Youngkin’s Missed Opportunity

The Roanoke Times
(This article appeared in the Roanoke Times, Jan. 29, 2023)

Youngkin’s ambition nixes good jobs and Virginia’s trust

Like many rural sections in our nation, southern and southwest Virginia face severe economic challenges. Higher unemployment and greater poverty than the rest of the state have generated frequent pledges by Virginia governors to invest in the region with “game changing projects” to create new jobs at higher wages. But when Ford Motor Co. came knocking on the Commonwealth’s door with a venture that would do just that, a plan to create 2,500 new jobs and generate $3.5 billion by building a battery plant for electric vehicles in the heart of the region, it was rebuffed by a Governor whose gaze seems increasingly focused on the White House and his chief Republican rival for his party’s nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. In the process, Glenn Youngkin is eschewing a decades-long tradition of bipartisan efforts to create jobs and spur economic growth. And many now wonder if the Commonwealth is creating a new approach that will subject future projects to some ideological litmus test. [Read More…]

The 2023 Virginia General Assembly Begins

This year’s version of the General Assembly has commenced and Governor Youngkin is promising tax cuts. Republicans are proposing a 15 week ban on abortion, while Democrats suggest additional gun safety measures, and some hope that the Commonwealth will take positive steps for mental health.  Our Senator, Creigh Deeds, is in the middle of these debates. [Read More…]

State Preemption and the Fracturing of America

Americans justifiably worry about our national divisions, the effective operation of our institutions, and the future of democracy itself. Republican-led states differ dramatically from those run by Democrats, and these differences reveal themselves both in the capitol buildings of our state capitals and in Congress. In the last several decades, a new source of division has also sprouted, one that pits localities against their own state governments. In some instances, conservative rural areas have been the source of these clashes (the clearest example involves “Second Amendment sanctuary jurisdictions,” where local leaders pledge to ignore gun regulations they claim to be “unconstitutional”). Most of these conflicts, however, emanate from democratic-leaning communities, many of which are attempting to chart policy directions different from their ruby red states.

Read the full article on the Harvard Social Impact Review website.

Two Recent Books on State Politics

Bellwether: Virginia's Political Transformation, 2006-2020
Order from Hamilton Books

“The transformation of Virginia politics over the last two decades is an amazing story. And David Toscano was in the middle of it. While I was Governor, David worked with me to improve Virginia’s economic climate and make the Commonwealth a welcoming place for those pursuing the American dream. Bellwether tells the story of this transformation.”
— Terry McAuliffe, 72nd Governor of Virginia.


Fighting Political Gridlock by David J. Toscano
Order from the University of Virginia Press

“In a timely book, David Toscano has focused us on the path forward in this divided, polarized country—the states, where within a federal framework the laboratories of democracy can experiment with ideas and solutions. He shows us how the states can tackle a wide range of problems with perhaps more success than one-size-fits-all proposals from Washington, D.C.”
Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics, University of Virginia