Sylvia Bryant is the Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 90. Her name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Candidate: Sylvia Bryant
Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 90
Biography: Sylvia Bryant and her family have lived in Norfolk for over 35 years. A typical working class family, both she and her husband have worked full-time jobs outside of the home, and together, have successfully juggled work and family life.
Bryant and her husband, Ray, have three amazing children and five grandchildren, all of whom reside in the Hampton Roads area. Since 1995, Bryant has had a child attending school within the Norfolk Public School system and has spent those years as an involved parent and volunteer, both within the school system and in the community. As a very active parent, Bryant created an afterschool cheer club at Tanners Creek Elementary, and served as PTA secretary, cheer director for Azalea Athletic Association Recreation League, and manager and coach for T-ball, baseball and softball throughout the years.
For the past 23 years, serving as the business administrator of a residential construction contractor, she knows the struggles first hand caused by burdensome regulations placed on small businesses, as well as the struggle to find qualified tradesmen. Bryant is working to increase availability to workforce training programs for our high school children, as well as adults, to ensure they have the opportunities for success that our children and families deserve.
From the sandy beaches of Willoughby, to the banks of the Lafayette River, Bryant loves everything that our beautiful city has to offer, and for that reason, she has decided to step up and provide the citizens of Norfolk with a voice when the state’s leaders are not making decisions that are great for our city and her residents.
Why should Virginians elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
Norfolk and Virginia need a leader who will advocate for the citizens of the district and, ultimately, the state. We need a leader who has no agenda and is not beholden to any particular business organization or partisan group.
I will sponsor and support legislation that is good for our community, including legislation that will keep our children, families and neighborhoods safe by making sure violent criminals remain incarcerated and the rehabilitation of those who have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance. I will sponsor legislation to ensure our law enforcement officers have the tools and support needed to protect the citizens, as well as ensure they are doing their job according to the oath they swore to abide by. I will also work to bring businesses back to our city, as well as encourage the development of small businesses by offering start up incentives and eliminating burdensome regulations where possible.
I will support legislation to eliminate state income tax for the first $40,000 of military retirement pay, which will encourage those highly-skilled individuals to remain in our city or state. Many will in turn create employment opportunities with revenue streams from employment and business taxes with will by far compensate for the loss of revenue resulting from the ending of the income tax.
What is the most important issue facing your district, and what is your position on it?
The quality of our educational system in Norfolk is substandard and ranks nationally toward the bottom of the list. Without a quality education, our children are destined for failure. I have had a child in the Norfolk Public School system consecutively since 1995. I have volunteered in the front office, created an afterschool cheer club, done desktop publishing and clerical support for the teachers, served as a parent liaison, a test proctor, and secretary of the PTA and chaperoned fieldtrips. I have witnessed firsthand the programs that work and those that do not. This city needs a strong leader who will put the children first and one who recognizes the parent as the customer and that as a leader my responsibility will always be to represent the customer first at all times.
What is your position on Virginia’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what might you have done differently?
At the time the early decisions were made there was very little information on this virus and how to deal with it. As time moved on and we learned more, I do not believe our leaders followed the science and the closing of businesses and in-person learning adversely affected the economy, mental health, and the education of our students. Throughout history, the effective method of navigating a pandemic has been to isolate the sick and at risk. The handling of the coronavirus pandemic has shown the devastation that results when we force healthy individuals to stop working and isolate without evidence based proven outcomes.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in your district, and how would you plan to address them?
1. Education: First, the need of every child in Virginia schools must be identified and addressed to ensure we are meeting those needs and are providing the necessary tools to reach their best potential. I am committed to being very engaged in determining how our schools construction needs are met, ensuring the selection of only the highest quality teachers and making sure those teachers are properly funded and compensated. We must also focus on post-secondary education. Seventy percent of the students attending historically black colleges and universities in Virginia are residents; however, many of those student leave our state upon graduation. It should be our goal to encourage university administration and private sector investors to fund job opportunities for Virginia students wishing to remain in their Commonwealth.
2. Business: What I hope to see and work on are ways to encourage mentors to engage in small business growth, grant funding, and sponsorships. We need to maximize opportunities that organizations, such as Virginia Economic Development Partnership and regional chambers of commerce, have to offer in order to support local business growth and raise awareness of grant funding opportunities. I am committed to making sure we have the workforce needed to attract new businesses into our city and state.
3. Mental Health: First, we must get our business open and people back to work. When individuals are working and able to provide for their needs and the needs of their family, we feel a sense of accomplishment. Let’s get our economy back on track by encouraging our citizens to return to work. We must also keep our children learning inside the schools, which will allow a return to normalcy with their schedule as well as the schedule of their parents and caregivers. Social interaction is a very important part of child growth and development. Science has shown that when a child is isolated from his or her peers, they begin to become depressed, withdrawn and often times will turn to other means of fulfilment. We must keep our children challenged and engaged.