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Springfield District school board rep announces candidacy for delegate

Springfield District School Board Representative Laura Jane Cohen is running for Virginia’s newly created 15th House District (via Laura Jane Cohen)

A current Fairfax County School Board member is running for the newly created 15th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Laura Jane Cohen announced her candidacy yesterday — a day after Election Day. Her announcement couched her candidacy as an effort to stand up to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the “far right,” citing a desire to defend public education, reproductive freedom, voting rights and gun violence prevention.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to live, work, and raise my children here and I am excited to begin this journey to represent this amazing community in the Virginia House of Delegates,” Cohen wrote in a statement. “In my time on the School Board I’ve had the opportunity to prove my grit and resolve in protecting and fighting for our families and I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving our community and our Commonwealth.”

Cohen was elected to represent the Springfield District on the school board in 2019, unseating two-term Republican incumbent Elizabeth Schultz, who now serves as assistant superintendent of public instruction in Youngkin’s administration.

A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in political science, she moved to Fairfax County in 2001, when she worked as an advocate on Capitol Hill for national nonprofit disease organizations.

At the time, she was the director of outreach for a national Parkinson’s nonprofit organization, according to Fairfax County Public Schools. She then worked as a preschool teacher after having two kids and later joined FCPS as a long-term substitute. She also ran a small business in Clifton before joining the school board.

While on the school board, Cohen has said she’s faced threats and harassment, particularly when she talks about gun violence prevention and her support for the LGTBQ community. A recall petition filed against her by the Open FCPS Coalition, which opposed school closures due to COVID-19, was dismissed in February.

The new 15th House District is one of three created by the Virginia Redistricting Commission last year and includes Burke and parts of Fairfax. It incorporates portions of the Springfield and Braddock magisterial districts.

No other candidates have formally declared their candidacy for the new district.

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