Chance Trevillian, 30, is a first-time political candidate in Virginia. Chance Trevillian, 30, is a first-time political candidate in Virginia.

Are voters ready to take a chance on Trevillian? 

MARTINSVILLE – A young Democrat is running for office in a Virginia House district that hasn’t had progressive leadership in over two decades.

If you’ve checked in at Patrick Henry Community College recently, there’s a chance you’ve met him. Chance Trevillian works at the college behind the receptionist desk. But when he’s not greeting visitors and answering their questions, these days you’ll find him on the campaign trail.

Trevillian will appear on the ballot to represent the 16th District in the Virginia House of Delegates this November. That district covers parts of the city of Martinsville, Henry County and Pittsylvania County.

Trevillian is running against Republican incumbent Les Adams, who has represented the district since 2014. The last Democrat to hold his seat was Chip Woodrum in 1999.

The 30-year-old, first-time candidate says he hopes to inspire others with his campaign for office.

“[I’m] just a receptionist at my local office, so I kind of want my candidacy to be an inspiration to others to show that you don’t have to be a lawyer or a doctor or a business owner to run for office,” Trevillian said. “You can just be your run-of-the mill person, run for office, make a difference. And it’s really important for more people to get involved. So that’s why I think this is the right year. We need more people to be involved, so I’m hoping I can be an inspiration for that.”

Chance Prioritizes Education

From union rights to healthcare to eliminating qualified immunity, Trevillian’s campaign covers several major issues. However, one of the main areas of concern for the candidate is education for children.

In his 20s, Trevillian trained to become an elementary school teacher. Through his training he participated in a practicum program at several schools in Henry County, where he gained firsthand experience observing the issues students in the region face.

“There were students who didn’t recognize the alphabet. They entered kindergarten not knowing barely any letters. So they couldn’t even read,” Trevillian said.

Trevillian says in order to address the need for a better education system in Virginia, you first have to look at the systemic problems which might be contributing to why children are struggling in school. Those problems, according to him, need to be addressed before an equitable education is possible in Virginia.

“We need to expand pre-K up, make it easier to be eligible for that, have a living wage, a good living wage, for Virginians so that, you know, parents don’t have to work two to three jobs, but they can read to their children during their free time and help their kids become better prepared for kindergarten,” said Trevillian.

Funding For Education

Trevillian also called for education funding changes in his district. He says that investment should start with raises for teachers.

“Increasing teacher pay will help to get more teachers into the profession. But we’re having a teacher shortage here in the Commonwealth,” Trevillian said.

Even before COVID-19, the demand for teachers in Virginia grew from needing around 20,000 new teachers in 2012–2013 to having over 110,000 empty teacher positions in 2017–2018.

Trevillian said to fix schools, he supports the Democratic nominee for governor Terry McAuliffe’s Lucy Simms Educator Program. The proposed program covers higher education costs for teaching students who commit to teach for five years in Virginia’s public schools.

“That’s the kind of legislation I would push for if I win this race. Legislation that can help everyone to have a better life,” said Trevillian.

Amie Knowles reports for The Dogwood. You can reach her at amie@couriernewsroom.com