By Caitlyn Meisner | email@example.com
Sophia Moshasha, Republican candidate for the District 39 Virginia Senate seat, said if elected she plans to focus on crime, education and the economy.
Moshasha is a native Virginian and has a background in technology – mainly educating others on new virtual or augmented reality tools – which she hopes will assist her in addressing current economic challenges in the district.
“I want to ensure our district continues to thrive by leveraging the opportunities that technology presents to both drive prosperity and ensure that all voices are also heard in the decision-making process,” Moshasha said.
Dealing with the threat posed to residents by rising crime in Alexandria would be one of her priorities in the state senate.
“I’ve heard many horror stories from businesses and residents alike of things that are continuously happening to them, their personal property and themselves,” Moshasha said. “I want to prioritize public safety by advocating for accountability for criminal activity to prevent repeat offenses, and we have to support our local law enforcement agencies to be able to perform their duties.”
Moshasha said she wants to explore innovative crime prevention programs to create opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.
“Because that’s the end goal, right? [Incarceration] is not to just punish people,” Moshasha said. “You need to make an example, of course, and to also prevent repeated offenses, but at the end of the day, you want them to become productive members of society.”
Moshasha plans to help boost Alexandria’s economy by making it easier for businesses to operate in the city.
“I want to work with educational institutions to target growing industries [and] attract this new talent and essentially, [bring] job opportunities to our district,” Moshasha said. “I want to also enhance our workforce development … to better equip our workforce.”
Moshasha said education has to be a priority because a good education system benefits not only the next generation, but future generations.
“I want to ensure that our schools are equipped to provide quality learning experiences that set them up for future success in line with our rapidly developing and evolving economic and workforce landscape,” Moshasha said. “I want to make sure that there’s an even playing field for both people and children to compete in the workforce.”
She cited the national economy and identity politics as reasons to focus on education, as well.
“China and other countries are really ramping up on teaching students they need to be competitive on a global scale, and I just want to make sure that we’re aligned with that,” Moshasha said.
Moshasha officially announced her campaign this summer to run against 20- year incumbent, Senator Adam Ebbin, a Democrat. She said it’s clear that there is an agenda in place and the district could benefit from a “fresh perspective.”
“I feel like we need to prioritize the needs of our existing residents who’ve invested in our community,” Moshasha said. “I want to make sure that we have representation in place to cultivate that understanding and compromise in order to meet the needs of all the people in District 39.”
Constance Cantrell, president of the Commonwealth Republican Women’s Club in Alexandria, said she agrees with Moshasha.
“What we’ve had is what we’ve long had,” Cantrell said. “Things have changed: the economy has grown, the economy has changed, our perspectives have changed and yet we’ve had the same people [in office] we’ve had forever.”
Cantrell said Democrats are taking their voters for granted and will continue to do so as long as they have “complete control.” She said another Republican in the senate to potentially tip the scales in the party’s favor would be beneficial for the whole state.
“We need Republicans in the senate in order to get these things moving, these things that we voted for two years ago that the majority of Virginians voted for,” Cantrell said, referring to the 2021 election, in which Republicans swept Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general races.
Moshasha said Alexandria’s at-large election system was made to sustain majority power and needs to change.
“Right now, the system of representation that is in place feels like it silences the minority communities and doesn’t allow for all neighborhoods to have a say in what happens in their communities,” Moshasha said. “I want to make sure that every neighborhood has a say and has a seat at the table. … That includes potentially implementing a ward system where every neighborhood has a representative within City Council.”
Moshasha said if elected, she would prioritize communications with constituents. She said she hopes to be proactive in soliciting feedback via mass texting campaigns, social media and email newsletters.
“My commitment is to open communication, active engagement and data-driven decision making,” Moshasha said.
Cantrell said Moshasha’s tech-savvy background is exactly what the Republicans in Northern Virginia need.
“She is a Republican. She holds Republican values and advances them, but she’s also got that ‘extra thing,’” Cantrell said. “And I think that’s what’s needed here these days.”
Moshasha’s call to residents was to focus on policy, not partisanship. She said she hopes Alexandrians can see beyond her Republican title and vote for her refreshing perspective on government.
“I’m not a career politician,” Moshasha said. “I believe that our politics today is too divisive, and I see a clear need in electing a representative that wants to be the bridge in connecting diverse views that will actually drive positive outcomes that aren’t fueled by political agenda.
“My commitment is to represent all residents. I hope that comes across with everything that I’ve publicized … I’m running to be a leader who listens, understands and acts in the best interests of the diversity in our community.”