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Supreme Court (via SCOTUS)

(Updated at 7:30 p.m.) The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade today (Friday) in a landmark decision that will effectively ban abortion in more than a dozen states.

Abortion remains legal in Virginia, which doesn’t have so-called “trigger laws” that would go into effect with the court’s ruling.

However, shortly after the news broke this morning, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) told The Washington Post that he will seek to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Youngkin put out a statement in response to the decision:

The Supreme Court of the United States has rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states. I’m proud to be a pro-life Governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life. The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions. We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life. That’s why I’ve asked Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, Senator Steve Newman, Delegate Kathy Byron and Delegate Margaret Ransone to join us in an effort to bring together legislators and advocates from across the Commonwealth on this issue to find areas where we can agree and chart the most successful path forward. I’ve asked them to do the important work needed and be prepared to introduce legislation when the General Assembly returns in January.

The decision will also not immediately impact the legality of abortion in neighboring D.C. and Maryland.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, the county’s top prosecutor, stated that he will never prosecute women for having an abortion, even if the state laws change, a sentiment he previously shared in a New York Times op-ed.

Most of Fairfax County’s representatives expressed outrage, describing the ruling as a rollback on human rights and a “dark moment.”

President Joe Biden, who previously said he’d look to shore up abortion rights, is expected to deliver remarks on the decision at 12:30 p.m.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement that he’s “deeply concerned about the future of women’s rights and healthcare in our nation” but noted that the Supreme Court ruling won’t immediately affect abortion access in Virginia. Read More

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The exterior of the NRA building in Fairfax (via Google Maps)

Following yesterday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas, Fairfax Democrats plan to host a vigil tonight (Wednesday) at the National Rifle Association’s building in Fairfax.

“Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook, little children and teachers are mass murdered in their classrooms,” the Fairfax County Democratic Committee’s event site reads. “Another young adult male with easy access to assault weapons matches the suburban teen who murdered with racist rage in Buffalo. Take action now. Join us tonight.”

A gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, reviving the debate over how to address gun violence across the country.

In Fairfax County, the shooting prompted a school board member to advocate for adding security vestibules at schools. In Arlington County, police stepped up security at schools today in light of the shooting.

The event page encourages attendees to bring candles. It says the vigil will be held at 11250 Waples Mill Road from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Photo via Google Maps

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Fox News discusses protests at Supreme Court justices’ homes (via Gov. Glenn Youngkin/Twitter)

(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has some thoughts on how Fairfax County should handle abortion-related protests outside Supreme Court justices’ homes.

In a letter sent to the Board of Supervisors and County Executive Bryan Hill yesterday (Wednesday), the governor suggested that the Fairfax County Police Department “establish an expanded security perimeter” and limit “unauthorized vehicle and pedestrian access” around the homes of Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Amy Coney Barrett, who all live in the county.

“This request is based on credible and specific information received about upcoming activities planned at or involving the homes of the Justices in Fairfax County,” Youngkin wrote in the letter, which was posted online by Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. “…Establishing a perimeter will ensure both the safety of the Justices, their neighbors and the demonstrators.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay resoundly rejected Youngkin’s proposal, arguing that it would amount to “a checkpoint that federal courts have held violates the Fourth Amendment.”

He said it would also raise concerns related to the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of speech and assembly, stating that the county’s “well-trained, sophisticated” police department “stands ready as always to take necessary action, if needed, to protect public safety.”

“My focus is on public safety and protecting constitutional rights of our citizens,” McKay said in a tweet sharing his letter to Youngkin. “I know the well-trained FCPD professionals can ensure both.”

The exchange came two days after abortion-rights advocates organized by the group ShutDown DC marched to Alito’s house in Fort Hunt in protest of his leaked draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that has been used to protect access to abortion for nearly 50 years. Read More

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Jim Myles (via Jim Myles for Congress)

Republicans have chosen a former U.S. judge to take on incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District this fall.

Jim Myles received the party’s nomination on Saturday (May 7) following a four-round canvass that started with five candidates. He won with 959 votes: 59% of the vote.

“I’ve certainly reached out individually to each of the other candidates to thank them,” Myles said. “I was very fortunate to win, and I certainly respected all of them.”

Myles, 62, thanked his family, friends, and supporters, noting that people stood in the rain with signs during the canvass.

Energized by Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial win in November, Myles decided to seek office after retiring as a federal judge in December after three decades in the public sector. Friends and neighbors encouraged him to pursue the seat.

