Meet the candidates vying for VA-10 Congressional district nomination

Northern Virginia voters will be faced with a critical choice on June 12 when the Democratic Party primary election for Congressional District VA-10 will be held to determine the party’s candidate in the November 6 general election against Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock.

Here are candidate statements for all six Democratic candidates, in alphabetical order.

In addition, each week until the primary election, The Blue View will ask the candidates to respond to a key question on an important issue. We will publish the responses on a weekly basis as separate stories.

JULIA BIGGINS

  Julia Biggins

I am an infectious disease scientist running for Congress to unseat Barbara Comstock and to fight for science. I have a PHD from Baylor College of Medicine where I wrote my dissertation on HIV transmission between cells.

I led a team at USAMRIID developing vaccines and therapies for the Ebola virus. Our work was used to protect U.S. troops and directly treat individuals infected during the 2014 west Africa outbreak.

I have spent nearly 20 years studying some of the world’s most dangerous and deadly pathogens, but I have never seen a disease as dangerous as the one spreading through the White House and this Congress. A professional political class of lawyers, lobbyists, and political operatives have taken hold of our politics. They are dismissive of facts, fearful of transparency, and have been more interested in saying the right thing than doing the right thing.

A majority of our elected officials don’t believe in the scientific consensus that climate change is real and man-made. And those who do believe in the scientific consensus are more interested in playing politics than finding real solutions like investing into mass transit and green energy to reduce our carbon footprint.

A recent poll found a majority of Americans now support a single payer healthcare system, but our elected officials continue to put people’s lives and livelihoods at risk in exchange for donations from the likes of Blue Cross.

I am running because we can no longer afford to put politics before principles, rhetoric before fact. Not only am I the candidate who can draw the starkest contrast to Barbara Comstock; I am the candidate best qualified to always fight for evidence-based progressive solutions. And if elected, I will be the first woman scientist to ever sit in the halls of Congress.  See more on candidate Biggins.

ALISON FRIEDMAN

Alison Friedman

 

Alison Friedman is a former senior Obama Administration State Department official with a proven record of taking on big problems and delivering results. Throughout her career, Alison has authored landmark legislation to combat human trafficking, fought to protect voting rights, and helped to advance civil rights.

In Congress, Alison will use her experience to get real results for Virginians. She’ll work to keep schools safe from gun violence, expand access to health care, protect federal workers and improve our infrastructure. She’ll stand up to Donald Trump, the NRA and big special interests.

Alison and her daughter, Olivia, live in McLean.  See more on candidate Friedman.

 

DAN HELMER

Dan Helmer

Dan Helmer is a West Point graduate, Rhodes scholar, combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and business strategist. His wife, Karen, is a public school teacher, and they have two sons, Harris and Aaron.

After spending over a decade on active duty, the Helmer family decided to settle down in Fairfax and have been active in the community since. Dan remains in the Army Reserves.

The grandson of refugees and son of immigrants, Dan has always felt a duty to give back to the country that welcomed his family. He knows firsthand the opportunities that the U.S. offers, and is committed to ensuring that the same American dream that was available to him is available to everyone – no matter the color of our skin, the God we worship, where we were born, or whom we love.

As a veteran who carried an assault rifle in combat – and as the husband of a public school teacher – Dan believes that weapons of war he carried in Iraq have no place on our streets, or in our schools. He will fight tirelessly to implement common sense gun safety measures that will keep our children safe.

Dan has seen firsthand the consequences of political cowardice. He has lost friends in Iraq to a war that could have been avoided. Then, like now, Congress would not stand up to the president. In Congress, Dan will put the voters first and have the courage to speak out when he sees something wrong.

As a candidate with a record of putting country over party, service over self, and people over politics, Dan brings a fresh perspective to this race. We need a new generation of leaders from outside politics who are devoted to serving the people and improving lives, not focused on their political survival. See more on candidate Helmer.

PAUL PELLETIER

As a federal prosecutor for 27 years, I  spent my entire public service career holding powerful people accountable for their wrongdoing. It didn’t matter to me whether they worked on Wall Street or in the halls of Congress – I never backed down from a righteous fight. When I’m in Congress I’ll apply the same determination to Donald Trump and Republicans

Paul Pelletier / Photo by Matt Roth

for their dangerous policies.

