Candidate Connection: House of Delegates

Candidate Connection: House of Delegates

Candidates were asked to provide a short bio and share a story of their interaction with a voter that led them to a commitment to take action, with a tight word limit. Candidate responses are printed in the order they appear on the ballot. 

More than 57,000 voters have already voted, and more than 650,000 active voters have not voted. Early voting continues through Saturday, Nov. 4. Election Day is Nov. 7, voters must vote at their assigned polling place, and all polling places will be open from 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.

For information on how and where to vote, including voting early, see

District 6, House of Delegates

Kristin L. Hoffman (R)

Kristin L. Hoffman (R) I moved to Vienna nearly 30 years ago with my husband. We raised our two Fairfax County Public School-educated sons here. I earned a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of Business. I worked in technology as a program and product manager. I think creatively, holistically, and thoughtfully to make things happen. I serve on a nonprofit board that provides equine-assisted therapy and adaptive therapeutic riding to veterans and people with visible and/or hidden disabilities.

When elected, I will have a respectful and thoughtful voice. We need healthy, well-informed debate to truly discern the issues and develop effective and meaningful solutions. Leaders must be able to analyze the data, understand the underlying facts, and, when it comes to implementing effective legislation, think holistically. We need more people with diverse professional backgrounds to ask the right questions.I will be your full-time delegate, not only for the two months when the legislature is in session.

Response: I met an older gentleman who shared the following frustration. He and his wife have lived in their house in McLean for over 40 years. They want to age gracefully in their home and live out their lives there. Like many homes in Northern Virginia, their home has three (3) levels. Unfortunately, his wife took a tumble down the stairs and was injured. For safety reasons, they decided to install an elevator instead of moving.

His frustration is that the installation has taken over six months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Every process step must go through reviews, permits must be obtained, and inspections must be conducted. The homeowner and contractor must wait for approvals before the next step can be started. The county's justification was that a home elevator tragically killed a child in the 1990s. Nobody ever wants to see a child or anyone else hurt by an elevator. Hence, Fairfax County has a diligent and cautious design and installation process.

However, the current time-consuming process puts older folks and people with mobility issues at risk of falling down the stairs. The current regulations trade one tragedy for another. This is the type of issue that the government should look at holistically, not in silos. As a legislator, I will ensure that these types of regulations make sense and are monitored to confirm that goals are being met. In this case, why is the process so slow? Do we need an expedited procedure? Does the county need more resources? Should the state put timeframe requirements in place for municipalities to follow?

Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan Jr. (D)

Del. Richard C. "Rip" Sullivan Jr. (D) and his wife Beth are Langley High School sweethearts. Having lived in McLean for nearly 50 years, McLean, Great Falls, Vienna, and the other parts of the new 6th District have long been home to them. Beth and Rip have four adult children, all graduating from Fairfax County public schools and four grandchildren.

Rip graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He is a partner in the law firm Bean Kinney & Korman, P.C. He has served in the House of Delegates since 2014. Among his accomplishments in the General Assembly, Rip wrote and carried Virginia’s lifesaving “Red Flag Law,” which removes firearms from someone deemed by a judge to be a risk to themselves or others. He also authored the historic Virginia Clean Economy Act, which made Virginia a leader in the transition to clean energy. Upon returning to Richmond, Rip will continue to be an advocate for all Virginians and work to pass legislation to protect our health and safety, including abortion access, which is a top priority. 

Response: In 2019, Rip’s constituents Jay Timmons and Rick Olson approached him about their gut-wrenching experience trying to expand their family through a surrogate. A judge in Wisconsin took their parental rights away when their son, Jacob, was born. The fathers shared the story of their legal battle to preserve their parental rights in hopes of preventing a similar struggle from happening to other Virginia families. Rip introduced legislation to protect the parental rights of same-sex couples and single parents who use a surrogate. In February 2019, the General Assembly passed “Jacob’s Law” with bipartisan support.

