Shelly Simonds is the Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 94. Her name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Candidate: Shelly Simonds
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 94
Biography: Del. Shelly Simonds is a former educator, school board member, and a community leader with a passion for excellence in education.
Simonds ran for this seat in 2015 and 2017. This race came down to a random lot draw in 2017, where she lost by chance to the Republican incumbent. She wasted no time in jumping right back in, and successfully flipped this seat in 2019.
A mother of two, Simonds is heavily involved in the future of Newport News. She supports advancements in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum and is an active voice in education reform. Committed to connecting students to careers, Simonds served as vice chair of the Board for New Horizons Regional Education Centers and participated in the Career and Technical Education Advisory Board for the school district. Simonds also previously served as a citizen advocate for the League of Conservation Voters, taking her passion for conservation and the environment to the Virginia General Assembly before running for office.
Simonds currently serves as commissioner on the Hampton Roads Transit Commission, and is a member of the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, Privileges and Elections, and Education committees. She is proud to serve her community as delegate, and represent Newport News in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Why should Virginians re-elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
My heart is for service, and I bring that heart and passion to everything I do as delegate to Newport News. My family is here, I have set my roots here, and that is why I have dedicated my time and service to Newport News. Virginians should re-elect me to the Virginia House of Delegates because I have delivered on the promises I made since I first ran for this seat back in 2015. I have fought to represent this district because I know that our future here is bright when we have leadership that listens to the community and works to uplift all of its members. I believe I bring that leadership to the Virginia General Assembly as delegate to the 94th District, and once re-elected, I will continue building on that progress to deliver for the people of Newport News.
What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
I want to expand access to affordable healthcare, lower prescription drug prices, fight for clean air and water, increase access to computer science and stem education in our schools, and help put students on a path to successful careers. I have fought hard and voted on many of these issues already as delegate, but there is more work to be done to keep Newport News moving forward, which I hope to accomplish if re-elected.
What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?
The most important issue facing our district is rebuilding the community’s trust in schools so that we can send their children back, and they can trust that we will keep their children safe. Virginia has a world-class education system, and we need to get our students back in school with our talented and highly-effective teachers and counselors. Another important issue is boosting workforce development and connecting our kids to careers. I believe we have incredible room to grow to ensure our students graduate high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to access the best jobs and wages available. I think we can do that through increased apprenticeships, investments in STEM education, and jobs skills programs, like that of the Virginia Technical Academy, that set our community up for success in the workforce.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
I think Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic has been measured and reasonable given the extremely challenging situation. Many people say to me how lucky we are to have a doctor as our governor, and that he has been a steady and reassuring presence through the crisis. I think the only thing we could have improved was communication with the public before the roll out of the vaccine. Many people were confused about when and how they would receive the vaccine, and I think this was a space where we could have worked to rebuild trust in our institutions.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
One of the top issues the pandemic revealed was the lack of affordable housing in Newport News. Another top issue created by the pandemic was the problem of homelessness and how to provide services. As a leader, I try to build consensus around the need for affordable housing in Newport News and advocate for American Rescue Plan funds to meet those needs.
Finally, I think the pandemic showed how important it is for employers to pay a living wage and for workers to have sick paid leave. Democrats are committed to helping working families by providing sick days to all workers in Virginia and I look forward to voting for these measures in the Virginia General Assembly.