- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 15:05
- Published on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 15:05
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Challenging Wittman for 1st Congressional District seat in 2010
By Phyllis Cook
Krystal Ball is a 27-year-old accountant, business woman, wife and mother.
She is also a candidate for election to represent the 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
That election is a year and a half away, in November 2010.
Krystal will officially launch her campaign with a meet-the-candidate event on Sunday, June 14, from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Pratt Park. It will be an informal event to which the public is wholeheartedly invited.
Krystal is serious about her campaign to run for the seat currently held by Republican Rob Wittman. She’s filed her campaign with the Federal Election Commission.
Following her kickoff on June 14 at Pratt Park, she’s next planning a fundraising event in her native county of King George in the following weeks.
Krystal knows the Fredericksburg region and the Northern Neck. She grew up attending King George public schools, graduating with honors in 1999 as class salutatorian from King George High School.
Krystal, 27, and her husband, Jonathan Dariyanani, now make their home in Fredericksburg, with their infant daughter, Ella, who is nearly 15 months old.
Krystal said she was inspired to think about running for election after their baby was born.
“The single most important and influential event in my life thus far was the birth of my daughter Ella in March of 2008. I had no way of knowing what amazement, joy, and wonder she would bring to my life.”
But she added, “I realized that I had no control over the decisions which would affect her life most. What kind of a school would she go to? Will she be able to go to good doctors, nurses, and hospitals? Will she be able to enjoy the rivers, lakes, mountains, and forests that I enjoyed as a kid? Will the country I love be a safe and prosperous place, a place that lives up to the ideals of its people?”
Krystal said the answers to those questions and many more seemed uncertain.
Krystal said, “We have toxic baby bottles and toys because almost no one in Congress has a baby. We have unaffordable daycare because almost no one in Congress uses daycare. We have a government that is indifferent to the needs of young families, because out of 435 members of Congress, only one is under the age of 30.”
Krystal and Jonathan researched what she might do which would be the most impactful.
“We found that there was a real possibility of representing my home district in Congress. As I looked over the relevant facts, the decision to run for Congress felt less like a choice and more like a calling,” Krystal said.
Krystal understands the hard work and long hours it will take to win the seat and then to serve. In preparation for her campaign launch, earlier this month she attended the Sorenson Institute’s Candidate Training Program.
Her husband, Jonathan supports her recent scaling back in the couple’s software design business and her gearing up to campaign full-time.
She intends to take her baby with her on most visits to the far-flung areas of the 1st Congressional District.
Krystal also understands she must earn her chops to gain credibility as a candidate. She has a long way to go, but has already started.
She met with the Fredericksburg Democratic Committee a couple of weeks ago and won the group’s unanimous endorsement.
“It was really very meaningful to me to receive their support and I’m extremely grateful for their encouragement and enthusiasm,” Krystal said.
“I think there is an opportunity in this District for a Democrat to win,” Krystal told The Journal. “Conventional wisdom used to be that the 1st District voted Republican, as did the state.”
But Virginia went 53 percent Democratic to 46 percent Republican in the presidential election.
The 1st District stayed Republican in that race, but started closing the gap between the two parties, with 48 percent of the vote going to Obama and 51 percent going to McCain.
In that same election, Wittman won the 1st Congressional seat with 57 percent to 42 percent over his Democratic opponent Bill S. Day, Jr. Considering the brevity of Day’s campaigning, that’s thought to be a small margin.
Added to that is a growing opinion voiced by Krystal, who said, “Rob Wittman is very far to the right. He votes the party line on almost every issue.”
Krystal points to his vote against the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act in February, which nonetheless passed to reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Other examples include Wittman’s ‘No’ votes against the stimulus and stabilization legislation (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) and Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which the House passed to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability.
~ BACKGROUND While growing up, Krystal and her two sisters had the example of her mother, Rose Marie Ball’s public service as an appointed and later an elected member of the King George School Board.
Readers will likewise remember Krystal herself from local reports of her competitive swimming successes 10 years ago and more.
Krystal remained undefeated in dual meets for all four high school years, taking first places in all individual events. Krystal was also undefeated in District meets, and at all three state invitational Championship meets, where she set records each year.
