My life’s bucket list did not include running for office…until November 9, 2016. The ugly and divisive presidential campaign, and especially the result transformed me forever. Protests and marches are wonderful, but that’s not what I wanted to do. If I wanted change to happen, then I had to be part of that change by running for office.
So in March 2017, I decided to run for the Democratic nomination for House of Delegates seat in the 30th District. The District includes all of Madison and Orange Counties, and the southern half of Culpeper County. I lost to Ben Hixon at the District Convention in April by one vote.
Immediately after I lost, I was recruited to run for the Madison County Board of Supervisors. In the heat of the moment, I said yes. In the midst of getting names on my petition to get on the ballot, I asked myself, “Why am I doing this? Is it what I really want to do?” It wasn’t.
I had already registered for Candidate Training with the House Democratic Caucus. I went, and while I was there, decided I really should run for the State Senate.
The Republican incumbent, Emmett Hanger of Augusta County, has had that Senate seat since 1996 and before that, was in the House of Delegates. The last time he had a Democratic challenger was in 2007, before redistricting in 2011. Because of gerrymandering, he was drawn a “safe” district. He is Senate Finance Co-Chair, a budget conferree and Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance subcommittee.
Sen. Hanger is the only Republican who supports some form of Medicaid expansion. That’s why some Democrats don’t want to challenge him, but he votes with his Republican colleagues on just about everything else. But Sen. Hanger says this on his website,
“I don’t support a straight expansion of Medicaid. What I do support is a broad-based reform of our healthcare delivery system and a private option insurance plan to provide a more economical way for the uninsured (mostly the working poor, many veterans, and some disabled citizens) to get care rather than showing up at an emergency room.”