Alfonso Lopez is a lifelong Democrat and activist with nearly 30 years of federal and Virginia legislative experience on issues critical to the people of Arlington and Fairfax counties. He has served as an Obama Administration political appointee, Kaine Administration cabinet-level appointee, and a five-term member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the people of the 49th District. Alfonso also serves as the Majority Whip of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.
Serving the 49th District in Richmond
Alfonso has represented the 49th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2012. Since becoming a Delegate, Alfonso has successfully championed legislation creating the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, establishing the Small Business Investment Grant Fund, allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote, creating the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, and raising the cap on nonresidential solar net metering in Virginia.
As the son of a formerly undocumented father from Venezuela, Alfonso has been a leader in advocating for the rights of the immigrant and New American communities in Virginia. Since his first campaign for the House of Delegates, Alfonso’s signature issue has been expanding educational opportunity to undocumented and mixed-status families in Virginia like his own. He worked with Attorney General Mark Herring to expand in-state tuition to kids with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2013 and, after years of lobbying his colleagues, finally passed the Virginia Dream Act in 2020—granting in-state tuition eligibility to all Virginia students, regardless of immigration status. In 2021, Alfonso continued his work championing the Virginia Dreamers agenda by introducing and passing legislation expanding financial aid eligibility to undocumented Virginia students. These victories are in addition to Alfonso’s successful efforts to pass legislation protecting undocumented victims and witnesses of crimes from having to reveal their immigration statuses to the police, repealing mandatory immigration reporting provisions for law enforcement, and ensuring that undocumented Virginians are covered by Emergency Medicaid for COVID treatment, testing, and vaccinations.
Alfonso is a lifelong environmentalist and is helping lead the fight to protect our environment for future generations. He has strongly supported the growth of Virginia’s clean energy industries so that we can build a new Virginia economy. In 2015, he founded the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus in the Virginia General Assembly and served as its founding co-chair. This bipartisan caucus provides an opportunity for legislators, Administration officials, industry experts, and environmental advocates to work together on environmental legislation and strengthen our economy through sustainable, clean energy investments. In 2020, Alfonso served as one of the chief negotiators of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a landmark bill that put Virginia on the pathway to a 100% carbon-free economy for the first time. In 2021, he successfully won passage of his bill to significantly overhaul Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay watershed policy, which dedicated $800 million in funding toward keeping harmful nutrients out of the Bay.
In 2018 Alfonso also fulfilled an ambition—seven years in the making—to create the Virginia Latino Caucus, the first legislative caucus representing Virginia’s Latinos in the General Assembly's history. The Caucus deals with issues within the Latino, immigrant, and New American communities from in-state tuition to driver's licenses to at-risk student funding. He currently serves as the Caucus Co-Chair.
Alfonso earned the Virginia League of Conservation Voters’ Legislative Leadership award in 2015, the Virginia Interfaith Center’s Legislator of the Year award in 2014, the Virginia Housing Coalition’s Legislative Leadership award in 2013, the Virginia Sierra Club’s Energy Freedom award in 2013, and the Virginia Education Association’s Rookie of the Year award in 2012. He also maintains a perfect score for his voting record from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Equality Virginia, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, the Virginia Education Association, and the Virginia A.F.L.-C.I.O.
As a member of the House of Delegates, he serves on the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee, where he is the Chair of the Chesapeake Subcommittee; the Public Safety Committee; the Rules Committee; and the Labor & Commerce Committee. Additionally, Delegate Lopez serves as the Chair of the Virginia Small Business Commission; on the Virginia Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation; on the Virginia Commission on Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform; and on the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin.
Helped Lead President Obama’s Efforts to Create New Jobs
Alfonso served as the Assistant Administrator for Congressional and Legislative Affairs of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In this position he led SBA efforts to enact legislative proposals in economic development, job creation, lending, contracting and innovation. He helped lead the SBA effort to pass the Small Business Jobs Act which successfully opened up the credit markets for small businesses and entrepreneurs and created $12 billion in tax relief for small business owners.
Advisor to Governor Tim Kaine
Alfonso served as Governor Kaine’s Director of the Virginia Liaison Office in Washington, D.C. where he directed and supervised all Congressional and Federal Relations for the Commonwealth. He also served as the Governor's representative to the National Governors Association, Democratic Governors Association and the Southern Governors Association. Alfonso was the highest ranking Latino in the Kaine Administration. He also served as the Deputy Policy Director on Governor-Elect Kaine's Transition Team.
Alfonso currently serves as the Majority Whip of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. In this role, he works with the Speaker and House Democratic leadership to track legislation and coordinate messaging during the General Assembly Session. He previously served as Campaign Chair and Political Director of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus in 2015. In that capacity, he led the Caucus’s campaign efforts, resulting in the pick-up of four new Democratic seats in the House of Delegates.
Before becoming a member of the House of Delegates, Alfonso was twice elected the Deputy Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. He has also served as the President of the Arlington Young Democrats and as an elected Steering Committee Member of the Democratic Party of Virginia. He is a former President of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia (DLOV) and former At-Large Member of the Democratic National Committee where he served on the Credentials Committee and as the Southern Regional Vice-Chair of the Hispanic Caucus.
Since 2013, he has regularly served as a surrogate, media spokesman, and speaker for Democratic candidates and campaigns in Virginia. In 2016, he also served as the Whip Captain for Hillary Clinton’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In 2020, he served on the National Latino Leadership Committee for the Joe Biden presidential campaign.
Service to the Community
Alfonso has served on numerous Arlington and regional boards and commissions. He was a Member of the Arlington Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission from 2003 to 2006—where he chaired the Health and Human Resources Committee and was a Member of the Public Safety Committee. He was also the Board Vice Chair of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center and the Board Co-Chair of the Arlington Veterans’ Memorial YMCA. In 2006, he served on the Commonwealth Coalition's Virginia State Advisory Board. In this position he worked as a part of a State-wide effort to fight Republican attempts in the General Assembly to pass a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage in Virginia. He is currently a Member of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership’s State Board.
Arlington, Fairfax Roots and Education
Alfonso’s father came to this country at the age of 19 with $260 in his pocket and the dream of a better life. He worked as a busboy and waiter, learned English and started attending school. He graduated from Northern Virginia Community College in 1975. Then he took one class a semester every year until he graduated from George Mason University - one month before Alfonso graduated from high school. His mother devoted her life as a teacher and guidance counselor in Arlington Public Schools to helping immigrant children continue their education after high school. Instilled with his parents’ values of hard work and success, Alfonso graduated from Vassar College and received his law degree from Tulane University Law School. He was chosen as a 2003 Fellow of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.
Husband and Dad
Alfonso and his wife, Sarah Zevin, live in Arlington along the Columbia Pike corridor with their sons Aaron and Gabe. They have been active in the Arlington community for many years.