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law. She currently resides in Fairfax with her family, and is a child advocate and attorney.
Keys-Gamarra has been on the school board since September 2017. During her time as a Board member, she supported the One Fairfax policy to address equity and access concerns within Fairfax public schools. Currently, Keys-Gamarra serves on the Governance and Audit Committees, the Community Criminal Justice Board, and the Title I Parent Advisory Committee.
During her time on the School Board, she has fought for equity by seconding the motion to rename Justice High School and aided in creating local policy to choose appropriate names for county schools. She has focused on continuing efforts to improve our discipline process by trying to eliminate disparities and improve restorative efforts to keep students in school.
She was able to adopt a budget that provided improved salaries for our educators. Keys-Gamarra also presented a motion to support menstrual equity, and support efforts to improve the way Fairfax residents care for the environment.
Keys-Gamarra is a progressive choice for this race.
Cheryl Buford previously worked at the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance. This Alliance is known for urging President Obama to allow discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community on the basis of religious freedom. Buford has been endorsed by the Fairfax County Republican Committee.
Priscilla DeStefano is a first generation American and attended Fairfax County Public Schools. DeStefano disagrees with school board actions to rename schools named after Confederate figures, calling these efforts “partisan politics.”DeStefano has been endorsed by the Fairfax County Republican Committee.
Vinson Xavier Palathingal is a resident of McLean, Virginia. He resides there with his wife and two children, both products of University of Virginia. He is originally from Kochi in Kerala State, India, but has lived in the US for 27 years. He has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in engineering. This informs his desire to increase STEM program funding for public schools. Palathingal self-identifies as a conservative, and has criticized the school board for implementing a comprehensive sex ed curriculum while establishing protections for transgender students. Palathingal’s solution for racial disparities in student achievement is school privatization. Palathingal has been endorsed by the Fairfax County Republican Committee.
IIryong Moon is a current member of the Fairfax School Board. He graduated from T.C. Williams Senior High School and later earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and a J.D. from College of William and Mary. Moon cites the expanding of kindergarten to a full day as a top accomplishment.
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