At DOJ, I created the nationwide Health Care Fraud Strike Forces that drives down health care costs, saving taxpayers more than $10 billion through innovative fraud prevention. I know how to reduce healthcare/drug costs and prevent fraud. As a prosecutor, I also removed guns from our streets. I know the gun laws that work and those that don’t. I’ll fight to enact common sense gun safety laws for all Americans, especially our children.

I am a father of two, avid runner, youth hockey coach and 15+ year resident of Northern Virginia. As a former Advisory Board member of Camp Fiesta, I’ve supported this free camp for children with cancer for 20 years. As a long-time counselor, I’ve been honored to mentor these kids with the same passion I brought to public service. I’ve been a mentor to at-risk youth as a “Big Brothers” volunteer and remain a life-coach for my “little brother” Jean for 25 years. 

We need true public servants in Congress. Over my three-decade public service career, I sought to faithfully live my oath. That’s what I’ll do every day representing the people of Virginia 10. My record of speaking the truth, fighting for what’s right and getting things done with passion and courage is absent from Congress. Virginia 10 deserves someone who will fight for them 100% of the time. I’ve spent a career doing just that. See more on candidate Pelletier.

LINDSEY DAVIS STOVER

Lindsey Davis Stover

Lindsey Davis Stover is a small business owner and former Obama Administration official. She served as a chief of staff on Capitol Hill, as well as a senior advisor in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

She brings over 12 years of federal legislative experience to the table, as well as a firsthand understanding of the impact of the Trump Administration’s policies. Lindsey went to work at age 14 to help her family pay bills and save for her to attend college. Between student loans and working three jobs, she put herself through college and graduate school. 

Lindsey then served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, created a STEM program for high school girls, and completed a second master’s program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. After serving on Capitol Hill and in the Obama Administration, Lindsey is now a small business owner in McLean, VA, where she lives with her husband, Jeremey, and their two daughters, Emery (8) and Audrey (6). They coach soccer and Little League and teach Sunday School at Trinity United Methodist Church. 

Lindsey stands out of the primary field for two reasons: First, she is the only candidate in the primary with extensive federal legislative experience. In the Trump era, we need a strong Congress to check a reckless president. With significant experience navigating Congress and Washington, Lindsey is uniquely positioned to do that. Second, she knows firsthand the impact of policies like the tax bill. As someone who is still paying off over $81,000 of student debt, she is well-positioned to talk about the impact of the Trump/Comstock agenda on middle-class families – and to advocate for Virginians of varying backgrounds. See more on candidate Stover.

JENNIFER WEXTON

I have been proud to serve the people of Northern Virginia for almost two decades, as a prosecutor, a lawyer and advocate for abused and neglected children, a special justice for mental health commitment hearings, and as a state senator.  I was elected to the Virginia Senate in a January 2014 special election, where I earned over 53 percent of the vote in a

Jennifer Wexton

three-way race, and was re-elected in 2015 with more than 56 percent of the vote and a 13-point margin of victory.  I am the only candidate with a record of winning tough campaigns inside the 10th Congressional District and traditionally outperforming fellow Democrats. 

In the state senate, I have been a champion for progressive issues like expanding Medicaid, implementing common sense gun safety reforms like universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, and protecting our environment. I have also worked on issues important to Virginia families like equal pay for equal work, ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, and establishing Fair Housing protections for LGBTQ Virginians.
 
Championing these progressive issues, however, hasn’t stopped me from reaching across the aisle and working with Republicans to get things done. I’ve passed over forty pieces of bipartisan legislation, including bills that help address the heroin and opioid crisis, make our kids safer in daycares and online, stem the school to prison pipeline by providing principals with alternatives to suspension, and give critical resources to victims of domestic violence.

I have shown that I have what it takes to run and win tough elections in Northern Virginia, and that I can govern and be a champion for progressive values once I get there. That’s why I’ve been endorsed by Governor Northam, Congressman Connolly, and over 60 other elected leaders all across Virginia. See more on candidate Wexton


 

Compiled by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, a member of the Dranesville District Democratic  Committee and Virginia Democracy Forward. A former columnist and recipe editor for The Washington Post, she now writes a weekly column for mylittlebird.com.

 

See VA-10 primary candidates rewrite Republican tax reform here.

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