Meet EveryDistrict’s First 2021 Virginia Endorsements
Virginia takes the prize as the greatest state legislative success story of the past four years, with it being the only state where Democrats flipped both chambers of the legislature and maintained those flips post-2020.
And as we’ve seen over the past two years since Democrats took control in Richmond, modern Democratic leadership can turn power into action on key issues like climate, economic justice, and voting rights.
The road to get there wasn’t easy, and EveryDistrict is proud to have done our part to elect this Democratic majority. Virginia was the first state EveryDistrict worked in after our founding in 2017, where we helped to flip 10 of the 15 districts that flipped on that historic Election Day.
In 2019, EveryDistrict returned to Virginia, helping to flip all six House of Delegate districts that went blue two years ago, as well as both State Senate seats.
This year, we’re returning to Virginia to ensure Democrats keep their majority. Only the House of Delegates is on the ballot this year; State Senators serve four-year terms. Today, we’re so glad to be able to announce our first endorsements of 2021, focusing on districts that Democrats must hold in order to keep our majority in the state house.
After Barack Obama’s historic 2008 victory, Virginia’s off-off year elections in 2009 were the start of the Republican comeback. They flipped the Virginia governorship red and expanded their majority in the House of Delegates.
We’re committed to not making that mistake again, which is why we’re announcing endorsements today in 13 incumbent districts: 12 incumbents who we’ve helped elect since 2017 and one new candidate in an open seat (Briana Sewell in HD 51).
You can help ensure that we keep our Democratic majority in the House of Delegates by making a donation today. 100% of what you give will go directly to these 13 candidates.
Keep reading to learn more about EveryDistrict’s first 2021 endorsements.
Wendy Gooditis, Virginia House of Delegates District 10
Wendy Gooditis grew up in Cranbury, New Jersey. After having kids, Wendy received her Masters in Education from Shenandoah University. She taught in the Clarke County public school system and at an area private school. Later, Wendy joined RE/MAX as a realtor. In 2017, Wendy decided to get off the sidelines and became a founding member of an Indivisible chapter in Clarke County. She went on to challenge a long-time Republican incumbent and became one of 15 Democrats to flip the House of Delegates in 2017. In 2019, the same Republican incumbent ran to reclaim his seat, spending over $500,000 of his own money only to lose to Wendy again.
Kelly Fowler, Virginia House of Delegates District 21
Coming from a military family, Kelly Fowler has always been dedicated to the service of others. She grew up in Virginia Beach and went to college at Virginia Wesleyan University and Old Dominion University. She has worked as an elementary school teacher and owns a real estate business specializing in military family relocation and advocacy. Kelly is the first-ever Filipina-American to serve in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Since being sworn into office in 2017, Kelly has worked to pass Medicaid expansion, raise teacher pay, protect the rights of renters and homeowners, and pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Additionally, Kelly has served on the Privileges and Elections Committee and the Science and Technology Committee.
Joshua Cole, Virginia House of Delegates District 28
Raised in the 28th District, Joshua Cole has lived in Fredericksburg and Stafford County his entire life. He is a member of the Greater Fredericksburg Area Interfaith Council and the former President of the Stafford County NAACP. He currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Union Bell Baptist Church in South Stafford and the Chairman of the House of Clergy for the Union of Charismatic Orthodox Churches. In his first term, he voted to increase access to affordable healthcare, raise the minimum wage, and make community college tuition free. Joshua has been a fierce advocate for progressive policy combating issues of climate change. He also patroned historic legislation to rename Jefferson Davis Highway to Emancipation Highway.
David Reid, Virginia House of Delegates District 32
Delegate David Reid represents the 32nd District of Virginia in Eastern Loudoun County. He is a decorated Navy veteran and business professional who brings over 30 years of experience in strategic management, banking, global telecommunications, small business knowledge, and the defense industry to the House of Delegates. Del. Reid serves on three separate committees including House Appropriations, Privileges & Elections, and Transportation, including several subcommittees one of which he serves as chair.
Dan Helmer, Virginia House of Delegates District 40
Dan Helmer has always sought to serve a country that welcomed his father as an immigrant and his grandparents, Holocaust survivors, as refugees. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and did tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and numerous domestic postings. He remains a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Today, Dan helps lead a small business with two other post-9/11 veterans. In his first term, he championed legislation to prevent gun violence, combat climate change, protect women’s reproductive rights, increase teacher pay, expand access to healthcare, expand voting rights, and fight against food insecurity.
