Former Positions: U.S. House of Representatives (2014- 2018), Virginia 10th District
and Virginia House of Delegates 2009 to 2014
Source: Campaign site
As a Young Married Couple looking for the best place to work and raise a family, the Comstocks first came to McLean in 1981 when Barbara’s husband, Chip, started teaching at Langley High School and Barbara was attending Georgetown University Law Center. They raised their three children in McLean: Dan is a 2005 graduate of University of Virginia and now married with 3 children; Peter is a 2007 graduate of Virginia Tech and married, and Caity graduated from Villanova University in 2010 and George Mason in 2012, and is married with 2 children. Barbara’s husband, Chip, has served in the Fairfax County school system since 1981, including as a teacher at McLean High School, Marshall High School, Chantilly High School, and as an assistant principal at Oakton High School. He retired from Oakton and continues teaching.
As an at home mom, Barbara was fortunate that her husband could work two jobs so she could be home with their young, growing family while she attended and graduated from Georgetown Law Center. She knows the challenges of trying to live on one income, while trying to save for a house, the kids’ education, and retirement
As a Working Mom and Trusted Aide to Congressman Wolf, Barbara was privileged to be able to go back to work on Capitol Hill for our Congressman Frank Wolf, who hired her after she had been out of the workforce to raise her family. In Rep. Wolf ’s office, Barbara was immersed in issues important to Northern Virginia such as federal employees and health care issues, business and transportation issues such as leading efforts for telework solutions, and tax relief for families. She then went on to be the Chief Counsel on the largest House committee tasked with investigations into waste, fraud and abuse.
As a Senior Justice Department Official, Barbara headed the Public Affairs Office post 9/11 – leading communications for the Department on the War on Terror investigations, the Washington sniper case, major corporate fraud investigations and judicial confirmations.
As a Senior Partner in a Law Firm, Barbara worked with associations, corporations, charities and individuals to be their advocate and deliver results on a variety of legal and policy issues such as tort reform, telecommunications and First Amendment, intellectual property and foster care issues.
As a Small Businesswoman, she knows what it is like to sign the front of the paycheck, not just the back. She understands that our economic recovery is going to come from unleashing the power and entrepreneurial spirit of our small business community.
As Our Common Sense Conservative Delegate, Barbara has worked to pass common sense conservative bills that provide tax relief to the middle class and small businesses. Barbara tirelessly worked to cut spending, eliminate red tape and to create jobs for Northern Virginia.
As a Daughter whose parents have given her all the best opportunities in life, Barbara is committed to making sure that our seniors’ financial and health care needs are met and they are not driven out of this area by ever increasing property taxes and spiraling health care costs.
Rep. Barbara Comstock on combatting Capitol Hill harassment
December 6, 2017
By: Fox News
Virginia congresswoman speaks out on ‘Fox News @ Night’ as more women come forward with allegations against Sen. Al Franken.
After working as a lawyer in private practice, Comstock served from 1991 to 1995 as a senior aide to Congressman Frank Wolf. Comstock then served as chief investigative counsel and senior counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform from 1995 to 1999, working as one of Washington’s most prominent anti-Clinton opposition researchers.
Comstock worked on behalf of the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Her research team built massive stores of paper and electronic data, known as “The Gore File,” that were a key source of information on the former vice president for GOP publicists and ad-makers. Comstock is credited with writing the Republican “playbook” defending Bush nominees such as John Ashcroft for U.S. Attorney General. Comstock later served as director of public affairs for the Justice Department from 2002 to 2003.
Comstock and Barbara Olson, the wife of United States Solicitor General Theodore Olson, formed a partnership known to Washington insiders as the “Two Barbaras.” Barbara Olson died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Comstock joined law firm Blank Rome in 2004.Comstock assisted the defense teams of both Scooter Libby and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. In 2005, Comstock was hired by Dan Glickman to lobby on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America. In 2008, Comstock was a consultant on the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. Comstock is a former Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Virginia House of Delegates
In 2009, Comstock was elected to a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. She defeated incumbent Democrat Margaret Vanderhye by 316 votes. While in the state legislature, Comstock was involved in enacting legislation that increased the penalties for teen sex trafficking.
Comstock’s public relations firm consulted for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), a conservative group advocating on a variety of federal labor policy issues, from 2008 through 2012. According to a 2014 report by Politico, during her time in the Virginia House of Delegates, Comstock sponsored legislation that advanced WFI’s overall public policy objectives. Legislation sponsored by Comstock called for union votes by secret ballot, prevented employers from giving employees’ information to unions, and prohibited awarding contracts for state-funded construction projects exclusively to unionized firms. Comstock’s campaign responded to the report by saying “Barbara Comstock disclosed her federal clients under Virginia law as required.”
