RICHMOND (August 13, 2019) – With less than 3 months until election day, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus is pleased to announce a diverse slate of 92 candidates, the most Democrats to run for the House of Delegates in Virginia history. The 92 Democratic candidates, of whom 52 percent are women, 39 percent are people of color, 33 percent are under 40 years old and 5.4 percent are openly LGBTQ+, are ready to represent their districts and take the majority this November.
“House Democrats are proud to have candidates in 92 districts across the Commonwealth who truly represent their communities. Our diversity is our strength, and we know these leaders will help us achieve more for Virginians,” said House Democratic Caucus Executive Director Trevor Southerland.
In addition to the candidates’ demographic diversity, the caucus has all strived to reflect diversity in the backgrounds and professions in the candidate slate.
Eighteen of our candidates, Rhonda Seltz (HD 7), Wendy Gooditis (HD 10), Beverly Harrison (HD 15), Kelly Fowler (HD 21), Ann Ridgeway (HD 30), Ken Plum (HD 36), Juanita Jo Matkins (HD 56), Sally Hudson (HD 57), Tim Hickey (HD 59), Janie Zimmerman (HD 60), Lashrecse Aird (HD 63), Mike Asip (HD 65), Betsy Carr (HD 69), Schuyler VanValkenburg (HD 72), Karen Mallard (HD 84), Jeion Ward (HD 92), Lamont Bagby (HD 74) and Shelly Simonds (HD 94), come from education backgrounds and are committed to improving Virginia’s public education system, up and down the Commonwealth.
Nineteen of our candidates, Starla Kiser (HD 4), Laura Galante (HD 18), Jennifer Lewis (HD 20), Jennifer Woofter (HD 22), David Zilles (HD 23), Larry Barnett (HD 27), Lee Carter (HD 50), Hala Ayala (HD 51), Morgan Goodman (HD 55), Elizabeth Alcorn (HD 58), Tim Hickey (HD 59), Michele Joyce (HD 64), Dawn Adams (HD 68), Rodney Willett (HD 73), Roslyn Tyler (HD 75), Ibraheem Samirah (HD 86), Suhas Subramanyam (HD 87), Mark Downey (HD 96), Ella Webster (HD 98), come from STEM Backgrounds. These candidates offer a unique perspective on the importance of technology and innovation for an even more digital future.
Six of our candidates, Dan Helmer (HD 40), Lee Carter (HD 50), Marcus Simon (HD 53), Trudy Berry (HD 61), Clint Jenkins (HD 76), and Kevin Washington (HD 97) have proudly served in the armed forces. We are overjoyed they have chosen to continue serving their country in elected office and look forward to their unique perspectives in the House of Delegates.
Each of our candidates has a unique story to tell that will make them true representatives of their districts.
After attending Harvard Medical School, Starla Kiser (HD 4) returned to Southwestern Virginia to open Healios Health, a clinic designed to serve those without insurance. She is a strong supporter of rural communities and with the goal of improving the health of the economy, supporting current industries such as coal, agriculture, technology and developing educational strategies for all students.
Mavis Taintor (HD 33) ended a long career in the financial industry and started a horse farm in Loudoun County. Now she is committed to expanding access to affordable healthcare, fair wages for teachers, and infrastructural improvements for Virginia’s 33rd District.
Even before entering this race, Lindsey Dougherty (HD 62) had made the public sector her life’s work with her extensive experience with at-risk youth in juvenile justice, partnering with community organizations that built both life and job skills. She hopes to make important state level changes that will improve the lives of all residents of the 62nd district.
A life-long advocate, Karen Mallard (HD 84) has spent the past 30 years serving the Virginia Beach community as a public school teacher, union leader, political organizer, PTA board member, and little league board member. She is in this race to advocate for health care, education and environmental issues. Her most personal student has been her father, whom she taught to read after returning home as an adult.
Alex Askew (HD 85) is a lifelong resident of Virginia Beach and is proud to run in his home town to fight for affordable healthcare, quality education, economic opportunities, and a safe environment. He engages with the community through his faith ministry, where he mentors and tutors local youth.
After losing by fewer than 100 votes in 2017, Joshua Cole (HD 28) has returned to fight even harder for the 28th District. As a lifelong resident of Fredericksburg, Joshua is committed to fighting for a living wealth, affordable healthcare, improving our public education and enacting meaningful criminal justice reform.