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Irina Khanin, a local attorney running for the Democratic nomination to represent the 29th district in the House of Delegates, speaks to a group at a private home in Frederick County on Thursday.

WINCHESTER — Irina Khanin, a local attorney in private practice, announced at a Democratic fundraising event on Thursday that she would seek the party’s nomination to represent the 29th District in the House of Delegates.

“I’m running because I believe in the dream of my father’s America,” Khanin said after describing her experience coming to the United States as a political refugee from the Soviet Union. “I ask for your help.”

The 29th District, which includes parts of Frederick and Warren counties and the City of Winchester, is currently represented by Republican Del. Chris Collins of Frederick County, who is seeking a third two-year term.

Khanin, 49, is a native of Russia. She came to the U.S. at age 20 (prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall) because her father, an architect, had become increasingly threatened by the KGB, she said to about 50 people at a Frederick County home. She turned 21 while in the process of immigrating and was granted political asylum.

She attended the College of Wooster in Ohio, majoring in political science, and then completed law school at the University of Virginia.

Khanin is married to Dr. Jeffrey Feit, vice president for population health for Valley Health System. She lived in Page County for 15 years practicing law as a guardian ad litem (person appointed by the courts to investigate the best interests of children involved in things like divorce, abuse or neglect proceedings) while her husband worked as a private physician.

They moved to Winchester about four years ago and have two daughters in city schools, Khanin said.

Khanin said her career as a guardian ad litem revealed to her conditions of “poverty” and “addiction” and “desperation” in people’s lives. “I saw everything.”

She said she is running on improving access to “all aspects of behavioral health,” as well as “dual track [career technical training] and college prep for students.

“Rural communities need to share in our economic success,” Khanin said, adding that living in Page County made it apparent to her the barriers rural people face in participating in the modern economy.

Khanin said she never considered public office as something she would purse, describing her life as “the American dream” realized.

“Then Trump happened,” she said. “Corruption, incompetence, dishonesty... 1,000 lies. Destroying the basic decency of our society.”

She said she started taking courses with Emerge Virginia, a group dedicated to training Democratic women to run for office. She then worked on the congressional campaign of Lindsey Davis Stover before deciding to run herself.

“Even though we have lots of challenges in 2019, we always have the chance to cast the next ballot,” she said.

The Winchester Frederick County Democratic Committee has scheduled a caucus for April 25. A call to caucus will be announced about one week before that, chairman Bill Fuller said on Friday.

Fuller said no other candidates had contacted the party as of Friday to run for the 29th district seat.

All 100 members of the House of Delegates are up for re-election in November.

— Contact Onofrio Castiglia at ocastiglia@winchesterstar.com

(8) comments

51Jesser

I sure am glad I no longer have children in school and vulnerable to someone with your warped outlook on life. None of what you say is true and you would know that if you watched something other than Fox right-wing propaganda! P.S.Just saw on today's news that Trump has told over 9000 lies.

BillboBaggins

The Star states she is running in the 26th and the 29th? I assume it’s the 29th. Nevertheless Khanin sounds as if she is running against Trump instead of Collins. I am a long time friend of Collins and can assure you that he’s not homophobic.

kcinva

He said at a Town Hall, regarding discrimination against LGBTQ people, “Isn't it also discrimination to my religious beliefs if I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman?” I’m not saying he hates gay people, but he sure seems to think that his religious rights trump their civil rights. I can provide video if you think he didn’t say this. He did.

kcinva

Chris Collins has consistently put his religion before the rights of others. Lost all respect for him when he told an LBGTQ couple at his town hall that upholding their rights would hurt the rights of people like him with his religious beliefs. He spoke of the immigrants he has represented in his private practice, but doesn’t seem to care much about them as a legislator. Unfortunately for him, people are noticing his voting record and seeing that a change is needed. I think Irina will be a great person to lead that change.

Jeana0311

Irina is a thoughtful and competent person. She will do a great job in the House.

coachmilburn

Trump was a result of Obama who was all in on the “Corruption, incompetence, dishonesty... 1,000 lies. Destroying the basic decency of our society.”

Thank goodness the salt of the earth of our great nation woke up and got out and voted Trump in to stop the spiral decline.

CRT

Yes, Obama was so indecent. Constantly tweeting insults and threats. Denigrating vets, POWs, dead men and Gold Star families. Remember when his secretaries of HHS, Interior and EPA resigned under clouds of corruption? Let's not even talk about his five children with three wives. And the hush money paid to the adult film star and the Playboy model. Oh, and remember when Obama was caught on tape saying he could just grab women by the p***y?

kcinva

Do you really coach children at a fancy private academy? Yikes.

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