Comstock was re-elected to her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2011 and 2013. When she won a seat in the U.S. Congress in 2014, she formally resigned her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and a special election was called to replace her.
U.S. House of Representatives
On January 7, 2014, Comstock announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 10th District, following the announcement that incumbent Frank Wolf would retire at the end of the 113th Congress.
The Daily Caller reported that an opposition research packet on Comstock suggested she would “likely come under fire in Virginia’s 10th congressional district race over the question of whether she is conservative enough.”
On April 26, 2014, Comstock won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th District primary, defeating five other candidates and winning approximately 54% of the total vote.
Comstock and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie planned on attending a public meeting of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Tea Party in early August 2014. After rumors arose that the gathering could be infiltrated by Democrats, both candidates initially moved the meeting to a private location before opting to speak with the group by phone instead. This decision prompted a statement from David Sparkman, chairman of the Tea Party group, who said “I’m disappointed, I wanted to look these politicians in the eye and take their measure.”
Comstock received the endorsements of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business,and both the Virginia Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. On August 28, 2014, Comstock received the endorsement of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association (VAPBA). In 2012, the VAPBA had endorsed the Democratic challenger to Representative Frank Wolf in the same district.
Comstock won the election on November 4, 2014, defeating Democrat John Foust with 56 percent of the vote.
Comstock faced Democrat LuAnn Bennett, a real estate executive and ex-wife of former Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, in the 2016 election. Given the swing state status of Virginia in the 2016 presidential election, the race was expected to be one of the most heavily contested races in the country. Democratic strategist Ellen Qualls said the 10th District is “essentially the swingiest district in the swingiest state.”
In early October, following the release of the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape, Comstock called for Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race. She released a statement that in part said “This is disgusting, vile, and disqualifying. No woman should ever be subjected to this type of obscene behavior and it is unbecoming of anybody seeking high office. In light of these comments, Donald Trump should step aside and allow our party to replace him with Mike Pence or another appropriate nominee from the Republican Party. I cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump.”
Comstock won re-election by a margin of 53–47%. In February 2015, some constituents called for Comstock to host an in-person town hall meeting rather than a “tele-town hall” conducted via phone.
In early 2017, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Comstock and her 10th district seat one of their top targets in the 2018 midterm elections. By May 2017, five Democrats had announced their candidacy for the Democratic nomination to run against Comstock. In July 2017, Republican Shak Hill, who ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2014, announced that he was preparing to mount a primary challenge against Comstock in 2018.
Comstock has been named as a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Tim Kaine in the 2018 election.
Source: Campaign Site
As Vice Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Congressman Connolly is a passionate and effective advocate for active and retired federal employees. In recent Congresses, federal employees have been demonized, demoralized, and asked to sacrifice more than most any group. Congressman Connolly is a vocal opponent of policies that seek to curtail federal employee pay, leave, and retirement benefits. A leading proponent of telework, He believes that the federal government should be investing in its most valuable resource – its talented workforce – in order to modernize the federal government.
Each year, Congressman Connolly introduced the FAIR Act, which provides for a pay raise to federal employees. He has also led a bipartisan letter urging the President to increase pay for federal civilian employees commensurate with pay increases provided for members of the military. In the last several years, federal workers have endured a three-year wage freeze, five years without locality pay, wage-reducing furloughs, sequester cuts, two government shutdowns, and incurred more than $182 billion in pay and benefit cuts. As a result, employee morale has taken a hit and federal wages have lagged far behind the private sector.
Congressman Connolly hosts an annual forum for federal employees to help them understand their benefits and make changes to their health plans during the federal government’s Open Season. He welcomes federal employees to contact his district office if they are experiencing problems with the administration of their benefits at 703-256-3071.
The #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual harassment in the film and entertainment industry. However, we have found that sexual harassment does not elude Congress, and in fact, there was a need for new rules and regulations regarding these issues to better support victims. For this reason, Representative Comstock introduced legislation that requires all Members and employees in the House of Representatives to undergo sexual harassment training each session of Congress. Furthermore, this bill changed and reinvigorated this training to bring a more interactive and comprehensive approach to Members and staff. It changed the reporting process to help victims take action when they could otherwise be confused or fearful of repercussions. Additionally, the Congresswoman is a cosponsor of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, which creates a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination in Congress. It also prohibits the use of taxpayer money to be used in these cases. As part of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, the Congresswoman looked for how she could work to mitigate this behavior in other economic sectors. She worked with colleagues to hold hearings, including a hearing on sexual harassment in the service industry, and she chaired the organization’s hearing on sexual harassment in the tech industry. She will continue to work to find ways to promote women across all sectors regarding this pivotal issue.
