The Democratic primary is June 8. But voting is already underway, and it is important for Democrats to take a close look at all the candidates and make a choice that will best serve Virginia over the next four years. Our candidates are a talented group, and we are fortunate that they have offered themselves for public service.
There are several, however, who I believe should be nominated and elected.
First, Terry McAuliffe for Governor. I served with Gov. McAuliffe during his tenure and have seen his commitment to Democratic values and his ability to get things done. He was handicapped during his term by a Republican legislature that sought to prevent the change that we needed, whether it was Medicaid expansion or the expansion of voting rights. But McAuliffe kept fighting. His vetoes (all sustained) built a “brick wall” against the efforts of conservatives to restrict reproductive rights and make guns easier to get. He was outspoken in his support of LGBTQ rights. He took bold action by restoring voting rights to 173,000 Virginians who had served their sentences. As evidence of his fortitude, when the state Supreme Court prevented the blanket restoration of those rights, he did not give up, and decided instead to personally sign every one of 173,000 certificates — individually. That is commitment. Finally, he brought more economic investment to the Commonwealth than any governor in history and set the stage for the recruitment of Amazon’s HQ2 headquarters to Virginia. As we emerge from this difficult pandemic, it is more important than ever to have a firm hand with experience on the levers of economic development so that opportunities are expanded for all Virginians.
I support Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor. She is a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and a cyber security expert. Hala understands the role of the Lieutenant Governor. She is collaborative in her approach, a quality that we need in that job. When you work closely with people in elective office, you learn who has the temperament, skills, and integrity to do the job. Hala is that person.
Finally, I hope you will renominate Mark Herring for Attorney General. Mark has been a forceful and effective advocate for progressive causes since he was elected to this position in 2013. In his first several weeks, he took the then-controversial position that his office would not defend Virginia’s law opposing marriage equality. He joined with other Attorneys General across the country to push consumer rights litigation that brought millions of dollars to the Commonwealth. He advocated for the environment, not just opposing Trump policies at the federal level, but raising serious concerns about Dominion’s utility rates. He engaged in the legal debates about gun safety, criticizing the emerging 2nd Amendment sanctuary movement by issuing an opinion stating that such resolutions passed by many local governments had “no legal force.” When President Trump imposed a travel ban in 2017 to curtail immigration, Herring joined attorneys general to combat it. And when the national archivist suggested that Virginia’s adoption of the ERA might not be enough to include it in the US Constitution, Herring immediately filed a federal lawsuit to compel the measure’s inclusion. When a person is doing such a great job, there is no good reason for him to be retired.
These three will make a great ticket. Please get out and vote.
May 7, 2021