Meet the candidates: VA State Senate & House of Delegates

Bike Norfolk sent questions to all candidates for VA State Senate and House districts that are in all or part of Norfolk. Here are their responses. To check the districts and individuals that will be on your ballot, go to Norfolk’s Office of Elections page. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, and early voting has started!

Bike Norfolk is a nonpartisan group committed to passing on the information without endorsing candidates.

Jump to see a specific candidate’s response:


Bill DeSteph, Senate District 20

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

I own road, mountain, electric, fat tire and beach cruiser style bicycles and embrace all terrains. I enjoy a leisurely ride and have also participated in races and long-distance charity events. Whether pedaling on the Cap to Cap, through First Landing State Park or down the boardwalk bike path, I have a passion for cycling.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

In my travels, I have taken note of the bicycling infrastructure in Colorado, Tucson, AZ and Barcelona, Spain. In Colorado, the bike paths highlight the beautiful landscapes, promote outdoor activity and eco-tourism while reducing traffic. Tucson and Barcelona are bike-friendly cities, where cycling lanes enhance urban mobility, reduce pollution, and improve public health. These locations experience enhanced quality of life, encourage tourism, and reduce congestion. Legislators can support the funding and expansion of such infrastructure.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

As a bike enthusiast, I have always supported policy that enhances cyclist safety. In the House of Delegates, I sponsored HB 1342 (Following Too Closely), which passed during the 2015 session. I introduced SB 1009 last session, which would have supported cyclists crossing through intersections where signals control pedestrians. I have a long history of co-patroning biking legislation with my General Assembly colleagues, like SB 1263, requiring drivers to change lanes when passing cyclists. All users can benefit from awareness campaigns.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

I’ve been supportive of expanding the trail system along the Eastern Shore, Norfolk, and throughout all of Coastal Virginia. As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I’ve helped secure funding for the Eastern Shore, enabling residents and visitors to enjoy scenic rides. This investment not only boosts local tourism but also promotes active and healthy lifestyles. It’s part of my vision to continue to connect communities, improve accessibility, and enhance the overall quality of life in our region through a robust and interconnected trail network.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

I’m committed to enhancing micro-mobility in Norfolk and across Coastal Virginia, just as I have championed in Virginia Beach. I’ll continue to promote safe and accessible infrastructure for bicycles, scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards, and more. Ensuring road surfaces are maintained, new roads are built with adequate shoulders/bike lanes to enhance cyclist safety is a top priority. A network of well-maintained pathways, making micro-mobility an integral part of Norfolk’s sustainable transportation system, will save lives. EDITOR’S NOTE: Previous to this coming election and changes to district lines, Senator DeSteph (incumbent) has not represented any part of Norfolk.

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Victoria Luevanos, Senate District 20

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

As a family, we walk, bike, use skateboards and scooters; my nephew is wheelchair bound.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

Berlin, Germany: Pop Up Bike Lanes; Denver, CO, US: Open Streets; Milan, Italy: Increasing Bike and Scooter Caps; Paris, France: Supplementing Public Transit; and Austin, TX, US: Guidance, Planning and Collaboration. A lot of organizations already have the research, plans, and experts to get these ideas rolling, all they need is the funds and access to leadership that support these plans; I want to be that bridge for these communities.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

I always liked the idea of curb reinforcements like crashbarriers, and Maccaferri safety barriers. If elected I would invest in local safety measures like these, so that taxpayers can see their investments at work.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

A lot of them time, people aren’t seeing the funds being distributed fairly, they lack accountability, so I hope to ensure that there is fairness and accountability in these departments.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

I would work towards universal public transportation, better safety measures for pedestrians and transportation staff, and ensuring that we are leading in all new infrastructure initiatives. We need to ensure that we are providing Virginians with safer ways to participate in different forms of transportation.

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Angelia Williams Graves, Senate District 21

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

No, I do not.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

I think given Norfolk’s size and the nature of our geography it’s hard to pre-describe a city in which we should aspire to be. Obviously cities like Minneapolis and Philadelphia get consistently ranked as some of the most bike-friendly cities, but their situation is very different from Norfolk’s. I think it begins with evaluating the safety and the convenience of biking within the city. If folks don’t feel safe to bike or if we don’t make it easy for them to do so, then why would they do it? Starting there is a good place.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

We need to do more to ensure that our bike lanes are safe. That we have clearly marked and designated places for cyclists to bike. And make sure that we hold drivers and bikers accountable to keep more folks from dying.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

I’ll always be an advocate for Norfolk to get its fair share of funding – whether it be for trails or for education. I would love to work with this organization to see to it that we get what we need.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

The fact is, a lot of the topics that have been discussed in this questionnaire are things that the Norfolk City Council must deal with on a day in, day out basis. As a former Councilwoman, myself, I will continue to work with them on how best to address these issues from both a local and state level. Anything I can do that can make their jobs easier is what I aspire to do in Richmond. Whether that means more advocating for state dollars to come to Norfolk or by other means.

