A Mother's Day shoutout to the moms in Virginia's General Assembly

By Keya Vakil

May 10, 2019

Being a mom is hard. Being a mom while being a public servant is even harder. So in honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to give a shoutout to all 30 of the moms in Virginia’s General Assembly and highlight a handful of them for their work and accomplishments.

There are so many moms currently in office (champagne problems!) that we couldn’t include them all, but rest assured their service is appreciated.

Del. Kelly Convirs Fowler (D-Virginia Beach)

A mother of two daughters, Convirs-Fowler started working at age 15 to save enough money so that she  could become the first member of her family to go to college. She succeeded, graduating from Virginia Wesleyan College before going on to get her Master’s at Old Dominion University. From there, she became an elementary teacher and real estate agent before running for Delegate in 2017. Fowler has spent her freshman term in the House fighting to end housing discrimination against the LGBTQ community, advocating for gun safety laws, and defending a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare.

Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William County)

Ayala swept into office during 2017’s historic blue wave in Virginia. One of nine moms elected that year, Ayala, a mother of two, is a former cybersecurity specialist with the Department of Homeland Security and an outspoken advocate for women and their families. As a former minimum wage worker, Ayla has been a fierce advocate for raising the minimum wage and has also pushed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and was a strong proponent for Virginia’s Medicaid expansion.

Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke County)

Gooditis comes from a line of public school teachers, so it’s no surprise she herself spent time teaching in the Clarke County public school system as well. A mother of two, Gooditis then pivoted to real estate in order to help pay her kids’ tuition bills. But after 2016, Gooditis decided she wanted to get involved in her community and decided to run for the House of Delegates. She won, and during her time in office, she’s introduced several bills to combat child abuse.

Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William County)

Social worker, public administrator, court-appointed service advocate, and “cookie mom” in the Girl Scouts are just some of the titles Elizabeth Guzman has held. And in 2017 she added Delegate to that list. An immigrant from Peru, Guzman worked three jobs in her early years in America to provide for her and her oldest daughter. She persevered and eventually went on to get not only her bachelor’s degree, but also two master’s degrees. A proud resident of Prince William County, Guzman became the first Hispanic female immigrant to be elected to the 400-year-old Virginia General Assembly.

Del. Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax)

Tran fled Vietnam as a refugee, nearly dying at sea before ultimately being granted asylum in the United States. Before being elected to the House of Delegates in 2017, Tran spent 12 years serving at the U.S. Department of Labor and worked at the National Immigration Forum, a prominent immigration advocacy organization. A former president of her local PTA and a mother to four young children, Tran said she decided to run for office after realizing her fourth child was due on the day that President Trump was inaugurated. Since being elected, Tran has dedicated herself to fighting for women and mothers throughout Virginia and defending access to reproductive healthcare.

Del. Debra Rodman (D-Henrico)

Another member of the freshman class of 2017, Rodman is a former Fulbright scholar and professor at Randolph-Macon College. In addition to being a mother to two boys, Rodman is an advocate for families and LGBT refugees fleeing violence, and now a delegate for Virginia’s 73rd District. During her time in office, she has fought for teachers to get raises, advocated for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and voted for Medicaid expansion. As her first term in the House comes to a close, Rodman is now running for state Senate in Virginia’s 12th district.

Sen. Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg)

There aren’t many Americans who’ve gone from being a high school drop-out to a state senator, but that’s exactly what Dance did. Prior to being elected to the General Assembly as a Delegate in 2005, Dance served as mayor of Petersburg, initiated a city-wide reading program and helped reduce the city’s incarcerated youth population. After spending nine years in the House, Dance became the first African American female senator from Petersburg in 2014. A mother of two children and grandmother to 4 boys, Dance spent much of the most recent legislative session pushing to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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