Kim Melnyk is a Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 84. Her name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Kim Melnyk is currently the Vice Chair of the Virginia Beach School Board.
Candidate: Kim Melnyk
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 84
Biography: Kim Melnyk has lived in Virginia Beach for over 40 years. Her father’s U.S. Navy career brought their family here, and after graduating from Green Run High School and attending Longwood University, she came back to teach elementary school for 17 years.
In 2014, she successfully defeated the incumbent vice chair of the Virginia Beach School Board to earn her seat, and has served on the school board for almost seven years. Her work on the legislative committee gave her a front row seat to Richmond, and after years of not getting our schools’ needs met by the local delegation, Melnyk decided it was time to simply do it herself.
Melnyk is running for delegate to fully fund education, bring down the cost of health care, and invest in our working families. As a school board member, a teacher, a small business owner, a mom, and a community volunteer, Melynk has seen firsthand the ways these issues impact us on a daily basis, and she is ready to be a strong voice for Virginia Beach in the Virginia General Assembly.
Why should Virginians elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
I am bringing my experience as a longtime resident of Virginia Beach, a school board member, a teacher, a small business owner, and a mother to this seat. After getting a front row seat to Richmond from my work on the legislative committee, I know I have the experience to get results for the 84th District. More importantly, I have seen and lived the issues that I am fighting for, and I am ready to get to work to solve them. I entered this race because I saw that our community needed an advocate for public schools, affordable health care, and working families. I will be that advocate. I will fight tooth and nail for this district, because that is what I have been doing my entire career.
What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
My number one priority in Richmond will be fully funding public education. Virginia Beach City Public Schools are some of the best in the Commonwealth, and I am so proud of the work I have been able to do on the school board to help us reach 100% accreditation and implement full-day kindergarten.
I am running for delegate because I know I can do more as your delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. I want to help raise teacher pay and provide funding for necessary resources and services for our students, like mental and behavioral health services. We do not want our children to simply make it through school — we want them to thrive, and our investments in public education should reflect that goal.
What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?
Education. Every single issue can be traced back to education, so we need to make public education a top priority. Investing in public schools strengthens our families, our communities, and our local economy.
We have made great strides in Virginia Beach, but we still have much more to do, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teachers still need a raise. We still need funding for services to support our students’ development as well as their learning. We still need to work to make equity and diversity a top priority in our schools.
I have worked tirelessly for our schools, for over a decade as a teacher, and now as a school board member, and I will continue to build on this work in the General Assembly.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
I am grateful that we had Gov. Ralph Northam at the helm during this pandemic. His leadership is why Virginia has weathered the pandemic so much better than other states. Following the advice of doctors and experts helped us ensure we were making the best decisions possible for our communities; however, I would have liked to see a greater statewide effort to support our students during the crisis. Remote learning is such a challenge, and while I was glad we were able to do what we could to support our students in VBCPS, I would have wanted to see a greater emphasis on guiding our students through that difficult transition.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
The number one issue that the pandemic made clear was the desperate need for access to affordable, quality health care. With so many in our community affected by COVID-19 and dealing with its long term effects, it is imperative that we expand protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It also highlighted why it is so important that health care be affordable. I will work to cap prices on lifesaving prescription drugs like EpiPens and inhalers.
The pandemic also highlighted the disparities we still have in our education system. I am so proud to have worked to provide every student in Virginia Beach with a ChromeBook prior to the pandemic, which proved to be a vital tool for our students to learn remotely — but the disparities still present in our school system were thrown into sharp relief.
My husband and I took matters into our own hands when we saw a need for students to have a place to work, and we built and delivered over 2,000 desks to students in the community who did not have a place to do their school work. I won’t be afraid to roll up my sleeves the same way in Richmond. We need to provide access to broadband for the whole Commonwealth, and continue to make investments in public education so we can continue to improve our schools.
Finally, as small business owners ourselves, my husband and I saw firsthand the impact the pandemic had on our local economy and our workers. We need to make an investment in our working families, ensuring a living wage and paid sick and family leave to every employee in the commonwealth. I also want to invest in job retraining so that every worker who lost their job due to the pandemic is able to re-enter the workforce. Rebuilding our economy starts with our workers, and I will be a staunch advocate for the working families in the 84th District.