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VaNews
October 25, 2021
Top of the News

Youngkin goes solo, McAuliffe leans on surrogates in home stretch of Va. governor’s race

By MICA SOELLNER AND SETH MCLAUGHLIN, Washington Times

Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin is going at it alone in the home stretch of Virginia’s gubernatorial race and passing on the chance to invite the party’s biggest guns into the state. Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe is embracing a different strategy. He is rolling out the red carpet for Democratic Party players, musicians and Hollywood actors as part of a last-ditch effort to energize voters and retake momentum.


New careers, vanishing applicants: Here’s why some employers can’t find workers

By TREVOR METCALFE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Anthony Geraci’s life changed overnight. The 32-year-old Virginia Beach resident was one of more than 100,000 Hampton Roads workers who lost their jobs in April 2020 — the month after the coronavirus pandemic took hold and Gov. Ralph Northam’s social distancing measures began to affect businesses. Rather than look for another position, Geraci did something more workers are doing — he switched careers. It’s one of the reasons why employers in fields such as hospitality, restaurants and other entry-level industries say they are in dire need of workers.


Virginia’s largest insurer wants investigation of Sentara for ‘anti-competitve harm’

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

In early April, Sentara — one of the largest health systems in Virginia with 11 hospitals scattered across five regions — sent a letter to Anthem, the state’s largest insurer. Lance Torcom, Sentara’s chief managed care officer, informed Anthem that the system would be terminating its contract with the insurer’s Medicaid and Medicare lines of business. Effective Oct. 12, in other words, any patient who received government-provided health coverage through Anthem would no longer be able to use their insurance at Sentara’s facilities. . . . The move, which could have affected more than 525,000 of Anthem’s Medicaid patients across Virginia, according to state enrollment figures, never happened.


“The Liberty Way”: How Liberty University Discourages and Dismisses Students’ Reports of Sexual Assaults

By HANNAH DREYFUS, Pro Publica

When Elizabeth Axley first told Liberty University officials she had been raped, she was confident they’d do the right thing. After all, the evangelical Christian school invoked scripture to encourage students to report abuse. “Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves, for the rights of all who need an advocate. —Proverbs 31:8.” It was quoted in large type across an information sheet from the school’s office tasked with handling discrimination and abuse.


Pipeline's efforts to unmask critics by subpoena met with silence from Facebook

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC does not appear to have found a friend in Facebook. The company building a natural gas pipeline through Southwest Virginia filed a subpoena in a civil case, asking Facebook to reveal the identities of the people who set up its Appalachians Against Pipelines page anonymously. Two months later, it is still waiting for a reply.


‘His debt is paid’: Portsmouth man fights for pardon of 80-year prison sentence

By KORIE DEAN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Ronald Davis felt like he was being buried alive. He spent the months around his 19th birthday, during the spring and summer of 1998, in local courtrooms for sentencing hearings for his involvement in a string of October 1997 armed robberies around Hampton Roads. No one had been injured and Davis never held a gun. Each sentencing felt like another shovel of dirt. In Norfolk, he received 13 years. In Suffolk, 22. In Newport News, 30. In Isle of Wight, 15. Eight decades to serve.


Hate on trial in Virginia, four years after deadly extremist rally

By ODETTE YOUSEF, NPR

The 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., turned violent, left one counter-demonstrator dead and revealed how well-organized the far right had become. Four years afterward, jury selection is set for Monday in a case seen as the most sweeping attempt yet to hold to account those associated with the march. To do so, those behind the suit are taking a page from a decades-old playbook: they're turning to civil litigation in an attempt to put extremists out of business.

The Full Report
50 articles, 26 publications

FROM VPAP

VPAP Visual Targeted Races: HD66 (Open Seat: Cherry v. Sponsler)

The Virginia Public Access Project

Colonial Heights and southern Chesterfield had been such a safe Republican haven that Del. Kirk Cox once went 20 years without a Democratic opponent. But federal judges radically redrew the district in 2019, making it highly competitive. Cox ran and won a close re-election bid in the newly configured district. But his pending retirement makes the seat up for grabs. This interactive visual gives you a deep look at the district's demographics and election history, along with the campaign finances of the two candidates, Republican Mike Cherry and Democrat Katie Sponsler. Coming Tuesday: HD 68 (Adams v. Earley).


