The campaign to replace Del. John Bell in the 87th House District ramped up this weekend with two more candidates formally jumping in.
Hassan Ahmad is an immigration attorney living in Sterling who selected the second anniversary of President Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim countries to formally announce intent to seek the Democratic nomination. There are two other candidates already in that race, Akshay Bhamidipati and Suhas Subramanyam.
On the Republican side, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Bill Drennan became the first Republican to enter the race.
Bell announced last year he planned to leave the seat and to instead campaign for the 13th Senate District, where incumbent Richard H. Black is stepping down at the end of his term, Dec. 31. Bell has held the seat for two terms, since 2016.
Ahmad, who is campaigning as a progressive Democrat, got more involved in local politics after volunteering as an attorney at Dulles Airport assisting passengers who had been affected by the Trump Administration’s travel ban.
“When I arrived that night at the airport, I saw Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and secularists—whether directly impacted by the ban or not—standing together as one people united in affirming the values of our country. They stood up for a community targeted unjustly. Those were the real heroes. That was the moment when I decided I had to do more. I arrived at the airport that night as an immigration attorney, but I left as an advocate,” Ahmad stated.
Along with a legal practice that focuses on the areas of citizenship, immigration, and asylum law, Hassan is a member of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, a board member of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Dulles Justice Coalition, the Governor’s Asian Advisory Board, and a member of the Commonwealth Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which was created by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe after the Charlottesville riots.
He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is barred in Maryland and Virginia. He and his wife, Rabiah Ahmed, live in Sterling with their three children.
Drennan is a United States Air Force Academy graduate who logged more than 800 hours of combat time and also served as President Ronald Reagan’s Air Force Aide for three years. The South Riding resident held a variety of flying, staff and command positions before retiring as a colonel after a 30-year career.
Drennan said his top campaign priorities are working to ease the “traffic trauma” by investing more in the district and county road system, strengthening the local parent-student-teacher partnership in the district’s public schools to better prepare students for the hi-tech future, and growing the robust local economy while keeping taxes reasonable.
“It’s more important than ever that District 87 have a strong advocate in Richmond for common sense, sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the diverse, dynamic and growing population in District 87. Traffic, education and the economy impact all District residents, be they Republican, Democrat, or Independent. I will work so that District 87 continues to lead the County and the State into a better future for our kids and grandkids,” Drennan stated.
Drennan and his wife, Shiu Ying, have lived in South Riding for 12 years. They have two sons and one grandson.
The 87th House District covers portions of eastern Loudoun and northern Prince William counties.