Virginia’s new 83rd House of Delegates district district encompasses parts of Isle of Wight County, Southampton County, Brunswick County, Sussex County, Greensville County, Emporia County, and parts of Dinwiddie County. With over 66,000 registered voters, this district leans Republican.This election will be held on November 7, 2023. Incumbent Republican Delegate Otto Wachsmann is facing a challenge from Democrat Mary Person in the general election for Virginia’s new 83rd House of Delegates district. Delegate Wachsmann has served in the House of Delegates since 2022.Mary Person is a native of Emporia, Virginia, who has served as an educator in her community for 26 years. She began her career as a teacher of children with autism and is now the Principal of Bellfield Elementary in Emporia. Person is an active member of the NAACP, a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Greensville/Emporia, and a member of the Crater Regional Workforce Development Board. She has also served in various educational and political roles, including eight years as Mayor of Emporia. Person has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of her constituents, establish scholarships for graduating seniors, and attract more businesses and industry jobs to the area.
Person believes that quality health care should be affordable for everyone. She is in favor of expanding mental health services for adults and children. She believes that prescription drugs should be affordable, saying that “no one should have to choose between getting a prescription filled or eating.” She pledges to advocate for legislation to combat health care inequity.
Educational infrastructure is a top priority for her. She wants to ensure the future of public education and make sure all children succeed. She wants to make sure kids have the social and emotional skills necessary to be successful in school and have qualified teachers in the classroom, especially in rural areas such as the 83rd district. Incentives must be offered to college students to go into the field of education to increase the number of qualified teachers in the field.
She also lists economic development as a top priority. She wants to provide opportunities for our communities to have jobs. She believes that a qualified workforce is essential to economic development, so specialized training for skilled positions is a must. To accomplish this, she pledges to actively recruit prospective companies by meeting with them and explaining the benefits of investing in our district. She pledges to always be the number one advocate for obtaining good paying jobs in our communities.
Of equal importance is public safety. She argues that our communities must be a safe place to live, work, and go to school. She advocates for community policing to allow officers to develop relationships with the community and the community to develop relationships with the officers. She also wants to ensure that officers are properly trained in dealing with mental health issues. She pledges to promote legislation to ensure community safety remains a priority and will also work with local government and police departments to fight for safe communities.
Person’s opponent is incumbent Republican Otto Wachsmann, a Sussex County pharmacist and small business owner. Wachsmann has consistently voted against trans youth, having voted for HB 1387, which limits participation in sports on the basis of sex assigned at birth, and voted for HB 2432, which requires schools to inform parents of students experiencing "gender incongruence". He wants to deny abortion access and voted for HB 212, which would have reinstated the mandatory 24 hour waiting period for individuals seeking an abortion.
Given Person’s commitment to building an equitable society and ensuring the basic needs of all are met, she is the progressive choice in this race.