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our Virginia COVID-19 dashboard features VDH vaccination data, including what percentage of the state's population has received at least one shot and the number of vaccinations per 100,000 residents in each city and county. Our dashboard also makes it easy to track the latest available data for tests performed, infections, deaths and hospital capacity. There's also a filter for each city and county, plus an exclusive per-capita ZIP Code map. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Virginia’s First Lady visits Henrico High to speak about mental health needs

By ANNA BRYSON, Henrico Citizen

Ray Reynolds was in seventh grade when schools abruptly shuttered. What was supposed to be two weeks at home ended up being two years at home. She didn’t walk back into a school until last month when she started as a freshman at Henrico High School. Getting thrown into a world of isolation took a toll on students’ mental health. Virginia’s First Lady Pam Northam visited Henrico High School on Friday morning to speak with students about mental wellness, and listen to ideas about how schools can better support students’ mental health.

STATE ELECTIONS

Obama rallies Dems for McAuliffe, attacks Youngkin during VCU rally

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Former President Barack Obama visited Richmond on Saturday to rally Democratic voters in the tight race between party nominee Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, attacking the GOP nominee as a candidate who’s courted support from those who push “lies and conspiracy theories” about the 2020 presidential election. Obama’s visit came 10 days before the Nov. 2 election, and the former president encouraged hundreds outside James Branch Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University to vote by mail, vote early in person, work for the Democratic ticket and encourage others to vote.


Youngkin outlines vision, makes voter turnout push during Henrico rally

By DEAN MIRSHAHI, WRIC-TV

Republican Glenn Youngkin kicked off a statewide bus tour Saturday, ending the night with a large rally in Henrico County where he laid out his vision if elected as Virginia’s next governor. Youngkin, a first-time candidate, and his Democratic rival, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, are each making a voter turnout push in the final stretch of a tight race for governor.


McAuliffe, Abrams warn Virginians that commonwealth could look like Texas, Georgia with Youngkin win

By DAN MERICA, CNN

Stacey Abrams had a message for Democrats in Virginia on Sunday: If Republicans win on November 2, the commonwealth will begin looking a lot more like Georgia or Texas, two states that have seen years of Republican control. Abrams, during an event in Charlottesville on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe that featured a performance by Dave Matthews, put the race between McAuliffe and Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin in stark terms, further nationalizing a race that has already involved top name Democratic surrogates.


In campaign stop, Obama urges Virginians to vote

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER AND LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Former president Barack Obama delivered a full-throated endorsement of Virginia's Democratic ticket here Saturday, describing next month's election as determining the state's future and setting an example for the nation. “Go out there and fight and work because you’re going to decide this election and the direction of Virginia and the direction of this country for generations to come. Don’t sit this one out,” Obama exhorted a cheering crowd of some 2,000 people outside the Virginia Commonwealth University campus library.


Obama sharply criticizes Youngkin in Va. governor’s race

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Former President Barack Obama offered a sharp rebuke of the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin, as he encouraged voters on Saturday to support Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the closely watched race. Obama accused Youngkin of portraying himself as a friendly everyman while encouraging what Obama called “lies and conspiracy theories” about widespread voting fraud in the 2020 elections. Former President Donald Trump has continued to push the false narrative about election fraud, which fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.


‘We don’t have time to be tired’: Obama tries to jolt Virginia Dems at McAuliffe rally

By ZACH MONTELLARO, Politico

Barack Obama came to Virginia’s capital on Saturday seeking to charge up tuned-out Democratic voters — and jolt Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor. The former president is the latest high-profile surrogate to visit the commonwealth for McAuliffe, the former Democratic governor locked in a close battle with first-time Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin with just 10 days to go until the gubernatorial election.