Briana Sewell, Virginia House of Delegates District 51
Briana Sewell was born and raised in Prince William County. She graduated from the local public school system and earned her Bachelor’s from the College of William and Mary and Master’s from American University. After graduating, Briana served as the Prince William District Director for Congressman Gerry Connolly. In 2018, Briana helped establish the Virginia Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy. As a District Director, a community organizer, and currently as Chief of Staff to Chair Ann Wheeler of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, she understands the issues of District 51 because she’s witnessed them, lived through them, and will be ready to legislate on day one.
Schuyler VanValkenburg, Virginia House of Delegates District 72
Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg received his Bachelor’s from the University of Richmond and his Master’s from Virginia Commonwealth University. He spent five years teaching at Short Pump Middle School before spending the last 11 years at Glen Allen High, where he teaches government and history classes and leads a We the People team. He continues to teach while representing the 72nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was elected to the 72nd in Western Henrico County in 2017 on a platform centered around investment in public education and equal and affordable access to health care. For the last 16 years, he has lived in Henrico, where he is raising his three children.
Rodney Willett, Virginia House of Delegates District 73
Rodney Willett has lived in Henrico County for more than 20 years. He and his wife Lydia Pulley have three children. Rodney Willett is an entrepreneur, attorney, and technology consultant. Throughout his professional career he has worked extensively with state and local governments to address their management, technology, and legal needs. In addition to serving others in his professional career, Rodney also volunteers on numerous boards and committees, including Rx Partnership, Children’s Health Insurance Program Advisory Committee, and the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance, which he chairs. Throughout his work and volunteer activities, Rodney has dedicated his life to making a difference for others.
Clint Jenkins, Virginia House of Delegates District 76
Clint Jenkins is an Army veteran, small business owner, and community leader who was raised in Suffolk, Virginia. During his two years as a Delegate for the 76th District he has worked hard for Medicaid expansion. During the pandemic he has made efforts to bring more vaccines to Suffolk. He has been deeply involved in the community for years, volunteering for various local organizations and churches and taking an active role with the Democratic Party, currently serving as the Chair of the 3rd Congressional District for the DPVA. The spirit of service has driven him to do all of these things, and it’s why he’s running for re-election to the House of Delegates.
Nancy Guy, Virginia House of Delegates District 83
Nancy Guy grew up in a Navy family in the 83rd District. As a proud product of Virginia’s public education system, supporting public education has long been her passion. In addition to her two terms on the School Board, she has served on numerous education boards over the years. Since being elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates, Nancy has worked tirelessly for the people of the 83rd District. She has served on a wide variety of committees ranging in focus from the Education Committee to the Courts of Justice Committee. Nancy was also appointed to be one of three state representatives for Virginia on the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Commission.
Alex Askew, Virginia House of Delegates District 85
Alex Askew was born and raised in Virginia Beach and received his undergraduate degree from Hampton University. After graduation, he worked on local, state-wide, and national campaigns that empowered voters to make positive change. In his first term serving the 85th District, Alex fought for high-quality, affordable healthcare and infrastructure to support a strong local economy. Recently, he’s worked to combat the public health and economic issues caused by COVID-19. Alex is an advocate for working families, racial justice, government accountability, and economic empowerment. Alex’s career in public service is one that will help to transform Virginia for generations to come.
Martha Mugler, Virginia House of Delegates District 91
During her first term in the General Assembly and during her time on the Hampton School Board, Delegate Martha Mugler has been an experienced leader on education with a steadfast commitment to students, teachers, and the community at large. She has delivered for her community, where during her first term, she successfully led the charge to increase teacher pay by 5%, established the Division of Offshore Wind to bring renewable energy jobs to the region, and supported small businesses and local job growth in the post-COVID economy.
Shelly Simonds, Virginia House of Delegates District 94
Shelly Simonds represents Virginia House District 94 (Newport News). Shelly holds degrees from Bucknell and Stanford Universities. She is a former teacher, member of the Newport News School Board, and Chair of the Board for New Horizons Regional Career and Technical Centers. During her first term in the House of Delegates Shelly was the chief sponsor of legislation to combat human trafficking, increase access to STEM education, and establish the Secretary of Labor to advocate for workers across the Commonwealth. Shelly will continue to fight to improve our schools, environmental justice, and equitable access to good, stable jobs, both in Newport News and across the Commonwealth.