Candidate profile – Mark Earley, Jr., 68th District (Republican)
Mark Earley Jr. is seeking the Republican nomination for the Virginia House of Delegates District 68 in the June 8 primary election and hopes to help end the Democratic hold on the state’s three branches of government.
“I’m concerned with the direction that Virginia has taken in the last few years under complete one-party control,” he said. “I think we need a fresh approach that brings both conservative values and pragmatic thinking.”
Earley, who graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2009 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 2015, said that the biggest issue facing the 68th District is the same one facing all of Virginia.
“We need to get our schools open and kids back in the classroom, as well as allow for more robust choice in education,” he said. “Every child should have the ability to get a world-class education – we need to think creatively when it comes to education, not force a one-size-fits-all approach.”
Earley believes that parents should have the opportunity to choose the education style that best suits their children between public, private, charter, and home, according to his campaign website. He, who along with his wife, works in a small business, also believes that taxes on families and businesses should be lowered, his website says.
“We need to get businesses open and the economy moving again by supporting small businesses and reducing the burdens on them,” he said.
Earley does not believe in defunding the police, instead, he believes in rebuilding and ensuring trust between police departments and communities, according to his website. He is also pro-life, and protects the Second Amendment, his website says.
“While I have core conservative values, there is plenty of opportunity for effective bipartisanship, especially on the fundamental issues we’re dealing with.
“A smart focus on prisoner reentry initiatives is a bipartisan effort that can have hugely beneficial results for everyone – including safer communities and a lower financial burden for the Commonwealth.”
Earley, who served in former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration and whose father served as Virginia’s attorney general, also co-convened an issue discussion group that covered a wide array of topics with people of all different political persuasions, he said. These conversations have equipped him to work with numerous people, Earley said.
“I’d always make an effort to know and spend time with my colleagues — those from both sides of the aisle,” he said. “Simply knowing people as people can make legislative work far more civil and effective.”
Earley, who has a five-year-old son, has also been a foster parent for nearly two years, according to his website. He and his wife, Mary Alice, have cared for four foster children in that time, his website says.
“As a foster parent, I know that while our system already does incredible work, there’s always room for reform,” he said. “This a non-partisan area where we all need to come together to support everyone involved – social workers, foster parents, biological families, and of course, the kids in the foster care system.”
Earley has received several endorsements, including those from former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Manoli Loupassi, former delegate of the 68th District, according to his website. Earley has raised over $20,000 as of March 31, according to the Virginia Public Access Project website.
Earley is running against Mike Dickinson, who ran for Richmond City Mayor in 2016 but withdrew his candidacy prior to the election. Dickinson also ran for Richmond City Council in 2020 and was not elected.
“As both an attorney and foster-parent, I’ve been given a window into the real struggles of everyday Virginians,” he said, “I’d like to be a part of finding solutions for all Virginians.”