In a year that has seen historic numbers of Democratic candidates, a fifth has joined the race to unseat state Sen. Richard H. Black (R-13).
Army reserve intelligence officer Captain Justin Hannah, of Aldie, has joined the race seeking the Democratic nomination. He said he originally considered running for the seat one of his competitors in the Democratic primary, Del. John J. Bell (D-87), will be vacating.
“Morally, ethically, I saw Dick Black and I said, I don’t really agree with anything that you say, I don’t think you currently represent the people of the county,” Hannah said. “So I said I want to run so the people of Loudoun actually have a voice that they deserve, and a voice that actually represents them.”
Hannah said he wants to promote increased gun safety regulations, such as universal background checks; environmental protections and renewable energy; and women’s rights and access to birth control and abortion when needed.
“Coal jobs, natural gas and—electricity, there’s nothing new there,” Hannah said. “It’s all stuff that we’ve done in the past, and we said that’s probably not good for the environment, but he’s not pushing anything different, anything that actually helps the environment.”
He said he also wants to continue improvements to the area’s transportation network with both road infrastructure and mass transit. He said he, as a federal employee, he loses hours every day in traffic.
“If it’s only you in the household and you’re the only adult, if you get back home at six … How much time are spending with your kids, and how much time are spending on childcare?” Hannah said.
And he said he and his partner, Jessica Puentes, better represent the majority of people in the county, as young parents with two children, one of whom is in a Montessori school.
Hannah graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy and College and American University, and has served in a variety of roles in the Army Reserve both in the U.S. and abroad.
“My whole career has been not my personal goals, or not the things that I particularly want to do, or what I can put on my victory board, but instead what helps the people,” Hannah said. “I think that’s what’s guided me for so long.”
Hannah joins a Democratic contest that already includes Bell, Marine veteran and federal contractor Kyle Green, financial advisor Lucero Wiley, and civil rights advocate Jasmine Moawad-Barrientos.
Black is known as one of the most right-leaning members of the state senate, and for stirring controversy for socially conservative issues, especially his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
The 13th Senate District covers the western half of Loudoun County and a portion of Prince William County. In 2011, Black, who had served in the House of Delegates since 1998, handily won the seat over Democrat Shawn Mitchell. His 2015 re-election victory was narrower, as Democrat Jill McCabe came within 2,354 votes of a victory.