Mike Mullin is the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 93. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.

Candidate: Mike Mullin

Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 93

Party: Democratic

Website: mullinforvirginia.com

Biography: Mike Mullin first came to the Peninsula as a 17-year old college freshman at Christopher Newport University. He loved the city so much he knew wanted to raise his family here. After law school at the Catholic University, he returned to the area to do just that. A proud father of three sons, he now lives in Newport News and works to make the Peninsula a better place.

As delegate for the 93rd District, he represents residents of Newport News, Williamsburg, James City County, and York County. When the Virginia House of Delegates isn’t in session, Mullin serves as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the city of Hampton and is a certified gang investigator by the Virginia Gang Investigators’ Association.

Why should Virginians re-elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?

Since being elected in 2016, I have been one of the most effective legislators in Richmond. I have carried 33 bills that are now laws. I should be re-elected because I helped put a cap on the price of insulin to $50 and voted to expand Medicaid so that over half-a-million Virginians can have health insurance.

In addition, I have always been an advocate for educators and properly funding our schools. I helped pass a 5% teacher pay raise, and recently we secured $250 million for funding school infrastructure from the American Rescue Plan.

Lastly, I have always put my goal of keeping my community safe at the front of my agenda. I passed two bills, which helped dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, passed the first version of Virginia’s red flag laws to take guns away from people who have had a personal protective order against them, and I carried the bill that abolished the death penalty.

I should be re-elected because I listen to the 93rd District, and I will continue to do everything I can to make the lives of my constituents, and all Virginians, better. I have proven time and again that I am a delegate who gets results and delivers for Virginia.

What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?

I plan to continue building on the work we have done so far in the legislature. First, I want to continue doing everything I can to continue keeping our community safe. This is something I have been committed to in Richmond and something I have shown both in the courtroom and in the statehouse. We passed the first version of a red flag law in Virginia, which takes guns out of the hands of a person with a protective order filed against them. 

Second, I want to expand on our work supporting teachers and our education system. We did pass a historic 5% raise in teacher pay, but a 5% raise is still not enough. Teachers in Virginia should be paid and supported more! I want to continue increasing teacher pay across the Commonwealth so that we go from the bottom of the country to the top. We also made significant investments in school infrastructure in the 2021 special session, and we need to continue those investments. We need to build toward a truly equitable education system in Virginia. Every kid deserves the same opportunities and resources across Virginia.

Lastly, I want to expand paid leave to every Virginian in the Commonwealth. Del. Elizabeth Guzman, my Democratic colleagues, and I passed the first version of a paid leave law in Virginia for frontline healthcare workers and first responders during the beginning of the pandemic. That was a big milestone in Virginia, but there are still too many families who risk unemployment, eviction, or worse because their jobs don’t guarantee paid medical or family leave. This issue is very personal to me.

What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?

From what I have heard across my district, people are concerned that we are not ending the pandemic as quickly as we can. Whether it is schools staying open or keeping businesses open for in-person events, people are worried that we are going to have to go back to the state of Virginia in 2020. My position is very simple — everyone needs to get vaccinated as soon as they are able to. The only way we can ensure that we keep small businesses open and our kids remain safe in school is by getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 

What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?

Virginia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been effective because of our strong leadership in Richmond and Virginians doing their part to mask up and get vaccinated. No response to any disaster is perfect, but we worked hard to protect the most vulnerable and keep our economy afloat while never cutting services. I think that one thing we could have done better on is the initial rollout of the vaccine, which I believe could have been done more efficiently. Overall, however, we are fortunate to have the only governor in the nation that is a doctor, and I am still proud of the way Virginia responded to the initial pandemic.

What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?

Many people across the 93rd District and across Virginia have been affected by the pandemic, not only by those who lost their lives to COVID-19 or are still experiencing the lingering effects of having COVID-19, but it has deeply impacted the mental health of many people. With the majority of us staying inside and working remotely, the mental health of many Virginians has been greatly affected. We need to work on making access to treatment for mental health more readily available across Virginia. 

Another issue is the strain the hospitality and tourism industry has felt because of the pandemic. The Peninsula is home to the Historic Triangle, with Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown and many hotels and restaurants; they have all taken major hits throughout 2020 and into 2021. We must continue to listen to the needs of this industry and help where we can by directing funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to help stabilize and rebuild. 

This last issue ties into the second: We are still seeing a shortage of retail and restaurant workers as a result of the layoffs from the pandemic because workers are not being valued enough. During the 2021 legislative session, we allocated $25 million to the Rebuild Virginia Grant program to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. While that has been helpful in keeping businesses afloat, the cause for the shortage of workers is simple — they are not being paid enough. We have been asking everyday people who work in retail to come in during a global pandemic and have not been paying them an adequate living wage. The way we solve the worker shortage in Virginia is by paying employees a living wage.