Announcing My Retirement After 14 Years of Service in the Virginia House of Delegates
“Serving the people of Fairfax County, first on the School Board and then in the House of Delegates, has been the honor of my life. My first priority was always to take incredible care of my constituents, and I pride myself on listening to every opinion of the people I represent.
“While in Richmond, I worked to build strong coalitions of advocates and legislators to speak with a united voice on issues that included women’s health care and animal rights. It is impossible to point to one thing of which I am most proud, but I will never forget our work across party lines to rescue the Envigo beagles. I can also retire knowing that thanks to legislation I introduced, animals in Virginia will not be subjected to the testing of cosmetic products. Education and the environment have also been major themes in my legislation and I am proud of the successes – some which took years to accomplish. I thank the many hardworking citizens and professional groups who have honored me with awards over my tenure.
“For the past eight years during the legislative session in Richmond, I have hosted an art show, Art-Ability, to highlight the work of artists with developmental disabilities. Not only has this been personally rewarding, but the public show encouraged artists who never before had a platform for their work. I have organized a food drive for FEEDMORE as well and received thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of food from my generous colleagues.
“This has been a difficult decision to make. I have enjoyed my job and appreciated the trust the voters have placed in me. But I know there are many talented people who want to serve and to build a Virginia where all will thrive. My husband, Ross, who has been the best partner and my biggest fan, is facing some health challenges to which I want to devote my full attention. I am grateful to him and to my children for making our home a team environment that empowered me to pursue public office, and now I want to be there for them.
“Finally, I want to stress the importance of women helping women, which drove me to found the Women’s Health Care Caucus ten years ago. Much of my legislative work has focused on women’s issues, including my law to ensure that incarcerated women will have free access to menstrual supplies. We need more women in office, and more women to support women running for office. In 2009, I won my primary by a thin margin, and I will never forget that Delegate Vivian Watts came out and campaigned for me. She is the hardest-working legislator in the House of Delegates, and I am fortunate that the vast majority of my current district’s constituents will soon be represented by Delegate Watts in District 14.
“I wish all of my colleagues success as they continue to fight for our democratic values, and I hope to find other ways to contribute to the cause this November and beyond.”