Obama paints Youngkin as out-of-touch elite, doubts relatability with voters

By MICA SOELLNER, Washington Times

Former President Barack Obama painted Republican Glenn Youngkin as being out-of-touch with the middle class, urging voters to turn out for Democrat Terry McAuliffe during a Richmond stump speech on Saturday. Mr. Obama, who spoke in front of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s library, centered his speech around taking aim at Mr. Youngkin’s wealth and candidacy, without invoking the candidate’s name.


Youngkin’s school warnings intensify GOP’s suburban push

By STEVE PEOPLES, SARAH RANKIN AND WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

Glenn Youngkin wants voters in Virginia to hear an urgent message: Your children are in danger. In a speech in Northern Virginia’s suburbs last week, the Republican candidate for governor highlighted the murky case of a student who allegedly committed sex crimes in two area schools. He said the incidents, which have sparked community outrage, are the result of failed Democratic leadership.


Ayala or Sears: Both would make history in Virginia election

By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press

The two women seeking the lieutenant governor’s office in Virginia next month are fond of touting their unconventional political backgrounds. One thing is certain: Whichever one wins will be making history. Either candidate would be the first woman as well as the first woman of color to serve in a post that frequently serves as a launching pad to the governor’s mansion. Half of the past 10 lieutenant governors went on to become governor.


In a high dollar, unfriendly race, Jason Ballard attempts to unseat incumbent Chris Hurst

By SAM WALL, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Fueled by an incident involving incumbent Del. Chris Hurst, Republican Jason Ballard is attempting to reclaim the 12th District for Republicans — which would be a notable statewide party victory in a year the control of the House of Delegates is at stake. But the incumbent Democrat Hurst, won in his first attempt for public office in 2017 over hard-working Republican Del. Joseph Yost in a district that can lean Democratic due to the historical vote in Blacksburg.


Del. Mike Mullin resigns as Hampton prosecutor: ‘Had nothing to do with politics’

By PETER DUJARDIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

A state lawmaker resigned as a Hampton prosecutor Thursday — stepping aside 12 days before the election in which he’s seeking a new term at the General Assembly. Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News — who’s worked under him as an assistant prosecutor since 2018 ― “left for personal reasons.”


7th District: Veteran and Trump loyalist ready for battle

By YANN RANAIVO, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The race for Virginia’s 7th House of Delegates District will show whether an Army veteran can emerge victorious against an outspoken and locally popular business woman in a territory that has long emanated volcanic red. Earlier this year, Marie March clinched the GOP nomination for the seat that Del. Nick Rush, R-Christiansburg, will leave at the end of this year. Some time after, Derek Kitts won the Democratic nomination in the race.


HD 69: Delegate Betsy B. Carr, Democrat (incumbent) vs. Dr. Sheila M. Furey, Republican

By CHIP LAUTERBACH, Richmond Free Press

Delegate Betsy B. Carr is looking to secure a seventh term in the House of Delegates in a district that is solidly Democratic. House District 69 covers portions of Richmond largely south of the James River, although it also takes in some areas north of the river, including Maymont, Randolph, Oregon Hill and The Carillon. The district also stretches south into a portion of Chesterfield County.


Candidates in 88th House District race to take part in virtual debate

By SCOTT SHENK, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Candidates running for the 88th House of Delegates race will take part in an online debate Tuesday night. The University of Mary Washington is hosting the debate, the second of two for Fredericksburg-area House of Delegates races. The first debate involved candidates in the 28th District. The debate for the 88th House of Delegates seat will include Republican Phillip Scott, Democrat Kecia Evans and Libertarian Timothy Lewis. The candidates are vying for the seat held by Republican Del. Mark Cole, who is not running for reelection.


Wilder says state Democrats have not earned black support

By KATHERINE DOYLE, Washington Examiner

Virginia’s only black governor accused fellow Democrats of taking the African American vote for granted, even as they neglect historically black colleges and tell parents to stay out of their children's classrooms. Douglas Wilder, who served from 1990 to 1994, said Virginia Democrats, including current Gov. Ralph Northam and candidate Terry McAuliffe, have shortchanged the state’s five historically black colleges and universities.


