The Democratic victories in Virginia will make the legislature more diverse, with senator-elect Ghazala Hashmi becoming the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the state Senate.
Ghazala Hashmi unseated Virginia state Senator Glen Sturtevant on Tuesday. Hashmi, a former community college professor, will represent the state’s 10th Senate District, which includes Powhatan County and parts of Chesterfield County and Richmond. She emigrated to the US from India as a child and 2019 marked her first campaign for public office.
Hashmi’s campaign hit heavily on issues such as gun violence and education, and she was a supporter of Governor Ralph Northam’s universal pre-kindergarten proposals. During the campaign, she went after Sturtevant, a two-term incumbent, over his opposition to Medicaid expansion even as the Republican presented himself as an independent voice.
Danica Roem, who made history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a US state legislature, easily won reelection. Jenne Nurse, a 25-year-old who recently accepted a state government job, said she’s excited about the increasing diversity. “It’s nice to see the Virginia Legislature look like Virginia. It’s so important,” said Nurse, who is black.