For the past sixteen years, Chap Petersen has been honored to represent Northern Virginia as a Democratic State Senator. He is running this year for re-election in a new Senate district, which includes your household. Here’s a little bit about Chap:

He grew up in Fairfax City and attended Fairfax High School. After graduating from UVA law school, he entered private law practice. Over the past 29 years, he has represented thousands of local citizens and businesses as a lawyer. He still lives in Fairfax City, along with his wife, Sharon Kim Petersen and their four children. (One of whom will soon be married).

In 2017, Sharon and Chap established their own law firm, Chap Petersen & Associates, near the historic Fairfax County courthouse. They have grown that firm to 14 employees, representing many languages and backgrounds. Their focus is on small business representation, which is perfect as he is proud to be a small business owner.

As a Young man, Chap watched his parents, John and Mary Petersen, serve the Fairfax community. In 1998, he followed that path when the voters elected him to the Fairfax City Council. In 2001, he won a seat in the House of Republican incumbent and won a seat in the State Senate.

In all those races, he went “door to door” to meet the voters – a tradition he continues to this day.

Legislative Record:


  • The 2010 “SAVE Act” (SB 113) successfully upgraded Virginia’s natural gas system.
  • The 2010 “PACE bill” (SB 110), created an innovative system for allowing property-assessed clean energy investments.
  • SB 843 in 2011 toughened laws on aboveground storage tanks.
  • SB 627 allowed homeowners in HOAs to install solar panels. 
  • Chap has sponsored bills to protect the Chesapeake Bay, including 2015’s SB 886, which would have established a 5¢ fee on plastic bags to fund Bay recovery programs. (Continued every year since).

Protecting Citizens and Businesses:

  • 2008’s SB 510 guaranteed college students the right to a fairly priced student loan.
  • “The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights (SB 1008 in 2015) guaranteed rights and liberties for citizens in HOAs or condo associations.
  • Chap has consistently fought for the rights of business and property owners when faced with an eminent domain “taking.” Chap’s eminent domain reform legislative package from 2018, (SB 278 and SB 809), are now law.

Ensuring a Healthy Virginia:

  • Establishing “Good Samaritan” protections: 2015’s SB 892 allows those who witness a drug or alcohol overdose to call emergency services without facing criminal prosecution. 
  • Requiring child abuse reporting: 2012’s SB 662 required establishments that care for children to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • In 2018, a group of self-described “Recess Moms” came to Chap with a simple problem: their kids weren’t getting enough time outside. SB 273 solves this problem.
  • Chap has consistently supported competition and free enterprise in healthcare, including the repeal of the “Certificate of Public Need” requirement for healthcare providers.

Fighting for Constitutional Rights:

  • Protecting academic free speech: SB 831 in 2011 would protect the rights of professors to research academic issues without fear of government intervention.
  • Protecting citizens: Chap led the effort to stop unwarranted police surveillance (SB 965) in 2015.  It passed the Senate but was vetoed by the Governor.
  • For many years, Chap led the effort to raise the felony larceny threshold. Minor property crimes should not be charged as felonies. In 2019, a bill doubling that threshold, SB 138, was signed into law.

Protecting Education:

  • Chap has sponsored numerous budget measures to bring funding for George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community Colleges.
  • Chap sponsored successful legislation in 2010 (SB 712) to establish George Mason University’s South Korean branch campus. 
  • Chap’s 2017 legislation (SB 1376) requires public colleges and universities to give “30 days’ notice” before raising undergraduate tuition.
  • In 2019 Chap successfully required public colleges and universities to explain why they are proposing a tuition increase, and provide a public meeting for students and families to comment (SB 1118). That same year many Virginia higher education institutes opted to freeze tuition.

Leveling the Playing Field

  • For years, Chap has introduced measures to limit campaign donations in Virginia; there are currently no such limits. For example, Chap’s 2019 legislation, (SB 1114 and SB 1146), would ban donations from publicly-regulated monopoly utilities and limit “super-sized” campaign donations.
  • Chap took on the major power companies in 2017, with SB 1146 which sought to end the “refund freeze” for utility consumers and would have returned hundreds of millions of dollars in utility over-earnings to Virginians.