Rural Roots. Virginia Values.
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.
Politics and Public Policy
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. Early bitten by the political bug, Sara volunteered on several political campaigns in the Washington metro region and back in the Midwest, and has continued to work on numerous local, state, and national campaigns, both as a volunteer and as paid staff. Her last full-time position was the 2008 Obama campaign efforts in both Virginia and Pennsylvania.
In nearly 30 years working on topics including women’s health issues and tobacco control policy and advocacy, especially highlighting the impact on marginalized communities, Sara has gained tremendous experience working with state, local, and national legislators to help shape their policy initiatives. Alongside her professional work, Sara remained an active part of her local community, including membership in area choral groups such as the Georgetown Chorale and the Alexandria Choral Society. 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.
Falling in Love with Central Virginia
A Virginia resident for nearly 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. Today, Sara and Joe enjoy spending time watching their two-year-old Boston Terrier, Rufus, romping in the countryside around their home.
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 her advocate in navigating her care needs.
Sara for Virginia
Sara is putting her decades of experience in advocacy, both personal and professional, to work for the people of the 58th District, and hopes to represent them in the House Delegates. She asks for your support to fulfill a lifelong dream of serving in elective office and enabling her to give back to the community that she and her family have made home.