Multiple death threats target Loudoun County prosecutor

By BRUCE LESHAN, WUSA-TV

Loudoun County's Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Biberaj is taking steps to secure her own safety after she says she received multiple alleged death threats. Virginia State troopers are investigating. Biberaj, is a first-generation Muslim immigrant and has been portrayed by multiple far-right websites as an "immigrant" prosecutor who targeted the father of a school rape victim. She's also been sharply criticized by Republican candidate for Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, who said in a speech Tuesday night, "Loudoun County's Commonwealth's Attorney targeted the victims' families."

STATE GOVERNMENT

Va. health and human resources secretary departs for Seattle

By KATE ANDREWS, Va Business Magazine

Dr. Daniel Carey has stepped down as the state’s secretary of health and human resources to become chief medical officer for one of the nation’s largest medical groups, based in Washington state. A deputy secretary, Dr. Vanessa Walker Harris, has been appointed to replace him as Virginia’s health secretary, the governor’s office announced Friday.


ARPA Funds Not Addressing Recruitment at State Hospital for Children

By JAHD KHALIL, WVTF-FM

American Rescue Plan Funding that was supposed to address retention and recruitment at the state hospitals that treat Virginians with mental illnesses has not helped recruit new staff at the hospital serving children and adolescents. Jamie Bamford, the director of the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents, said in an interview that a retention bonus that came out through ARPA funds in July had a dramatic improvement in retention and reduced unscheduled time off, but had never improved recruitment efforts.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS

Amazon, UPS, Walmart and more competing for seasonal workers during tight labor market in Hampton Roads

By SANDRA J. PENNECKE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Santa needs some extra helpers this year to get holiday gifts onto his sleigh and into homes. Retailers, e-commerce giant Amazon and delivery companies are putting out the call for seasonal employees to come on board, but they’ll be competing with other Hampton Roads businesses who have been struggling to find workers during the pandemic. Amazon expects to hit its hiring goal like it did last year, Ricky Derring of Amazon Workforce Staffing said. Amazon is hiring 2,200 seasonal workers in Hampton Roads — mainly pickers and packers for facilities in Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton and Virginia Beach, he said.


Employment Budges Upwards, Local Employment Nears Pre-Pandemic Level

By IAN MUNRO, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia added 2,700 jobs in September as the recovery continues its sluggish march to draw more people back into the labor force, according to the most recent preliminary jobs data released by the Virginia Employment Commission on Friday. Though the number of unemployed residents fell by over 8,600 to 159,800, the labor force also decreased by 3,859 to 4.24 million. “The labor force participation rate edged down to 62.8 percent, which is about where the participation rate has been since February 2021 and well below the pre-pandemic rate of 66.0 percent,” Joe Mengedoth, economist with the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, said Friday.

CORONAVIRUS

Virginia health workers brace for renewed interest in coronavirus vaccines

By ELISHA SAUERS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

About 4% of Virginians, or 334,000 people, have received a third COVID-19 vaccine dose so far, state data shows. Time will tell whether boosters will help stem the pandemic and prevent more vaccinated people from contributing to the virus’ spread. Millions more people across the country are allowed to get an additional shot, based on federal decisions made Thursday.


10 new COVID-19 deaths added this week as infections continue to drop

By CHARLES WILBORN, Danville Register & Bee

In the past week, Danville and Pittsylvania County added 10 more deaths at the hands of COVID-19, but daily infection rates have dropped by half since Oct. 1. Even though the new fatalities were added to daily dashboard updates last week, the deaths likely happened at least two weeks ago.

VIRGINIA OTHER

UTR rally organizers return to Charlottesville, but this time as defendants

By TYLER HAMMEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

More than four years after two white supremacist rallies shook the Charlottesville community, key organizers and defendants will return but in a very different light: as defendants in a major lawsuit. The Charlottesville case, as it has become known to some outside of the area, is an expansive lawsuit targeting key organizers and participants of both the Aug. 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally and preceding torch march on the University of Virginia grounds.


