Virginia’s new 16th State Senate district encompasses parts of Chesterfield County and parts of Richmond City. With almost 141,000 registered voters, this district leans strongly Democratic.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Incumbent Republican Senator Siobhan Dunnavant is facing a challenge from Democratic Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg in the general election for Virginia’s new 16th State Senate district. Senator Dunnavant has served in the State Senate since 2016. Delegate VanValkenburg has served in the House of Delegates since 2018.Democratic candidate Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg is a history and U.S. government teacher who has represented the 72nd District since 2018. He was born in New York and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond. He currently teaches history and US Government at Glen Allen High School in Henrico County and is the only active K-12 teacher serving in the General Assembly. He lives in Henrico and is the proud father of three children.
Delegate VanValkenburg is a strong advocate for Virginia’s public schools. He has fought for increased public school funding, teacher raises, and increased access to school counselors. If elected, he will continue to champion efforts to improve public education in the Commonwealth. He believes that investments should be made to increase support staff in school and lower the cost of higher education. In 2022, he introduced and passed a bill that created a workgroup to revise Standards of Learning tests to better assess student’s knowledge.
Delegate VanValkenburg understands the importance of accessible abortion care. He believes people should make their own healthcare decisions with their medical provider. VanValkenburg has promised to vote against abortion bans. He voted in favor of the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which removed medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access. He is the only candidate in Senate District 16 who supports upholding Viginians’ access to abortion, and has said that abortion ban proposals are out of touch with constituents.
As a school teacher, gun violence prevention is top of mind for Delegate VanValkenburg. If elected, one of his goals is to reintroduce his bill for safe storage of firearms. He voted to pass extreme risk protection laws, which take guns out of the hands of people who are in imminent danger to themselves or others. He also voted to ban firearms from those convicted of domestic abuse. He supports universal background checks and sits on a committee that addresses preventing school shootings.
Delegate VanValkenburg believes that our democracy is stronger when more people participate. In 2020, he introduced and passed a bill that created a permanent absentee voter list, making it easier for people across the Commonwealth to vote. In 2021, he introduced and passed the Absentee Voting Omnibus that instituted dropboxes and pre-paid postage for mail-in ballots. If elected, he will continue to fight for better access to the ballots for Virginia voters.
Delegate VanValkenburg is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Siobhan Dunnavant. During the 2023 General Assembly, she introduced an abortion ban that quickly failed in the Senate committee. She has stated support of Governor Youngkin’s desire for a 15 week abortion ban. She also supported efforts to roll back protections for the Affordable Care Act.
Because of his commitment to supporting abortion access, gun violence prevention, voting rights, and public school investments, Delegate VanValkenburg is the progressive choice in this race
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.
House of Delegates
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.
Virginia’s new 57th House of Delegates district encompasses parts of Henrico County and parts of Goochland County. With almost 63,000 registered voters, this is a competitive district that doesn’t lean in either direction.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Democratic candidate Susanna Gibson and Republican candidate David Owen are facing each other in the general election for Virginia’s new 57th House of Delegates district. This is an open seat with no incumbent in the race.Susanna Gibson is a nurse practitioner and a public health expert who graduated from University of Virginia and Columbia University. She has been working in Richmond as a physician for almost 15 years, and through this experience, she has become familiar with the realities of the healthcare system. Gibson wants to apply this knowledge to her role as Delegate to fight for families and community members in Virginia.
Susanna Gibson is passionate about reproductive health and education, which started at a young age while volunteering and shadowing at the UVA Teen Health Center. She believes that women must have control over their own bodies, access to affordable quality healthcare, and make their own healthcare decisions in consultation with their healthcare providers. She is committed to ensuring that Virginia does not move backwards on reproductive rights and will use her professional knowledge to explain the damage that will be done to women, families, and communities if women are unable to work or care for their loved ones.
