A Republican contender for the Virginia House of Delegates 86th District seat vacated by State Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33rd) has emerged.
A week after Democrats voted for community dentist Ibraheem Samirah as their nominee to replace Boysko, voters from the 86th District, which encompasses parts of Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, chose U.S. Air Force veteran Gregg Nelson as the Republican nominee.
Nelson was selected in a mass meeting convened on Jan. 19 at Fairfax Christian School in Dulles.
“He’s exactly the right man for the job,” Fairfax County Republican Committee chairman Tim Hannigan said. “He’s a small business owner and a real-world problem-solver. If voters want someone who’s ready and willing to get things done, Gregg Nelson is their candidate.”
After representing the 86th District in the House of Delegates for three years, Boysko left the seat after a special election on Jan. 8 saw her beat Republican nominee Joe May to succeed newly elected Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) as the 33rd District state senator.
Voters in the 86th District went to the polls at Dranesville Elementary School in Herndon and Franklin Middle School in Chantilly for a Democratic Party firehouse caucus held on Jan. 12.
Samirah beat three other candidates, including former Herndon Mayor Michael O’Reilly, Fairfax County NAACP President Kofi Annan, and public affairs consultant Joe Thompson, to become the Democratic nominee.
A special election to determine Virginia’s next 86th District delegate will be held on Feb. 19.
“My wife and I felt it was a perfect time in our lives to continue to give back to our community and government,” Nelson said in a statement. “I’m very humbled to be the Republican nominee. Having worked both the private and public sectors has given me the opportunity to be able to personally relate to the voters here.”
A native of Wisconsin, Nelson has lived in Virginia for the past 21 years, and he is currently self-employed with a family-operated company called ZN Ventures, Inc.
According to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, ZN Ventures is registered with Nelson’s wife, Lisa Z. Nelson, in Herndon.
The business information database Buzzfile says that ZN Ventures also operates under the name Berlin and Associates and describes the company as a business consulting organization that generates an estimated $430,000 in annual revenue.
Earlier in his working life, Nelson served in the U.S. Air Force before retiring as a technical sergeant and working as a senior investigator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Nelson’s time in the private sector includes senior management work for a computer manufacturing company. He and his wife opened an Ashburn branch of the Maryland-based restaurant Urban Bar-B-Que in 2012.
Nelson says his experience starting his own restaurant gave him insight into the challenges that small business owners face, while his tenure in the Air Force helps him related to the issues that veterans encounter.
He points to over-regulation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as two problems facing small businesses and veterans, respectively.
“Our community in the 86th District is comprised of hardworking families,” Nelson said. “My top priority will always be them. If elected, I will be a representative who will work with the people and be their voice in Richmond.”