Briana Sewell, chief of staff to Prince William County Board Chair Ann Wheeler, announced Wednesday she will run for the 51st District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates next fall.
The seat is currently held by Del. Hala Ayala, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and said she will not run for re-election to the House seat.
In a news release, Ayala endorsed Sewell for the seat.
“I’ve watched Briana grow as a leader in this community and I know she will be a champion for the 51st District. In Richmond, she will continue to move Virginia forward and fight for working families,” Ayala said.
Ayala upset longtime incumbent Republican Del. Rich Anderson to win the seat in 2017 and won re-election over Anderson in 2019. The district currently includes most of the Lake Ridge area of Prince William and stretches westward through the Hoadly area to include Nokesville and portions of Bristow. However, the lines could be redrawn before the 2021 election if the state's redistricting process is completed.
Before working for Wheeler, Sewell was political director and senior organizer for the Virginia Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy. In that role, she worked to support more equitable economic policies that benefit small businesses and working families. She also served as Prince William district director for U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-11th, who also endorsed her campaign.
"She fought every day for the people of Prince William County,” Connolly said. “I know she'll bring that same energy, tenacity, and enthusiasm to the House of Delegates."
Sewell said, "I’m in this race because I want to continue to build on the important work in Richmond and be a voice for the 51st District. That means strengthening our public schools, improving resources for service members, fighting for affordable health care, investing in transportation, and working to ensure economic prosperity for all."
She earned her bachelor’s degree in public policy from the College of William and Mary and a master’s in public administration from American University.
In her campaign announcement, Sewell said she also had been endorsed by state Sens. George Barker, Jeremy McPike, and Scott Surovell; House of Delegates Appropriations Committee Chair Luke Torian of Prince William; Wheeler and Supervisor Kenny Boddye from the county board; and five county school board members, including board Chair Babur Lateef.