Gibson also wants quality education for all students, which requires an environment that engages students and cultivates them as they prepare for next steps, including higher education. She wants to create a culture that rewards and trusts teachers rather than setting them up to be seen as untrustworthy and devious, as Governor Youngkin’s failed tip line attempted to do. She also believes that college should be accessible to students and affordable to their families, because no one should have to forgo college or drown in debt because of the current system.
Gibson believes in commonsense gun violence prevention measures. On children experiencing gun violence she has said, “Our children should not have to practice active-shooter drills at school and live with the real fear of being harmed by someone with a weapon intended for a war zone.” Gibson believes that Virginia should invest in community-based programs such as gun buyback programs, increased street-lighting, and other evidence based programs that have been shown to reduce gun violence.
Gibson’s medical expertise informs her opinion on how mental health and substance abuse should be handled. She believes that those who need resources should have access to them, as it improves the quality of life of everyone in communities. She also believes that the response to substance abuse should be met with treatment rather than incarceration and punishment. She advocates for more education and acceptance regarding mental health and hopes to introduce legislation to increase the number of Drug Courts in Virginia, as they save considerable costs and help communities.
Susanna Gibson is facing Republican David Owen. Owen is a native Virginian who graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He worked as a construction engineer, and he was part-owner of Boone Homes for 20 years before he and his partners sold the company. He does not support police reform, or legislation that allows communities to hold police accountable. He promotes teaching inaccurate history and anti-trans policies.
Susanna Gibson is the progressive choice for this race, as she is an expert in public health, supports investments in public education, and advocates for mental health.
Virginia’s new 58th House of Delegates district encompasses parts of Henrico County. With close to 61,000 registered voters, this district leans Democratic.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Incumbent Democratic Delegate Rodney Willett is facing a challenge from Republican Shaia Riley in the general election for Virginia’s new 58th House of Delegates district. Delegate Willett has served in the House of Delegates since 2020.Incumbent Delegate Rodney Willett is a Virginia native who studied law at the College of William and Mary. Delegate Willett has served District 73 since 2020, and he was reelected in 2021. He has also served on an extensive list of Boards, which include the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance, and the Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Advisory Board. He also was a member of the Student Engagement and Leadership Advisory Board at the College of William and Mary, where he founded an endowment that funds student volunteers.
Delegate Willett believes that everyone should have accessible, affordable healthcare. He wants people to be taken care of by a quality health care system. He believes that there was some improvement when we expanded Medicaid, but that further measures should be taken, as too many people still do not have access to affordable health care. In addition to expanding access, he wants to increase funding for mental health care and addiction treatment. He also learned from his experience on the Board of Rx Partnership that too many people cannot access the prescriptions that they need, and he believes that this is a major problem.
Delegate Willett believes that education and adequate employment are key components in creating successful futures for people. He wants to make pre-K enrollment universal for all Virginia kids, and also improve other areas, such as funding for schools, counseling resources, and fair wages for teachers. Del. Willett wants to minimize red tape so that businesses can operate more efficiently, and he also wants to focus on job training, liveable wages, and equal pay.
Delegate Willett also supports abortion access and would vote against an abortion ban.
Additionally, he supports common sense gun violence prevention legislation that would include universal background checks, as they are a proven way to keep guns out of the hands of those who mean harm. He wants extreme risk protective orders to be enforced as well.
Delegate Willett believes the science that strongly suggests that climate change is real, and he sees that Virginia is already suffering from the effects. As time goes on, sea level rise will cause even more damage to a coastal state like Virginia, and Del. Willett wants to support legislation that will help protect the environment to ensure the safety of Virginians.
Delegate Willett is facing a challenge from Republican Riley Shaia, a University of Virginia graduate and group exercise instructor. While she has stayed quiet regarding her own views on abortion, she has repeatedly expressed gratitude over being endorsed by Governor Youngkin, who hopes to implement a 15-week abortion ban. She claims to be tired of partisan politics but aligns herself with extremist politicians.
Willett is the progressive choice for this race, as he supports reproductive rights, accessible healthcare, and legislation that promotes community safety.