Tanya Gould is the Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates District 21. Her name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 2.

Candidate: Tanya Gould

Race: Virginia House of Delegates District 21

Party: Republican

Website: tanyagouldfordelegate.com

Biography: Tanya Gould is a survivor of human trafficking, mother of three, grandmother of four, and proven leader who has dedicated her career to fighting for those needing to be heard. Gould has dedicated her career to increasing awareness and resources to help Virginians made vulnerable by the oversight of bureaucratic politicians and partisan politics. She’s been recognized as a national leader on human trafficking and has worked with lawmakers and government agencies at the state and federal level to help end this horrific practice.

Gould’s personal trafficking story started when she was 18 years old. A recent high school graduate and single mother, Gould was living on her own and preparing to attend college. Around that time, she entered into an abusive relationship that resulted in her being trafficked for nearly two years. One evening, a police officer found Gould walking alone on the street in the middle of the night. Recognizing she was scared and in trouble, he offered to help by driving her to a local bus station and paid for her ticket home. Thanks to that caring officer and her sheer determination, Gould was able to escape her trafficker and started a new life with her 15-month-old son.

For the last 10 years, Gould has used her personal story to be a tireless advocate for women and trafficking victims across Virginia and the country. In 2012, she founded Identifiable Me, a nonprofit whose purpose is to move those who have been victimized by sexual violence towards self-discovery and their life’s purpose. In 2015, Gould went back to college and earned her bachelor’s degree in communications.

Gould has worked extensively with various government agencies to advocate for policy changes to help end human trafficking and support victims, including the departments of homeland security, immigration, and state and local law enforcement. In 2018, Gould was named to the U.S. Human Trafficking Advisory Council where she worked with the White House to craft national policies. In the Hampton Roads region, Gould has  worked with the  Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters providing mentorship to minors who are trafficked.

Now, Gould is running for the Virginia House Delegates to take her experience to Richmond and fight for Virginia families. As a mother of three, Gould is concerned about the direction of Virginia. She thinks  politicians in Richmond are more concerned about scoring political points than doing what’s right for their constituents. As your delegate, Gould will put people ahead of politics and get results that matter to move our community forward. She believes that together we are stronger and can accomplish anything.

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

Like most Virginians, I am tired of divisive politics that tear people apart instead of bringing people together. I am running for delegate because we need leaders who will put people ahead of politics and get results that improve our community.

As a human trafficking survivor, I have dedicated my career to fighting for victims including helping trauma victims recover from their experiences. I’ve spent nearly 20 years working with government agencies at the state and federal level to help pass policies to end human trafficking and advocate for HIV-AIDS populations. I’ve also had the honor of serving on advisory committees for three presidential administrations.

I have experience bringing people together to solve tough problems in our community. As delegate, I will use that experience to support common sense policies that help make Virginia the best place to work, live, and raise a family.

What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?

Our economy and small businesses are still healing from the COVID-19 shutdowns, and too many people are still out of work or underemployed. I will work to lower taxes for our local job creators so they have more capital to invest back into their business and hire local employees. I will also support policies that cut burdensome regulations, and I’ll support legislation that ends taxation on PPP and Rebuild VA loans because small businesses need that money now more than ever. 

As a mother of three and grandmother of four, I know what it’s like to have to make tough budget decisions to help support your family. Unfortunately, politicians in Richmond continue to pass policies that increase our cost of living. As your delegate, I will support legislation to repeal costly tax hikes and repeal the gas tax increase that make it harder for working families to get by. 

Like most Virginians, I am concerned by the increase in crime in our own community. As delegate, I will ensure local law enforcement have the resources they need to keep our community safe while improving training requirements and accountability standards.

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

I have knocked on thousands of doors, and the most frequently mentioned issues focus on education, job creation, and the frustration of divisive politics. Parents want to safely keep their children in school because they recognize their children have fallen behind this past year. Additionally, small businesses are struggling to find the trained workforce they need to remain open. Finally, people are frustrated by politics as usual.  They want new leaders who will work together to solve tough problems, not point fingers at the other side. As delegate, I will work with anyone to support common sense policies that improve our community and your quality of life.