Gay State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) on Saturday formally launched his campaign for the U.S. House seat in Northern Virginia being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), telling about 125 supporters he will be a “champion for the underserved.”
Among those attending Ebbin’s campaign kick-off rally at Los Tios Restaurant in the Del Ray section of Alexandria were Alexandria’s popular former mayor and former State Sen. Patsy Ticer (D) and State Sen. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax). Both have endorsed Ebbin.
Sickles, who came out as gay in a Washington Post column in January, was among at least 11 candidates running for Moran’s congressional seat before dropping out of the race two weeks ago.
“In Congress, I’m going to be a champion for the underserved,” Ebbin said. “And that includes working people, LGBT people, women, the poor, immigrants, victims of human trafficking – anyone who has it tough.”
Ebbin noted that he spent nine of his 11 years in the Virginia General Assembly as a member of the Republican-controlled House of Delegates before being elected in 2011 to the State Senate.
“I’ve spent more than a decade passing progressive legislation through the General Assembly, including a hostile House of Delegates,” he said. “With me and supporters of principled legislation like Sen. Ticer I led the opposition to the anti-marriage equality amendment in 2006 that was recently overturned,” he said. “We have turned the corner and there is no going back.”
Ebbin was referring to a federal district court in Virginia that earlier this year declared the 2006 ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in the state constitution a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Supporters of the marriage ban are seeking to appeal the court ruling, and the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Among the other issues he will push in Congress, Ebbin said, are comprehensive immigration reform, environmental protection, protecting Social Security and Medicare, raising the federal minimum wage and “a real raise for federal workers.”
Mark Levine, a gay rights attorney, radio talk show host and legal counsel to gay former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is among what had been 11 Democrats competing for Moran’s congressional seat in the solidly Democratic 8th District. Another two candidates reportedly have entered the race in the June 10 Democratic primary.
The winner of the primary is expected to be the strong favorite to win the general election in November.
“In this race there’s a lot of candidates, and you’re hearing a lot of progressive slogans,” Ebbin said at his rally on March 22. “We’ve got someone who is a proven principled progressive. We’ve got someone who is the aggressive progressive and someone who is even a progressive warrior,” he said.
“And if it’s easier, just call me a liberal,” said Ebbin.