District 7 House of Delegates

Luellen Hoffman Maskeny (R)

Luellen Hoffman Maskeny (R) -My background is in business and education, having graduated from GMU in 2006, when I was an adjunct professor at GMU. I am a cancer survivor and fighter, and will fight for you. I am a widow who raised two sons as a single parent, so I know the challenges many face today. I was born in Virginia and love our state, so please vote for me on Nov. 7th to see the following: #1: Accountability; #2: Trust; #3: Value; and #4: Results.

Response: Most people don’t want to get involved in politics, and I can see why, but I was motivated to step up and bring the best of Virginia to our senior citizens, students, families, and small businesses because I care about our future.

My challenge is to ask voters to look at the “individual candidate” and ask what they can do to make things better for all of us. Will this person serve the people who put them in office?

Former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder was right when he said, “Politicians today are running for elections for the sake of being elected, not to advocate for citizens' welfare.”

Response: I recently met 600 local high school students whose main concern was school security. My plan to keep students safe from active shooters, bullying, and other issues they face is rock solid. School choice, parental involvement, and a new college scholarship program for students with a GPA of B or better to get a free ride in the Virginia state college system as long as they keep their GPA up.

Karen A. Keys-Gamarra (D)

Karen A. Keys-Gamarra (D) is the mother of three Fairfax County Public School graduates, a twice-elected at-large member of the Fairfax County School Board, a former planning commissioner, an attorney who practices family law and focuses on representing children, and a child advocate with extensive involvement in our community. Keys-Gamarra graduated from Tulane University and the Washington University School of Law. Retiring Delegate Ken Plum endorsed her to succeed him in the General Assembly.

I have the privilege of living in a welcoming family that has taught me to enjoy and respect diverse cultures. I am an African American raised by a social worker and a military veteran. After my parents began to age, we became a multi-generational household, and I became a caregiver. My children have enjoyed the rich backgrounds of their family members. Given the representation of cultures from South America, Africa, parts of Europe, and the United States, we always share flavor-filled, well-seasoned food and good company.

Response: Two constituent contacts stand out in my mind. The first is a teacher who expressed her passion for education and kids. She teared up while speaking about the safety drills she taught in preparation for an active shooter. “I’m afraid; our students are afraid. Why isn’t there a ban on assault weapons?"

A student raised a similar concern during their government day discussion. “How will you protect us more?" As I tried to explain that high-powered military-grade weapons had no place on our streets and that the 2nd Amendment had been misinterpreted, another student said that the 2nd Amendment prohibits all gun regulation and I should focus on mental health.

These exchanges make it clear that we are truly in a crisis and that our kids are caught in the middle. I strongly support our constitution, but I believe the writers of the Second Amendment did not anticipate the weapons or circumstances of today. Moreover, such drills cause fear, impacting mental health and unfairly burdening our kids. Our students shouldn’t have to fear a mass shooting, and these conversations made me more determined to create safer communities free of gun violence. We must do better.

District 8 House of Delegates

Max B. Fisher (R)

Max B. Fisher (R), 40 years old- I first moved to Northern Virginia in 2002 and have been a homeowner in Herndon since 2015. I am committed to serving the people of District 8. I believe that by working together, we can positively impact the issues that matter most to our constituents. Being open and transparent is vital to democracy.

With a track record of finding common ground, I am committed to reducing tax burdens, improving transportation, and supporting legislation vital to the community. In the coming term, I intend to sponsor or co-sponsor legislation to reduce tax burdens, alleviating the financial strain on residents. Additionally, I will work towards measures that help reduce the cost of living, ensuring a better quality of life for all. To persuade opposing elected officials, I will emphasize the common-sense nature of these proposals and highlight the direct benefits they will bring to our community.

Response: During a community forum in Herndon, I conversed with Mayor Sheila Olem about the pressing issue of public transportation. We might not agree on many things, but she recognized that my passion and urgency. I emphasized the need to improve ridership to and from the airport, particularly regarding the reliability of time schedules. With my day job as a frequent user of that route, I could communicate that message, and we found some common ground. We continue to work on this improvement together to this day.

Recognizing the significance of this issue, I prioritized verifying the facts and gathering supporting data. I collaborated with Mayor Olem and other community leaders to identify potential solutions. Through ongoing discussions and analysis, we developed a comprehensive plan to enhance the efficiency and convenience of public transportation services, specifically addressing the time schedule challenges. We are working with the Board of Supervisors to implement some improvements.

