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Phil Hernandez

virginia House of Delegates | District 94 | Open Seat
2019: Loss
2023: Win

“I’m an experienced problem solver who will always put the needs of Norfolk families first” – Phil Hernandez

Phil is stepping up to serve the City of Norfolk in Virginia’s newly-created 94th District. Phil and his wife, Sara, are raising their family in Ocean View.

Phil was born and raised in Hampton Roads, attended local public schools, and received a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which made it possible for him to attend William & Mary and become the first in his family to graduate from college. He was determined to put that education to good use, to solve problems, and to serve others.

Currently, Phil is the Senior Vice President for Policy & Advocacy for a nonprofit organization. In this leadership role, Phil has been on the front lines fighting for solutions that benefit Virginia families, from raising the minimum wage to increasing teacher pay and funding K-12 public schools.

Previously, Phil served as a Senior Policy Analyst in President Obama’s White House Domestic Policy Council, where he partnered with leaders across the country to expand affordable clean energy, fight for clean air and water, and help coordinate the response to the BP Oil Spill, the worst spill in American history.

Phil has also worked as a civil rights attorney, a role that allowed him to bring together people from all walks of life in the name of creating better economic opportunities for all people.

In recent years, Phil helped pass laws in Virginia to increase the minimum wage, lower taxes for families, and support our local public schools. He will use his experience to bring people together and get things done.

Phil has always looked for creative ways to build community. He’s organized free classes in Norfolk to help locals learn American Sign Language (ASL). And when the baby formula shortage was at its peak in 2022, Phil created a new tool to help local families more easily find formula for their children.

He met his wife, Sara, at William & Mary and they were married in 2015. Sara works to increase access to quality, affordable health care, with a special focus on preventive care. They have two beautiful daughters, Isa and Maia, who love growing up in Ocean View.

On the Issues

Ensuring Quality Public Education for Every Child in Virginia.

Every child in Virginia deserves access to a quality education. This is personal for Phil, not only as a parent but as a product of Virginia’s public schools, which gave him the foundation to become the first in his family to graduate from college.

As Delegate, Phil will support:

  • Fully funding the Virginia Board of Education’s Standards of Quality, which reflect what is necessary to meet Virginia’s constitutional duty to provide all kids a quality education, regardless of zip code
  • Increasing pay for teachers and support staff, both to help attract and retain talent
  • Fighting against efforts to divert taxpayer dollars away from Norfolk’s public schools
  • Expanding Virginia’s “at-risk add-on” program that delivers additional resources to high-poverty school divisions
  • Prioritizing the health and safety of educators and students in our classrooms.

Protecting Our Environment and Accelerating a Clean Energy Future.

In Norfolk, the environment is deeply connected to the regional identity, local economy, and way of life. While the region faces challenges due to a changing climate, the district also has a clear opportunity to emerge as a national leader on coastal resiliency and clean energy. To this effort, Phil brings his experience serving in President Obama’s White House Office of Energy & Climate Change.

As Delegate, Phil will support:

  • Building on the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which is accelerating the transition to sustainable sources of energy and propelling a fast-growing clean energy sector in Hampton Roads
  • Protecting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is providing millions in new funding to support energy efficiency upgrades in homes and deploy cutting-edge coastal resiliency projects in our communities.
  • Increasing funding for conservation, protecting the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways, and advancing environmental justice.
  • Prohibiting public utilities from making political donations.

Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care.

All Virginians deserve access to quality, affordable health care. While expanding Medicaid was a critical step forward, more work remains to expand coverage, lower costs, and protect consumers, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic.

As Delegate, Phil will support:

  • Establishing a paid family medical leave program that allows more Virginians to take time off from work to recover from a serious illness or care for a loved one without fear of losing their job or their financial security.
  • Expanding affordable and comprehensive coverage to more Virginians, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and safeguarding consumers from “skinny” plans that can leave families with large medical bills because of major gaps in coverage.
  • Improving access to mental health care, including by investing in community-based care, raising pay to address staffing shortages, and supporting the implementation of the Marcus Alert system to improve outcomes in response to mental health emergencies.
  • Protecting access to reproductive health care in Virginia.

