Batten Prof. Sally Hudson hosts launch party for Virginia House seat bid

Hudson competing for seat against former House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano

10786429840_IMG_1756

Hudson is an assistant professor of Public Policy, Education, and Economics in the Batten School of Public Policy.

Olivia Rinaldi | Cavalier Daily

Sally Hudson, an assistant professor of Public Policy, Education, and Economics in the Batten School, held her first campaign event at Champion Brewing Company Wednesday evening after announcing her bid for Delegate of Virginia’s 57th House district Tuesday. 

Hudson is running to unseat Del. David Toscano — the Democratic House Minority leader since 2011 — after he announced his resignation from the leadership post in November citing the demands of the position. 

“I think Charlottesville is ready for new leadership, and I think the community is ready to lead,” Hudson said. “We’re a really creative and innovative community and I think it’s time to take that energy to Richmond.” 

In 2017, Democrats dominated the Virginia elections gaining 15 seats in the 100-seat House of Delegates — bringing the Republican majority to 51-49. This gain ultimately pushed Hudson to think about running in the upcoming 2019 elections. 

“For a long time, Democrats were outnumbered two-to-one in the House,” Hudson said. “We’re now at near parity. We stand a really strong shot at flipping the House this fall and that means you have to come at it with a different attitude."

According to Hudson, the first item on the agenda for her campaign, and would be if she were elected, is healthcare. Hudson said that although the best solutions would come at the federal level, states can play a role in ensuring access to healthcare for all. 

“Washington is so gridlocked … so states are going to have to start picking it up,” Hudson said. “I think that there are creative ways that state legislatures could create stop-gap solutions.” 

Hudson said her goal as a delegate is to make her constituents feel empowered. 

Grace Erard, Hannah Sullivan and Kathryn Babbin — all graduate students in the Batten Masters Program — are in Hudson’s Impact Evaluation class this semester. They also spoke to the empowerment they feel from Hudson as young female professionals in her class. 

“She really inspires women to be the best they can be and makes things not intimidating,” Sullivan said. “She makes a topic that seems scary, boring or hard really applicable.”

Hudson said, along with Toscano’s prolonged role as delegate, her frustrations as a professor studying policy research and economics at Batten had factored into her choice to run. 

“Part of what pulled me out of this was feeling like the frontier of policy was so far beyond the frontier of research that it was time to close the gap,” Hudson said. 

Ben Cullop, a friend of Hudson’s who ran for the Democratic nomination for Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District last cycle, said it was Hudson’s personal background that makes her appealing as a delegate for the 57th. 

“She’s a well-loved professor at Batten,” Cullop said. “Her commitment to public education is incredible. There is not a better advocate for public education.” 

Beyond just her background as a professor and economist, Cullop said her familial history makes her a prime candidate for the seat. Her father was a minister who moved around a lot, and her mother was a “powerhouse woman” who was involved in every community, according to Cullop. 

“She’s just at ease with people,” Cullop said. “I don’t think she would use the role of delegate as going to Richmond and being the be-all-end-all. I think its her ability to bring new voices into the conversation that really inspires me.”

related stories