Meet Leslie Mehta

Civil rights attorney, mom, and proud Democrat running to flip Virginia’s 1st Congressional District.

For Leslie Mehta, advocating for others is ingrained in her DNA and woven through her lived experience. She was raised in a small rural town in North Carolina, with a population of 800 people and zero traffic lights. She is the daughter of a corrections officer and social worker, both of whom instilled in her the importance of leveraging your skills to give back. A determined child, Leslie worked hard in school and was offered the chance to complete high school at the prestigious North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She later received her undergraduate degree at UNC Chapel Hill and law degree from Howard University School of Law.

After a rewarding career as a litigator and then civil rights attorney, Leslie was named the Legal Director of the ACLU of Virginia. At the ACLU, Leslie worked tirelessly to protect the constitutional rights of all Virginians, regardless of their political beliefs.

Unfortunately, in 2017, Leslie also had to become an advocate for her daughter, Brooke, who had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Rett Syndrome. She quickly pivoted to fierce advocacy for Brooke, fighting for her to receive equal educational opportunities in school, while also taking on government bureaucrats to ensure Brooke obtained the Medicaid benefits she was entitled to and the medical treatment she desperately needed.

Sadly, on March 25, 2021, the worst thing that could happen to a parent happened to Leslie: Brooke passed away in her sleep—without warning. She was five.

However, Leslie continued to fight. She continued to advocate for a cure. To advocate for Brooke’s Rett sisters and brothers. To advocate for all children.

Leslie is a pragmatist, working with those who will work with her to effectuate change. That is why she is proud to have been appointed by both Democratic and Republican governors to serve our Commonwealth: first, on Governor Northam’s Commission to Examine Racial and Economic Inequity, then serving on Governor Youngkin’s Rare Disease Council. She has successfully marshaled support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to secure federal funding for Rett Syndrome and other rare diseases.

With Brooke as her North Star, Leslie continues to advocate for meaningful change, broadening her mission with this run to flip Virginia’s 1st Congressional District. She understands firsthand the concerns of everyday Virginians and is determined to take the fight to Congress to restore balance and compassionate leadership. Like so many of us, she worries about the future of her younger daughter, Blair. She worries about the polarization of our country, the epidemic of gun violence, a lack of investment in our public school system, and an overreaching government trying to ban abortion. She worries about what you worry about. Because she is you: a mom who loves her children and wants a better life for them. But Leslie knows that worrying is not enough. Never one to sit on the sidelines in the face of great adversity, she embraces this opportunity to put her advocacy skills to work for all of us.