Kelly Fowler defeats fellow Fil-Am Ron Villanueva
On an election night that was dominated by Democrats, Democrat Kelly Fowler won the seat for Virginia’s House of Delegates 21st District (VA-21) against Republican incumbent Ron Villanueva.
Fowler, a real estate agent, was inspired to run for office after last year’s presidential election. She earned 53.4 percent of the vote over fellow Fil-Am Villanueva, who garnered 46.4 percent.
Fowler’s Filipino ancestry comes from both her grandfathers, who were from the Philippines and served in the United States Navy, allowing them to be American citizens. A Virginia Beach local, Fowler was a public school teacher before leading a team of real estate agents who specialize in military relocation.
She launched her campaign to bring more diverse representation to Virginia’s delegation and to fight for women’s reproductive rights, gun control, Medicaid expansion and quality public education among other progressive issues.
“A Virginia Beach native, Kelly Fowler is well versed in the issues that matter to the 21st district,” Virginia House Democrats spokesperson Katie Baker said on Tuesday, November 6, after Fowler’s win. “In advocating for women’s reproductive rights and access to affordable health care, she has proven to be a strong voice for her community. We are excited to have Kelly join us in Richmond.”
Her opponent, veteran delegate Villanueva, had been representing VA-21 since 2010.
Fowler’s win in Virginia — which typically votes Republican — makes her the first Asian American woman elected to the state House of Delegates, and is also a part of a huge upset by Democrats in several state races. In addition to Fowler’s upset, Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie in the gubernatorial race.
Democrats also flipped the Virginia State House of Delegates, gaining control of the chamber for the first time since 2000 and sending shockwaves to Republicans across the country for the anticipated midterm elections next year.
The House race, in particular, was historical; in addition to Fowler’s win, Danica Roem became one of the first transgender individuals to be elected into office (that same day Andrea Jenkins, a transgender black woman, was elected to the Minneapolis City Council).
The Democratic National Committee (DNC), which poured massive support for its Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidates, on Wednesday celebrated the several AAPI victories in a statement delivered by DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng and DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong Hong.
“Yesterday’s success is just the beginning. In 2018, and beyond the AAPI community is going to be crucial to victories in swing states and key races,” they wrote. “The new DNC believes that every zip code counts, and we will organize 365 days a year around candidates who are reflective of our diverse nation and share our values of inclusion, justice, and opportunity. That’s how we will keep winning elections from the school board to the Oval Office.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)