Peggy Fox, WUSA
WOODBRIDGE – It’s been six months after the largest national protest in United States history. The Women’s March made big promises. Now, in Virginia, it turns out lots of women are keeping those promises and running for office.
During the primary, 51 women—a record number—ran for seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Two years ago, 26 women ran.
“It was a battle cry. Like we must do more. We have to move forward,” said Hala Ayala, Democratic candidate for House of Delegates District 51.
The election of Donald Trump convinced her to run. She won her primary and now is one of 10 women challenging Republican incumbents. Democrats need 17 seats to take control of the legislature.
“When Trump was telling us who he was on the campaign trail… I believed (him). I believe you are going to deport immigrants. I believe that you are going to discriminate against people that look like me,” said Ayala.
Ayala, a single mother of two, is of Lebanese and Hispanic descent. She quit her job as a cyber security specialist for Homeland Security to run for office.
“It was a hard decision,” but she told herself that she was going to “get off the sidelines.”
Her top three issues are job growth, educational opportunities, and health care. Ayala got emotional discussing how she had to get on Medicaid to help her son, which allowed her to keep her house.
“Medicaid saved my son’s life. I was able to get the things that he needed, the services and medication. You don’t feel proud to be on Medicaid, you feel grateful. You feel that there’s something out there that will help you get a foot up, that you will have an opportunity,” said Ayala, who is angry state lawmakers have not expanded Medicaid.
“It’s a humanitarian thing. It’s an attack on humanity. I could’ve lost my son. And there were times that I thought I would have. I was very lucky,” she said.
The election is November 7th.