She is competitive by nature, but has been recognized for her other character attributes.
10 years ago, following her final high school competition with a double win at the Virginia State High School Swim Championship, former high school head coach Ken Novell commented on her record-setting performances.
Novell said at the time, “Not only is she an outstanding swimmer, but she’s been a leader and a role model for the rest of the team. She’s a tough-minded person, who is also gentle and kind to the people around her.”
After high school, she attended Clemson University on a college athletic scholarship where she competed in the NCAA Division I, prior to transferring to the University of Virginia, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in 2003 in Economics with a minor in Foreign Affairs.
After college, Krystal accepted a job as a consultant for CGI, a large IT services provider in Fairfax County, where she worked directly with the U.S. Federal Courts, where she traveled extensively, and served as lead trainer, lead implementer, and systems designer.
That taught her a lot about the operations of the federal courts in particular and the U.S. government in general, including government accounting, which inspired her to pursue a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. Krystal recently passed the CPA exam with a perfect score on the Audit and Attestation segment, and is seeking licensure through the Virginia Board of Accountancy.
After leaving CGI, Krystal determined to try her hand as an entrepreneur alongside her husband.
She and Jonathan worked on the design of an educational software product for the second largest cyber school in the country. They were involved in every aspect from conception to exit of a small venture capital fund which invested in several for-profit, education-related, startups in India, and they provided consulting services to Herndon based K12, Inc., on the worldwide ESL market. These activities brought Krystal to such places as India, Jordan, Dubai, Syria, and South Korea where she had the opportunity to reflect on a range of different political and economic philosophies.
Krystal is a lifelong Democrat and describes herself as progressive on social issues and fiscally moderate. She believes that absent a compelling reason to the contrary, government should always err on the side of preserving individual liberty and personal privacy.
She also believes that government can use the principles of evolution to foster and identify compelling and workable solutions to social problems such as health care, education, and energy independence.
~ ISSUES To see Krystal’s commitment to some of the issues that are important to the 1st Congressional District, see her website at KrystalBallforCongress.com.
Her website is new and she is in the process of adding to it. The site currently includes her thoughts on universal health care, raising teacher pay, protecting gun rights, and nuclear testing.
Some additional issues not yet addressed on the website appear below on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and the District’s role in the military.
~ ON RECENT ACTION BY PRESIDENT OBAMA REGARDING THE CHESAPEAKE BAY:
“I am greatly encouraged by President Obama’s May 12, 2009 executive order regarding the Chesapeake Bay. We have not done enough to solve the environmental tragedy of a polluted bay. I intend to work vigorously and tirelessly until the bay is restored to full health and vitality. I am attending a dinner with Vice-President Biden next month and, if I have the opportunity, I will ask him to visit the bay and to help us in our efforts to maximize the potential of the President’s initiative. If elected, I intend to make sure that there will be intense Congressional Oversight of the administration’s efforts. It will absolutely be a top priority of mine.”
~ ON SUPPORT OF THE MILITARY:
“I believe that our peace and security come from a combination of robust military power and diplomacy that matches our ideals. Having watched my father, retired Dahlgren NSWC physicist Ed Ball and his dedicated colleagues develop next generation technology to keep us safe, I am so proud of what Dahlgren, Ft. A.P. Hill, Quantico and our other installations contribute to our national defense and a safer world. If elected, I intend to vigorously protect and strengthen our district’s military installations and to direct the military’s next generation technologies, including green military technology, to the First District. Because of our district’s high concentration of PhD scientists and engineers, proximity to Washington, low-cost of living and high-quality of life, I feel that I can aggressively advocate for us to expand our role as an important center of national defense preparedness.”
~ 1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT The 1st Congressional District includes King George and Westmoreland, also encompasses the counties of Caroline, Charles City, Essex, Fauquier, Gloucester, James City, King and Queen, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Prince Williams, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Stafford and York, along with the cities of Fredericksburg, Poquoson and Williamsburg, and also portions of Hampton and Newport News.
Rob Wittman currently holds the seat having won it in two elections a year apart. Wittman was first elected in 2007 in a special election to fill the remaining year of the vacancy left by the death of Joann Davis. He was reelected to a two-year term in 2008. The seat is up for grabs in 2010.