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Local School Board member Stella Pekarsky will run for state senate’s new 36th District

Stella Pekarsky is running for state senate in the 36th District (courtesy Stella Pekarsky for Senate)

Fairfax County School Board member Stella Pekarsky is running for Virginia’s State Senate in the redrawn 36th District, potentially challenging long-time senator George Barker.

The one-term Sully District representative announced her candidacy earlier today, saying she’s running to “stand up” to Governor Glenn Youngkin.

We are at a critical turning point as a Commonwealth where the lived experiences of our elected officials matter more than ever. The new 36th district deserves a Senator who has deep roots in the community with a long record of serving its residents and the bold energy it takes to stand up to Governor Youngkin’s extreme policies. As Chair of the School Board, I led the charge when we successfully sued Youngkin to protect our children against anti-science Executive overreach just days after he was sworn into office. I am focused on the future prosperity of the 36th district and its residents. It is critical that we protect abortion access, high quality public education, expanded voting rights, champion climate change solutions, and stand up for our progressive values. I look forward to talking with my neighbors in the weeks and months ahead as I seek to represent them in Richmond.

Pekarsky was first elected to the school board in 2019, defeating the Republican incumbent Tom Wilson. She served as the school board chair last year and is a former public school teacher.

She also runs a local air charter company based in Manassas with her husband. She is also a first-generation immigrant, according to a press release.

The announcement notes that during her time on the school board, Pekarsky prioritized “closing opportunity gaps, increasing teacher and staff pay, improving title IX training for students, and requiring research-based literacy instruction.”

Last month, Pekarsky told FFXnow that she would make a decision in January regarding whether she will run for reelection to the school board.

This announcement now takes her out of the running for the Sully District seat, which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot with the school board’s 11 other seats. No candidates have come forward for the position yet.

However, with Pekarsky seeking the Democratic nomination for state senate in the 36th District, that could put her up against a long-time incumbent in the primary.

Now in his fourth term, George Barker has represented the 39th Senate District since being first elected in 2007.

With redistricting, though, only about 6% of his former constituents are in the newly redrawn 36th District, where Barker resides and would potentially run for re-election. The district covers Chantilly, Clifton, Fair Oaks and Centreville right up to the Prince William County line.

Most of Barker’s former constituents are scattered across several other districts, including the 33rd District, the 34th District, the 35th District, and the 29th District, which is now mainly centered in Prince William County.

FFXnow has reached out to Barker about his intentions for the 2023 election several times but has yet to hear back as of publication, making Pekarsky the only confirmed candidate at the moment.

Photo via StellaPekarsky.com

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