Tim Hickey said problems facing people in Virginia’s 59th District transcend the party lines that currently divide legislators in Washington, D.C.
“I think a lot of that is manufactured,” Hickey said of the current state of national politics. “Locally, I think people tend to be more bipartisan because we are dealing with issues that affect all of us. At this level, we are able to work together to make our community better.”
Hickey — an educator in Greene County — has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to challenge four-term incumbent Del. Matt Fariss, R-Campbell, for his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates next year.
Hickey, who lives in Albemarle County, announced on Saturday that he is running for the 59th District seat. The seat represents Appomattox and Buckingham counties as well as parts of Albemarle, Campbell and Nelson counties. All members of the House of Delegates and Senate are up for election in 2019. Delegates serve two-year terms and senators serve for four years.
Fariss —who was elected to the seat in 2011 — could not be reached Monday for comment on whether he plans to run for a fifth-consecutive term.
Hickey, 44, graduated from the College of William & Mary, The City College of New York and the University of Virginia School Of Law. After practicing law for about two years, Hickey decided to pursue a career in teaching.
“My life’s work has been about instilling values and providing opportunities for young people,” Hickey said Monday. “I felt I could serve my community better as a teacher and I immediately felt that it is where I belonged.”
Hickey taught high school math in New York City for two years before moving to Albemarle County in 2005. He taught for more than 10 years at Monticello High School in Albemarle County before becoming the coordinator of innovative programs for Greene County Public Schools in 2016.
Hickey said he has been traveling across the district for the past several months talking to residents in the district while he decided if he wanted to run for office.
“Despite all of our differences, I find that people across our district generally have the same concerns and core values,” Hickey said. “They want to be able to provide for their families and live in clean, safe communities.”
Hickey said one of the main concerns that people in his district have is access to broadband internet service, where many residents in rural parts of central Virginia have little to no service.
“People in rural areas want and need access to high speed internet,” Hickey said. “They understand that not having access to broadband internet cuts them off from opportunities. People with access to broadband can search for jobs, interview for jobs and have jobs online. They can start businesses or side businesses. Kids can do research and homework. Without access to broadband, you just don’t have those opportunities. Businesses don’t want to invest in areas without broadband either.”
Hickey said investing in education also will be among his top priorities if elected to the House of Delegates.
“I’ve been an educator for more than 16 years,” Hickey said. “And I know that investing in our children’s education is one of the smartest investments we can make because it pays out the biggest dividends. We need to train students to work in 21st century jobs. The market for workers in fields like green energy, engineering, and health and medical sciences is growing. We need to be ready.”
Hickey said the response he has received from residents of the district has been “overwhelming” despite being in a district that has leaned Republican during the past few election cycles. Farriss won the 2017 general election with 61 percent of the general vote.
“There has been a tremendous energy,” Hickey said. “People in the 59th District are independent-minded and look at the candidates rather than blindly voting based on party. I encourage people to take a close look at what I stand for.
“I support property rights,” he said. “I value fiscal responsibility. I want to strengthen our democracy. I am grounded in values and commitment to community. I represent the values of the people of this district and I would be proud to represent them in Richmond.”