Virginia Del. Danica Roem launches run for newly drawn Va. Senate seat

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2019 file photo, Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, right, applauds visitors during opening ceremonies at the start of the 2019 session of the Virginia General Assembly in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment are confident Virginia is on the verge of becoming the critical 38th state to ratify the gender equality measure. The proposed 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution faces a host of likely legal challenges and vehement opposition from conservative activists who depict the ERA as a threat to their stances on abortion and transgender rights.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)(AP/Steve Helber)
Virginia Del. Danica Roem announced Monday she’s running for state Senate in 2023, aiming to fill the newly drawn 30th District seat.

With 18 months until Election Day on Nov. 7, 2023, Roem is the first Democrat to announce for the seat currently occupied by fellow Democrat Adam Ebbin, who will run for re-election in the newly drawn Senate District 39.

Legislators must live within the districts they represent; recent redistricting put Ebbin in the 39th, leaving the 30th District open.

Roem’s current house seat runs through Jan. 10, 2024.

The 30th District encompasses western Prince William County, “including Haymarket, Gainesville, Catharpin, Broad Run, Bristow, the county portion of Manassas, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park,” said Roem. “I am a lifelong resident of the Prince William part of Manassas,” and she said she moved “five minutes up the street,” and “within the same ZIP code,” into the newly drawn 30th District. 

“I moved from a one-bedroom apartment to another one-bedroom apartment, slightly further up the road,” said Roem. “It just so happened to coincide with my lease expiring anyway, so the timing kinda worked well.”

The newly-drawn 30th District “includes 16 of the 18 precincts that I represent in the Virginia House of Delegate’s 13th District,” said Roem, who said she is well-versed in issues facing voters who will have the chance to vote for her for the first time, “in my lifelong home community, where I was the lead reporter of the Gainesville Times and the Prince William Times for more than nine years, from 2006 to 2015.”

On working well with others

Roem was asked whether it would be easier or more difficult to accomplish her goals working  in the state’s upper chamber.

“This year, the House of Delegates passed nine of my 18 bills, and all nine of my bills sent to the state Senate passed unanimously, which means I already have a very good working relationship with my colleagues in the other chamber,” said Roem.

As for working with the administration of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin? “The governor signed all nine of them into law — I don’t expect much of a different outcome from being in the Senate.”

“I expect to still have a professional working relationship with the administration as well as with both chambers of the General Assembly,” said Roem. “While, at the same time, I am a Democrat running for the Democratic nomination, and we certainly have our differences and I’m not afraid to voice those, either.”

In 2017, Roem became the first openly transgender state representative to be elected, and has been re-elected twice.

“Because of the torrent of anti-LGTBQ legislation nationwide, from Republican legislators and actions taken from Republican governors, where they have prioritized attacking their LGBTQ student constituents, instead of constituent service, it is absolutely vital that we have LGBTQ representation in the halls of power wherever we can,” Roem said.

Roem said that if she wins, and if Donna Price wins in her campaign for the House of Delegates in Albemarle County, “Virginia would be the first state in the union to have trans representation in both chambers of its state legislature.”

‘Fix roads, feed kids’

Roem pointed to previous legislative successes, including 10 bills for feeding hungry children since 2019, including two this year.

Her bills have also provided state-of-the-art prosthetics coverage for amputees and those with limb loss. A Roem bill also called for a ban on above-ground transmission lines along I-66 between Gainesville and Haymarket.

Having grown up nearby, Roem’s initial foray into politics included fixing State Route 28, which runs from Fauquier County, through Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties.

“Since my first campaign in 2017, all the traffic lights have now been removed from the I-66/Route 28 interchange, over in Centreville,” Roem said. “As a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, I voted in favor of multimodal construction that’s now underway.”

Roem said there are applications for four different funding streams to implement the recommendations of her Virginia Department of Transportation STARS study, intended to create innovative intersections to keep traffic moving on Route 28, between Manassas Park and Fairfax County.

As WTOP reported in 2021, the plan uses Restricted Crossing U-Turn to replace current dangerous intersections.

“That will remain my number one in all of this,” Roem said. “Taking care of bread and butter issues — that’s why my slogan in this campaign is ‘Fixing roads, feeding kids.'”

Currently, Roem and Republican Ian Lovejoy are the sole candidates seeking the open seat in the Senate’s 30th District.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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