Virginia’s new 27th State Senate district encompasses parts of Stafford County, parts of Spotsylvania County, and Fredericksburg City. With over 155,000 registered voters, this is a competitive district that does not lean one way or another.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Democratic candidate Joel Griffin, Republican candidate Delegate Tara Durant, and Independent Monica Gary are facing each other in the general election for Virginia’s new 27th State Senate district. Delegate Durant has served in the House of Delegates since 2022. Gary previously held the Stafford County Supervisor Aquia district seat.Democratic candidate Joel Griffin is a Marine Corps veteran, entrepreneur, restaurateur, and philanthropist. He grew up in Marshville, North Carolina, a rural town outside of Charlotte. He has 25 years of private industry consulting experience and 20 years of experience in government contracting. After graduating high school, Griffin joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Marine Corps Honor Guard and volunteered for the infantry. He and his wife of 25 years raised two daughters.
Griffin is a strong advocate for public schools and the opportunities education provides. He believes that public schools are integral to ending poverty, increasing opportunity, reducing crime, and strengthening communities. Griffin supports increasing student resources and paying teachers a fair wage. He stands against those who create barriers to accessing important resources for children, such as those who aim to control access to libraries. He believes that reinvesting in public schools is necessary to make sure that everyone, regardless of income, is able to get a good education.
Joel Griffin is a strong supporter of abortion access in the Commonwealth. He understands that if Republicans gain control, it is possible a full ban will go into effect. Griffin has expressed his hopes for enshrining the right to abortion access into the Virginia State Constitution. Griffin has listed this as a first priority and a possible bill he would introduce. He is endorsed by Roe Your Vote Virginia and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia.
Looking at his own experiences growing up in a household where childcare was unaffordable has shaped Griffin’s views on economic justice. If elected, Griffin will prioritize funding for childcare assistance programs. He believes in policies that help providers operate sustainably while keeping high standards of care. Griffin supports investments in early childhood education and the long-term benefits they provide to children and families. As an employer himself, he promotes paid family and medical leave.
Joel Griffin is facing Republican Delegate Tara Durant and Monica Gary in the District 27 race. Delegate Tara Durant has served in the House of Delegates since 2022. She is a former teacher. She has sponsored bills that would create barriers to voting and voted for bills that would disrupt access to abortion care. She also sponsored a bill that would allow crisis pregnancy centers to be listed as valid resources.
Monica Gary previously held the Stafford County Supervisor Aquia district seat. Gary grew up in a low-income family, facing financial difficulties, food insecurity, and housing insecurity. She became involved in her community following the death of George Floyd, attending county board meetings and organizing with activist and faith groups. She is currently working to complete her Masters of Divinity. She has made previous statements using anti-abortion rhetoric.
Due to his commitment to public schools, supporting abortion access, and prioritizing economic justice, Joel Griffin is the progressive choice in this race.
Phillip Scott is a Republican who has served District 88 since 2022, and he is the sole candidate for this position. He voted to restrict privacy and participation in sports for trans children, and he does not support gun violence prevention legislation.