Creating an Economy that Helps Families and The Community Thrive.

When individuals and families thrive, communities thrive. With the right policies in place, Norfolk can become an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

As Delegate, Phil will support:

  • Strengthening Virginia’s minimum wage law, empowering more workers to engage in collective bargaining for better wages and working conditions, and advancing policies to bring high-quality jobs to Norfolk.
  • Reforming Virginia’s upside-down tax code, making child care more affordable, and providing targeted tax relief to working families.
  • Advancing occupational licensing reforms that open doors of opportunities for more Virginians, including for military spouses.
  • Efforts to reduce gun violence in Hampton Roads and keep our communities safe.

Building a More Just and Inclusive Virginia.

The Norfolk community has a history of standing up for civil rights. The work continues today to make sure that all of us, regardless of who we are or where we come from, have the opportunity to thrive. Hernandez will draw on his experience working as a civil rights attorney to keep Virginia moving forward.

As Delegate, Phil will support:

  • Protecting the fundamental right to vote and standing up against any efforts that create barriers to the ballot box.
  • Creating a more inclusive commonwealth, including strong non-discrimination laws and policies that protect the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Reforming our criminal justice system, including repealing laws that punish poverty, and supporting policies that promote rehabilitation, from expungement reform to the automatic restoration of voting rights.
  • Advancing Virginia laws that make our commonwealth a leader in protecting LGBTQ+ rights, and preventing any attempts to roll back provisions of the Virginia Values Act.

Why This Race Is Important

In 2021, Democrats narrowly lost the house by only a handful of votes due to down-ballot roll-off. As a result, the VA House passed numerous bills aimed at discriminating against marginalized groups like our LGBTQ+ neighbors and children, bolstering access to firearms, and reducing reproductive freedom to women and birthing people across the state. Thankfully, their efforts have been stopped by the Democratic majority in the Senate, but have still wasted precious time and taxpayer resources pushing their cultural and ideological agenda instead of addressing the real needs of Virginians. In 2023, we have an opportunity to turn the legislative tides by taking back the House, allowing the VA legislature to take real action to address the concerns of Virginians in 2024 and beyond. To do so, it is critical for Hernandez to win District 94. We must remind voters of the power they hold and the importance of voting all the way down the ballot in 2023.

Election Timeline

Last day to register for primary: June 20, 2023

Deadline to request absentee ballot (primary) June 9, 2023

Date of primary: June 20, 2023

Last day to register for general: November 7, 2023

Deadline to request absentee ballot (general) October 27, 2023

Date of general: November 7, 2023

About the District

The newly drawn 94th House District encompasses the coastal region of Norfolk City, including Ocean View, East Beach, Northside, Hampton Roads (partial), Glenwood Park, Larchmont/Edgewater, and Algonquin.

Considered extremely competitive, House District 94 leans slightly Democratic, but with new district boundaries it’s difficult to know if that remains to be true. In past races, Democrats had a slight edge over their Republican opponents in the final results. Previously represented by Democrat Jackie Glass, redistricting pushed her to the neighboring District 93, leaving an open seat ready for the taking.

The newly drawn district lines separate the coastal communities of Norfolk from those inland, and Republicans are pushing hard to take control of this new District, expanding their current majority in the House of Delegates. This will allow them to continue to ignore the needs of the Commonwealth while pursuing their ideological crusade against the state’s established Reproductive Rights, pass discriminatory legislation against our LGBTQ+ neighbors, and push their pro-gun agenda.

Democrats have a real opportunity to retake the House, not only preventing these harmful bills from progressing but allowing them to move forward with meaningful policy that addresses the environment, bolsters public education, and enact common-sense policies that truly support the needs of Virginians. Winning District 94 and getting Phil into the House will depend on connecting with voters and mobilizing them to vote all the way down the ballot.

