On The Issues


The world around us is moving rapidly. In a Commonwealth as vast and diverse as ours, we can’t make progress or heal discord without bridging divides — between our communities and our leaders, between our ideals and our realities, and between our past and where we’re going. COVID-19 has laid bare the inequities that already existed in our communities and we need leaders who are willing to make big and brave decisions to address our challenges and better our Commonwealth.

Hala Ayala is uniquely suited in this moment to bridge divides and keep moving Virginia forward into a strong, just, and prosperous future. Her vision for Virginia is one where everyone has a seat at the table, and everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

The Lieutenant Governor serves as the second highest elected official in Virginia. They work hand in hand with the Governor and their Cabinet to enact policies and programs that better our Commonwealth. As a leader in Richmond, they play a crucial role in setting the tone of the Administration and the General Assembly. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will serve as a leader for all Virginians and work to build bridges between our government and its people.

As President of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate and plays a central role in enacting legislation that impacts all Virginians. By building coalitions and working with her former colleagues in the House to bridge the two chambers, she will ensure that the General Assembly passes common sense legislation that improves the lives of all Virginians.

As Chief Deputy Whip in the House of Delegates -- Hala’s current leadership position in the House of the Delegates -- she has already helped shepherd some of the Democratic Majority’s biggest successes and knows how to get things done. She understands that fostering relationships is the key to fostering success and the key to creating a more perfect Union and Commonwealth.

Download Hala's Plans:

Plan to Tackle the Gun Violence Epidemic in the Commonwealth
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Plan for Quality, Affordable Healthcare for All Virginians
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Plan to End Racial Disparities in Healthcare Outcomes
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Healthcare

All Virginians deserve access to affordable, quality healthcare.

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Education

Strengthening Our Schools for Future Generations

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Climate Change

Preserving and Protecting our Commonwealth for future generations

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Jobs and The Economy

We need to create an economy that works for all Virginians

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Criminal Justice Reform

Creating a Just and Fair Virginia no matter the color of your skin

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Transportation & Infrastructure

Getting Virginians where they need to be and the resources they need to succeed

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Women's Rights

Honoring our diverse Commonwealth and creating a more inclusive and equitable Virginia

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Healthcare

 

When Hala’s son was born, her job at the time offered no health insurance. When her newborn son experienced health complications, Hala was able to get care through Medicaid -- and it saved his life. That’s why she’s fighting for access to affordable healthcare for all Virginians. 

In 2018, Hala made good on her campaign promise as a deciding vote in the House of Delegates to expand Medicaid to more than 400,000 Virginians and stood up against Republican attempts to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Hala was so proud to stand with Governor Northam, activists, and her colleagues during this historic moment.  

COVID-19 has laid bare so many inequities in our healthcare system, and we must take steps to address access to care for those who have been hardest hit during this public health crisis. That’s why Hala co-patron legislation to expand our Commonwealth’s vaccine capacity, cap the price of insulin and inhalers at $50, expand access to telehealth, and provide transparency in prescription drug costs.

We have made great strides in providing healthcare for Virginians, but there is still so much work to be done. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will ensure Medicaid funding is continued and work to expand access to coverage for all communities. She will also work with the Federal Government to increase subsidies and lower premiums, and work to lower the cost of prescription drugs because no family should be one sickness away from bankruptcy.


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Jobs and the Economy

 

Hala knows firsthand how thin that bridge is between struggle and success for so many Virginians. After her family struggled when she was a child and barely making ends meet working at a gas station when her own first child was born, she was able to build a successful career with just a few college credits and a government certification training, working in national security as a cyber specialist with the Department of Homeland Security.

As Virginia charges ahead into the 21st century, we need to invest in building and training our workforce to make sure our citizens have the skills they need to be successful no matter the color of their skin or gender. Hala’s successful career in one of the sectors leading Virginia’s economy into the future makes her uniquely qualified to oversee this transition as Lieutenant Governor. 

