When I announced for elected office in 1972 I would never have thought it would be a half century later before I would help elect the person who would follow me. I lost several elections in the beginning of my pursuit of a seat in the House of Delegates but was successful in all elections since 1982. In total I ran in 29 elections and was successful in 26 of them. My total 44 years of service is the second longest in the 404 year history of the House of Delegates.
Leading to my retirement I did not feel it appropriate that I singularly attempt to pick my successor. After my retirement announcement a total of seven people spoke to me about their interest in running for the seat I was vacating. I tried to be encouraging but not committal to all. Four of those people are now running in a primary for the Democratic nomination to run in the general election in November to succeed me. The primary election early voting is now underway, and the primary election day is June 20. I encourage everyone to participate.
Over the past several decades I have published and made available to voters in the district a voter guide stating the persons for whom I intended to vote. Each election cycle numerous voters asked when my voter guide would be available as they used it to determine how to vote. Not surprisingly, over the past months voters have asked me how I plan to vote in the primary.
After fully considering all the candidates, I have decided to vote in the Democratic primary election on June 20 for Karen Keys-Gamarra. She reflects the progressive Democratic values I have always represented and has the depth of experience in public service that will enable her to go to work immediately. I encourage you to get to know her better at her website, www.karenkeysgamarra.com.
The outcome of the election is critically important as the winner of the primary is likely to win the general election. The Republican Governor will be in office for two more years, and Republicans are working hard to keep a majority in the House of Delegates and gain a majority in the Senate. We need members of the General Assembly who have experience to stand up to him and the Republicans in the legislature on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, investing in our schools, protecting our environment, passing common sense laws to end gun violence, protecting voting rights for all persons, and other critical issues. I have found Karen Keys-Gamarra to have the real solid experience needed to get to work immediately on the issues I and the members of this district have expressed support for during my tenure! I hope you will join me in voting for her in the primary and the general election.