Washington wins Democratic nomination for Senate seat

Published 1:41 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

Former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant L. Washington secured the nomination Saturday as the Democratic candidate in the race to represent Virginia’s 22nd Senate District seat in Richmond.

Out of the 145 ballots cast during the caucus held at the Moton Museum in Farmville, Washington, a Buckingham native, received 108 votes, while Lynchburg Democratic Party Chairwoman and educator Katie Webb Cyphert received 35.

According to Jeff Rosner, who served as chair of the caucus and nominating committee, two ballots were blank.

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“We appreciate the process,” Washington said after being nominated. “This is a very democratic process … I’m going to fight hard for the people in the 22nd District.”

During his speech before voting, Washington said he would work hard as a State Senator, using “common ground solutions,” “common sense policies” and “common sense approaches to try to make a difference for you.”

He said the district had been facing challenges, such as health care, education and the economy, citing specific issues in counties across the district.

“We need to fund education. Education will drive the economy,” Washington said. “No matter what we say or do no company is going to come to an area if we don’t have a strong workforce,” adding that education “must be at the forefront of everything that we’re talking about.”

Washington said he was a “boots-on-the-ground guy. I’m going to be in your jurisdiction … At the end of the day, it’s about us as a team.”

Washington took questions from those caucusing regarding gerrymandered district lines, unfunded mandates and women’s rights.

“Actions are louder than words. And we’ve got to put things into action,” Washington said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, issued a writ of election for the soon-to-be vacant 22nd District State Senate seat, which will soon be vacated by Sen. Tom Garrett, a Republican from Buckingham, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 8, succeeding retiring U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt.

Last December, Hurt, a Republican, said he wouldn’t seek re-election to Congress.

Washington was sheriff in Fluvanna County for more than 14 years, and currently works as a special policy advisor for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“I think that the people of the 22nd District want a voice there that’s going to stand up and fight (for) anything, from public safety to health care to the economy all the way down to education,” Washington said. “It’s going to take a lot of work over the next 30 days. I’m going to need a lot of support from the voters in the 22nd District.”

“Ryant Washington will be a change-maker for Virginia’s 22nd Senatorial District by fighting for good-paying jobs, affordable health care, education and other critical issues facing the commonwealth,” Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker said in press release after Washington was nominated. “Ryant is a respected public servant with a strong background in public safety with decades of experience in law enforcement as a state trooper, deputy sheriff and Fluvanna County Sheriff.”