Democrat Jennifer Wexton’s win over incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock for the 10th District Congressional seat means voters will be asked to go to the polls again Tuesday, Jan. 8, to choose a candidate to serve the remaining 12 months in the state Senate seat that Wexton has held for five years.
Two people who have experience in Richmond are vying to represent the 33rd Senate District: Democrat Jennifer Boysko, currently a delegate representing the 86th District, and Joe T. May, who served as the 33rd District delegate for 20 years. The seat was vacated by Wexton, who was sworn in this week as the new congresswoman for the 10th Congressional District after handily beating Barbara Comstock in the November General Election.
Both Boysko and May are urging their supporters to take time to get to the polls next week. Wexton was elected to the Senate seat in 2014 also during a January special election, which saw just 16,337 voters—or 7.82 percent of those registered—turn out. If turn out is low again next week, a small minority will again choose the district’s next state senator.
The 33rd Senate District stretches from just north of Leesburg, south to Chantilly. Saturday, Jan. 5 is the last day voters can cast an in-person absentee ballot at the Loudoun County Office of Elections, 750 Miller Dr. SE, Suite C, in Leesburg. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesday, Jan. 8, polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Look up your polling place at Loudoun.gov/vote.
Republican Joe T. May
Engineer, founder and owner of EIT LLC, Virginia delegate from 1994-2014
Five years after Joe T. May left the General Assembly, he says he’s looking to return so he can continue his work on education, technology policy and, in particular, transportation.
May, 81, represented the 33rd House District in Richmond from 1994 to 2014. He served on some of the most influential committees, including the Appropriations Committee; the Science and Technology Committee, which he chaired for 12 years; and the Transportation Committee, which he also chaired for six years.
May was ousted in a 2013 primary election by Republican David LaRock. Later that year, he ran as an independent for the 33rd Senate District to replace Mark Herring, following his election as attorney general. John Whitbeck won the Republican nomination in the race ultimately won by Wexton, the Democratic nominee.
May, who describes himself as a moderate conservative, said he’d like to return to Richmond to work across party lines to make progress on some key issues. He said he has ideas for improving higher education, creating over-due technology policy and bolstering the state’s transportation infrastructure. Transportation was May’s signature issue in his latter years in the House of Delegates. He helped create and win support for the 2013 landmark transportation bill that has since raised billions of dollars for roads, bridges and other transportation projects.
He also drafted legislation that changed drivers licenses’ expiration date from the end of the month to drivers’ birthdays so everyone isn’t going to DMV offices on the same day; and created the Rural Rustic Roads program, which allows newly-paved roads to remain in their original confines, instead of the initial law that required widening lanes and rights-of-way and other design standards. A VDOT report estimated that change saved $270 million in transportation funding in the past six years.
“I have additional ideas for how to improve transportation, and I’d love the opportunity to work with some of the same folks I’ve worked with previously to see what we can accomplish,” May said. “I think we can do great things together.”
May, an inventor and engineer, founded electronics manufacturer EIT LLC in 1977. He holds 28 patents and has others pending.
Democrat Jennifer Boysko
Virginia delegate since 2016, NARAL Pro Choice Virginia board member, former aide to Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust
After serving two years in the House of Delegates, Jennifer Boysko wants a chance to further her legislative priorities in the other chamber of the General Assembly.
Before Boysko won her seat in the state House, she worked on the staff of a U.S. Senator and as an aide to Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust. In those roles, she said she learned to work across the political aisle to accomplish goals for the betterment of the community. But she also saw, especially through her work in local government, a need for change at the state level.
“I was working at the local level and watching the House of Delegates move further and further to the right, in terms of what policies they were supporting,” said Boysko, who describes herself as a “strong progressive.”
So she challenged then-Republican Del. Tom Rust in the 86th District, but lost when she fell short by just 56 votes. She ran again two years later and won, this time beating Republican Danny Vargas.
Of her work in the General Assembly thus far, 52-year-old Boysko said she’s most proud that she had a hand in expanding Medicaid coverage, which passed with bipartisan support. “That’s health care for 400,000 Virginians who wouldn’t otherwise have it,” she said. “That’s probably the most important thing any of us will ever be able to do.”
Looking ahead, she wants to continue her work on legislation that protects abortion rights. She said a woman’s right to choose has been chipped away at in recent years. She pointed to state laws that require more stringent building regulations to abortion clinics than any other medical provider. Boysko, a former member of the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said those “TRAP laws”—which stands for targeted regulation of abortion providers—are meant to restrict women’s access to abortion.
“We know that families should be able to make decisions for themselves,” she said. “We don’t need politicians telling us when we’re going to start our families or what the best decision is in our personal lives.”
Among her priorities if she wins a seat in the Senate, Boysko said she will support improving voters’ access by allowing for early voting; non-partisan redistricting; and restoring funding that the legislature shifted from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to help cover the cost of Metro.
“I expect to continue working on many of the same kinds of things that I’ve focused on—an economy that works for everyone, independent redistricting, making sure that we are focusing on stopping gun violence, protecting a woman’s reproductive rights,” Boysko said, in addition to working with localities and on Virginia’s Broadband Advisory Council.