Victims of Charlottesville Rally Argue the Violence Was Planned

By NEIL MACFARQUHAR, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

The violent rally started with a mob of men brandishing burning torches in the heart of an American city while chanting racist, antisemitic slogans, and it ended with a woman murdered, scarring a nation. Now, more than four years later, a civil trial starting on Monday in Charlottesville, Va., will revisit those unsettling events. The long-delayed lawsuit in federal court against two dozen organizers of the march will examine one of the most violent manifestations of far-right views in recent history.


At a historic cemetery for the enslaved, a mother’s personal grief mixes with collective mourning

By REBECCA TAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Every October for seven years, the Rev. Michelle Thomas, 50, has led a procession that lays a wreath for the enslaved people buried in a cemetery off the side of Harry Byrd Highway in Loudoun County, Va. At the annual ceremony on Sunday, the group of about three dozen also laid down wreaths for the first Black person born free to be buried at the cemetery — for Thomas’s son, Fitz Alexander Campbell Thomas, who was 16 when he drowned in the Potomac River last summer.


Stripping military bases of Confederate names stirs passions

By ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press

Civil War history casts a long shadow in Virginia, the birthplace of Confederate generals, scene of their surrender, and now a crossroad of controversy over renaming military bases that honor rebel leaders. In and around Blackstone, about 50 miles southwest of Richmond, that shadow can stir passions when talk turns to nearby Fort Pickett. Some are troubled by Congress requiring the Pickett name be dropped as part of a wider scrubbing of military base names that commemorate the Confederacy or honor officers who fought for it. In all, the names of at least nine Army bases in six states will be changed.


35 years later, victims’ families in Colonial Parkway Murders still searching for answers, hope DNA advances will solve case

By EM HOLTER AND ABIGAIL ADCOX, Virginia Gazette (Metered Paywall - 4 Articles per Month)

Three phone calls. Bill Thomas shudders at the thought to this day. The tone of his parents’ voice signaling something was wrong. The realization that his sister, Cathleen Thomas, was murdered on a scenic Virginia roadway. The understanding, years later, that his parents had to make three separate phone calls to him and his two brothers; one, in New York at the time, took an entire day to reach. Cathleen Thomas was just starting a new chapter after leaving the U.S. Navy, when her life was cut short. If she had not been killed, Bill Thomas is sure she would have gone on to accomplish anything she wanted.

LOCAL

Prince William Racial Justice Commission argues about town hall, FOIA

By JARED FORETEK, Inside NOVA

Members of Prince William County’s Racial and Social Justice Commission exchanged heated words Thursday about the Oct. 6 town hall meeting hosted by commissioners Charles Haddow and Erica Tredinnick. At one point, Haddow even invited Chair Shantell Rock to sue him if she believed the town hall violated the Freedom of Information Act's requirements for public meetings.


How much is Petersburg paying its top leadership?

By BILL ATKINSON, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 10 articles a month)

The payroll for city government leadership is leaner now than it was a year ago, and a large chunk of that difference can be attributed to the elimination of two deputy city manager positions and their total $290,000 of compensation.


York County confronts a future with fewer retail options, and less tax revenue

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

The field where Fort Eustis Boulevard bends toward Old York-Hampton Highway, like the lot at the corner of Fort Eustis and Route 17 or the close-cropped grass on either side of Keener Way’s T-junction a few miles away in York County, stands as proof of the problem York County faces. As do many other places around Hampton Roads. The land was set aside for shops and offices meant to anchor high-end, walkable neighborhoods. All three have sat empty for about a decade.


Regional commission votes against accepting $2 million state affordable housing grant

By ADELE UPHAUS–CONNER, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The regional planning group for the Fredericksburg area is expected to get more information this week about a $2 million affordable housing development grant from the state after rejecting the offer last month. The refusal, which took place at the George Washington Regional Commission’s Sept. 27 meeting, makes GWRC the only one of Virginia’s 21 planning district commissions that has not yet executed an agreement for the grant.


