Meet our Candidates
Prospective candidates for 5th District US House Representative
Be prepared for the Democratic Party primary to choose our Virginia's 5th Congressional District US House Representative candidate on June 18, 2024. Below are biographies for each prospective candidate.
Paul Riley is currently an Intelligence Solutions Lead with a defense contractor and lives in Crozet, Virginia. He was born in Norwich, New York, where he lived most of his childhood before his family moved to Florida. He worked his way through and graduated from Florida State University in 1989. Riley served in the United States Army in the military intelligence field both as an enlisted soldier and as an officer from 1989 until his retirement in 2010. He has been married to his wife, Jani, for 32 years, and has three children: McKenna, Nathaniel, and Keegan. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys traveling, hiking, fishing, and hunting.
Riley’s military career experience includes three overseas tours—Panama, England, and Germany— and a deployment to Iraq. During his military career, Riley volunteered and coached his children in multiple youth sports, including soccer, baseball, football, and wrestling. He carried on the coaching tradition after his military retirement and became the wrestling coach for the Cavalier Wrestling Club in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He retired out of Germany in October 2010 and went to work as a defense contractor at the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) as an intelligence analyst, where he deployed to Afghanistan. After his deployment, he moved to the position of Chief Operations Officer on the Counter Insurgency Targeting Program, a 300-person program directly supporting the Department of Defense. His years in the Army instilled and reinforced his core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage; values he lives by to this day.
His experience as a proven leader coupled with his innate ability to build consensus and find common ground on diverse problem sets will serve him well as a congressman.
For more information visit his website https://paulrileycongress.com/
Jonathan H. Spindel
A devoted husband and father, Jonathan Spindel has been married to his wife Nancy, a University of Virginia (UVa) nurse, for almost four decades. As a team, they have lived and worked in Virginia for more than 35 years having raised three grown children, Alex, Nathan, and Maggie. Jonathan has been a scout leader and enjoys spending time around his home with his family and with his friends hiking the mountains of central and southern Virginia.
Jonathan started his career as an engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston working in both the Space Shuttle program and the early design phases of the Space Station program. While at NASA, he obtained his Master's in Electrical Engineering from Rice University, leaving NASA in 1987 to pursue a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at UVa, joining the UVa faculty in 1994. In August 2000, Dr. Spindel left UVa to join the faculty of James Madison University (JMU) and is currently a Professor of Integrated Science and Technology, and Professor of Engineering at JMU. At JMU, Jonathan teaches courses in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), serves as a freshman student advisor, advises student-centered research, and is Program Director for a US-international masterās program focused on environmental management and sustainability.
As a lifelong educator, Jonathan has dedicated a great deal of his career to bringing STEM education to students from across the Commonwealth. Spending one day each week working in an inner-city Richmond high school, Jonathan helps students in areas of STEM, provides one-on-one tutoring, and works with students to help them find opportunities after high school. As an engineer, and more importantly as an educator, Jonathan feels that his role in the world is to build things that help others. To this end, Jonathan is a strong advocate for education and workforce development and sees this as a means to creating sustainable economic growth and jobs for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, particularly in underserved, underrepresented, and rural communities.
Gary was born and raised in the small town of Henderson in Western Kentucky. He grew up in a housing project with his parents and four siblings. Upon graduation from high school, Gary attended and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he majored in Engineering. Upon graduation, Gary served for five years in the Army with duty stations in Europe and Ft. Bliss, Texas. After resigning his Officer commission, Gary has held various positions with increasing responsibility in the private and non-profit sectors.
Gary is a leader that builds and grows organizations through effective leadership, strategic planning, creating and building positive internal culture, successful collaboration with strategic partners and communication skills. In the private sector, Gary has held various positions from Engineer to General Manger effectively leading and growing each of his organizations and surpassing all goals that were set. In addition, he successfully led two organizations as CEO and served as the Director of Business Development to lead the growth of an international start-up.
In the non-profit sector, Gary has grown and expanded the mission of the organizations that he has served. As Board Chairman for two non-profits, Gary was responsible for the operation, growth and community impact of each organization. He was the committee chair and project leader for two (2) capital campaigns for the expansion of each organization. Through his leadership, each organization met its campaign goals and successfully completed the building expansions on time and within budget parameters. As Executive Director and CEO of the various organizations that he has led, each organization has responded to the changing and growing needs in the communities they served.
Gary is a results-oriented, cause driven leader with many years of experience in successfully leading organizations. His proven leadership in strategic planning, fundraising and business performance along with his financial, analytical and professional leadership skills has been instrumental in the success of the organizations that he has led.
Presently, Gary is a resident of Danville, VA. He has three (3) sons and one granddaughter. Gary enjoys outdoor activities, reading, theater and mentoring children.
Gloria T. Witt
Gloria Witt is running for Virginia’s 5th District House of Representatives seat in 2024 because she believes in breaking down walls and building bridges to support a thriving community. She wants to advance legislation for “we the people.”
Gloria was born and raised in Amherst, Virginia. She’s a country girl who values family, faith, education, justice, and community building. She is a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, businesswoman, colleague, and community servant.
Blessed with a 32-year career with global energy leader Framatome (formerly AREVA), Gloria is proficient at influencing and driving results in multicultural environments. She started her career as a secretary in Procurement and retired as North American Director of People Development. Soon after retiring in 2013, Gloria became Founder and CEO of Define Success Coaching.
Gloria’s sincerely-held values include social justice; nonprofit leadership; and business, workforce and youth development. She serves the community as board member of organizations which include the NAACP Amherst Branch (President); The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg (Resource Development Chair and Former Board Chair); Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (Board Member); Centra Health (Board Member); The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (Board Member); and the Central Virginia Academy for Nonprofit Excellence (President).
As Congresswoman representing the VA 5th District, in Congress, Gloria will champion the needs of the 5th District by focusing on solutions that uphold democracy and represent the collective voices that strengthen families, rethink education, expand access to voting, addresses gun violence, and spurs climate-friendly economic growth.