Nested Congressional Districts:
VA-03: D+16

Past Results in District

2021 State House of Delegates District 79:
Democrat : 56.1% Clark
Republican: 43.6% Mason

2021 State House of Delegates District 100:
Democrat : 43.4% Norton
Republican: 56.5% Bloxom

2021 Gubernatorial:
Democrat : 51.4% McAuliffe
Republican: 47.5% Younkin

2020 Presidential Election:
Democrat: 71.7% Biden
Republican: 26.1% Trump

2016 Presidential Election:
Democrat: 51.9% Clinton
Republican: 40.9% Trump


Registered Population (as of May 2023):
41,695 Registered Voters

White: 57.1%
Black: 22.6%
Asian: 4.0%
Multiracial: 9.6%
Other: 6.7%
Hispanic or Latino/a: 13.9%

About the Opponent

Andrew Pittman
Andrew, an attorney, and litigator, labels himself as a “Constitutional Conservative.” Repeating many of the outlandish talking points of the extreme right, Pittman focuses on issues like “securing the Southern Border ” instead of paying attention to the actual needs of Virginians. When it comes to education, Pittman supports the widespread banning of books in our libraries and seeks to divert public school funding to private or religious institutions under the guise of “school choice.” Staunchly anti-union, Andy Pittman is also a strong supporter of right to work laws while also seeking to increase criminal penalties and strip the Commonwealth of its current Reproductive Rights and Freedoms.

Why Virginia is important

We have a unique opportunity in Virginia to flip the House and expand the Senate Democratic majority in one election cycle. In 2021, Democrats lost the majority in the House by a total vote difference of 733 votes in the three closest districts.

The new state legislative maps are fair and provide Democrats with key opportunities in open seats and new districts. With recent Democratic wins in special Congressional and state senate elections, we have the momentum to compete in key swing districts that will decide the majority in the House and put us in the position to expand the Senate.

Redistricting & Gerrymandering

Following action by the Virginia General Assembly, on November 3, 2020, Virginia residents voted to amend the state’s Constitution to authorize the establishment of the Virginia Redistricting Commission. The Commission was established for the sole purpose of developing maps for Virginia’s state legislative districts and districts for the U.S. House of Representatives.

With the 2020 change to Virginia’s Constitution, now the Commission will draw the maps for the General Assembly to approve. If the Commission fails to produce redistricting plans or the General Assembly fails to approve the Commission’s redistricting plans, then districts will be established by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Following the 2020 Census, all House districts were renumbered. This means the current boundaries of districts bear no relation to the previous district by that same numerical designation.

Candidate in the News

Norfolk father, House of Delegates candidate creates tool for local families seeking baby formula “At a time when people are driving from store to store only to find empty shelves, my goal is to help families in our community find the baby formula they so desperately need, while also saving them as much time and money as possible.” -Phil Hernandez

Former Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn Endorses in Four Democratic Primaries for the House of Delegates “Phil has been a fierce advocate for our environment, workers, and educators from President Obama’s administration to his current work in the nonprofit sector. I was a supporter of his impressive bid for the House of Delegates in 2019, and I am proud to support him once again.” – Eileen Filler-Corn

Nonprofit VP announces campaign for House of Delegates 94th District “I’m proud to step up and fight for my community at this critical time. Right now, the Youngkin administration is trying to divide us. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen efforts to undermine the health and safety of students and educators in the classroom, cut funding for public schools, and eliminate environmental policies that save families money on their energy bills and prepare our region for a changing climate.” –  Phil Hernandez

Inaugural 2023 Virginia House of Delegates Ratings: It’s a Pure Tossup

Paid for by Sister District Project.  Authorized by Phil Hernandez, candidate for HD 94
candidate Phil Hernandez thumbnail

Phil Hernandez

virginia state house of representatives | 94 | Open Seat
2019: Loss
2023: Win
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