Candidate Profile: Missy Cotter Smasal (8th District)


Missy Cotter Smasal is running for Senate in Virginia’s 8th District.

Name: Missy Cotter Smasal

Race: Senate, 8th District

Party: Democrat


Biography: Missy Cotter Smasal is the Democratic Nominee for Virginia’s 8th Senate Seat. Missy served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy and deployed aboard the U.S.S. Trenton during Operation Enduring Freedom. After her active duty service, Missy opened Rita’s Italian Ice on Shore Drive, which she owned and operated for over 10 years. She and her husband, Bryan, are the proud parents of two kids. Missy’s volunteer work has included serving as a Girl Scout Leader, a soccer and basketball coach, and on the executive PTA board at her local school.  She is advocating for a safer, sustainable, and economically strong future for Virginia Beach.

Why should residents elect you to the Virginia Senate?

I’m running to take on the complacency of Richmond lawmakers.  From combating sea-level rise to ensuring quality healthcare options; from school funding to gun violence prevention, my opponent not only refused to take action but actively impedes solutions. When I saw that my daughter’s elementary school doors were left unlocked, allowing potentially dangerous people inside, I recognized that it was unsafe. I was told not to worry about it but instead, I started a petition and collected over 2,500 signatures from concerned families and neighbors in my community. Now, all elementary school doors across the city are locked with a camera and buzzer. When I saw a problem, I built a network of concerned citizens to fix it. That’s what I’ll do in Richmond if elected; I will work with the people of Virginia Beach to improve our public schools, prevent gun violence, protect our healthcare, address the rising sea-level and recurrent flooding, ratify the ERA, and fight for fair redistricting legislation. I hope I can earn your support this November.

What is the biggest issue facing your district, and how do you plan to address it?

Sea-level rise and recurrent flooding continue to be an everyday concern for the residents of Virginia Beach and the biggest issue facing our district. Rising seas threaten the investments we’ve made in our homes and our businesses, while current lawmakers waste time debating the reality of climate change. We cannot trust the solutions to the lawmakers who refuse to even acknowledge the problem.  We must take action now, and the people of Virginia Beach need our Commonwealth to commit to helping us manage the short and long term challenges. We need to fund coastal resiliency efforts, protect green spaces from over-development that increases flooding and work toward a more sustainable environment.  These challenges also offer an incredible opportunity to create green jobs like offshore wind and solar to help grow our economy. Together, we can protect our environment and ensure a resilient economy in our community.

What was the most important vote taken in the Virginia General Assembly in 2019, and why?

The General Assembly failed to take it’s most important vote in 2019.  In the wake of the horrific Virginia Beach shooting, members of the General Assembly had the opportunity to take serious action on gun violence prevention.  Every Republican, including my opponent, refused to even vote on legislation that would make our Commonwealth safer and save lives, such as Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws.  They have had over a decade to act to prevent gun violence; the Virginia Tech shooting was 12 years ago, and yet, they block every attempt to address the epidemic of gun violence.  If elected, I will prioritize this issue and focus on public safety.

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