As she prepares to trade in a sprawling district for a compact one, state Sen. Barbara Favola says she plans to continue giving it her all for her soon-to-be-former constituents.
“I am a solid, solid vote” for progressive values while having also “worked with my colleagues across the aisle,” Favola said at a recent event leading into the 2023 General Assembly session.
The event also marked an informal kickoff of the senator’s re-election bid, although the district she will be seeking to represent will look a whole lot different from the one she currently occupies.
Favola had served more than a dozen years on the Arlington County Board when, in 2011, she succeeded veteran incumbent Mary Margaret Whipple in the 31st Senate District. That district runs along the Potomac River from Arlington into McLean and Great Falls, even taking in a sliver of northeastern Loudoun County.
But the 2021 redistricting – which impacted all 40 state Senate seats and 100 House of Delegates seats – has placed Favola in the new 40th District, which represents about 85 percent of Arlington and no other jurisdictions.
But the new districts, technically, won’t go into effect until after the November general elections. So Favola will continue to represent her existing precincts as she takes steps along the “journey to create needed reforms” on issues ranging from health care to guns.
Her proudest achievement in office, Favola said, has been enhancing support systems to children in the commonwealth’s foster-care program.
Favola’s re-election kickoff came just days before the General Assembly embarks on a 46-day session starting Jan. 11.
While there have been rumblings of intra-party challenges against her, none as yet has materialized, and Favola through the years has shown the knack of being able to easily fend off opponents in both party nominating contests and general elections. Her general-election battle in 2011 against Republican Caren Merrick was expected to be a high-profile, competitive race, but turned out to be an easy Favola victory.
The two now run into one another occasionally in Richmond, where Merrick is secretary of commerce and trade in the Youngkin administration.
Favola may not be the only legislator in the McLean/Tysons area to be spending her last session representing these constitutents. Both state Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston-Arlington) and Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-McLean) are expected to retire rather than seek re-election in November.