Democrat Ghazala Hashmi unseated Virginia state Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R) on Tuesday to become the first Muslim woman elected to the state Senate, according to The Associated Press.
Hashmi, a former community college professor, will represent the state’s 10th Senate District, which includes Powhatan County and parts of Chesterfield County and Richmond. She immigrated to the U.S. from India as a child, and 2019 marked her first campaign for public office.
Hashmi’s campaign focused heavily on issues such as gun violence and education, and she was a supporter of Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) universal pre-kindergarten proposals. During the campaign, she went after Sturtevant, a two-term incumbent, over his opposition to Medicaid expansion even as the Republican presented himself as an independent voice in a state where President Trump’s approvals are consistently low.
“This victory, is not mine alone. It belongs to all of you who believed that we needed to make progressive change here in Virginia, for all of you who felt that you haven’t had a voice and believed in me to be yours in the General Assembly,” Hashmi tweeted Tuesday evening.
“After flipping the Senate, I’ll have Democrats by my side to fight to protect Virginians from the climate crisis and senseless gun violence, and work to expand our access to affordable health care and funding for public education. I can’t wait to work together in the state Senate,” she added.
The state Democratic Party successfully flipped the balance of power in the legislature after falling short in 2017.