For nearly a decade, Irina has been helping children in rural Virginia get through the difficult times in their lives, serving as an attorney appointed to represent them in court. She grew up in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States 30 years ago and to the Shenandoah Valley in 2000. As an immigrant she understands the struggles of recently naturalized families trying to adjust to their new homeland. As an attorney who grew up in an authoritarian country — where personal freedoms were severely limited and political dissent could lead to financial and personal devastation — Irina is deeply concerned about preserving our constitutional rights. Having witnessed the Soviet government’s misuse of power, she has dedicated herself to ensuring that our government is focused on improving the lives of as many people as possible, while guaranteeing citizens their rights.
The issues at risk in this election are personal for Irina. Soon after her family arrived in the United States, after years of trying to leave the Soviet Union, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Being told by the health insurance company that his cancer would not be covered as a pre-existing condition seemed impossibly inhumane. Ever since that time Irina developed deep concern for ensuring access to affordable healthcare. As a child advocate attorney she saw families struggle with joblessness, health problems, and addiction. Many tried to overcome these obstacles and care for their children but the odds were against them. With her dad’s and her family’s struggles and her professional experiences fresh in her mind Irina made a commitment to advocate for affordable healthcare, including mental health services, for all Virginians. Her service on the Northwestern Community Service Board helped deepen her understanding of the behavioral health issues that face this community.
As a mother of two children enrolled in the Winchester City Public Schools and a board member of the Winchester Education Foundation, Irina is deeply committed to helping public schools succeed. She is convinced that there is no greater equalizer of economic opportunity than quality public education and is committed to a legislative agenda that supports public schools in their mission to meet every child’s needs, whether a child’s goal is a four year college education, a nursing certificate, or learning a trade. An educated population is also the key driver of economic success, as nothing attracts good paying jobs better than an exceptionally educated workforce.
Having experienced an oppressive government, Irina has worked tirelessly to support a government by the people. She has worked on over 10 campaigns, knocking on doors to listen to voters and understand their needs. Committed to democracy, she has worked as a voter protection attorney in three presidential campaigns, ensuring that every legal vote is counted. In preparation for a leadership role, she spent 2017 studying with Emerge Virginia, an organization that trains future female candidates to be successful leaders.