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Bonita Anthony, House District 92

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

Yes, I own two bikes. They are in need of repair. However, I participate in walking. I enjoy meetups with members of the organization, GirlTrek. I’ve participated with Black Girls Do Bike in Hampton Roads as well.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

The addition of the Virginia Capital Trail that goes from Williamsburg through Richmond, addition of carry-on bike service of Amtrak and many Transit makes Coastal Virginia through RVA prime for its pedestrian/bike infrastructure. Bridging our communities together is where we should continue to aspire. However, In Hampton Roads, many communities are cut off via highway infrastructure, neighborhoods redlined, and are geographically isolated which results in disconnectedness that impacts the health and well-being of our neighbors for lack of access to good jobs, quality and affordable health care, and fresh produce. We need to review our public transportation network, accessibility, and affordability along with accessible micro transit options to reconnect our city. Policy could support funding.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

I would make sure our federal partners are filtering funds for Safe Routes To School Programs and that school district programs are funded and reactivated across the commonwealth. I would support funding for road audits and work with local elected in upgrading crosswalks, provide funding for improved sidewalks with upgraded ramps, improve street and neighborhood lighting, bus stop improvements, etc. I would support making access to trails and walkways equitable across the city.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

Building relationships within the interdepartmental office is key. Reviewing the statewide trails plan with our local partners is priority. However, we want to make sure that we have considered environmental implications of trail construction and equity issues by partnering with those specialty interest organizations. This will show we are United in our efforts and have vetted potential pitfalls of development.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

I would support stronger regionalism in Hampton Roads to improve our public transportation networks and support funding on-demand micro transit options not just for rural but for geographically segregated neighborhoods. We must make public transportation equitable, affordable and accessible. Our neighborhoods suffer from lack of good sidewalks with accessible ramps that make it safe to walk, use scooters or wheelchairs. I would love to connect with the bicycling, pedestrian and active transportation commission to see how we can work with our federal partners to direct funding for pedestrian and bike safety projects.

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Michael Durig, House District 92

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

I have 5 bicycles and I used to ride regularly with my 4 grandsons. I am looking forward to riding again as soon as I get cleared by my doctor.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

I am from Dayton, Ohio where the George Huffman started building bicycles in 1892 and his grandson Horace M. Huffman Jr., the president of the Huffy Corporation, created the Miami Valley Trails system. Check it out https://www.miamivalleytrails.org/trail-map. I am a great proponent of bicycles and alternate modes of transportation.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

I believe mobile devices are the major contributors to these fatalities. I see everyone, bicyclists, drivers, runners, and walkers are all distracted by devices. It is worthy of debate, but it is an individual behavior pattern that is going to be hard to discourage.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

I will reach out to those of you for a meaningful plan to present to the commission in charge of funding. If I have a complete plan with funding requirements, I am in agreement for such a project.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

I believe that your civic leagues are the best place to find out which initiatives could benefit and coordinate the different areas of Norfolk. This could be presented to the city manager whereupon I would be an active supporter in Richmond.

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Jackie Glass, House District 93

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

It might sound a bit unusual and privileged, but I’m fortunate to own both a trail, road and e-bike. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy walking and occasionally indulging in some roller skating. However, my passion for hiking fills me with excitement – it’s an activity I thoroughly enjoy!

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

We can look to places like Alexandria and Arlington within Virginia as shining examples of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. However, if we’re seeking top-tier inspiration on a national scale, San Francisco stands out. When it comes to global leaders, Amsterdam sets the platinum standard.

To achieve excellence, several critical factors need consideration. First, there must be a cultural shift towards prioritizing accessible pedestrian and bicycle transportation. Securing adequate funding is imperative. Legislation plays a crucial role, mandating the inclusion of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in transportation planning and development projects. Furthermore, incentives for businesses and individuals to support and utilize such infrastructure can be instrumental.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

If re-elected, I’ll push for increased funding for infrastructure improvements, such as better crosswalks, pedestrian-friendly traffic signals, and improved lighting in high-risk areas. Additionally, I’ll support legislation to enforce stricter penalties for reckless driving near pedestrians and promote public awareness campaigns on pedestrian safety. Collaboration with local elected, law enforcement and community organizations will be crucial to address this urgent issue and make our streets safer for everyone.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

If you choose me to represent Norfolk, I want you to know that I’m fully committed to our city’s trails and their funding. I’ll work hand in hand with the Virginia State Trails Office to make sure Norfolk gets its fair share. We’ll identify and prioritize local trail projects, highlighting how they benefit us economically, recreationally, and environmentally.

