While Virginia's House of Delegates 86th District has historically been represented by a Republican in Richmond, two Democrats believe they have a shot at unseating six-term Del. Tom Rust (R) this year.
Jennifer Boysko, a former aide to Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), will face defense contractor Herb Kemp in a June 11 primary.
Boysko said she believes the social conservatives leading the Republican ticket this year will drive many Fairfax County voters away from the party.
“We need to be working on kitchen table issues,” she said. “If they want to keep talking about closing clinics … then people like me, regular moms and dads who just want to have a good quality of life, won’t stand for it.”
Kemp, a retired Air Force colonel and defense contractor executive, said he wants to take a “problem-solving approach” to state governance.
“[Voters] are tired of the social wars and they would love to see their government more focused on solving problems,” he said.
Kemp said he is particularly passionate about voting rights. He opposes the voter ID laws that the General Assembly passed this year and wants to expand early voting options.
“We should make it easier to vote ahead of the election without having an excuse,” he said.
Boysko’s top priorities include improving funding for core government services, such as education and mental health services.
Because of her experience in Foust’s office, Boysko said, “I understand what the problems are, what the challenges are in the community. I see the results of when there isn’t enough funding for a program.”
For example, insufficient state funding for the Community Services Boards throughout the state is affecting the agencies’ ability to provide emergency mental health services, she said.
Kemp is also interested in reviewing the way school funding is distributed in the state because the formula now favors smaller, more rural school districts over the large Northern Virginia districts.
Linking education with job growth, Kemp also said the state needs to ensure that its high schools and community colleges, in particular, are preparing students for the jobs available here.
“I think it’s incumbent on us to ensure that what we’re teaching in our schools … closely relates to the needs of employers in the state,” he said.
Boysko was leading Kemp in fundraising, as of the most recent reporting period, March 31. Boysko raised more than $80,000 as of March 31, about double what Kemp had raised at that point.
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