“Jim Myles has spent his entire life in public service, from defending the nation in the Air Force to adjudicating cases as an administrative law judge,” Mike Ginsberg, the GOP’s 11th District Committee chairman, said in a statement. “Now he is stepping up to serve again at a critical time in our nation’s and district’s history.

Ginsberg said Myles is uniquely positioned to speak to key issues at a time of rising inflation and economic insecurity.

“As a parent of a Fairfax County Public School student, he understands the need for quality schools focusing on education, not ideological indoctrination,” Ginsberg said.

Myles said his top concerns include inflation, crime and prosecutorial policies that he views as overly lenient, energy independence, drugs and immigration.

“I think there’s just a fear that the radical left has kind of taken over,” he said. “I think a lot of people are really scared about inflation, crime, the border, our schools. Everything is just getting really difficult.”

He said Congress should hold hearings on remote learning during the pandemic to determine how isolation and face mask requirements affected students.

“The effect was just very devastating for children,” he said. “We could conduct hearings on that and examine exactly what happened to make sure that doesn’t happen again — because students suffered.”

Myles’s past public-sector experience includes working at the Social Security Administration for roughly 20 years and as a U.S. judge for over a decade.

He also had a fellowship in 2009, working as a Republican staffer on the House Ways and Means’ Social Security subcommittee. Myles said the experience helped him show just how difficult it is to enact legislation.

His opponent, incumbent Gerry Connolly, has represented the 11th District in Congress for 13 years and chairs the government operations subcommittee for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Connolly had $3.7 million in cash as of the last quarterly filing.

Myles’s campaign had nearly $12,000 as of mid-April, mostly consisting of donations he made. He said the GOP is now unified and has already seen an outpouring of support.

Photo via Jim Myles for Congress/Facebook

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Abortion rights protestors gather at Hollin Hall Shopping Center in Fort Hunt before marching to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s home (via @ShutDownDC/Twitter)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 5/12/2022) The high-stakes battle over abortion access reached a residential neighborhood in Fort Hunt last night (Monday) when protestors marched on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house.

Drawing about 100 participants, the demonstration was organized by the grassroots protest group ShutDown DC in response to Alito’s draft opinion indicating that the court will overturn its pivotal 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Live video of the protest shows marchers convening at the Hollin Hall Shopping Center on Fort Hunt Road before working their way through neighborhood streets to Alito’s residence. There, they lit candles in the street and delivered speeches for about 15 minutes before returning to the shopping center.

“My body, my choice!” protestors chanted, among other slogans. At one point, they invited residents who came outside to film the passing march to join them, though the onlookers didn’t appear to take them up on the offer.

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that its officers responded to the gathering but described the demonstrations as peaceful.

“Officers remained on scene to ensure the safety of the participants, our community members and the roadways until the crowd dispersed on their own,” the FCPD said. “No arrests were made.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said last night that his office coordinated with Fairfax County and Virginia State police, as well as federal authorities, to monitor the protest.

“Virginia State Police will assist federal and local law enforcement as needed to ensure the safety of our citizens, including Supreme Court Justices, who call Virginia home,” Youngkin said on Twitter.

The protest at Alito’s house was one of several abortion-rights demonstrations that have popped up across the D.C. area since Politico published the leaked draft opinion on May 2. A ruling in the case, which involves a challenge to a ban on abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi, is expected to be finalized this summer.

Students at 11 high schools in Fairfax County rallied yesterday to express their support for abortion as a right and urge state and federal legislators to protect access to the medical procedure.

Protestors have also shown up at the residences of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who both live in Montgomery County, as well as Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who lives in Pimmit Hills. The protests don’t appear to have reached Justice Clarence Thomas in Fairfax Station.

The protests led the Senate to pass legislation yesterday enhancing security at Supreme Court justices’ homes, though the bill still needs to be considered by the House.

The Virginia Republican Party condemned the protests as “an abhorrent and vile affront to the processes of the highest court.”

“Intimidation of the Justices and the threat of violence against them and their families has no place in our Commonwealth or our country,” Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson said in a statement. “Targeting the home of a Justice is wrong, and these protestors should be ashamed of their actions.”

The Democratic Party of Virginia expressed support for yesterday’s student protests but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Alito demonstration.

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Rep. Don Beyer (left) faces challenger Victoria Virasingh in the Democratic primary (via Office of Rep. Don Beyer, Victoria Virasingh/Facebook)

(Updated at 11:20 a.m. on 5/6/2022) Fairfax County will kick off early voting for the June 21 Democratic primary tomorrow (Friday), but with only one race on the ballot, turnout will likely be muted.