When Hala’s son was born, he had severe health issues that required intensive care, and she did not have access to paid leave through her job at the gas station. Having access to paid family and medical leave would have been life-changing. That is why Hala patroned the paid family and medical legislation, which would provide every Virginian worker with 12 weeks of paid leave for major events such as an adoption or childbirth. A majority of small business owners even backed her legislation because they know that this would help their workers and their bottom lines. 

We need to focus on an inclusive economy that ensures every Virginian can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. The economic stresses so many families face have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for Black and Brown Virginians. The cost of living is rising here in Virginia, and our minimum wage needs to keep up. Furthermore, our Commonwealth needs to invest in affordable housing and combat the economic factors that price families out of neighborhoods they’ve lived in for generations. 

Hala’s son is a member of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union and works at a local grocery store on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. So many Virginians have made sacrifices to get a paycheck during this crisis, and we need to do so much more to protect our workers. That’s why Hala introduced a bill mandating hazard pay for essential workers to ensure they get the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will lead the recovery to make sure Virginians can return to work safely and provide small business owners with the support they need to recover.


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Education

 

Hala grew up attending Prince William public schools and is the former president of her local parent-teacher organization. She graduated from Woodbridge High, where her kids also attended. 

As Delegate, Hala has strengthened our schools and helped our teachers and administrators to ensure our children are getting the best education possible. In the General Assembly, she authored budget amendments to increase funding for special education students, like her son. She also introduced a budget amendment to give teachers a well-deserved 2% pay raise to ensure the best talent can remain in the Commonwealth. 

Schools are the building blocks to success for Virginia’s future, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more clear we need to focus our energy on giving our teachers and students the tools they need. We need to give our teachers resources to work with students who have a range of needs, and we need to retain and recruit the best teachers we can.

As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will focus heavily on our education system. She will work with the Administration and General Assembly to expand Pre-K, reduce overcrowding in classrooms, and invest in school infrastructure.

Hala also understands that every families’ path to prosperity looks different. In 2013, she completed her college degree online, leveraging tuition assistance from her employer, while working full time — so she knows from personal experience how challenging it can be to get a college degree, and the financial barriers that make this unrealistic for so many Virginians. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will support measures to make college more affordable for all Virginians as well as lead the charge to create and improve training programs for those who choose not to attend a four-year college. In the General Assembly, Hala co-patroned legislation to establish Governor Northam’s G3 program--Get Skilled, Get a Job, and Give Back. This program provides 2 years of free community for students who train in high demand professions like information technology and medicine. Right now we have thousands unfilled, high-paying jobs in Northern Virginia. The G3 program will create a pipeline to fill these positions and ensure equity in our education system. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will support an expansion of this program as well as increased funding apprenticeship and internship programs, as well as career and technical education certificates. We need to increase funding for these programs throughout the state to show that successful career paths come in many different routes.


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Transportation and Infrastructure

 

As a single mom who commuted over two, and sometimes three, hours everyday to work for years, Hala understands firsthand the balancing act so many families in Virginia face when it comes to getting to work and caring for their families. 

In the House of Delegates, Hala worked to increase funding for the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) so commuters would have viable alternative transportation options. 

However, this daily disruption extends past the D.C Metro area and Northern Virginia. Our transportation issues impact so many commuters in the Richmond and Hampton Roads metro areas as well. Across Virginia, our aging infrastructure makes it harder for our citizens to prosper. We need to invest in our Commonwealth and address infrastructure needs in rural, suburban, and urban communities. 

Hala recognizes this is a quality of life issue for so many Virginians and that is why as Lieutenant Governor she will work to expand and improve public transportation, and invest in rebuilding our historic bridges, roads, and highways. 

