On Wednesday, Republican Carrie Coyner announced her candidacy for the 62nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegate Riley Ingram (R-Hopewell), who has served the district since 1992, is retiring in January 2020.

Coyner is currently in her second term on the Chesterfield County School Board, serving the Bermuda District since 2011. She is also the owner and founder of Rudy, Coyner & Associates, PLLC, located in Chesterfield County, where she practices law in the fields of real estate, construction, land use, estate matters, and corporate entity structuring.

Previously, the Republican hopeful served on the Board of Management for the Chester YMCA, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for Chesterfield County from 2010 to 2011, the Board of Directors for the Chesterfield County Chamber of Commerce, the Elizabeth Scott Elementary School PTA Board, and as children’s choir director and Sunday school teacher at Chester United Methodist Church.

As a fierce proponent of improving Virginia’s schools, Coyner has become a state-wide advocate for smaller class sizes, more elective choices for students, improving safeguards, wellness programs, and faith-based initiatives. On her campaign website, she states that “service above self” will guide her in the statehouse, while providing “compassionate leadership” in divisive times.

In a statement, Coyner said Delegate Ingram has served with “honesty, integrity, and character” in his legislative career that spans three decades.

“Leadership isn’t about doing what you want, it is about being involved in your community, building relationships with people of all different backgrounds and then taking the knowledge you gain from those experiences and relationships to advocate for and make the best decisions possible for the people who elect you,” she said. “Over the last eight years, I have worked alongside many wonderful people who are committed to our community, and I am always inspired to work harder for our community by their example.

Coyner was recognized as a finalist in 2013 for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Community Leader Award, being awarded by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) as a member of the All-Virginia School Board the same year. In 2017, she earned the Healthy School Hero Award. In 2018, she was given the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award for Healthy Living.

During her tenure on the school board, Coyner has worked to improve schools in Chesterfield County, including upgrading the auditorium sound system, parking lot lighting, and baseball stadium at Thomas Dale High School, and also led efforts to rename Carver College and Career Academy. Moreover, she helped increase the amount of English as a Second Language (ESL) educators in schools, provided more musical instruments for school children, and assisted in planning new construction projects at Enon and Harrowgate Elementary schools.

“My service is driven by a deep love of the people who live here,” Coyner said in her announcement. Nevertheless, she added that “there is still more to be done in our schools and communities.”

“As we look ahead let us remember that there is much more that unites us than divides us,” Coyner stated, reiterating that all individuals need and want a “great education that prepares our children for success…a good job with good wages, and a safe place to live and raise our families.” Regarding her campaign to provide for a better Virginia for all her constituents, she said that “in this time of great division, we have proven that when we work together we can achieve great things.”