Ernest Kessler, of Arlington, has been named Virginia coordinator for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's presidential campaign.

The 26-year-old Kessler, who is a congressional aide to Kennedy, has lived in Northern Virginia for the past four years. Kessler said state campaign headquarters will be established in Richmond "in the next few weeks."

Kennedy campaign officials this week also announced the creation of a seven-member statewide steering committee.

Members include Rufus Phillips, a former Fairfax County supervisor and unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate; Major Reynolds, a former state Delegate from Richmond; George Rawlings, a member of the Democratic National Committee; Brewster Snow, the recently retired secretary-treasurer of the Virginia AFL-CIO; Curtis Harris, a former congressional candidate from Tidewater; Jill Rinehart, the first woman member of the Charlottesville City Council; and Barbara Dandridge, wife of Washington Bullets' basketball player Bobby Dandridge.

Tennis star Arthur Ashe, a native Virginian, will serve as an honorary member of the steering committee.

Although most of the state's Democratic leaders, including Lt. Gov. Charles S. Robb and Virginia House Speaker A. L. Philpott have endorsed President Carter for reelection, Kessler said this week he is not discouraged.

"I think all Virginians are an independent people. They make up their own minds," said Kessler.