CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County school board member Ryan Harter announced plans to run for the 73rd District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, setting up a race with the son of a former state attorney general for the Republican nomination.
Harter, the school board’s Matoaca District representative, touted his push to bring students back to the classroom for in-person learning and votes to give parents a say over student mask-wearing as the school board’s chairman.
The former public school teacher and Air Force veteran added that his run for office would allow him to continue the fight for parental rights and veterans. He also took aim at “radical policies of far left Democrats” in the Virginia House without specifying.
“For too long we have let radical left wing policies tear down our schools, our economy, and our Commonwealth as a whole,” Harter said in a press release Thursday.
The 73rd District has new boundaries after Virginia’s redistricting, with more than 64,000 Chesterfield residents living in it. Gov. Glenn Youngkin received 57% of the vote in the district last year, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.
In January, Harter was one of two dissenting votes against keeping Chesterfield schools’ mask policy amid questions over Gov. Youngkin’s mask-optional order.
He called for an immediate end to the masking rules, telling other board members and the public that it was “no longer a practical strategy” after it the state no longer required them.
Mark Earley Jr., the son of former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, is also running for the Republican nomination in the 73rd District. No Democrats have announced plans to run in the Republican-heavy district and the election is slated for 2023, according to VPAP.