Waldo Jaquith from Charlottesville, VA, United States via Wikimedia Commons

Delegate Danica Roem (D-Manassas) is running for Senate District 30, a newly created district that slightly favors Democrats in the Virginia Public Access Project ranking. In an announcement video, Roem, who is transgender, highlighted Republican-led legislation on LGBTQ issues.

“Across the country, we’re seeing discriminatory politicians attack LGBTQ kids instead of serving their constitutents. Now is the time to push back, to be vulnerable enough to be visible. To show those kids they have a friend in the halls of power, who actually helps people instead of hurts them,” Roem said.

Roem is a former journalist who was elected to House of Delegates District 13 in 2017, becoming the first openly transgender state legislator in the U.S. Roem has prioritized traffic issues on Route 28 and earned the nickname “the lunch lady” with legislation focused on addressing inequitable access to school meals. Roem has been successful both during sessions when Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and governorship, and during the recent 2022 session, when Governor Glenn Youngkin signed nine of Roem’s bills. Roem’s book Burn the Page hit bookstores at the end of April.

There are no incumbents in Senate District 30, and with the election over a year away, no primaries have been held yet. So far, the only other candidate for the district is Republican Ian Lovejoy, who served two terms on the Manassas City Council, and in 2019 challenged then-Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas). Lovejoy lost, 46.5 percent to Carter’s 53.3 percent.

Lovejoy announced candidacy for SD 30 in mid-March, and at the end of April launched a listening tour with monthly stops at locations through the district.

2022 General Assembly politics were marked by Republican control of the House of Delegates, and a narrow 21-19 Democratic majority in the Senate. That meant that, for Democrats, it was critical to kill controversial legislation in committee before making it to the floor of the Senate, where one moderate could deliver a tie to Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, a Republican. Senate Education and Health Chair Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) took the lead on killing Republican bills on both COVID-19 and education policy; Lucas is an early supporter of Roem for Senate.

Lovejoy’s website lists priorities including education, traffic, jobs, and public safety. He also criticized the deadlock in the General Assembly.

“The State Senate is broken. Critical work to move our Commonwealth forward remains undone – stonewalled by blind partisanship,” Lovejoy said in the March announcement. “We need action – not obstruction – in the Senate. Why? Because Virginia can’t wait.”

This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.