As I prepare to return to Richmond next month for my 10th session representing Falls Church and Fairfax County in the Virginia House of Delegates, I wanted to use my last column of 2022 to share my plans for the 2023 election cycle with you.
I am thrilled to announce that I am running for re-election and will be seeking the Democratic nomination in the newly drawn 13th House District in 2023.
Over the last decade, I have worked hard to be the best possible representative for the values and shared interests of our Falls Church community. I’ve been fortunate to be able to make a real and meaningful difference on some of the most pressing issues facing our Commonwealth, particularly in our two years in the majority with a Democratic Governor.
As a member of leadership in the House Democratic Caucus (Deputy Floor Leader), I participated in a panel for the Virginia Press Association recently on the issue of Education and parental rights, where I was able to highlight the real issue behind recent headlines- a desire to undermine public education.
I am committed to protecting public education in our commonwealth. I believe that every student should have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college, career, and life. I have supported legislation to increase funding for public schools, reduce class sizes, and improve teacher pay and working conditions. I have also advocated for policies that expand access to early childhood education, support students with special needs, and provide opportunities for students to learn technical and vocational skills. I will continue to prioritize public education and ensure that every student has the support they need to succeed.
I am proud of my strong record on gun violence prevention.
I will continue working to stop the tragic mass shootings that have devastated communities across our country. I have supported legislation to strengthen background checks, restore Virginia’s one handgun a month limit, give localities the ability to restrict firearms in public places, and budget items that invest in programs to prevent gun violence. I will continue to be a vocal advocate for common-sense gun laws that keep our community safe.
I have also been a steadfast supporter of protecting abortion access in Virginia, making us a sanctuary state in the south. I believe that every individual has the right to make their own reproductive choices, and I will never stop fighting to defend this fundamental right. I will continue to support legislation that ensures access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare services, including contraception and abortion.
I am committed to addressing the climate crisis and protecting our environment. I recognize that the health of our planet is at risk, and I have supported legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, and protect our natural resources. I will continue to prioritize the health of our planet and the wellbeing of future generations.
As Chairman of the Housing Subcommittee in 2020, I helped to pass the Virginia Values Act. I believe that every individual has the right to live their lives without fear of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Virginia Values Act bans discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. I will continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ individuals and for a society that is free from discrimination and prejudice.
As a member of the Public Safety & Courts of Justice Committees, I have been committed to advocating for criminal justice reform. I believe that our justice system should be fair, equitable, and focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment. I have supported legislation to reduce the prison population, improve conditions in correctional facilities, and provide support for individuals returning to their communities after serving their sentences. I have also advocated for better mental health resources for individuals involved in the justice system, as well as for programs to help them find employment and housing upon release. I will continue to work towards a criminal justice system that prioritizes justice and rehabilitation over punishment.
Lastly, I am proud of my efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This is a critical step to ensure that all workers in our community can earn a fair and livable wage. I have supported legislation to gradually increase the minimum wage, and I will continue to push for policies that support working families and reduce income inequality.
As I seek re-election, I am committed to continuing this work and addressing the challenges facing our community. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, and I hope to earn your support and trust for another term.