Irene Shin (D)

Irene Shin (D) Delegate Irene Shin, age 36, is a longtime community organizer and advocate. She is currently the executive director of a nonprofit that works to increase civic engagement across Virginia. Irene is committing to fighting for legislation that lifts up all communities and meets the needs of the people.

Response: I have and will continue to keep an “open door” policy, as I am committed to representing the needs and values of our community. I am very proud of the fact that every bill I’ve passed during my time as a delegate has been on a bipartisan basis. Oftentimes, some of the most important issues are the ones we can all agree on. One of the bills I’ve successfully introduced actually came as a result of advocating for a constituent who contacted me after she discovered her adult daughter with developmental disabilities did not qualify for health coverage through her state employee insurance. After we tried to appeal to the state for their case to no avail, I introduced HB2038, which extends state employee health insurance coverage to any state employee’s adult child with disabilities. The bill passed this year with unanimous support from both chambers.

District 9, House of Delegates

Nhan C. Huynh (R)

Nhan C. Huynh (R) Did not reply.

Karrie K. Delaney (D) 

Karrie K. Delaney (D) was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2017. Before serving, Karrie was dedicated to helping others while working with foster kids and victims of sexual violence. Now, she has emerged as a leader in her caucus, being appointed as a Democratic Whip. Karrie has also been one of Richmond’s most effective legislators, passing all seven bills she introduced in 2021.

Response: In 2019, I met with a constituent in a coffee shop who told me about an incident of abuse that was never reported, but a member of the clergy was aware of the incident. That constituent then asked me if there was any way that clergy could be made mandatory reporters for abuse, just like other trusted professions such as teachers, nurses, and social workers.

Even though my party was in the minority, I believed this was a common-ground issue we could solve together. So, I reached out to my Republican colleagues and stakeholders in this issue to discuss the problem and identify a solution. After months of serious discussions, debate, and committee hearings that saw testimony from people across the Commonwealth regardless of political affiliation, we came to a final product: a bill requiring religious clergy to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Eventually, my bill came before the full General Assembly, which received unanimous approval and was signed by the Governor. Like in many other instances during my legislative service, this was one where I was able to rally my colleagues to put politics aside in order to create a solution to a real problem facing our constituents.

As I continue to talk to neighbors this campaign season, it’s become obvious that this approach to Richmond is still incredibly desired, and I’m ready to continue putting people over politics to get things done.

District 10, House of Delegates, 

James A. Thomas Jr. (R)

James A. Thomas Jr. (R)  With over 17 years of federal government service in both the legislative and executive branches, I have gained vast experience and knowledge of problem-solving in the legislative process and how to work with public officials to achieve success with important pieces of legislation.

I was the first one in my family to attend college, and I earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Dayton. After the attacks on Sept. 11 and while in college, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving combat deployments to Iraq. I spent the next decade and a half focused on national security policy, working on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon. I understand the importance of working across the aisle to find common ground to shape, create, and implement legislative priorities and to be successful in addressing the challenges we face.

As a husband, father, and veteran, it is so important that we can work together to address the challenges our community faces and leave it better than we received it for the next generation.

Response: Since 2009, more individuals and families have moved out of Fairfax County than into it. The single largest contributing factor to this is the high cost of living in our area. Going door-to-door, I’ve met so many individuals who are frustrated with the increases in taxes and general affordability in our communities. Especially for those individuals on a fixed income, living in our area is just too difficult. The chief complaint is the car tax.

I believe it is time to eliminate this burdensome tax once and for all. We must first start by understanding where our money is being spent at both the state and local levels. To do this, we need to conduct a bi-annual audit to see where the money is going and how efficient departments and agencies are at collecting the revenue. From there, you can begin to make sound fiscal policy, make reforms to the tax code and structure, and ultimately remove the dreaded car tax.

With better transparency and accountability, we can begin to make informed policy decisions, create a diverse and dynamic economy, and begin to lower the cost of living for everyone while still allowing for sound strategic investments." 

