See below for a press release and video from Democrat Phil Hernandez, who is announcing his candidate for House of Delegates from the 94th district (100% in Norfolk City; a 52%-41% Hillary Clinton district; “open seat” with no incumbents). Hernandez previously ran in HD100 back in 2019, getting an impressive 48.0% of the vote in a far less “blue” district against an entrenched Republican incumbent. Note that, as of right now, we still don’t know if Virginia will have House of Delegates elections this year – that will depend on the courts – but we certainly will have them next year. So we’re seeing a number of Democratic candidates already throwing their hats in the ring, given that it’s possible we’ll have elections this year.
By the way, I had a chance to chat with Phil Hernandez yesterday. Here are a few highlights:
- He’s a new parent with a 10-month-old daughter, so he’s had to really think about whether or not to run for House of Delegates, “but I also have felt – particularly in the last few weeks watching the Youngkin administration come in and the House leadership, some of the things that they are pushing for in the House – that this is actually a time to step up and fight for my community here in Norfolk, a place where I have deep roots…and if I had to characterize what I’m seeing coming from Youngkin and company is just a lot of division and policies that both in the short term and the long term put Norfolk’s future at risk.”
- One of those policies includes Youngkin’s executive order “that tries to unravel health and safety in our classrooms…[that’s] not something that, as a parent, I’m particularly pleased to see.” Another is Youngkin’s “rhetoric around trying to take away funds from public education…that really serves none of us well.” Also, “here in Hampton Roads we are…incredibly vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate…and when I see efforts threatening to take us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and weaken other policies that could really establish this region as a national leader on these issues – climate change, clean energy technology – taking millions away from our region if you repeal RGGI.”
- “I have a stake in this and my kid has a stake,” and “this is a moment to stand up for my city.”
- There was a real need for Youngkin to bring people together, but instead Youngkin’s policies are making us less safe and taking resources away from investments in our future. Also, Hernandez stressed the need to watch what Republicans are actually doing, such as efforts to weaken Virginia’s minimum wage, to “chip away at the fundamental right to vote,” etc. “If you just look at the evidence, there are so many policies that are not geared towards the needs of families.”
- It is critical for Democrats to take back the House of Delegates and to hold the State Senate – “there are very real consequences; elections matter.” We need to “make childcare more affordable for families,” “establish paid family medical leave,” etc. The danger is we could take a “u-turn” for the worse “if we don’t get the right folks in office.”
- Given his experience, he is confident that he can “hit the ground running and make an impact right away.”
- He’s being endorsed by former Del. Jay Jones, Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan, former Del. Alex Askew, former Del. Nancy Guy, former Del. Lashrecse Aird, etc.
Phil Hernandez Announces Campaign for New 94th House of Delegates District
Hernandez Announces 17 Endorsements from Local Leaders for New Norfolk-Based District
Today, Phil Hernandez announced his campaign for the House of Delegates in the newly created Norfolk-based 94th District.
Hernandez, who lives in Norfolk with his wife, Sara, and 9-month-old daughter, is the Senior Vice President for Policy at a non-profit organization focused on helping Virginia’s families thrive. In this role, Hernandez has advocated for legislation that raised the minimum wage, increased teacher pay and funding for K-12 public schools, and advanced criminal justice reforms.
Norfolk’s 94th District, created in the recent redistricting process, is an open seat. The District emcompasses the northern half of the City, stretching from the Naval Station to East Beach.
“I’m proud to step up and fight for my community at this critical time. Right now, the Youngkin administration is trying to divide us. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen efforts to undermine the health and safety of students and educators in the classroom, cut funding for public schools, and eliminate environmental policies that save families money on their energy bills and prepare our region for a changing climate,” Hernandez said. “I’m running because I have a different vision for our city. I know we can only make Norfolk a better place to live, work, and raise a family if we invest in our people and in our future so that opportunity is within everyone’s reach.”
Hernandez was born and raised in Hampton Roads, attended local public schools, and received a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which made it possible for him to attend William & Mary and become the first in his family to graduate from college. He later served in President Obama’s White House, worked as a civil rights attorney, and became a trusted policy leader in Virginia.
On Monday, Hernandez announced 17 endorsements:
- Andria McClellan, Norfolk City Councilmember
- Ramin Fatehi, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney
- Former Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk)
- Former Delegate Alex Askew (D-Virginia Beach)
- Former Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach)
- Former Delegate Lashrecse Aird (D-Petersburg)
- Dr. James Fedderman, President, Virginia Education Association
- Thomas Calhoun, President, Norfolk Federation of Teachers
- Phillip Hawkins, Jr., Education Association of Norfolk
- Nick Jones, Norfolk Community Leader & Teamsters Local 822
- Gene Magruder, United Steelworkers Local 8888
- Finale Norton, Community Leader & Former Democratic Candidate for Delegate
- Nicole Carry, Community Leader & Former Norfolk City Council Member
- Ryan Jackson, President of Hampton Roads Young Democrats
- Joe W. Dillard, Jr., Community Leader
- Maurice Hawkins, Community Leader
- Paul Rice, Community Leader
“Phil has a clear vision for Norfolk to become a national center of excellence for coastal resilience and clean energy technology,” said Norfolk Councilmember Andria McClellan. “His deep policy experience on these issues—having served in President Obama’s Office of Energy and Climate Change—will shape a better future for Norfolk and our entire region. We need Phil in the General Assembly to secure much needed funding and legislation to help Norfolk address our flooding and embrace the opportunities of offshore wind and clean energy.”
“I know deep in my bones that Phil knows exactly what Norfolk needs in Richmond to fight to protect our values and ideals,” said former Norfolk Delegate Jay Jones. “I’ve seen firsthand that he brings passion and policy expertise to improving the lives of people in Norfolk and the Commonwealth. That’s why I’m exceedingly proud to endorse his campaign for the new 94th District.”
“Phil has long been a champion for public education in Virginia, fighting for higher teacher pay and more resources for public schools,” said Dr. James Fedderman, President of the Virginia Education Association (VEA). “As a Delegate, I know he will continue delivering results for Norfolk’s students, educators, and families, while also fighting against policies that undermine health and safety within Norfolk’s classrooms.”
More information about Hernandez’s campaign, including his launch video, is available at philforvirginia.com.