I’ll keep the lines of communication open with state officials, making a strong case for resources for our trails. And I won’t stop there – I’ll actively support legislation that guarantees every region, including Norfolk, gets an equitable share of funds. Together, we can create accessible, sustainable trail networks that enhance the lives of our residents and welcome visitors to our beautiful city and state.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

Bringing the 15-minute city concept to Norfolk is an initiative within reach with local and state commitment. Through this initiative, I’d advocate to create urban communities where essential services like schools and fresh foods are a short 15-minute walk or bike ride away. If we prioritize this approach, it will aid us in enhancing urban living and making daily life more convenient, sustainable, and accessible for everyone in Norfolk and areas like it across Virginia.

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John Sitka, House District 93

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

I formerly owned a bicycle from the East Coast bike shop on Colley Ave.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

When I was on a ship in Yokohama, Japan, I was impressed by how the city laid out the roads and bike ways.

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

Support funding for wider roads to be able to include bikeways.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

I would like to hear from my constituents first on their thoughts and ideas.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

I would like to hear from Norfolk Transportation on their recommendations since they have made a comprehensive study of our community.

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Phil Hernandez, House District 94

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Do you own a bicycle or participate in other forms of micro-transportation like walking, hiking, using wheelchairs, scooters or skateboards? Tell us about it!

Yes! I grew up skating and biking. I’ve got both bikes and skateboards in my house. And we’re teaching my 2.5 year old daughter Isa how to bike now.

Are there communities in VA or outside the state that you believe have bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure that Norfolk should aspire to? If so, what things can be done by elected state representatives to make that happen?

I’ve seen more developed bicycle infrastructure in my travels abroad & in other cities across the US. When the effort is made to invest in and promote bicycle infrastructure, people use it. While local governments play a major, if not leading role, in this work, there are a few things the state can do. First, we can help fund bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure through the budget. In recent convos about SMART SCALE, there has been concern about leaving behind funding for smaller projects (e.g., projects for cyclists) v. road & highway projects. Second, the state could fund (even if only partially) a city-level position that’s 100% focused on these issues in Norfolk.

Recent Article: https://bit.ly/3F1r9MR

Last year (2022), 12 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in Norfolk–a 100% increase from previous years. So far this year (2023), there have been at least nine (9). If you are elected, what new bills or investments will you champion to prevent future deaths?

Part of the solution has to be funding for safety improvements, which I will champion as a Delegate, while smart design & planning is another key part of the answer. From redesigned roads, to better sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks/beacons/islands, we should advance projects that will reduce pedestrian deaths, particularly by prioritizing crash hotspots (w/best available data) that need investment / improvements. Roads need to be safe for everyone: pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, etc. Another area for consideration should be appropriate speed-limit setting. Overall, this needs to be a joint priority that spans state and local government.

What things will you do if elected to work with the newly created  Virginia State Trails Office to ensure Norfolk gets its fair share of trails funding?

The work that the State Trails Office is doing is exciting, and the efforts to develop a Statewide Trails Plan will benefit our entire region. I will endeavor to support the VSTO’s work and ensure that resources flow to Norfolk. I would also love to have VSTO staff visit our city, meet with civic leagues and local organizations like Bike Norfolk to make sure our local interests heard and valued.

What other initiatives would you work on that would enhance infrastructure or bicycle riding (including scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards and other micro forms of transportation) in Norfolk?

Some of what I mentioned above regarding smart design for pedestrians carries over to these modes of transportation as well because better infrastructure makes everyone safer on our roads. In addition, I’ve always thought that when we create bike lanes, we need to do so in ways that make riders feel safe. Where there’s merely a painted line on the street, yet no real barriers (e.g., plants / bollards, etc.) many folks don’t feel comfortable and w/o barriers, cars often park in bike lanes. I’d also like to think holistically — especially given Norfolk’s problems with flooding and sea level rise — about coastal resiliency & infrastructure that supports bicycle riding. There may be ways to bring those two goals together via RGGI funding that comes to Norfolk.

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