Debra Gardner has lived in Chesterfield County for almost thirty years. She has long been involved in organizations that provide aid and services to families and youth in her community. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Social Work from North Carolina Central University. She served as an adjunct Professor teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Debra has over thirty years of public service experience, providing leadership in human services, public safety, and criminal justice. Her passion for helping people led to her career as a social worker and counselor, and later to senior executive service. Debra has served in leadership positions at three state agencies. These positions and her other government experiences have given her a unique understanding of government operations and fiscal management.
Debra has been a tireless advocate for those in need. She serves on various boards and committees within her community, including The Commonwealth Domestic Violence Prevention REsponse and the Virginia Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee.
Debra has spent her life devoted to changing lives and making a difference. She will bring her proven leadership, experience, work ethic, and passion for service to the House of Delegates.
Read more on Debra's website.
Debra is committed to ensuring that Virginia recovers from the Covid pandemic in a stronger position than the state was in before. In the legislature, she will fight for Covid recovery that reduces unemployment and provides services to those who suffered economically from the pandemic. She will also work to ensure that every eligible resident of the state is vaccinated and that the state improves its public health infrastructure.
Childcare and Early Childhood Education
Debra believes that every child in Virginia deserves a quality education. If elected, she will work with legislative colleagues to ensure that every child has access to early childhood education, and that parents have access to affordable childcare.
In just four years, Democrats have seen an impressive and almost unprecedented swing to majority, with more than 20 seats gained over two election cycles. With gains so recent, Republicans are eager to take advantage of this dynamic, where characteristically moderate “bellwether” districts ebb and flow to give way to national political trends, waiting for the pendulum to swing back in their favor. The 2021 House of Delegates elections are sure to be a test of Democrats’ ability to hold Trump Era gains in a post-Trump climate.
The Commonwealth has long faced the consequences of political gerrymandering. District boundaries have been a hot topic of conversation in past years. In 2020, the Virginia legislature voted to create a bipartisan committee to handle the creation of new electoral maps; Bipartisan redistricting is now in the hands of a 16 member committee which was on a tight timeline to use 2020 census data to announce adjusted districts for the upcoming House of Delegates elections in November 2021. The original plan had the committee producing new maps by April 2020, but delayed census data from the federal government has made new maps in time to give the state board of elections, localities, and partisans time to effectively prepare for and hold elections unlikely. As of now, the most likely scenario remains that 2021 will see no new maps, instead districts will remain the same this year with new districts only taking effect in 2023.