When Islanders head to the polls in September for the state primaries, they will see one of their own on the ballot.

Arielle Faria, a staunch affordable housing advocate and a project manager at Island Housing Trust, said this week that she will run for the state representative seat currently held by state Rep. Dylan Fernandes. Mr. Fernandes, a Falmouth Democrat, announced late last year that he would be running for a mainland senate seat.

If elected, Ms. Faria would be the first Vineyarder to hold the office.

A West Tisbury resident and the co-chair of the Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank, Ms. Faria pulled nomination papers to run as a Democrat and created a fundraising committee late last month. In an interview with the Gazette, she said she wanted to prioritize housing, coastal resilience and mental health in her campaign.

“My goal ultimately is to cultivate a place where connection, community and culture really thrive,” she said.

Ms. Faria was reluctant at first to run, initially declining when asked by her peers to consider stepping into the race.

“To be honest, at first I said ‘No, I’m not a politician, I’m an activist,’” she said. “But every person I talked to said that’s exactly why you should run.”

She will face Falmouth Democrat and assistant district attorney Thomas Moakley in the primary. He was out knocking on Island doors this week and has racked up endorsements from Dukes County clerk of courts T. George Davis and Cape and Islands district attorney Rob Galibois.

Mr. Moakley, who has raised affordable housing, the opioid epidemic and climate change as his major issues, had heard that Ms. Faria was planning to run. As a pair of Democrats, he expected they would be prioritizing several of the same issues, but wanted to focus on what he does well.

“I think people have had more than enough personal politics on the national level,” he said.

No Republicans have formally announced their intention to run for the seat, which has never been held by the GOP.

Ms. Faria has been a year-round resident on the Island since 2010, and grew up coming to the Island regularly with her family, who had been visiting for generations. She graduated from Wellesley High school in 1998 and went on to major in music business and production and engineering at Berklee College of Music.

Hopes of being a singer-songwriter never quite materialized with the coming of the digital age and she went into banking. Ms. Faria went on to start a graphic design company with her then partner, and moved to the Vineyard, where she has raised her two sons.

After starting the graphic design business, Ms. Faria became Edgartown’s affordable housing manager for six years. Last year, she started working at Island Housing Trust as project and program manager. As a person who lives in affordable housing herself, she wanted to see the tide turn before the district, which includes the Vineyard, Nantucket, Gosnold and parts of Falmouth, is completely hollowed out.

“It is an important thing to be able to house community members so we can have a functioning infrastructure,” she said. “We can’t afford to continue the way that we are.”

Ms. Faria said working with the housing bank coalition, which helped galvanize all six towns behind a bill to create a transfer fee for a Vineyard housing bank, in addition to her role at the trust, helped familiarize her with the state house and working on legislation.

“I’ve worked with legislators through this four-year process,” she said.

Philippe Jordi, CEO of Island Housing Trust, personally felt Ms. Faria’s background in town government, her experience as a small business owner and her history of stumping at the state house on behalf of the housing bank legislation gave her a solid base in running for office.

“Those types of insights are really important in understanding and appreciating how towns work,” he said.

Ms. Faria also has served on several Island boards in addition to the housing bank coalition, including the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority board, Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation board, and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital CEO council.

For David Vigneault, director of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, Ms. Faria’s lived experience of going through the housing lottery and having a varied career path brings something different to the table.

“She is very invested, certainly in housing, but beyond that,” he said. “She brings a lot of personal experience.”

Ms. Faria plans to have her campaign kickoff event on March 23 at Art Cliff Diner.