Alex Askew is the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 85. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Candidate: Alex Askew
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 85
Biography: I was born in Virginia Beach. After my father, a U.S. Army veteran, passed I was raised here by my mother, a former public school teacher. I came up through the Virginia Beach public education system, including Tallwood High School, before attending Hampton University. After graduating, I worked for nearly seven election cycles on a variety of local, state, and national campaigns and projects.
I formerly served as chief of staff for the Virginia House of Delegates, guiding elected officials towards tangible solutions. During my time as chief of staff, I helped craft groundbreaking legislation, including workforce development programs, Medicaid expansion, affordable housing expansion, and school safety initiatives.
I was elected as the delegate for the 85th District in 2019. During my first term, my office had 14 bills signed into law, most of which received overwhelming bipartisan support. These bills included expanding workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters, implementing a lead-water testing process in all Commonwealth public schools and daycares, and creating the first dedicated source of funding for Hampton Roads transit.
Why should Virginians re-elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
Serving the constituents of the 85th District — a community that has given so much to me — has been the greatest honor of my life. I look forward to continuing to champion our community in the Virginia House of Delegates and to fight for their voices to be heard in Richmond.
During my first term, each of the 14 pieces of legislation I passed created common-sense solutions to problems facing Virginians. This included laws that: Expanded workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters, required all state agencies to implement a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan, and ensured the needs of marginalized communities are met in emergency disaster planning.
I’m proud of the work that I was able to accomplish during my first term in the Virginia House of Delegates and of my track record investing in a stronger, more prosperous Commonwealth that serves all Virginians. If re-elected, I will continue to fight for our community and uplift legislation that addresses the challenges that we — both as a district and a Commonwealth — face.
What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
When re-elected, I will return to a Virginia House of Delegates that is continuing to address the public health and economic issues we’re facing as a result of COVID-19 — and I’m ready to get back to work and continue to help Virginians.
I am particularly excited to introduce, or reintroduce, the following legislation:
- A cap on asthma inhalers: Following in the model success of the state legislature’s ability to cap the price of insulin to $50.
- A flood insurance subsidy bill for vulnerable communities: Climate change is a particular threat to my district, and my office has worked hard over the past two years to help create a livable and sustainable environment for all.
- A broadband expansion bill: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of expanding access to reliable broadband internet for everyone and I support broadband expansion for all.
What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?
Addressing the structural education gap that has been widened by the pandemic is the most pressing issue facing the 85th District. I’m the son of a former public school teacher, and the proud graduate of the Virginia Beach public school system; ensuring access to quality education for all isn’t just policy, it’s personal.
I was proud to have introduced legislation that required schools and daycares in Virginia to have at least one carbon monoxide detector. I also passed a law that requires that all schools and daycares test for lead in their drinking water. Additionally, as we begin to safely reopen schools, it is imperative that we recommit our
investment in school-based health and mental health services, the free lunch program, and truancy prevention, to ensure all of our students are in school and ready to learn.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
We worked around-the-clock in the Virginia House of Delegates’ special session to address the public health and economic issues we’re facing as a result of COVID-19 — but there’s still more to do. During the 2021 legislative session, I committed to increasing the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Virginia with House Bill 2333, which opened a path for more health care professionals to be eligible to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
I am proud of the work that my colleagues and I in the Virginia House of Delegates accomplished. Next year, I’m excited to continue to uplift working families with legislation that caps the cost of other prescription drugs, like asthma inhalers, expands paid family leave, and strengthens protections for low-wage workers.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
- The pandemic has laid bare the glaring inequalities in our healthcare system, and it is imperative that we increase access to affordable healthcare. To this end, I am proud that we created a joint school of public health between Norfolk State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Old Dominion University. We also lowered prescription drug costs by capping the price of insulin and seeking to cap the price of asthma inhalers.
- The pandemic ravaged so many small businesses, and I witnessed firsthand how folks were affected, especially those in Virginia Beach’s extensive hospitality industry. That’s why I was proud to help allocate $353 million dollars through the Rebuild VA Grant to help our small businesses across the Commonwealth bounce back — including nearly 20 small businesses in the 85th District. Moving forward, we must make sure all our workers have access to a living wage and increase grant and loan availability for small businesses in the Commonwealth to ensure that our small businesses have the resources they need to never shut their doors again.
- We know that structural inequities in access to resources necessary to maintain health were drivers of COVID-19 disparities. In order to ensure vulnerable constituents have access to the information they need to access vaccines or other COVID-related resources, we need to continue to work with local community groups to ensure more worker protections and heighten visibility of available resources.