Dan I. Helmer (D)

Del. Dan I. Helmer (D) is a West Point graduate, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve, a Rhodes Scholar, and a small business leader. He lives in Fairfax with his wife Karen, a public school teacher, and their sons Aaron and Harris, who attend Fairfax County Public Schools. The son of an immigrant and the grandson of refugees who survived the Holocaust, Dan believes that patriotism means taking on the hard challenges of our time and putting country and community ahead of partisan politics. Dan is proud to serve the families of southwest Fairfax County in the House of Delegates. 

Response: A year and a half ago, a constituent wrote to my office to share her personal story as we faced the fall of Roe and impending abortion bans. Lila (we are using a pseudonym to protect her privacy) shared the heartbreaking experience she and her family had suffered. After two years of trying, she and her husband were finally pregnant. At 12 weeks, they learned the fetus was not developing normally and would have to have many surgeries after birth. After much consideration, they decided to continue the pregnancy and endure the extensive neonatal care that would follow. By the 16th week, the abnormalities were tripling, and the doctors informed them that the fetus, if it survived to birth, would only live a few hours. They made the agonizing decision to end the pregnancy. Without access to abortion, Lila explained, her experience would have been all the more traumatic. If she hadn’t been able to secure a legal end to the unviable pregnancy, she would have had to carry a doomed pregnancy to term and would certainly have suffered greater mental anguish.

For Lila and all the other women in Virginia and in all the states across the South who come here to get the reproductive health care they can no longer get in the states that have outlawed abortion, Virginia is the last safe haven in the South. My wife was told after the birth of our second child that another pregnancy would likely kill her. Lila’s and my wife’s stories have motivated me to work even harder to codify the right to abortion in Virginia’s Constitution. Stories like this remind us of the urgency for safe and accessible healthcare for every person and that the ability to make medical decisions should lie with the patient and their doctor, not politicians.

District 11 House of Delegates

Almira Mohammed (R) 

Almira Mohammed (R) I am a 31-year-old woman of color; I'm a first time candidate that has no ties working a government position or for big corporations. I'm relatively unbiased and am here to better House District 11.

Response: The car tax is the one issue I've been hearing about often. I've heard it so often that I felt I should use my candidacy to become an advocate for the current car tax to change. I hear it from Lyft and Uber drivers. I hear it from almost everyone I've come across at Republican committee meetings, and when I go campaign door knocking, I've heard it at the Fairfax City Fourth of July parade.

Interestingly, it stood out when I received a mention of the car tax in an email. The writer shared details about the issue, giving me a glimpse of what I can do as a delegate. I reached out to a member of the Board of Supervisors to find out why it's not being addressed, and while I received a response, it ultimately came to a dead end. I ended up contacting the governor's office to share my concerns. I haven't heard back from them.

I'm for repealing this car tax. We're in tough economic times, and the least we can do is address this tax. When you look at the details, it doesn't make sense. It even says on the Fairfax County government website that usually older vehicles have a lower value and that these values were elevated during COVID.

While the Board of Supervisors approved some assessment ratios and vehicle values declined, they're still high. I'm not 100 percent sure what kind of assessment the board made, but I know that when I talk to people in the district, this car tax is brutal.

If elected, I will fight for it to change. I have no interest in convincing my opponent to lower the car tax; it's the basis of my platform. If something were to be done, it would have already been addressed. I doubt he hasn't heard about it.

David L. Bulova (D)

David L. Bulova (D) Married, 54, and a father of three children. Bachelor of Arts from William & Mary and a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Tech.

Currently, I am the representative for the 37th House District, and professionally, I am an environmental planner specializing in stormwater and Chesapeake Bay restoration. Examples of my community involvement include the Brain Injury Services, National Night Out Against Crime, and youth sports coach. I enjoy collaboration and problem-solving. In 2019, I was honored with the "Bridge Builder Award."

