Citing a framework of accountability, stewardship and opportunity should he win office, community leader and minister Ron Christian kicked-off last Tuesday his campaign for the state Senate seat representing the 34th district.
"We have everything in place to be an even greater community," Christian told supporters at George Mason University's Center for the Arts.
Christian said education, children and the elderly are among the groups he will seek to support in the General Assembly. He also said he intends to bring more education and transportation funding to northern Virginia. Calling himself a fiscal conservative, Christian cited his experience in the nonprofit sector, especially as the state continues to cut its budget over the next few years.
"If there's ever a need for a nonprofit leader, then now is a good time," Christian said.
Christian, a county resident for over 30 years, directs Lutheran Housing Services, Inc., a nonprofit that provides educational, consulting and advocacy services to the community as it pertains to affordable housing. Christian also is vice chairman for the Fairfax County Redevelopment Housing Authority, chairman of the Fairfax County Faith Communities in Action, and member of the Board of Supervisors' Coordinating Council on Long-Term Care.
"What I know about Ron is that he will stand up for his beliefs and the beliefs he shares with the 34th district," said Sen. Leslie Byrne (D-34th), one of several local and state leaders attending the kick-off.
In addition to speaking favorably about Christian, several Democrats representing northern Virginia in the General Assembly also cited the importance of the 34th district for their delegation. The 34th district, which had undergone redistricting, is currently represented by Byrne, a liberal. Byrne is not seeking re-election.
"We are going to do whatever it takes to keep this in the Democratic fold," said state senator Richard Saslaw (D-35th).
Del. J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen agreed, "This is a race, I think, is going to wrap up very strongly."
Christian's Republican challenger has yet to be named, as two Republicans, Del. Jeannemarie Devolites (R-35th) and former Fairfax County School Board member Louis Zone, are vying for the Republican nomination. That race will be decided in an open primary June 10th.
Republicans say, however, that Christian will face challenges in an area Republicans consider as their territory.
"It's a strong Republican area, and I think we can pull that off," said Eddie Page, chair of the Fairfax County Republican Committee.
"We're on a roll, we've been on a roll in the state Senate and the House of Delegates," continued Page, speaking of the recent wins of Republicans state senators Jay O'Brien and Ken Cuccinelli. "We fully intend to take this one as well."
But Christian said his integrity and service to the community will help him win votes.
"It's an opportunity to serve, and my life has been about service," said Christian in an interview after the kick-off, on why he decided to run. "I think my record of service will speak for itself, and I ask people to look at that. I think this race is not about taxes, it's trust. People don't elect policy, they elect people who choose policies on their behalf."