7th Congressional District candidate questionnaire: Briana Sewell

by | May 29, 2024 | ALLFFP, Government, Politics & Elections

The Fredericksburg Free Press asked candidates for the 7th Congressional District primary election to answer five questions in 250 words or less. The following responses are in the candidate’s own words and have only been lightly edited for length or clarity. The primary election is June 18. The general election is Nov. 5.

What was the moment you decided to become involved in politics?  

My service to the community began long before my name was printed on a ballot. As the daughter of two Air Force veterans and the granddaughter of a foot soldier in the Civil Rights Movement, service beyond self has been deeply instilled in me.  

After matriculating through the public school system, I attended the College of William and Mary. Upon graduation, I made the conscious decision to return to my hometown, the community that raised me, and dedicated my life to strengthening the community through public service to ensure my neighbors had a trusted voice in government working for them. 

I’ve spent my life in this district. I am a lifelong Virginian and have proudly worked on behalf of the residents of the 7th Congressional District at the local, state, and federal levels of government for the past 15 years. First, I served as Prince William County District Director for Congressman Gerry Connolly, leading the office in local community engagement, and providing strong constituent services. 

In 2018, I helped establish the Virginia Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, where I worked to bring people together to support bipartisan policies that benefit working families. These policies included paid family and medical leave, lower-cost child care, affordable college and job training programs, and more affordable elder care options to ensure our seniors can age in place gracefully. I remain passionate about these policies to this day. I know when working families have the support they need, the entire economy benefits.    

If you were to win the primary, would you broaden your message to appeal to voters outside your own party? If so, how?  

I have an extensive track record of working across the aisle that has garnered me the recognition of being one of the most effective state legislators with my tenure serving in the House of Delegates after my first session. Most recently, I was recognized as one of the most effective state legislators under the age of 40 in our nation. I have the record to show I know how to get things done in a bipartisan manner. That is a result of my commitment to telling the stories of my neighbors that inspired legislation and the ability to deliver results. This commitment to the people in my district and focus on getting things done is how I’ve earned support and will continue in this campaign in the general election. The focus should always remain on the residents who call the 7th Congressional District home. It is our time to define our own story, and for us to share our experiences and pass meaningful legislation that will strengthen our communities and the next generation, together. We need leaders willing to listen and fight for our values. 

The House of Representatives operates at the federal level. What will you do to ensure that the interests of your constituents in the 7th District are well represented?  

The most fundamental way in which a member of Congress serves their constituency is by listening. An elected official must establish a firm understanding of the challenges plaguing the district they represent. That is the approach I take now as a delegate, and that is the approach I will take in Congress.  

My first commitment as your next member of Congress is to deliver quality constituent services. For five years, I served as Prince William County District Director for Congressman Gerry Connolly. Any individual who contacted the office, albeit a visit to the district office, a phone call, or an email, would know that the staffer on the receiving end is committed to addressing their every need. 

Whether an individual seeks assistance with the processing of their disability benefits by the Department of Veteran Affairs, expediting a passport for international travel through the Department of State, scheduling an appointment with the Department of Social Security, or assisting with the processing of a security clearance to continue service to our nation, it was my job to aid them. I made it my daily quest to improve the lives of those who contacted the office for assistance. I live by that same standard to this day and will continue to make it my mission as the next congresswoman for the 7th Congressional District.   

Our next member of Congress also needs to be someone who will take on the important fights and get things done. On the legislative front, every piece of legislation I have worked to pass in Richmond is rooted in the stories I have heard from the people I represent.

What is the defining issue of this race?  

In a time of such deep division, our next congresswoman needs to be someone who believes in building community and focusing on what matters to Virginians: putting food on the table, a roof over your head, access to affordable, quality healthcare, and hopefully one job to pay for it all.  

The residents of the 7th Congressional District are looking for someone who will fight for comprehensive healthcare access, reproductive freedom, economic security and mobility (to help families make ends meet), and policies that allow everyone to age gracefully in their community. I have championed these issues as a delegate; I will continue to do so in Congress. 

It’s Jan. 3, 2025. You have been newly inaugurated as part of the new United States Congress. What is your first course of action?  

My first act as a member of Congress will be to safeguard freedoms, particularly by supporting reproductive freedom and enshrining the right to abortion nationwide. Abortion opponents are playing politics with our bodies and our lives. Every person deserves emergency medical care — and that includes an abortion. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) has been in effect since 1986. Without this longstanding federal law, a hospital could refuse to treat a pregnant person with serious complications. 

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