My decision to run for the House of Delegates was a natural extension of the volunteering and activism which has been a constant thread throughout my life. My husband, James and I met while volunteer tutoring adult literacy students at The READ Center. Once our children were born, I was able to engage in our community by becoming the President of the Rainbow Station Parent Board. After attending a community meeting this fall at the University of Richmond, I felt called to work with current students as they proposed policy changes around the handling of campus sexual assault.

I have lived in Richmond for 24 years, attending University of Richmond as an undergraduate and VCU for my graduate degree. James and I moved to western Henrico 11 years ago and love raising our 3 boys here. Leo is 9 and a 3rd grader at Gayton Elementary. Peter is 7 and a 2nd grader at GES. Joseph is 4 and is currently in pre-school at Rainbow Station at Wyndham in the heart of the district. Soon enough he will be with his older brothers at Gayton.

In August, I joined the Henrico County Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) which grew out of my support of our eldest, Leo. Leo is an extraordinary child who somehow manages ADHD, Asperger's and seizure disorder without skipping a beat. I joined the SEAC in order to support my son as well as the more than 6,000 children in Henrico who receive Special Education. As a voting member of the SEAC, I help advise the local school division in formulating plans for improving the performance of children with disabilities in Henrico’s schools and the community.

Through all of my work, I have realized it is not enough for me for my family to have what they need. I no longer feel like I can rest until I do everything within in my power for all families to have access to the healthcare, education and resources that they need to support themselves and and their families. That is why I am running for the House of Delegates. With everything happening in our world and our community, I am compelled to use my voice to speak for everyone, but most of all, for those who are not in a position to speak for themselves.

                                                                                                                       - Melissa M. Dart