Incumbent Don Beyer faces political newcomer Victoria Virasingh in the 8th Congressional District. It will be the county’s first primary under new district maps drawn and approved by the Virginia Supreme Court last December.

The new 8th district covers eastern Fairfax County from McLean to Mason Neck, including Falls Church, Bailey’s Crossroads, Annandale, Rose Hill, and much of the Mount Vernon magisterial district. It also represents Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

“Let’s get out there and vote to shape a future that works for all of us,” Virasingh said yesterday (Wednesday) on Twitter.

In-person early voting will initially be limited to the Fairfax County Government Center, but additional sites will open on June 11 at the Franconia, Mason, McLean, and Mount Vernon governmental centers as well as Thomas Jefferson Library.

Absentee ballots, which are available to all registered voters in the district, will start arriving in the mail after Friday, according to the Fairfax County Office of Elections.

Early voting ends June 18.

The Republican Party will select its nominees for the 8th district at a convention on May 21. There are five candidates in the running: Monica Carpio, Jeff Jordan, Heerak Christian Kim, Karina Lipsman, and Kezia Tunnell.

Along with the Democratic and Republican nominees, independent Teddy Fikre is vying for the Democrats’ 8th district seat in the November general election.

Meanwhile, Republicans will hold a canvass tomorrow (Saturday) in Fair Lakes to determine the party’s nominee to challenge Rep. Gerry Connolly for the 11th district, which spans Great Falls to Lorton and includes Fairfax, Herndon, Merrifield, Reston, Tysons, and Vienna. Candidates include Manga Anantatmula, Joseph Babb, Barbara Banks, Matthew Chappell and James Myles.

Rep. Don Beyer

The former lieutenant governor of Virginia is seeking to land his fifth term in Congress.

“This year I worked harder than ever to help my constituents, opening thousands of constituent cases with federal agencies on behalf of Northern Virginians and returning millions of dollars to VA-8 taxpayers,” Beyer said in a January statement when announcing his reelection campaign.

He highlighted his involvement with COVID-19 relief legislation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and a House bill to incentivize hate crime reporting that was signed into law in March.

“We have much more work to do in the year ahead and beyond, starting with comprehensive action on climate in the Build Back Better Act, which I helped draft as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee,” he said in the statement.

Victoria Virasingh

According to a statement from her campaign, top priorities for Virasingh, who announced her campaign in July, include:

  • Raising the federal minimum wage to $18
  • Advancing women’s issues such as robust reproductive healthcare, affordable childcare and equitable pay
  • Tackling data privacy and protection
  • Providing federal tax credits to build homes in underserved communities, increasing support for the low-income housing tax credit, and addressing restrictive land use and zoning policies
  • Expanding access to affordable healthcare by passing Medicare for All

She’s emphasizing outreach to communities that have historically been left out of the political process as well as her volunteer work, which includes serving as outreach vice chair for the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

The Arlingtonian is seeking to try new ways to address enduring problems and notes her passion for climate action, voting rights protection and campaign finance reform.

Photo via Victoria Virasingh/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Caliburger is among the retailers coming to The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Filler-Corn Ousted as House Minority Leader — Tasked with trying to retake a majority in 2023 — or this year, pending the outcome of a court case — the Virginia House Democratic Caucus removed former Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn as their leader in a secret ballot vote yesterday (Wednesday). Filler-Corn, who represents part of Fairfax County as the 41st District delegate, was the first woman and first Jewish person to serve as speaker in the chamber’s 400-year history. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Tysons Housing Project Lands Big Bucks — On Tuesday (May 3), officials from Fairfax County, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, and more will announce a $55 million investment in the Dominion Square West project. The county says the funds will allow APAH to construct two planned buildings, instead of just the one that has been approved, accelerating the delivery of over 500 units of affordable housing. [Fairfax County HCD]

Herndon Police on Lookout for Missing Teen — “Town of Herndon Police are asking the public’s help in locating a runaway teenager, according to a post on the department’s office Twitter account. Bryan Escalante Gomez, 17, was last seen by his family at 7:45 p.m., on Sunday.” [Patch]

FCPS Updates Covid Isolation Policy — “In a message to families Wednesday, Fairfax County Public Schools said that starting May 1, students who test positive can return to in-person classes, activities and sporting events after at least five days of isolation. Previously, 10 days of isolation were required.” [WTOP]

Vienna Lowers Tax Rate — “The Vienna Town Council voted [on Monday, April 25] to reduce the Town’s property tax rate by 1.75 cents to 20.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The new rate is .75 cents lower than the one cent reduction in the proposed FY2023 budget presented by the Town Manager in March.” [Town of Vienna]

