Hailing from the Midwest and largely raised by a single mother who struggled with mental health challenges, Sara Ratcliffe saw from a young age what it means when public policy fails to meet the needs of its citizens. The experience of growing up in a community where families struggled to make ends meet, and where parents regularly chose between paying a doctor’s bill or putting food on the table instilled in Sara a lifelong calling to look out for those whose voices are often not heard in government. This commitment to public service can be seen throughout her life and harkens back to her family’s roots in rural Nebraska and Illinois, and her upbringing in the outskirts of Chicago and central Ohio.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in Political Science with a concentration in U.S. domestic policy, Sara began her career as staff to U.S. Senator J. James Exon and as a research assistant to a noted political author and broadcaster, Elizabeth Drew. Sara continued working in renowned organizations on issues including women’s health and tobacco control policy where her expertise in advocating for those in marginalized communities was developed. Throughout her 30 years experience, Sara worked closely with state, local, and national legislators, to help shape their policy initiatives and to help define what advocating for those in need should look like, empowering each person to decide and determine their own success.
Early bitten by the political bug, Sara volunteered on several political campaigns beginning in 1988, before she herself was eligible to vote. Sara continued to work on numerous local, state, and national campaigns, both as a volunteer and as paid staff in the Washington metro region and back in the Midwest. Prior to her run for House of Delegates in 2021, her last full-time campaign position was in 2008, working in both Virginia and Pennsylvania, to elect President Barack Obama.
Alongside her professional work, Sara always remained an active part of her local community, she sang with local groups such as the Georgetown Chorale and the Alexandria Choral Society and volunteered in organizations seeking to help lift up those most in need. In her free time, Sara engaged with the Alzheimer’s Association on advocacy and caregiver support activities. She took up the fight for better awareness, research, and treatment when her father was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2003.
A Virginia resident for two decades, in 2016, Sara and her husband Joe bought their dream home in Greene County, where they fell in love with the beauty of Central Virginia, the warmth of this community, and the history woven into daily life. Her family and her community mean everything to Sara, which drove her to seek public office first in 2021 and now in the 62nd district.
A caretaker by nature, Sara helped shepherd both her parents through chronic illness and the end of life process. At the peak of the pandemic, Joe’s 90-year-old mother, Anette, came to live with Sara and Joe to better enable them to care for her. Before her passing in May 2021, Sara spent every day with Anette and worked as an advocate and navigate the healthcare terrain to ensure her care needs were met during the challenging times.
Today, Sara and Joe spend time enjoying nature and being grateful for the blessings bestowed on them, including a son who recently began studying at JMU. When not occupied with their two Boston Terriers, Rufus and Elmer, Sara believes being a part of the community across the 62nd district is elemental to her nature. She is active with local community organizations, helps bolster democratic candidates across the region, and sings with the Blue Ridge Chorale of Culpeper.
Sara is putting her decades of experience in advocacy, both personal and professional, to work for the good people of the 62nd, and hopes to represent them in the House of Delegates. She asks for your support to fulfill her lifelong dream of serving in elective office, enabling her to lend her unique talents to the community she loves and where she and her family have made their home.