All four candidates running in the June 20, 2023, Democratic primary for Virginia House of Delegates District 7 — Mary Barthelson, Paul Berry, Shyamali Hauth, and Karen Keys-Gamarra — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.
District 7 is an open seat, meaning no incumbent is running. The Virginia Public Access Project rates House District 7 as Strong Democratic. The site estimated that former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) won the district by a margin of 39.1 percentage points in 2021.
Elections Daily‘s Joe Szymanski described the district as “one of the bluer seats in an already deep blue Fairfax County … [A]s is the case in these districts, all candidates are trying to prove they are the most left wing.”
Szymanski wrote, “Barthelson … is behind the rest of the pack in terms of fundraising and local support,” adding that, among the other three candidates, “Keys-Gamarra seems to be running closest to the center, with Hauth and Berry both highlighting endorsements from individuals who would be considered more to the left wing of the Democratic party.”
Here are the candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
“I am passionate about technology and human rights. That is why I chose to go into systems engineering as a profession and spend so much time in the community working to improve the lives of those in need.”
“Education, the environment, and workforce development. … better salaries for staff, new buildings instead of trailers for students, and environmentally forward curricula that gives young minds a vision for a sustainable future. … Sustainable and forward-thinking environmental policy that champions renewable energy, reduces waterway and ocean contamination, and shrinks the carbon footprint across industries and households with green technology will guarantee the safety and success of future generations.”
“Safeguarding reproductive freedom … Increasing mental health services and facilities … Maintaining and strengthening our world-class public education system. … Standing up for LGBTQ+ families like mine … Addressing housing affordability … Working to pass common sense gun control measures. … Standing with our Unions … Improving our transportation system.”
“I will advocate for a world-class public education system that attracts business and builds a thriving economy for all. I will use my leadership skills and strong voice to champion our reproductive rights, climate change issues, affordable housing, gun safety which prioritizes an assault weapon ban, DEI policies, LGBTQIA+ rights, workforce development, justice system reform, and transportation concerns.”
Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.
We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.