Congresswoman Comstock’s introduced the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and
Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. This legislation focuses on
STEM education for young women and girls that will put them on a path to compete for 21st Century
jobs by directing NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics (STEM), pursue aerospace careers, and further advance the nation’s space science and
exploration efforts through a variety of initiatives including NASA GIRLS. This legislation was signed into
law by the President on February 28th, 2017.
Congresswoman Comstock has also brought her Young Women Leadership Program from Richmond to
Capitol Hill. Inspired by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, the program’s aim is to foster
confidence among young women through talks from non-partisan female leaders in various industries
including business, technology, education, and philanthropy. Founded in 2013 with 150 young women in
the inaugural mentor program, the 10th District Young Women Leadership Program now hosts over 400
young women each summer.
Defense & Security
We live in a very unpredictable world where ISIS and other terrorist groups continue to be on the march against the freedoms America stands for. That is why we need leaders who recognize the threat and understand what it will take to defeat the enemy. Congresswoman Comstock has consistently voted for our men and women in uniform and has supported the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and a budget that would increase defense spending by $40 billion and ease the devastating defense sequester cuts. The NDAA also prevents President Obama from transferring Guantanamo terrorist detainees to American soil, and requires President Obama to develop a clear strategy to defeat ISIS. The Congresswoman has also taken a stand in support of human rights and cosponsored a resolution passed in the House that declares what ISIS has done to Christians and other religious minorities in the areas it currently occupies as “genocide”.
The first piece of legislation Congresswoman Comstock cosponsored was the Hire More Heroes Act. This legislation, which was signed into law, brings down barriers for veterans to find good-paying jobs while at the same time gives small businesses relief from Obamacare. The Hire More Heroes Act is one of many pieces of veteran legislation that helps those who have served their country. America must fulfill its commitment to our veterans and Congresswoman Comstock understands that their sacrifice and service must be honored.
Congresswoman Comstock understands that even though our veterans are home the battle scars remain and voted for the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. This important legislation for our veterans was signed into law by the President and requires the Veterans Administration to make mental health information easily accessible for our returning veterans. The legislation also helps the Veterans Administration to recruit and retain psychiatrists and requires an annual and independent review of mental healthcare and suicide prevention programs at the Veterans Administrations.
Congresswoman Comstock has also cosponsored and voted for the bipartisan Border Jobs for Veterans Act which has been signed by the President. This legislation streamlines the process of hiring veterans who acquired the necessary skill set while they were serving in the military to serve as a Customs and Border Protection officer.
Congresswoman Comstock has made it a priority to help those who have served their nation both through legislation and constituent service and looks forward to continuing to work with our nation’s veterans
Economy & Jobs
Congresswoman Comstock supported the $600 billion tax relief package that was signed into law which helps middle class families and makes the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent. This important bill also makes the Research and Development Tax Credit permanent, which will help fuel the technology, defense and healthcare jobs of the 21st Century that helps our region grow.
As a former small business owner, Congresswoman Comstock understands what it means to sign the front of a paycheck. In Congress she has been a champion for small businesses earning a 100% from the National Federation of Independent Businesses and a 100% from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for her votes in the 114th Congress. Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is home to many small businesses that are the foundation of our economy and Congresswoman Comstock will continue to work to make sure our small businesses prosper.
Congresswoman Comstock has been a federal employee – working for ten years on Capitol Hill for Congressman Frank Wolf and a congressional committee and then working at the Department of Justice after September 11th. When Barbara worked for Congressman Wolf, she was privileged to be his aide who handled federal employee issues and Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan issues.
In the 10th District our federal employees work at the Air Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, VA Hospitals, and as NASA Engineers and astronauts. Some are serving in dangerous areas and work for the FBI, CIA, State Department, and Department of Defense. Our federal employees defend our homeland, protect our borders, prosecute those who would do us harm, find 21st century cures and treatments for disease, facilitate trade, excel in scientific and education achievements and so much more.