Investing in infrastructure also requires a digital component. As we saw during COVID-19, internet access has become a necessity for so many occupations, and especially K-12 schooling, and it must be accessible to all Virginians. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will be focused on bridging the digital divide in our state that affects so many Virginians. Broadband access is a matter of equity and as a cybersecurity expert, Hala is uniquely positioned to lay the foundation for extensive and scalable broadband access.


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Criminal Justice Reform

 

Hala is a woman of color and the mother of two Black children and is acutely aware of the painful systemic racism and injustices that have plagued our justice system for centuries. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests, Hala joined her community and marched for justice. 

We need reforms to ensure accountability and transparency and to prevent uses of excessive force that have led to the unjustified deaths of Black and Brown men, women, and children. To move forward as a Commonwealth, we must reform our justice system, create alternatives to the school to prison pipeline.In the 2020 special session, Hala worked with her colleagues in the Black Caucus to present an aggressive legislative agenda addressing criminal justice reform in the Commonwealth. This includes banning no knock warrants, creating civilian review boards, establishing a statewide code of conduct for police officers, and mandating racial bias, de-escalation, and crisis intervention training for police. 

This session, Hala worked with her colleagues and leadership in the General Assembly to continue advocating for criminal justice reform. She co-patroned several pieces of legislation, including bills to legalize marijuana, to abolish the death penalty, to automatically expunge non-violent marijuana offenses, and to restore rights to our returning citizens. 

There is a lot of work to do to heal the wounds that still exist in our Commonwealth from the legacy of slavery and the violence that Black and Brown Americans experience every day. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will lead the way on these reforms and use her national security background to make sure every community is safe and help our communities begin to heal.


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Climate Change

 

As a lifelong Virginian, Hala has a deep appreciation for the diverse geography and wildlife of the Commonwealth. From the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the nation. With over 60 state and national parks, our natural resources are the pride and joy of our Commonwealth. 

But climate change poses a real threat to our waterways and mountains, our public health, and our way of life. Flooding and coastal erosion threatens our homeowners and small businesses and one bad storm could wipe out someone’s life savings. Furthermore, the effects of climate change disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities and in addressing environmental matters, we need to view them through a racial equity lens. 

Climate change is also a national security threat. Virginia is home to 27 military bases, many of them coastal. We cannot leave the fate of our military to rising sea levels. 

In the House of Delegates, Hala worked closely with environmental activists and stakeholders to codify Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), bringing millions of dollars to the Commonwealth for coastal resiliency and to combat climate change. She also was a co-patron on the Virginia Clean Economy Act. This landmark environmental legislation will create nearly 13,000 jobs per year in Virginia’s Advanced Energy economy, eliminates all harmful carbon emissions from Virginia utilities by 2050, and expands access to solar and wind energy. Nearly 3 out of 4 Virginians supported this legislation.   

We must act quickly to combat climate change, and as Lieutenant Governor, Hala is ready to continue her work in this area. Hala will work to ensure our Commonwealth can transition to clean energy like solar and wind, protect communities who are impacted by flooding, and make sure every Virginian has access to clean air and clean drinking water.


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Women's Rights

 

Hala has spent almost a decade as a women’s rights activist. She helped organize Virginia’s participation in the Women’s March after Donald Trump’s election and founded the Prince William chapter of the National Organization for Women. In 2020, she was the Chief co-patron on the bill that made Virginia the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to help enshrine women’s equality into the U.S. Constitution. 

While we have made great strides in creating a more equitable Virginia for women, there is much work to be done, especially for Black and Brown women. That’s why Hala introduced a bill to help address fetal and infant mortality rates throughout the Commonwealth, with a focus on racial disparities. She also is fighting for paid family leave, because no one should worry about what happens to their job if they need to care for a loved one or newborn baby..

As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will continue to fight for women’s health care. She will work to expand access to birth control and contraception, and defend a woman's right to choose. Furthermore, she will support policies and legislation that will create equity in the workplace and ensure equal pay for equal work, so women who work the same job as men can earn the same living.


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