Huntington Gets New Latino Supermarket — “There’s a new grocery store in the area. Juana Supermarket officially opened its doors on Saturday (April 23). The new store replaced the La Latina Market at 5838 N. King’s Highway in the Huntington Station Shopping Center.” [ALXnow]

Summer Music Series Schedule Announced — “Fairfax County Park Authority’s Summer Entertainment Series is back! This year the Summer Entertainment Series features more shows at 18 locations, a new global dance and music series Wednesday evenings in Falls Church, Starlight drive-in movies in Centreville Saturday evenings in August, plus 180 live performances to choose from.” [FCPA]

Peloton Instructor Plans Tysons Book Talk — “Beloved Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin is launching a debut book titled Speak, and on May 3 — the day the book comes out — she’ll be hosting the first stop on her book tour at Tysons Galleria…Seats for the event are already sold out, but the event remains open to the public, and additional guests are welcome to join for standing room.” [Washingtonian]

It’s Thursday — Clear throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 33. Sunrise at 6:16 am and sunset at 8:00 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Virginia Senate District 33 from 2021 redistricting maps (via Supreme Court of Virginia)

After falling short in her 2021 campaign to become Virginia’s new lieutenant governor, Hala Ayala is now looking to occupy a different position in the State Senate.

The former delegate launched a campaign this morning (Wednesday) for the newly created Senate District 33, which encompasses the Burke area of Fairfax County down past Woodbridge in Prince William County.

Ayala said in her announcement that she’s seeking office to counter the Republican Party’s agenda after it took control of all three statewide offices and the House of Delegates in November:

Right now, too many Virginia families are feeling squeezed. That’s a worry I know firsthand as a single mom, and it’s why I ran for elected office in the first place — to fight for families like mine who didn’t have a voice. We made progress, bringing down healthcare costs and making communities safer. But Glenn Youngkin and Republicans in Richmond are ignoring our greatest challenges and trying to take us backward. I’m running for State Senate to get our Commonwealth moving forward once again for families in Prince William and Fairfax Counties.

The 33rd Senate District is one of several Fairfax County districts to be significantly altered by Virginia’s new redistricting maps, which were approved by the state Supreme Court in December.

Currently represented by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, the district previously extended from Herndon and western Chantilly to Leesburg in Loudoun County.

The new 33rd Senate District includes portions of Fairfax County currently represented by Sens. David Marsden and George Barker as well as parts of Prince William County that Ayala previously represented as a delegate.

Citing the 2017 Women’s March as her inspiration, Ayala first won election to the 51st House District seat in 2017 and was reelected in 2019. Her successful legislative efforts included the introduction of same-day voting registration, which is set to take effect this October, and the expansion of a broadband pilot program.

Last year, she outlasted a crowded Democratic primary field to become the first woman of color ever nominated by the party for statewide office but ultimately lost the lieutenant governor seat to Republican Winsome Sears in the Nov. 5 general election by about 50,000 votes.

Ayala says in her campaign announcement that, if elected to the state Senate, she will focus on “bringing down costs, investing in communities, and growing good-paying jobs,” listing education, affordable healthcare, and transportation as priorities.

The Virginia General Assembly’s next elections are in 2023, when all 40 Senate seats and 100 delegate seats will be on the ballot.

Map via Supreme Court of Virginia

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Matthew Chappell, a Republican candidate for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District seat, and his family (courtesy Matthew Chappell for Congress)

The field of contenders for the 11th District Congressional race is widening.

Republican Matthew Chappell has thrown his hat into the ring, giving the GOP its first primary with multiple candidates since Democratic incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly took office in 2009.

Father of three children with wife Jacqueline, Chappell is a U.S. Army veteran who worked in counterintelligence and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also worked as a police officer and a national security advisor with the Department of Defense.

Chappell says he decided to run for Congress after the U.S. pulled troops out of Afghanistan in August. While he conceded that the withdrawal likely couldn’t have been handled better under a different president, Chappell feels that Afghans and American soldiers were left behind and promises made had been broken.

“I have Afghan people messaging me daily on WhatsApp and my email. They’re interpreters and people who helped run infrastructure on our bases and they’re terrified for their lives,” Chappell said. “They expected something from us and we didn’t deliver. It hurt me and I’ve lost friends there.”

After his eight-year tenure in the Army, Chappell spent three years as a police officer in Georgia. His interest in the profession came in part from his stepfather, who was a police officer and instilled in him a dedication to helping others and commitment to public service.

