For Hala Ayala, Va.’s lieutenant governor seat would be a chance to ‘continue this service’

Share. Hala Ayala, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, has not been in election politics for long, but she has traveled quickly. She spoke to the WTOP about her record, her goals and her background.

Virginia’s Democratic Lt. Governor-designate Hala Ayala speaks at Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in McLean, Va. Ayala will face Republican Winsome Sears in the November election. (AP Photo / Cliff Owen, File)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Virginia residents have a few days left to vote in the Commonwealth’s nationwide offices – governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Seven candidates for the post – Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Glenn Youngkin and Princess Blanding; Lieutenant Governor candidates Haya Ayala and Winsome Sears and State Attorney candidates Mark Herring and Jason Miyares – sat for talks with WTOP’s Nick Iannelli.

As is generally the case, there has been no shortage of attacks in the Virginia campaign, and no shortage of places to find out about them. Some of it is fair game, and important to know; some of it, not so much. Some of it is not even true. What we have done here is to keep sentences like “my opponent will …” and “my opponent says …” to an absolute minimum. You get the candidates’ views on themselves, what they would do in office and why they want to do it.

Read Nick Iannelli’s interview with Republican candidate Winsome Sears.

Share. Hala Ayala, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, has not been in election politics for long, but she has traveled quickly.

Ayala’s first election campaign was her 2017 candidacy for Virginia House from the 51st District, a decision she made shortly after Donald Trump was installed. She called it “a scary time” and a difficult choice.

“I was enveloped in the moment,” Ayala told WTOP’s Nick Iannelli, “because this was not an easy decision for me to make – quitting my job working for Homeland Security for nearly 20 years, then turning around and running. to the office, and I’m a single mom, and with $ 68 in my bank, I won that election. “

And when she won, “I saw it – the power we had in the representation, and we have an opportunity to continue to strengthen that representation throughout the country.”

She called for initiatives including Medicaid enlargement, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and her sponsored legislation, such as same-day vote registration and training of civil servants in cybersecurity (her specialty).

“When you are in the democratic majority, it is not just about the personal legislation you lead, but it is a ‘we’; it is an ‘us’… so every gain and every measure that we have implemented over the last two years in the Democratic majority, we have delivered, and I celebrate them all. “

Ayala said her life story has informed her political choices. “I lost my father to gun violence at a very young age,” she said; “We were standing in food queues; health care was always uncertain. When I had my son, I worked for the minimum wage; I did not know how to perform. “

Why move away from a legislative role, with the ability to write laws and work directly with voters, to become a member of the executive?

Ayala said Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s current lieutenant governor, has cast 52 votes in the Virginia Senate, including in favor of a “red flag” gun control law and against abortion restrictions and a restriction on minimum wage increases.

“And these gains the lieutenant governor has been instrumental in bringing them across the finish line,” Ayala said. “Service is the foundation of what I do. And I want to continue that service in a larger capacity. ”

Leaving the House, she said, was a tough call, but “This is the effective work the Democrats have done to deliver. And then to leave, you know, it was hard for me … we will continue the good work. . “

The problems

Ayala mentioned among her political priorities her support for keeping abortion legal.

“We must be a brick wall for Roe v. Wade,” she said; “We will uphold the law of the land.” She reiterated that one of Fairfax’s draws was for abortion rights, she said, “when it comes to elections, our next lieutenant governor will be the last line of defense for the Virginians.”

Ayala’s policy focus also includes a proposal mandating paid sick days for all companies. Asked if companies coming out of a pandemic would be hurt by more regulation, Ayala replied: “I do not hear that from business owners. What I hear is that a healthy workforce means a healthy and robust economy. We must keep our workforce is healthy. “

She also said the cybersecurity work she had done in the House only represented “the floor, not the ceiling”, citing broadband access for the entire Commonwealth as another focus.

A shared ticket?

The race for Virginia’s governor between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin is close, so there’s a chance Ayala could be in No. 2 after a Republican governor.

Ayala said she is prepared for it, describing herself as someone who “always kept our door open, our emails active and our phone on, and that’s what Virginia voters want – someone who can work. across the hall, even work across the chamber, as I “have done as chief deputy whip, and get progress made. And I have delivered on both fronts. ”

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