Last week’s election brought a wave of change to the General Assembly. There are 34 new delegates-elect – 20 new Democrats and 14 new Republicans. With a new ruling Democratic majority of 51 to 49 in the House and 21 to 19 in the Senate.
So, let me take this opportunity to thank those who helped make this happen – my constituents and supporters. With all the 13th District ballots counted, I earned 82% of the vote in Falls Church. It’s clear I wouldn’t be where I am without you and I can’t express how honored I am to continue representing the Little City and the new 13th District.
With City Councilmember retirements, including my good friend Phil Duncan, this paved the way for some new members of the Falls Church City Council. Letty Hardi handily won re-election and will now be working with the newest councilmembers, Justine Underhill and Erin Flynn.
On the School Board, Jerrod Anderson won reelection and we can welcome Bethany Henderson and Amie Murphy as the newest members.
I also want to congratulate our new state senator, Saddam Salim. He and his campaign team worked diligently to earn the votes and support of our mutual constituents this past year. I look forward to working with him in the General Assembly for many years to come.
And the winning doesn’t stop there. Congratulations to Andres Jiminez for winning the Mason District Supervisor race, Jimmy Bierman for the Dranesville District Supervisor race, and to Dalia Palchik for winning reelection as Providence District Supervisor.
However, the biggest headline is that Democrats took control of the House of Delegates again with a slim majority of 51 to 49. And we maintained control of the state Senate.
Overall, this year’s election proved the most expensive yet in Virginia. In the final stretch to ForElection Day, Democrats outraised Republicans, particularly in the House races - $14.2 million compared to $8.4 million.
In this kind of divided government, where the election stakes were high and the resulting majority is narrow, we have to look for opportunities to be non-partisan. Because while Democratic control of the General Assembly means that we can stand against the most egregious right-wing legislation, it also means that getting the Governor to sign legislation that does reach his desk will be a challenge.
So, in that vein, I’m focusing on the roots of my campaign promises – campaign finance reform. Every year that I have been in office, I have introduced a form of campaign finance legislation, whether it’s to require independent audits, banning personal use of campaign funds, or strengthening our campaign ethics laws. The only thing different in 2024 is that this issue is one that can work within the confines of the new makeup of the General Assembly and with our current Governor.