Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock is currently a state delegate, but there may be a congressional seat in her future. Comstock announced her candidacy last Tuesday for Virginia’s 10th congressional district seat, one currently held by Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican. Comstock’s opponents include Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust and attorney Richard Bolger on the Democratic side, and Tareq Salahi, famous for crashing a White House state dinner with his wife in 2009 while filming for “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” on the Republican side. A female candidate is an anomaly in the 10th district, which has only ever had male representatives. And while her opponents are three powerful men — two of whom are lawyers and one of whom is well-known for his stint on a Bravo television show — it is important to recognize how qualified Comstock is, in addition to being a female and a mother of three. Many see female leadership, in terms of advocating for women’s rights, as solely a Democratic platform. However, Comstock is the exception to that trend. Her common-sense conservatism goes well with her advocacy for legislation that improves things such as birth control availability and the rights of victims of human trafficking. Republicans are often seen as backward in terms of women’s rights, but Comstock is not blindly following a Republican platform. Instead, she allows her gender to contribute to her political views. Comstock has worked to get women’s birth control sold over the counter, without a prescription. This is not a common Republican position, but Comstock realizes the importance of over-the-counter oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives are the easiest and most successful form of birth control. Currently, 43 million American women are at risk of unintended pregnancy. For many, raising a child is not financially possible. The Republican Party generally opposes abortion, so it makes sense to allow oral contraceptives to be sold over-the-counter to women who may not be able to get to the doctor. Making birth control pills available over the counter will eliminate unnecessary obstacles for women who want more control over their health. Comstock’s progressiveness does not end there, though. She also has worked with the problem of human trafficking. Comstock has supported legislation that makes the abduction of a minor intended to be used in child pornography or prostitution a Class 2 felony. She also has supported laws that require the Department of Social Services to develop a plan to help victims of human trafficking, such as allowing victims of human trafficking to apply for benefits and services, to which they may be entitled. In addition she has worked to make soliciting a minor younger than 16 years of age a Class 5 felony and any person who solicits prostitution from a minor 16 years of age or older is guilty of a Class 6 felony. And by addressing gang-operated prostitution rings in Virginia, she has brought to light a very relevant, but underacknowledged issue. With her work improving Virginia’s economy, protecting women’s rights and helping victims of human trafficking Barbara Comstock has proved herself to be progressive and a strong female leader. Her gender should not be a handicap in this race, but rather should be an asset, as it gives her a different perspective from past leaders of the district. Hopefully voters are able to see her as the qualified candidate she is and make her the first female representative Virginia’s 10th district has ever had. Meredith Berger is an Opinion columnist for The Cavalier Daily.