Rather than let the job’s challenges wear him down, Chappell focused on the benefits of being a policeman, such as interacting with the community. It also enabled him to address issues like domestic violence, which he and his mother experienced when he was young.

That experience also inspired Chappell’s support for the right to bear firearms.

Chappell says he has no hesitation about calling out bad cops that target minorities and make racist comments.

“I saw a lot of police officers who care and did what they could to help people and I met officers who should have never been allowed to wear the badge,” he said. “I’ve worked with people who weren’t doing it for the right reasons, and I’ve stood at the forefront of calling these people out.”

Chappell is also concerned about the mental health of veterans and improving health care at the Veterans Association. He says he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has had friends die by suicide due to PTSD.

Chappell joins Democrat Ally Dalsimer in seeking to unseat Connolly. Dalsimer similarly criticized the incumbent’s record on war and claimed he has neglected constituents, especially the LGBTQ community.

“He doesn’t listen to people,” Chappell argues. “We have a very large LGBT community here in [Northern Virginia] and he doesn’t do anything for them. I’m one of the few, especially on the Republican side, that want to help that group.”

Chappell added that he opposes letting transgender people participate in single-sex sports teams but supports their right to transition.

Chappell’s views on other issues, such as abortion and education, can be found on his website.

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Ally Dalsimer is running against Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District seat (courtesy Ally Dalsimer for Congress)

Fairfax County voters will have at least one primary on their hands in this year’s midterm elections.

Ally Dalsimer, an environmental advocate whose experience includes work under the Obama administration, is campaigning against Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th District seat, which represents most of Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Dalsimer kicked off her candidacy in June but is now ramping up her campaign, with a virtual meet-and-greet on Sunday (Feb. 6), where she hopes to be able to talk to the public and listen to their concerns.

“I would just like the chance to talk to the people, tell them my thoughts and what I can do for them. And I want to hear back from them, questions, comments, the issues they’re concerned about,” Dalsimer told FFXnow.

Set for June 21, this will be the second Democratic primary that Connolly has faced since first assuming his current office in 2009. He previously defeated challenger Zainab Mohsini in 2020.

Dalsimer believes her professional and personal experiences have prepared her to serve in Congress as someone willing to reach across the aisle.

The daughter of a Scottish immigrant mother and a father in the U.S. Foreign Service, Dalsimer and her family spent time living in Central and West Africa before moving to Northern Virginia when she was 8.

She credits those experiences abroad with teaching her the value of respecting other’s differences and embracing other cultures, a message that she hopes to carry through efforts like her campaign sharing resources for the Afghan refugees.

“At the end of the day, in spite of the small differences between us, we’re all just people,” Dalsimer said.

Dalsimer’s career in environmental preservation began at a nonprofit foundation after she graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in public policy, environmental law, and economics.

From there, she went on to manage the Department of Defense’s Natural Resources Program, co-found several national conservation initiatives, and implement policy changes for natural resources while serving on the White House Climate Council under President Barack Obama.

In addition to the environment, Dalsimer is passionate about health care, particularly after losing her husband to cancer in 2015, mere days before his 52nd birthday.

While her husband had health insurance, Dalsimer is aware that there are others who aren’t as lucky, especially after the historic job losses triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. She supports the single-payer, universal health care system touted by progressives like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I don’t think anyone should be left without any way to get medical help just because they lost their job,” said Dalsimer.

Dalsimer also cites war as a subject she wants to tackle if elected. Her legislative goals include a law that would prohibit corporations from profiting from the sale of weapons and equipment meant for war.

“It’s one thing to sell an airplane for the purposes of travel and profit from the sale, that’s fine. That’s the free market,” Dalsimer said. “But to sell a plane meant for war and to gain a profit from it is just wrong in my view.”

Dalsimer says her interest in running for Congress grew out of the tumultuous events of 2020, including the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in response to George Floyd’s murder, as well as the Trump administration’s actions on the environment, such as the dissolution of the White House Climate Council.

After watching “Knock Down The House,” a 2019 documentary that followed four women running for Congress, Dalsimer got her son’s support to run for office and spent the next six months asking her neighbors and county residents for their opinion of her potential campaign.

She says the response was positive, especially since those she talked to were less than positive about Connolly.

“He’s against universal health care, and said he’d never vote for it,” she said. “He’s allowed corporations to profit from the sale of weapons of war, and there are those in the LGBTQIA+ community who say he hasn’t done anything for them.”

FFXnow contacted Connolly’s office for comment but did not get a response by press time.

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