Opioids Still Causing Damage As City Eyes Pharmaceutical Settlement

By IAN MUNRO, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Karen Hahn was 17 with dreams of college when she took her first painkiller in Harrisonburg. Over a third of a century later, the 52-year-old Shenandoah town native is still battling the urge to take opioids. She has been homeless for over a year, and the drug has played a large hand in derailing her life, Hahn said. “They take away the pain, but they destroy people’s families,” she said Sunday sitting outside Our Community Place in Harrisonburg.


Homeless camps crop up in downtown Roanoke

By JEFF STURGEON, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

People experiencing homelessness are camping in downtown Roanoke under strategically chosen overpasses and overhangs in higher numbers than before the pandemic. They’ve been snoozing by night and sitting, eating and talking by day near museums and the downtown post office. By settling down on public sidewalks, they aren’t currently subject to arrest or removal.

 

EDITORIALS

In the Bijan Ghaisar case, the police get away with it

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

For too long, judges and lawmakers have granted virtually automatic deference to police who insist that in the stress of an uncertain moment, they felt such fear that it was reasonable to fire their guns at an unarmed subject. That judicial norm has gone all but unchallenged in U.S. courts — even in cases where scrutiny of the evidence suggests that police shootings were objectively unreasonable. It was applied again by a federal judge in Virginia who on Friday dismissed the manslaughter case against two U.S. Park Police officers charged in the death of Bijan Ghaisar near D.C. in 2017.


Dominion's political contributions should be banned

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue said that the giant energy company wants its money back from a political action committee that ran ads attacking Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin for his stance on Second Amendment issues in an apparent attempt to suppress voting in rural parts of Virginia. Dominion gave $200,000 to the Accountability Virginia PAC, but Blue admitted that “we failed to vet sufficiently the scope of their intended activities. In as much, we have asked that our contributions be returned.”


Youngkin has failed the character test

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Next month’s elections in Virginia coincide with a singular moment in U.S. history, in which one major party has turned against accepting the results of free and fair elections. That momentous juncture poses a character test for all Republicans, which turns on this question: Will they stand against the assault on democracy’s most basic precept, or will they tolerate it? Glenn Youngkin, the GOP gubernatorial nominee in Virginia, has failed that character test.


Redistricting hopes dashed

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The high expectations which greeted the launch of the Virginia Redistricting Commission have given way to the cold reality that removing political influence from an inherently political process will be more difficult than was hoped. The commission splintered along party lines in recent weeks, failing to reach agreement on legislative districts. Unless something dramatically changes in the waning hours, it will miss Monday’s deadline to produce a new congressional map as well.

COLUMNISTS

Yancey: Will Blanding make the difference in governor’s race?

By DWAYNE YANCEY, Cardinal News

If Terry McAuliffe wins the governorship (again), what I’m about to write won’t matter. If Glenn Youngkin wins with a majority, this won’t matter, either. However, there’s a third scenario possible in this year’s election, and that’s the one that gives Democrats nightmares (and Republicans hope): that third-party candidate Princess Blanding pulls enough votes away from McAuliffe to tip the election to Youngkin, who wins with something less than 50% of the vote.


Milbank: Youngkin banishes Trump, but he can’t clean the stench of Trumpism

By DANA MILBANK, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

They sanitized the event space. They scrubbed the speeches. The campaign of Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin eliminated virtually any indication that Donald Trump had ever existed. Instead, Youngkin invoked George W. Bush’s line about the “soft bigotry of low expectations” and stole a joke of John McCain’s. But while Youngkin banished Trump, he could not wash away the stench of Trumpism.


Hohmann: Republicans are testing messages to reverse their suburban slide, and education is a winner

By JAMES HOHMANN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been testing dozens of potential messages that might claw back suburban voters who drifted toward Democrats during Donald Trump’s presidency, and lines of attack related to education show as much potential for the midterms as inflation, immigration and crime.

