Current Position: State Delegate for District 72 since 2018
Schuyler VanValkenburg knows firsthand the immeasurable impact a high quality education can have, and is committed to ensuring that for every child across the commonwealth.
He also knows how important it is provide equitable access and opportunities for every citizen – both by ensuring a democracy where every voice is heard and every vote counted and by increasing job growth and access to economic opportunity.
Finally, Schuyler believes in an inclusive society, and believes that Virginia has no place for discriminatory laws and policies which and that threaten the constitutional right to equal protection.
Source: Campaign page
As A Legislator
Since Schuyer won election in 2017, he has been hard at work creating legislation to help Virginia and Henrico County. For example, in his first session, he sponsored and passed a bill to prevent people from losing their state professional licensure due to student debt problems – a cruel policy which Virginia had allowed for too long. After all, if you take someone’s license to work, how will they pay the debt for which you took the license? In the wake of the Parkland shootings, he was one of a few delegates chosen to serve on a select committee for school safety, so he held community input sessions and met with parent activists and school safety experts to work on a set of recommendations to the General Assembly. He made sure the final recommendations were not just about physical infrastructure but also student mental and emotional health, and about school-community relations, to address not just tragic shootings but school violence more generally. He helped to pass Medicaid expansion, which enabled more 9,500 people in Henrico county access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage in its first few months of operation alone. In his second session, Delegate VanValkenburg led the charge to get a higher standard for school counseling in the state budget, ensuring that schools will have the resources to reach a ratio of one counselor for every two hundred and fifty students. Delegate VanValkenburg has been proud to fight for equality of opportunity, quality education, and inclusiveness – and his record speaks to his commitment to those ideas.
Personal Story and Background
Schuyler VanValkenburg grew up thirty minutes north of Albany, NY, in the small city of Johnstown, nicknamed the “Glove City” for its leather tanning mills in the 19th century. He watched as the city’s economy continually suffered when factory jobs left for overseas factories. Early on, his family impressed on him the importance education would have in this changing world and he fell in love with history thanks to some very talented educators.
After high school, he enrolled at the University of Richmond in 2001. His family’s insistence on bettering himself through education pushed him to excel in the history department and complete teacher licensure programs while he was there. During his undergraduate studies, he also met his wife. After college, they started a family and he began his teaching career in Henrico County Public Schools. He has been a teacher for twelve years, first at Short Pump Middle School, and now at Glen Allen High School.
During his teaching career, Schuyler went back to school to earn his Masters degree in American History at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008, with a focus on women’s history. He also won National Board Certification and became the We the People constitutional competition coach at Glen Allen High School.
Schuyler VanValkenburg’s experience growing up in small industrial town, attending the University of Richmond, and teaching in Henrico County, have all invigorated him in the fight to make Virginia a national leader in education in order to expand opportunity for all Virginians. He knows firsthand the immeasurable impact a high quality education can have, and is committed to ensuring that for every child across the commonwealth. He also knows how important it is provide equitable access and opportunities for every citizen – both by ensuring a democracy where every voice is heard and every vote counted and by increasing job growth and access to economic opportunity. Finally, Schuyler believes in an inclusive society, and believes that Virginia has no place for discriminatory laws and policies which and that threaten the constitutional right to equal protection.
- M.A., History
Virginia Commonwealth University
- B.A., History
University of Richmond
- Birth Year: 1982
- Place of Birth: Charlotte, NC
- Gender: Male
- Race(s): Caucasian
- Religion: Presbyterian
- Children: Caden, Elliot, and Hollis
Membership & Affiliation
Virginia Education Association
Legislative Assistant: Emily Bruzzo
Administrative Assistant During Session: Susan Bain
- Government – DelSVanValkenburg@house.virginia.gov
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1072
900 E. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1072
2019 State Delegate
|Schuyler T. VanValkenburg (D)||16,345||53.26%|
|Gay Donna Vandergriff (R)||14,312||46.63%|
2017 State Delegate
|Schuyler VanValkenburg (D)||16,655||52.7%|
|Edward Seayers Whitlock (R)||14,869||47.1%|
|Write In (Write-in)||75||0.2%|
VANVALKENBURG, SCHUYLER T has run in 1 race for public office, winning 1 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $546,258.
