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Four candidates enter crowded House of Delegates race in Reston

(Updated at 3:35 p.m. on 2/24/2023) Four candidates have officially entered the now-crowded race for the House of Delegates seat in District 7, as longtime legislator Ken Plum plans to retire this year.

Plum, a Democrat, announced that he will not seek reelection after more than four decades in office.

Paul Berry, Shyamali Roy Hauth, Mary Barthelson, and John Farrell will compete in the June 20 Democratic Primary. No Republican candidates has come forward yet.

Berry, a Fairfax County Public Schools teacher who works in data science and previously was a budget and policy advisor to Gov. Ralph Northam, says his top priorities are education, the environment and creating jobs.

“The number one challenge is the cost of living and attainable housing,” Berry’s campaign said. “Paul believes that discussing either separately creates an artificial divide along socioeconomic categories when we need to be addressing economic inequality and the way people work and live in the same space in the post-Covid economy in a holistic manner.”

Hauth is an 10-year Air Force veteran and community organizer who worked with Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn up until this week. She is also mother, former educator and community organizer who helped Virginia become a state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, according to a release.

She told FFXnow that her top priorities are mental health care, climate change and attainable housing that people can afford.

“There is a great deal of intersectionality on these issues with my other priorities of standing up for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, addressing gun violence, public safety, and ensuring we continue to have a top quality public education system,” Hauth said.

Barthelson, a systems engineer at SAIC who squared off against Plum in the 2021 Democratic primary. She received nearly 23% of the vote as the lone challenger against Plum.

“I am committed to using my engineering knowledge and expertise to ensure that Virginia’s laws keep pace with the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, including areas such as green energy and data privacy,” Bartelson wrote in a statement. “In a time where technology has an increasingly significant impact on our daily lives, it is imperative to have legislators who possess a deep understanding of the associated policies and are not overly reliant on lobbyists.”

Her top priorities are housing, mental health and technology.

Reston Patch first reported that Farrell has filed his candidacy.

Farrell sits on Reston Association’s Board of Directors, where he’s currently seeking another term. He is president of the Colonial Oaks Homeowners Association. Professionally, he is an attorney at McCandlish and Lillard.

As he told Patch, Farrell says that, if elected to the General Assembly, his first bill would be to obtain a city charter for Reston.

“I want home rule for Reston,” he told FFXnow.

Early voting for the primary begins on May 6. Voters must register by May 29 to take part in the primary. The absentee ballot deadline is June 9.

In the Nov. 7 elections, Fairfax County voters will determine new representatives for the Virginia House of Delegates, State Senate, Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Board of Supervisors, and school board.

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