The Richmond area officially has two new state senators, including the first Muslim elected to the Senate.
Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, D-Chesterfield, and Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, were sworn in Wednesday on the first day of the General Assembly session, taking office as the state legislature, with their help, flipped from a Republican majority to being led by Democrats.
Two first-time officeholders — a socially liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican — are about to join the Virginia Senate.
By chance, each already has a good friend at the Capitol: the other.
Sens.-elect Ghazala F. Hashmi (D-Richmond) and Jen A. Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), met and hit it off in March at a week-long candidate training program at the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. In November, each prevailed in harshly partisan contests in suburban swing districts.
Democrats took control of all three branches of government in Virginia this week for the first time in a generation, winning majorities in the House and Senate. One of those winning leaders was Ghazala Hashmi, who unseated an incumbent Republican to become the first Muslim-American woman elected to Virginia's state Senate.
Days after Virginia’s legislative elections, racist comments continued to flood news stories about Ghazala Hashmi becoming the first Muslim American to serve in the state Senate
Ghazala Hashmi was on her way to work one winter morning in 2017 when she heard news on the radio that left her in a panic: President Trump’s order banning refugees from certain Muslim countries was making headlines, and she was concerned about the possibility of a Muslim registry being created in the United States.
Ms. Hashmi, who came from India to the United States at the age of 4, pulled up to the community college where she worked, parked her minivan and felt frozen with fear. As a Muslim who had lived in the United States nearly all her life, she wondered, did she still have a place in the country she called home?
Virginia’s first two Latinas in the state legislature will be heading back together after each won re-election Tuesday.
Two Richmond-area Senate races remained at the top of state’s most expensive contests in the Nov. 5 General Assembly election, according to finance reports that were due at midnight Monday.
The contests between Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Chesterfield, and Democrat Ghazala Hashmi, and between Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, and Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, are critical for each party
Glen Sturtevant calls his diverse 10th Senate district a microcosm of the state of Virginia. It spans west from downtown Richmond into Bon Air, Midlothian and rural Powhatan County.
That diverse demographic is also what makes the Republican incumbent particularly vulnerable this election to a challenge from Democrat Ghazala Hashmi. She’s a community college administrator who immigrated to the U.S. from India 50 years ago.
In the race for state Senate District 10, which includes a northern section of the Dale District, incumbent Glen Sturtevant, R-Midlothian, labeled himself an “independent voice” while Democrat challenger Ghazala Hashmi, also of Midlothian, laid out a liberal agenda during a VPM forum Oct. 9.
Sturtevant is an attorney who is nearing the end of a four-year term after defeating Dan Gecker by 2.66 percentage points in a 2015 race to succeed longtime state Sen. John Watkins.
The district that Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant holds was supposed to be a pickup for Democrats four years ago, or so they said at the time.
Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, was retiring and Democrats thought the votes should have been there for a victory.