By Caitlyn Meisner | firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Ebbin, Democratic incumbent running for reelection in the District 39 Virginia Senate seat, said he hopes to maintain the seat and help Democrats preserve their slim majority in the state Senate.
Ebbin is a native New Yorker, but has represented Virginians since 2004 when he was elected to the House of Delegates. He served there until 2012 when was elected to the senate. He represents parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County. Unlike many of his Northern Virginia counterparts, Ebbin faces a challenger: Republican Sophia Moshasha.
The senator has made history since his start in politics. He’s the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the House of Delegates. Then, in 2011, he became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the state senate.
Ebbin said he feels there is more he can help accomplish in the district, which has a different district number this election, 39 instead of 30, after redistricting.
“I feel like I’m in sync with the views of the people of the 39th district and like many jobs, after a while, you get better at it, and I want to deliver more for Alexandria and for Virginia,” Ebbin said.
In the last election cycle in 2019, Ebbin ran unopposed for the seat and won 91.7% of the vote. 8.3% of the vote went to write-ins.
Ebbin said in the next session, he wants to focus on protecting reproductive and LGBTQ rights, as well as opposing some legislative priorities of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“There are a few things we can do without the governor,” Ebbin said. “I’d like to see voting rights in the Virginia Constitution and finally repeal the ban on marriage equality; it’s been in the state constitution since 2006. [Youngkin] has been silent on that, but he doesn’t have a role in amending the constitution.”
He continued, saying he will make protecting gains made on LGBTQ rights a priority if reelected.
“There’s a real danger in stepping backwards now, and I don’t want there to be any backsliding on my watch,” Ebbin said.
He noted the debate within the Republican Party about whether to leave laws regarding reproductive rights to the states or to push for federal limitations affects Virginians.
“It’s very much on people’s minds,” Ebbin said. “It is not just the people of Alexandria who don’t want that. I think it’s the people of Virginia, but particularly in this district, there’s a real strong feeling among people who protect their personal liberties.”
Sandy Marks, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said Ebbin is a strong voice in the legislature and can easily advocate for Alexandrians in the state capital.
“Everyone in the state legislature knows it and Glenn Youngkin knows it,” Marks said. “He is a brilliant and intelligent and effective lawmaker.”
Marks said legislative priorities were aligned between Ebbin and Alexandrians, adding that Ebbin and other Democrats are the “brick wall” halting Republicans from banning books and removing environmental protections.
Marks also said a Democrat, like Ebbin, aligns more closely with Alexandrians than a Republican and is the clear choice. She expressed confidence Democrats would retain the seat.
An issue that resonates with Ebbin is gun violence; he said it’s a substantial issue that affects lives on a daily basis.
“We’re losing a lot of people to gun violence and whether it’s through suicide or homicide, they both should be reduced,” Ebbin said.
Ebbin also said his role on the senate finance and appropriations committee is essential to progressing legislation he deems important.
“No freshman Republican or Democrat is likely to be on the finance committee,” Ebbin said. “I’ve been able to deliver. I would like to ensure that continues, but without Senate Democrats, there would’ve been substantially less funds for public education.”
Ebbin also chairs the general laws and technology committee, and serves on the Senate privileges and elections committee and the Senate rules committee in this most recent session.
Marks said experience is valuable and is a positive of Ebbin’s candidacy.
“To negate the value of experience is short-sighted,” Marks said. “Ebbin has not been in office too long.”
He admitted to be an optimist, which goes hand-in-hand with his progressive policies and statements both on his website and in speeches.
“To me, progressive progressivism is about moving forward and making progress in society,” Ebbin said. “We made a lot of progress, and there’s more to be done.”
Ebbin mentioned the annual spending on public transit; he said in 2004, when he was first elected to the General Assembly, the state was spending $255 million per year. Now, Virginia spends more than $1 billion.
He said as the Democratic Party aims to lower carbon emissions and place more public electric vehicle charging stations around the state, he wants to be a part of that progress.
Ebbin also said he feels as though he aligns with the priorities of Alexandrians and is deeply aware of the community’s needs.
“I’m a tenacious advocate for the values of our community,” Ebbin said. “I think that besides being in sync with [the community], I’ve helped people with their individual situations, whether it was change in Virginia’s adoption laws … or [ensuring] you didn’t automatically lose your driver’s license because of a marijuana conviction.”
In his time in the senate, Ebbin has introduced progressive legislation, including protections for marriage equality, protected organ donation leave and prohibition of carrying assault firearms in public areas.