Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityFairfax County voters gear up for special election on Tuesday for Va. House District 35 | WJLA
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Fairfax County voters gear up for special election on Tuesday for Va. House District 35

Holly Seibold, left, and{ }Monique Baroudi (7News)
Holly Seibold, left, and Monique Baroudi (7News)
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On Tuesday, voters in Fairfax County will have the opportunity to elect a new delegate in House District 35 to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Democrat Holly Seibold and Republican Monique Baroudi are facing off for the special election this Tuesday.

Baroudi grew up in a military family and she and her husband have four sons. She previously worked as a government contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“I spent part of my education in FCPS and actually graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology,” Baroudi told 7News. “And then I went on to UVA and got a systems engineering degree, and eventually left my engineering career to raise my children. I have four sons. I've been living in this district, the 35th District, for 26 years ever since I graduated from college.”

Seibold has a son and a daughter, and she founded a non-profit to help women and girls obtain menstrual supplies and undergarments.

“I live here in the town of Vienna,” Seibold told 7News. “I have lived here for over a decade. I found my way to the 35th district as a teacher at Vienna Elementary School, where I taught for many years. When I met my husband, and we created a family, we moved back to the district so that my kids can be raised here. We have been very involved in this community for many, many years.”

“I'm an educator, who was a teacher for many, many years in this district and also taught in Washington, D.C.” Seibold added. “I have two kids in the public school system, so it's important that our schools are fully funded. It's also important to me that our kids are safe when they go to school. So gun violence prevention is incredibly important to me. I'm happy to report that I was endorsed by the Giffords campaign. They know that I'm going to work and fight to make sure that our kids are protected from gun violence when they go to school each day. Women's rights are also very important for me. I started a nonprofit organization and the goal of our organization is to make sure that girls have the same opportunities as boys and that they are able to receive a proper education and not miss class because of not having access to basic necessities. And so I will work every day to make sure that women's health care is addressed at the state level.”

Seibold said she would support “commonsense” gun reforms if she were to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

Baroudi told 7News that education is on the minds of many voters in Fairfax County right now.

“One thing I keep hearing repeatedly at the doors is people are fed up with some of the things that are going on in our public schools,” said Baroudi. “And as a mother, whose children all started in Fairfax County Public Schools, I feel strongly about kids getting a great education. And FCPS used to be one of the top school systems in the entire nation. And that's starting to wane.”

“I think we need to recognize that every child has innate abilities, and we need to help each child be the best that they can be, and that's not going to be the same for everybody. But we need to focus on helping every child excel and help promote excellence,” added Baroudi.

The future of public education is expected to be debated in the upcoming General Assembly session.

“I want to make sure our schools are fully funded first and foremost,” Seibold said. “It's important to me as a parent with two kids in our public school system that they have every opportunity that they need. I also have two kids who are part of the special ed program. Both of them have IEPs, so we want to make sure that those needs are addressed. I think that we need more help for those who are experiencing mental health issues in school. So, I'd like to see more money specifically for psychologists and counselors. I think that's something particularly after COVID that is much needed. And my personal interest, and this is something that I did when I was a classroom teacher for a long time, but after teaching in the classroom, I actually moved over as a specialist where I worked with students and teachers to integrate more STEM in the classroom. So, I'd like to see more STEM skills, especially for girls, and they know that there is a pathway to a job in that field in the future.”

Baroudi said she supports Attorney General Jason Miyares’ investigation into Fairfax County Public Schools after high schools didn’t notify students of their national merit recognition.

“I absolutely support the Attorney General's intent to investigate these allegations,” Baroudi said. “I think that it's saddening that we are so focused on equity of outcome that we can't celebrate the achievements of students who have worked hard. All of our students need to know that it's important to work hard and do their best and celebrating the achievements doesn't take something away from somebody else.”

On the campaign trail, Baroudi and Seibold are talking about the rising cost of living that is impacting families in Fairfax County and what they would like to do about it.

“I live in this community and I understand how difficult it is to go to the grocery store and see the final costs of my shopping experience that day,” said Seibold. “I have been fighting for seven years to eliminate the tax on basic needs. And that's how I got involved with politics. Delegate Mark Keam and Senator Boysko introduced a bill each year that I fought for that would eliminate the 6% tax on menstrual supplies because we believe that it is a critical basic need. The cost is incredibly high and it's something that people can't live without.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is pushing for additional tax cuts this year.

Baroudi said she would support Youngkin’s push for lower taxes.

“I think that the tax cuts that went into effect on January 1 to reduce the grocery tax is a great first step in helping families who are suffering through inflation,” Baroudi said. “I absolutely support additional tax cuts to help families weather this storm.”

Baroudi added rising crime in Fairfax County is a concern for many voters.

“It's a shame to see rising crime in Fairfax County,” said Baroudi. “I've lived in Fairfax County for more than half my life and it's a travesty to see the types of crimes that are popping up. I think that legislation to help provide more funding for the police departments is necessary. I fully support the governor's plan - the bold blue line - to help recruit new officers and help officers transfer from other areas to come into our system more quickly. And you know, a friend was just telling me, he was recently at Tysons Corner and they were evacuated for what they believed to be shots fired, but it wasn't, it was actually somebody doing a smash and grab in a jewelry store in Tyson's Corner Mall in the middle of the day. We need to have officers who are ready to respond to these issues and we need to be prosecuting criminals more effectively in Fairfax County so that we can actually help prevent crime.”

Abortion rights is also expected to be debated in the upcoming General Assembly session.

“Women should have a right to access the health care that they need and that women deserve reproductive freedom,” Seibold told 7News.

“I come to the abortion issue from a very personal perspective,” Baroudi told 7News. “My very first born son was born prematurely at 22 weeks gestation. I've spent many years educating myself on the topic and becoming an advocate for women. I truly believe that women deserve better than being told that abortion empowers them. And I don't quite understand why the abortion proponents are so adamant to prevent any sort of protections for babies in the womb that they would stoop so low as to spread myths that Governor Youngkin - and even by extension me - would want to criminalize women who seek abortions. I would never support legislation that would criminalize a woman seeking an abortion.”

“And I think that we need to do more to support women who are in crisis,” added Baroudi. “So it would be wonderful if we could have bipartisan legislation to provide actual support for women, so they don't feel like abortion is their only choice. And I would love to work across the aisle to have common sense protections for babies in the womb. Limiting abortion to 15 weeks or protecting babies after 15 weeks is not an extreme position. I can assure you of the humanity of the unborn. In fact, I've delivered three preterm babies and they deserve human respect.”

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Seibold says she will work to expand Medicaid "so every child in Virginia can have access to the care they need."

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