OP-ED

Perrigan: Virginia has the ability to fix crumbling schools

By KEITH PERRIGAN, published in Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

The school infrastructure crisis in Virginia is well-documented and longstanding. The most recent data provided by Virginia Department of Education shows that the total cost to replace schools that are at least 50 years old would carry a price tag of over $25 billion. Unfortunately, school divisions that serve high-poverty communities are disproportionally represented in this data set

Perrigan is president of the Coalition of Small and Rural Schools of Virginia and a member of the Virginia Commission on School Construction and Modernization. He also is superintendent of the Bristol Virginia Public Schools.


Good: Let’s trust the American people to build the economy again

By BOB GOOD, published in Danville Register & Bee

Democrats in Congress recently voted to raise the nation’s credit limit by $480 billion with no reductions in current or future spending, or any inclusion of measures that will place the nation on a path toward fiscal stability. This blank check approach to spending our hard-earned tax dollars is inexcusable and exemplifies the continued reckless and irresponsible actions of those in Washington who want to take us down the path toward socialist/communist government control of all facets of our society.

Good, R-5th District, represents Danville and Pittsylvania County in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Kitterman: Youngkin's message on education disturbing

By JOHN KITTERMAN, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Glenn Youngkin looks like a nice guy, but his messages are disturbing. For example, he says schools should not teach students what to think, but how to think. On the surface this claim seems innocent enough — who would want kids to be brainwashed instead of thinking for themselves? But Youngkin isn’t really interested in clear thinking — he’s interested in baiting the public with propaganda about critical race theory, a non-issue.

Kitterman is an English professor at Ferrum College.


Ahmad: McAuliffe is the best candidate to lead us out of pandemic

By ROMMAAN AHMAD, published in Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In a pandemic, with lives on the line, Terry McAuliffe is the only candidate Virginia can count on. As a physician and a Virginian concerned about the future of our commonwealth, I often think about our leaders’ abilities to face crises. Like medical professionals, our leaders need to be able to act quickly and decisively when lives are at risk. After watching venture capitalist and gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin make his case, I’m convinced he isn’t the leader Virginia needs.

Dr. Rommaan Ahmad, D.O., is a pain management physiatrist in Alexandria and Virginia lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care.


Haywood: Virginia’s criminal justice reform leads to campaign fictions

By BRAD HAYWOOD, published in Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Until 2020, the United States had never truly reckoned with the legacy of racism inherited by its criminal legal system. Then, all at once, a reckoning was unavoidable. In nine minutes and 29 seconds caught on video, the life of a Black man, George Floyd, was brutally extinguished by a police officer who rejected Floyd’s right even to the breath in his lungs. This moment of graphic, heart-rending tragedy, and the protests that followed, allowed a civil rights movement that had long been building to finally overcome obstacles that until then seemed insurmountable: namely, the apathy and ignorance of the privileged to the suffering of the vulnerable.

Brad Haywood is executive director of Justice Forward Virginia and chief public defender for Arlington County and the city of Falls Church.


Bratton and Corbett: Help shape Virginia’s future through redistricting and the election

By ALEXANDRIA ALEXANDRIA BRATTON AND ERIN CORBETT, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Virginia, this is our moment. The next few weeks represent a high-water mark in civic life with opportunities to elect new leaders and reimagine the commonwealth’s political topography. In an unusual alignment of the stars, right now, Virginia’s statewide elections collide with the decennial redistricting process to beg important, existential questions. What do we want for the future? What do we need? Do our leaders listen when we talk?

Bratton is the senior program manager at the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and a Hampton resident. Corbett is the redistricting manager for the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and a Charlottesville resident.


Ball: Virginia’s economy has blossomed under Northam’s leadership

By BRIAN BALL, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

As Virginia rebounds from the challenges of the pandemic, it’s clear that our sound fiscal management, stable business and regulatory climate, and record investments in higher education and infrastructure under Gov. Ralph Northam are helping Virginia not just recover but thrive. This summer, CNBC named the commonwealth America’s Top State for Business, the first state to win that title back-to-back. T

Ball is the Virginia secretary of Commerce and Trade.