Ayala Is a Cybersecurity Expert and State Delegate Vying to Become First Woman of Color Elected Statewide

June 8, 2021

PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund congratulated State Delegate Hala Ayala on winning the Democratic nomination in the race to become Virginia’s next lieutenant governor. Ayala, who was born and raised in Virginia, would be the first woman of color elected statewide in Virginia should she win this November. 

314 Action Fund endorsed Ayala in early March, making the organization one of the first major national groups to support her campaign and demonstrating  the next step of 314 Action Fund’s commitment to helping build a more progressive Virginia. 

314 Action President Shaughnessy Naughton released the following statement:

“During her campaign for Virginia General Assembly in 2017, we were proud to support Hala as a first-time candidate. Since then, Hala has successfully fought to pass her broadband access bill and to expand Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians. As Virginia’s next lieutenant governor — and the first woman of color to serve in a statewide position in the Commonwealth’s history — Hala will continue to advocate for evidence-based policymaking and follow the science at every opportunity, providing exactly the kind of facts-first leadership Virginia needs during this critical moment in the state’s — and the country’s — history.”

For twenty years, Ayala served as a cybersecurity specialist at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, using her training to assess and prevent national security threats. Ayala undertook this important work while raising her son as a single mother and pursuing college coursework, completing her degree in 2013. Ayala has been a reliable champion of women’s rights, serving on the McAuliffe Council of Women and helping to organize the inaugural Women’s March in Washington D.C. in 2017. That same year, Ayala was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, unseating a four-term Republican in the process.

314 Action Fund has years of experience in helping strong candidates with STEM backgrounds win in the Commonwealth. In 2017, they helped elect Gov. Ralph Northam, a physician; Ayala, who defeated a four-term incumbent Republican as a first-time candidate; and Del. Cheryl Turpin. During the 2020 campaign cycle, 314 Action Fund’s independent expenditure program invested nearly $3 million in support of Dr. Cameron Webb, then-candidate for Virginia’s fifth congressional district. 314 Action Fund raised nearly $200,000 in grassroots donations for Dr. Webb’s campaign — including 11,855 donations of $150 or less — and donated $10,000 in direct contributions. 

In 2022, 314 Action Fund will aim to spend $50 million to elect scientists across all levels of government, with initial targets of seven U.S. Senate races, forty U.S. House races, and twenty-one statewide races. In 2020, the organization spent $25 million on behalf of its endorsed candidates and raised a total of $5 million in grassroots donations for scientists running for office.


314 Action Fund is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, we played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as over 100 to state and local offices. In 2021 and 2022, 314 Action Fund will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country.