Source: Follow the Money
See: Vote Smart
Source: Virginia Legislative Information System
Virginia should be a bold symbol of the American value of egalitarianism. Every person, regardless of religion, sexuality, gender, or race should have the same rights, opportunities, and social status as everyone else. Period. I have and will push back against anti-LGBTQ legislation from bathroom bills to protections for conversion therapy. I also stand with criminal justice reformers – for example, I was part of the effort to raise the cap on felony crimes in Virginia and reduce the number of minor crimes (like stealing an iPod) being prosecuted as felonies. Virginia has a long way to go one women’s rights, too – I voted for the Equal Rights Amendment and spoke in its defense in one of the speeches I was most proud to make on the floor all year in 2019. I was also a vote against gender-discriminatory products like imposing taxes on necessities like femine hygenie products. Virginia still needs to make progress to close the wage gap and fight against gender discrimination in the workplace.
DEMOCRACY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
As a teacher, I have seen the transformative power of knowledge and democratic engagement. But Virginia’s laws as they currently stand don’t give our citizens enough ways to engage their government effectively. I was proud to help start the process of gerrymandering reform by voting for the first stage of an independent redistricting commission amendment in 2019, but that commission will need additional stages and implementing legislation which we must follow through on by doing thing s like banning the use of partisan data in the commission process, for example.
We need to make voter registration more accessible, reform and extend voting times and precinct efficiency, and make absentee and early voting easier. Many populations with burdens on their time and ability to get to physical polling places, from college students to the elderly to those with high-travel jobs, are badly punished by Virginia’s current inflexible systems of voting.
I believe in creating an economic environment that creates opportunity for all. In the past two years, I have sponsored and worked on legislation that would give Virginians more opportunities to engage in apprenticeship programs and job training, eliminate the use of non-compete clauses to restrict the opportunities of low-income workers, and prevent people from losing professional licenses for unpaid student debt. Virginia’s prosperity is remarkable – we have some of the lowest unemployment and highest income to cost of living rates in the nation – but we must make sure it is accessible to everyone. The more people participate in our commonwealth’s economy, the better off we are.
I am one of the few teachers in the General Assembly, and my thirteen year career in teaching has shown me first hand the need for adequate support for our school systems from the state. This is particularly true when it comes to student safety, and I served on a special commission for student safety in the wake of the Parkland shootings which made significant bipartisan progress. One such area that was particularly valueable was an increase in the budget for school counseling staff and the implementation of a 1:250 counselor:student ratio, which I was proud to fight specifically for in the 2019 session of the legislature. I also was part of a bipartisan move to give schools more control over their own calendars and remove the influence of special interest tourism industry lobbies from our school calendars.
But there is still so much more to do to improve our state’s education system. Virginia remains one of the worst states in the nation for college affordability, our schools are funded almost 10% less per student by the state now than they were in 2008, leaving localities holding the bag, and our SOL testing system is a burden on schools, students, and parents. As an educator and parent, improving Virginian’s access to educational opportunity from pre-school to trade school as the basis for prosperity and equality is my greatest passion.
Virginia has achieved one of the most important goals I fought for in my first campaign for office: an expansion of our Medicaid program, with federal subsidy, to more than 200,000 additional low-income Virginians. Health is the basis of everything – without affordable healthcare, a good job and educational opportunities are often out of reach – and so expanding Medicaid was a crucial milestone.
There are new challenges, though. Virginia continues to wrestle with its opioid epidemic, and I am a strong advocate of adopting a public-health approach to our drug problems rather than a primarily criminal one. Virginia has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the nation, and their health needs are special – we must make sure Virginia can pick up some of the care and attention our state’s veterans need and which the national V.A. doesn’t always provide. Finally, the gap in healthcare between the rural and poor parts of our community and the wealthier ones is still staggering, and health infrastructure investment and concentrated programs must supplement Medicaid expansion in those areas of the state.
Virginia’s state government can do more to help its counties and cities build infrastructure, fund crucial projects, and strengthen local programs on the ground. I’ll work to ensure that the Richmond metropolitan region has the funding and communication necessary to promote our economy. From revitalizing Lakeside Avenue to fixing Sadler Road traffic by working with local planning authorities to mass transit planning like the GRTC pulse, shared growth and prosperity is key to Henrico and the region’s future