Having worked on behalf of and with federal employees, Congresswoman Comstock understands and shares the passion of these dedicated public servants. It is the work of public service and it is vital to all of the important functions of our government and it has its sacrifices as well as rewards and the satisfaction of protecting and serving our country. Congresswoman Comstock has traveled throughout the District to speak to different chapters of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) where she talks about how the federal government can best serve its employees and what she has done to support the federal workforce such as:
- Working on a bipartisan basis to avert costly government shutdowns which create havoc within the federal workforce;
- Supporting pay increases for federal employees;
- Supporting paid family leave for federal employees as a cosponsor of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act which provides six weeks of paid parental leave to federal employees for birth, adoption, or the fostering of a child and will not increase costs within agencies;
- Protecting federal employees whose personal and tax information has been compromised because of numerous data breaches;
- Working for telecommuting solutions for our federal workforce to provide a more flexible schedule as well as save on the cost and time of commuting. In the Virginia General Assembly, she passed the first telework bills in Virginia.
Congresswoman Comstock comes from a family of educators. Her mother was a teacher and school administrator, her sister was a librarian, and her husband, Chip, worked in Fairfax County schools for three decades as a teacher and Assistant Principal. Chip continues to teach today at an alternative high school for disadvantaged students.
Education is the key to building future leaders for our nation’s 21st Century economy and Congresswoman Comstock has worked both in the Virginia House of Delegates and now in Congress to create a better educational environment for our children. As a Delegate, Congresswoman Comstock worked with parents and school leaders to bring all-day kindergarten to all of Fairfax County and will continue to work with Loudoun leaders do the same. She also worked to get more in-state spots for our children at Virginia colleges and universities.
In Congress, Representative Comstock has worked with her colleagues in the 114th and 115th Congress to put our children on a path toward success:
- Congresswoman Comstock is the Co-Chair of the DoD STARBASE Caucus which brings STEM education to students in elementary school who are often underrepresented in these fields. She has worked in a bipartisan manner to increase funding for this important program hosted in Winchester and other localities across our nation.
- In the 115th Congress, Comstock introduced The Student Loan Relief Act of 2017. If enacted, this bill will help students refinance their loans through the Department of Education and the private marketplace. In the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Congresswoman worked to secure student loan interest deductions in the final version of the bill.
- Voted for the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act that was signed into law and gives more local control to educators.
- In the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Congresswoman supported the expansion of the 529 savings plans to allow parents to better finance for their child’s education. In the same breadth, the Congresswoman has cosponsored the Enhancing Educational Opportunities for all Students Act, which affords students who are home schooled the same advantages.
Energy & Environment
The House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which Congresswoman Comstock has strongly advocated and worked for as well as cosponsored. This legislation puts our country on a path toward working on earlier detection, better treatment, and faster cures for chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more. The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law on December 13th, 2016.
Heroin and Addiction
In 2014, more people died from heroin and other opioid prescription drug overdoses than car accidents within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Congresswoman Comstock recognizes the heroin problem in our community and has worked with federal, state, and local officials on the regional Heroin Operations Team with Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman and the Shenandoah Valley Opioid Taskforce with Winchester Police Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher. Congresswoman Comstock is also a member of The Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic in the U.S. House of Representatives. To combat heroin we must have a community-focused approach from authorities on all levels of government as well as cooperation from the medical community on curbing the prescription of opioid-based pain relief medications, which in many cases begins the cycle of abuse. Congresswoman Comstock has held community forums addressing these issues and educating our young and vulnerable about the perils of drug use and addiction. We face serious challenges in ending this epidemic and have reached the point for congressional action.
The House passed Congresswoman Comstock’s amendment to increase funding for the important High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program this year that helps coordinate local, state, and federal law enforcement authority drug interdiction efforts. Congresswoman Comstock has also cosponsored a number of bills that will help marshal the resources we need from protecting the very young in a neonatal unit to helping get opioid reversing drugs into the hands of first responders. Congresswoman Comstock supported the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that was signed into law earlier this year. This sweeping legislation brings the necessary resources to help fight addiction to heroin and other opioid prescription drugs, and views the heroin epidemic as the disease it is.
America is a welcoming nation…and we are also a nation of laws. That is why Congresswoman Comstock has fought for and supported smart policies that would keep America safe through reforming the refugee program and the visa waiver program and measures to protect our borders. The FBI has active ISIS investigations in all fifty states and we as a nation must be vigilant to a terrorist threat that is constantly changing.
Congresswoman Comstock cosponsored the bipartisan five-year transportation bill that was signed into law and provides for more funding for infrastructure without raising taxes and has provisions written by the Congresswoman focusing on relieving traffic congestion and using technology for better traffic solutions. This legislation also includes reforms demanding more accountability and transparency from Metro.