Response: Most of my bills result from conversations with constituents and local organizations. This has included legislation to help older adults age in place, combat human trafficking, protect families from identity theft, reduce overdose deaths, and slow the spread of invasive plants. During a meeting at Main Street Bagel, a constituent mentioned that over 100 Infants die unexpectedly each year in a sleep environment. This was verified in a report by the State Child Fatality Review Team. Tragically, the review team found that 95 percent of these deaths were preventable through parent education. As a father of three, I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child. It also struck me that when my wife and I were new parents, we knew little about safe sleep practices. The conversation led to the introduction of House Bill 1515, which requires information on safe sleep to be provided to new parents when they leave the hospital. We garnered the support of the Medical Society of Virginia, the American Academy of Pediatrics, INOVA Health Systems, and several other organizations. The bill ultimately passed the General Assembly unanimously.

District 12, House of Delegates

Delegate Holly Seibold (D) is running unopposed.

District 13 House of Delegates

Dave A. Crance Jr. (Libertarian)

Dave A. Crance Jr. (Libertarian) Dave, his wife Suman, and their youngest children live just outside the City of Falls Church. After high school, he joined the Army as a paratrooper, serving combat tours in both Central America and the Middle East. While attending community college, he worked as a bartender. Here, he found his true passion in life and never looked back — hospitality, where he could enjoy serving and meeting new people every day. Today, as a regional manager, he handles a portfolio of multiple hotel brands stretching from Maryland to Florida.

Dave gives back to the community through multiple organizations, including the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, most recently serving as membership chair in 2022. He received the James S. Elkin Award for Humanitarianism in 2017. Dave has coached for the Little League, receiving multiple Coach of the Year awards. He is also the chaplain of the Falls Church VFW and works with our local school districts to coordinate the post's youth activities, scholarships, and educator of the year awards. He is a member of the Greater Falls Church Veterans Council and a member of the American Legion.

Response: While campaigning, a person contacted me and asked if I would drop by. I replied, "Sure," but on the day I was canvassing that part of my district, I realized his address was just south of the district line. Even though I knew he couldn't vote for me, I gave my word and called to let him know, but I'd still be happy to drop by if he wanted. He asked if that was okay, so I went to see him that afternoon.

I originally expected a senior citizen from the call, but I discovered he was middle-aged, and what I learned from him was Apert syndrome. He was very excited that I came by and wanted to show me his apartment. He was extremely proud, as he should be, of having been able to overcome his disability with help to stand on his own. But what he wanted to discuss really hit me hard.

He was frustrated that once he found a full-time job, he had to move back to part-time due to the risk of losing his benefits. "I just want to be able to work and not depend on others; maybe if you win, you can help with that." I have never been hit so hard by a story as I have been with his. Right now, I'm busy with the campaign, but I have already begun studying the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services program and Supplemental Security Income offerings. It is an area I'm finding a gap in, and if elected, I intend to see how we can do better.

Marcus B. Simon (D)

Marcus B. Simon (D), age 53. Early in his public service career, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army JAG Corps and is a co-founder of the Law Firm of Leggett, Simon, Freemyers & Lyon and EKKO Title, a real estate title company. Marcus attended New York University as an undergrad and then attended The American University School of Law. First elected to the House in 2013, Marcus serves on the House Committees on Courts of Justice, Finance, and Communications, Technology & Innovation. He also serves as the Deputy Floor Leader of the House Democratic Caucus. He's proud of his work to expand voting rights, enact common-sense gun violence prevention initiatives, address the student loan debt crisis, and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Constituent service is one of the most important jobs a legislator has. Knocking on doors as a candidate, you have a lot of pleasant exchanges, but when knocking as an incumbent, you really get a chance to solve people’s problems. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one source of great frustration has been dealing with the Virginia Employment Commission. Many people who'd never needed unemployment benefits or government assistance before found themselves tangled up in a system that was tragically overwhelmed.

Every constituent case took months to resolve and, in some cases, years. Each one involved a personal story of hardship, of concerns about not being able to pay bills, and of not being able to care for their families, coupled with the general fear associated with the pandemic. Managing the caseload was paramount to ensuring that constituents felt heard and that we were going to work with them until it was resolved. 

