Hala Ayala gives a new, needed voice for the 51st House District of Virginia.
Hala has personally experienced the challenges of single motherhood and lack of access to affordable health insurance. She understands the concerns of working families today. She has fought for raising the minimum wage, equal pay and affordable access to health care as the founder and former president of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Hala worked her way up from a service job without health insurance to become a cybersecurity specialist with the Department of Homeland Security. For over 17 years, she worked to protect our nation’s information systems, enforce security measures, and prevent attacks by safeguarding computers, networks and data from criminal intrusion and security breaches. She’s using that same determination and work ethic to ensure that Prince William County families can flourish. Hala also served on Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Council on Women.
The Equal Rights Amendment
In 2017, Hala’s election to the House of Delegates was historic, as one of the first Latinas elected to the Virginia House, and since then she has kept making history. Most notably, Delegate Ayala proposed an unprecedented Rules Change to affect the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) resolution.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a provision that would guarantee women protection under the law. Congress initially passed the ERA in 1972 but the deadline for state ratification has since expired. Virginia is now the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
Delegate Ayala’s rules change called for a vote to let the Equal Rights Amendment get to the floor for a vote. Ultimately, Republicans killed blocked the ERA from getting to the floor, and therefore the chances of women and girls being enshrined in the Constitution for yet another year.
Ahead of the rules change proposal, Delegate Ayala spoke at a rally in front of the Virginia State House, “No more lip service, no more empty promises, no more ‘I respect you by shaking your hand.’ Respect will be shown when we gain equality in the Constitution…To my Republican colleagues, if you believe and stand with women, you will vote for women.”
“This is an extraordinary measure for an extraordinary situation. The Equal Rights Amendment is a bipartisan issue, with overwhelming popular support, and it is far past time for our voices to be heard,” stated Del. Ayala, “Now is not the moment to shy away from correcting the historical exclusion of women and girls from our Constitution. Now is the time to stand up, and speak out.”
Despite the target put on her back by Republicans given her fight for the ERA, Delegate Ayala has vowed that she will carry the Equal Rights Amendment to the floor next Session.