There will be competition in the District 30 Virginia House of Delegates election in November.
Retired teacher Ann Faulkner Ridgeway, of the Locust Dale area of Madison County last week announced her candidacy for the office currently held by two-term Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper. A first-time candidate for elected office, she was the only Democrat to file for the seat and has been declared the party’s nominee.
Freitas, 39, an Iraq War veteran, received the Republican nomination last month.
A graduate of Old Dominion University and James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg, where she grew up, 67-year-old Ridgeway holds a degree in psychology and is a native Virginian, according to a campaign news release. She previously worked as juvenile probation officer and substitute teacher in Orange County, where she helped establish a Youth Commission and Youth Council and in-school suspension program.
Ridgeway also advocated for the creation of the Orange County Office on Youth, which runs before, after and summer childcare programs in three elementary schools. The candidate is an active community volunteer especially interested in issues impacting young people including drug and alcohol abuse. She has worked with local 4-H programs and launched the Locust Dale Farm Riding program.
“I believe in respecting the rights of all people and caring about others in need,” Ridgeway said.
Her formative years as the daughter of an Episcopal minister, the late Rev. Thomas Faulkner, in the Fredericksburg area influenced that philosophy. Along with her mother, Mary, the Rev. Faulkner was an active civil rights leader in the 1960s, supporting integrated worship and educational opportunities for African-Americans, the release stated.
“My father came very close to losing his parish at St. George’s because his views were considered controversial,” Ridgeway said. “My parents believed strongly that we are all equal in God’s eyes and I hope to carry that belief forward in my campaign.”
The Democratic candidate said she wants to be a voice for all people, including Republicans, in the 30th District that spans part of Culpeper County, including the town, and all of Orange and Madison counties.
“I believe we can achieve that by listening and working together,” Ridgeway said. “My parents worked tirelessly for the needs of others, giving me a deep understanding that we must treat one another as we would like to be treated. They taught me the value of hard work and compassion for all.”
She listed as her platform public education, vocational training, higher teacher pay, access to affordable healthcare, rural broadband, job growth and protecting the environment. In a phone conversation Monday, Ridgeway named public education and closing the wage disparity among public school teachers as her No. 1 priority.
“I believe the rural counties need to get more funding from the General Assembly to have equality of public education across the state,” she said.
Del. Freitas said he is seeking election to a third term for the same reason he ran in 2015.
“I want people to have greater freedom and control over their own lives and choices. I want them to have greater choices when it comes to educating their children. I want them to be able to build their businesses without constantly worrying about government intervention in the form of taxes and regulations, and I want them to know that I will fight to ensure that the government stays within its constitutional boundaries,” he stated in an email Monday to the Star-Exponent.
Freitas said the most important work he accomplished in previous sessions was reducing regulations on small business, protecting property rights from eminent domain abuse, removing regulations that prevented cultivation of industrial hemp, increasing student access to Career and Technical Education and getting tax cuts passed.
He said he also worked to protect gun rights and against government funding for abortions. As a member of the House Finance Committee, Freitas said he voted against more than 1 billion worth of new proposed taxes and opposed a version of “The Green New Deal” he said would have driven up energy prices.
“I believe these positions reflect the priorities and values of the 30th District and I want to continue to represent those values in Richmond on our behalf,” he said.
If re-elected, Freitas said he would continue to be the protector of people’s rights and property and would work to increase educational options for students “that put parents and teachers rather than politicians in charge of the classroom.”
He added, “I will also continue to be a voice for the unborn, who are at risk like never before as some on the far left continue to push for taxpayer-funded abortion up to the point of birth for virtually any reason, which I believe runs completely contrary to a free and compassionate society.”