Because of the scope of the VEC’s systemic problems, we passed legislation to overhaul internal processes, to finally implement the new online system, and to reduce the claims backlog. While the system still needs tweaking, progress has been made and will continue to happen. No one wants to be dependent on a state agency for their livelihood, but it is our duty to help those who need it the most.

District 14 House of Delegates

Curtis L. Wells Jr. (R) 

Curtis L. Wells Jr. (R) Did not respond. 

Vivian E. Watts (D)

Del. Vivian E. Watts (D) Ranking Delegate on Courts and Finance Committees, Member of the Transportation and Rules Committees, and the Behavioral Health Commission; Former Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety; non-profit director; Fairfax Citizen of the Year; the University of Michigan B.A. with honors; I grew up on a farm, married Dave, and we raised Cindy and Jeff.

I was a 15-year citizen activist before being elected. Trying to understand what it meant to serve, I’d be disturbed after poignant door-to-door conversations: “I totally empathize, but I know I can’t just go make all the changes needed. Am I just a hypocritical politician?” I finally resolved that if I hadn’t heard those concerns or the reality of that person’s life, I wouldn’t be armed to make a difference whenever and however I could: by introducing a bill, amending other bills or the budget, speaking out, and casting informed votes.

My expertise is in complicated fights for education funding, reduced class sizes, humane nursing home staffing, and modernizing taxes to reflect ability-to-pay in today’s economy. As a strong advocate, I draw on many sources regarding mental health, women’s control of all aspects of pregnancy, and converting to green energy. As an informed legislator, I appreciate the complex challenges of economic advancement and criminal justice.

Most importantly, I know that “showing up” is essential to absorbing multicultural diversity, knowing current transportation needs, appreciating community strengths and challenges, and continuing to learn from all sources—not just from advocates and my personal research but from real-life experiences.

Member, House of Delegates, District 15 

Marcus T. Evans (R)

Marcus T. Evans (R) is a 44-year-old retired Army officer who has lived in Virginia since 2015 and Burke Centre since 2018. Marcus served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, two overseas assignments in the Republic of Korea, one in Germany, and various assignments across the country. Marcus is married and has two children attending Terra Centre Elementary School. Marcus volunteers in the community and serves on the Board of Directors for Springfield/South County Youth Club (SYC); he is the Recreational Lacrosse Program Commissioner for SYC. Marcus holds a Bachelor of Science from Ohio State University, a Master of Arts from the University of Maryland University College, and a Master of Science from the Air Command and Staff College.

I have been serving my country and community my entire adult life. I believe our politicians think they are elected rulers, and as “workers,” Virginians exist merely to fund their vanity. After seeing a lot of right and wrong, I believe I offer the voters of House of Delegates 15 a choice on what type of community they would like to live in.

Discriminating against students of Asian descent at Thomas Jefferson High School is wrong. Taxing the people of Virginia out of their homes and the food off their tables is wrong. Allowing drugs to enter our community is wrong. Criminals breaking into our cars at night is wrong.

If elected, I will work to pass legislation to bring back common sense and regular people's values.

Response: In September, the Burke Centre community had its annual festival, and as a candidate, I attended the festival to have an opportunity to speak with voters. At the festival, an older woman approached the table that displayed the party and candidate literature. I decided to use humor to break the ice and start a conversation. I asked her for her vote “so I could go to Richmond to make $17,000 a year to help me pay my property taxes." 

She looked me dead in the eye and said, “I’m a retired school teacher. I get up at 6 a.m. to substitute teach so I can make $80 a day so I can pay my property taxes and give some money to my daughter in Virginia Beach so she can pay her rent. I’m afraid I am going to lose my home."

Currently, there are relief programs for seniors, but they are income-based. This lady likely crossed the threshold for income tax relief and was forced back into the classroom. Every townhouse, rowhouse, or single-family home in House of Delegates District 15 starts at a half million dollars and only goes up, and yet there are two food banks within a half mile of each other on the Burke Centre Parkway.

If the shame of what politicians are doing to Virginians won’t change the politicians, then maybe the voters can help replace them in Richmond.

