State Senator Jennifer Wexton says she will challenge Congresswoman Barbara Comstock for the 10th District seat.
Wexton, a Democrat and Leesburg resident, said she’s considered running for Congress for a long time and the grassroots movements in response to the Trump administration in recent months solidified her decision.
“I’ve spent my whole career standing up to bullying and giving a voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise have one. And at no time have both of those things been needed in Congress more than right now,” she said in an interview with Loudoun Now.
Wexton attended the Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. She was also at Dulles Airport, which sits in the 33rd state senate district that she represents, in January to protest the president’s travel bans and welcome immigrants.
“All these people are standing up and speaking out and resisting—and persisting. This is something I can do,” Wexton said. “I am able to actually take on Barbara Comstock. I feel compelled to do it because I can’t just sit back and let this happen.”
Comstock has been criticized for refusing to hold a public town hall meeting since Trump was sworn into office. The congresswoman has said she prefers small-group meetings and tele-town halls that can reach thousands of people at once.
“I’ve had four town halls since February. She’s had zero,” Wexton said.
Wexton has represented the 33rd District in Virginia’s Senate since 2014, when she won a special election after Mark R. Herring, who’d held the seat since 2006, was elected as Virginia’s attorney general. Wexton won re-election in 2015.
The 48-year-old said, in Congress, she would work to work across the political aisle just as she has in the General Assembly. “I have been in the minority ever since I’ve been able to pass legislation, and I’ve passed 39 bills into law. Each one passed with bipartisan support.”
She’s most proud of her legislation that targets heroin and opioid addiction, including increasing access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. She’s also worked on legislation that tightens day care regulations, improves transportation and strengthens public schools, she said. “These have real impacts on people’s lives. … Those are the things I’m going to want to do in Congress as well. But you’ve got to get away from all the partisan bickering.”
She criticized Comstock for her “lock-step” support for the president. Comstock denounced Trump in October after the video of him boasting about grabbing women was made public; she said she did not vote for him.
But Wexton said the congresswoman has since backed the president with her votes in the House of Representatives. “She’s voted 100 percent of the time with Trump,” she said. “And their agenda appears to be to sell out our country to their special interest groups on the backs of their working families.”
Comstock’s challengers are lining up. Wexton is the third Democrat who’s announced plans to run for the 10th District seat in the Nov. 6, 2018, election. Former congressional staffer Lindsey Davis Stover and U.S. Army veteran Dan Helmer, both of Fairfax County, have launched their bids for the seat. The primary election is in June of next year.
Wexton works as a real estate attorney at Ekko Title. She is the past president of the Loudoun Bar Association, was appointed as a substitute judge in the Loudoun County District Courts and later served on the Community Services Board, which oversees Loudoun County Mental Health. She also served as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney from 2001 to 2005. She ran for Loudoun’s Commonwealth Attorney in 2011.
She and her husband, Andrew, have two sons, ages 12 and 14.