With Del. Mark Keam (D-HD35)’s resignation a few weeks ago to go work in the Biden administration, there’s going to be a special election to fill the seat on January 10, 2023. But first, we’ve got the Democratic nominating caucus this coming week (for more details, see here), with two candidates having filed for this overwhelmingly “blue” seat in the Vienna/Tysons area of Fairfax County: 1) “BRAWS” (“Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters”) Founder Holly Seibold and 2) Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch.
So with this in mind, on September 25, I emailed both Democratic candidates with a Blue Virginia questionnaire, asking if they could get it back to me by today if possible, since early voting starts this coming Tuesday at 10 am and the caucus is next Saturday, October 8 from 10 am to 4 pm (at the Kilmer Center, Oakton Elementary School and the Patrick Henry Library). The first candidate to respond was Holly Seibold (thanks!); see below for her answers (and, of course, I’ll post Karl Frisch’s responses when I receive them).
1. What would you most like Blue Virginia readers to know about who you are, what your qualifications are for delegate, and what motivated you to seek public office?
“I am a nonprofit leader, who has delivered 4 million+ menstrual supplies to women and girls in crisis, a former teacher and union member at Vienna Elementary School, and a mother to two Fairfax County Public School kids.
As an ordinary citizen, I have extensive experience working with legislators on both sides of the aisle in Richmond to pass bills that have helped millions of people in Virginia. These bills include helping incarcerated folks live with dignity, ensuring students don’t have barriers to their education, and eliminating the tampon tax once and for all, removing this archaic penalty for having a period.
The recent Dobbs Supreme Court ruling, Governor Youngkin’s attacks on abortion rights, and his attacks on Trans kids, have all motivated me to bring my experience fighting for women and children in crisis to Richmond to fight for our rights and expand the blue wall to the House of Delegates to protect our progress.”
2. Ideologically speaking, how would you describe yourself – “moderate,” “progressive,” “liberal,” other?
“I’m a progressive who gets things done. I don’t just talk about making progressive change, I do it and I have the track record to back it up.”
3. If elected, in what ways – if any – would your representation of the district be different than/the same as Del. Mark Keam’s?
“I’ve partnered with Mark Keam since 2016 to educate the community on serious issues surrounding lack of access to menstrual products. We’ve spoken at conferences together and worked together to pass multiple pieces of legislation in Richmond.
I plan to carry on Del. Keam’s legacy of work to ensure equity in our public policy, and leverage my unique background as an activist and nonprofit leader to approach this work from a new perspective.”
4. The Virginia General Assembly is officially part-time, yet most legislators are busy throughout the year serving their constituents, attending regular and special sessions, etc. Do you believe the job of delegate should officially and/or unofficially be more of a full-time job or continue with the “part-time citizen legislator” model?
“I believe that the part-time legislator model, along with the loose campaign finance restrictions in Virginia, severely advantages wealthy individuals to run for office and be successful in their campaigns. A single mom who has to work full time would provide a unique, and much-needed perspective to the Virginia General Assembly, but our part-time, low-pay legislator model essentially prohibits people like her from running and being successful in Virginia.”
5. What would be your top issue priorities to work (and lead) on if you’re elected as delegate?
“My top priority will be protecting abortion rights from Governor Youngkin and extremist Republicans and expanding resources to women and children in crisis to live with dignity. As a mother to two kids in our public schools, I will work to protect our progress on gun reform from Republicans and keep pushing to ban assault weapons. Climate change is a crisis we must address at all levels of government as well.”
6. How do you view the current Republican Party? And on a related note, if elected, would you look more to work with Republicans in the House of Delegates or to fight for progressive values and to defeat Republicans at the ballot box?
“As the only lifelong pro-choice Democrat in this race, I will always stand up and I will never waiver on fighting for our values. The modern Republican Party is a party that has abandoned democracy and embraced oppression to attack the rights of women, people of color, and other minority groups. I will always work with Republicans on issues we can work together on, as I have before. But I will never lose sight of our core values as Democrats and Americans in pursuit of bipartisanship, and I will work hard to defeat the GOP at the ballot box and retake the House of Delegates.”
7. Are there any Virginia elected officials, past or present, who you view as role models? Who do you view as the worst current Virginia elected officials?
“As a constituent of his, I have always appreciated Del. Keam’s dedication and commitment to our community. I hope to carry on this legacy of good governance. I also see former Virginia Senator Emilie Miller as an incredible role model for women in public office. A lifelong fighter for Virginia women, Senator Miller was an incredible legislator who continues to use her position as a trailblazer to open the path behind her for more women to ascend to positions of power.
The worst current Virginia elected official in my opinion is Governor Youngkin. I do not respect anyone who uses their position of power to attack the rights of minority groups that already face discrimination, just to score cheap political points. Governor Youngkin’s approach to attack Women and Trans kids runs counter to every single one of my core values.”
8. For Democratic voters looking to choose a nominee on October 8th, what would you tell them? Specifically, why should a Democratic voter choose YOU and not your Democratic competitor(s)?
“As I said before, I am the only lifelong pro-choice Democrat in this race. I am a champion for women and children, a longtime resident of this district, and a committed community member. Even as a regular citizen, I have the experience of getting things done in Richmond, and I have a record of championing causes that I am proud of. I come from this community, and I will leverage my record of accomplishments to fight for this community as Delegate.”
9. If you had been in the House of Delegates in 2020-2021, would you have voted for or against: a) the Redistricting Amendment; b) the Virginia Clean Economy Act; c) the Virginia Values Act; d) an assault weapons ban; e) campaign finance reform, including setting limits on donations from individuals, corporations and/or from state-regulated-monopoly utility Dominion Energy; f) increasing the progressivity of Virginia’s tax code; g) criminal justice legislation such as repealing the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, etc.
“A. Yes B. Yes C. Yes D. Yes E. Yes F. Yes G. Yes”
10. Is there anything else you’d like Democratic voters and Blue Virginia readers to know?