Laura Jane Cohen (D)

Laura Jane Cohen (D), age 47, went to the University of Georgia, was a preschool teacher, and since 2019 has served on the Fairfax County School Board. As a mom of two, she has long been a gun violence prevention advocate and will continue fighting for common-sense gun safety solutions.

Response: When you’re knocking on doors, you get to not only talk to like-minded folks, but sometimes you’re lucky enough to engage with people with opposing viewpoints who are interested in actual dialogue. They want to know why you hold certain positions and often want to tell you why they feel differently. Right before the primary, I spoke with a gentleman who told me that, as a gun owner, he didn’t agree with my stance on guns. I might’ve tried to defend my position in the past, but this time, I decided to ask him what he disagreed with. We sat and talked for a long time. I shared that I grew up around guns and believed in responsible gun ownership. We shared that we both worried about keeping our kids safe, believed in keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, and wanted to ensure that everyone had to pass a background check. When we were done, he apologized for assuming I was ‘just one of those people who wanted to take away his guns.”

It was an important reminder to engage with everyone willing to talk with me on this journey. Assuming things about each other only thwarts meaningful dialogue, and we all have much to learn about each other if we just sit and listen.

House of Delegates, District 16 

Candidate Paul Krizek (D) runs unopposed

House of Delegates, District 17

Candidate Mark Sickles (D) runs unopposed

District 18 House of Delegates 

Edward F. McGovern (R)

Edward F. McGovern (R) I am a retired Federal Employee, Department of the Army Civilian, who worked in resource management. I have lived in Springfield since 1993. My wife and I raised our two kids here. We chose Fairfax County for its excellent schools and opportunities for everyone. Those are now in question. I earned a master’s degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a political science degree from Shippensburg University.

Response- Two items have come up frequently with voters in the 18th. Taxes are a real problem; people cannot afford to stay in Fairfax County with skyrocketing assessments and car tax values. Voters are unhappy to hear that what we get back on the tax dollar from Richmond has plunged over the last ten years from over 30 cents on the dollar to 21.5 cents.

This accelerated with the Democratic one-party rule. Fairfax County did much better in Richmond when both Republicans and Democrats sent delegates to the General Assembly. Special taxes for Fairfax County are not the answer. We received more of our hard-earned dollars back when there was a balance. America is about checks and balances at every level, not one-party rule.

There is ambivalence regarding abortion in the 18th District, but voters do not support my opponent’s extreme position on abortion. They are not happy that a multi-billion-dollar special interest group has poured out-of-state money into local politics. With advances in medical knowledge, there is interest in looking at Virginia’s current stance, which is 22–24 weeks. My view is that the government does not solve problems, but legislation can reflect community values.
Moving restrictions to 15 weeks in Virginia would be an opportunity to develop a full discussion on a complicated, sensitive topic. It is also important to note that special interests that fund political campaigns will not reflect our community values.

Kathy K. L. Tran (D)

Kathy K. L. Tran (D) First elected in 2017, Kathy Tran has pushed to expand healthcare, fully fund our public schools, and make Virginia more inclusive. She is a former child refugee from Vietnam and now leads the Virginia Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus. Kathy, her husband, and five children live in West Springfield.

Response: In 2021, a constituent told me her husband was killed in the line of duty while in the military, but Virginia’s tax exemption for Gold Star widows did not apply to her.

Currently, the Virginia Constitution provides tax relief for surviving spouses of servicemembers killed in action. However, a group of surviving spouses are omitted from this tax exemption. For example, the spouse of a soldier killed in a combat zone by a helicopter crash due to the malfunction of their helicopter would not be eligible since the soldier was not killed by enemy fire. However, if the soldier survived, was determined to be 100 percent disabled, and passed away, their surviving spouse would be eligible.

We must honor the sacrifices of service members and surviving spouses equitably. My constituent and I passed a law giving localities the option to provide these surviving spouses with tax relief. Fairfax County then passed a resolution giving these spouses relief in our county. In 2023, we worked to pass legislation as the first step toward amending the Constitution to include this exemption. This year, I’ll collaborate with my constituents to pass legislation as the final step before Virginians can directly vote to amend the Constitution.

House of Delegates, District 19

Ccandidate Rozia Henson (D) runs unopposed