Oct. 28 to Nov. 3Oct. 28 to Nov. 3

Federal: In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

State Executive: Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

State Legislature: Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 US race

Health and Safety: Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

Civil Rights: Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

Campaign Finance: Massive money flows into Virgia as voters signal high interest

Elections: Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

Education: A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2019

Federal: Northam kick off statewide investment program at event in Charlottesville

State Legislature: A multi-millionaire set out to counter Dominion. Now he’s the state’s biggest campaign donor.

Voter Guide: A Q&A with candidates in 18 Richmond-area legislative contests

Technology and Security: Wexton grills Zuckerberg on doctored Pelosi video; Riggleman won’t play ‘stump the dummy’

Education: Virginia’s spending on schools expected to rise by $596 million over two years

Criminal Justice: Black students bear brunt of enforcement as police file more disorderly conduct charges in schools

Campaign Finance:  Pink in a field of blue: Female candidates bring in top donations

Oct. 14 thru Oct. 20, 2019Oct. 14 thru Oct. 20, 2019

Federal: Federal Commission orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Legislature: The Blue Wave Faces Its First Test After 2018

Virginia Republicans join with Democrats to codemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

Civil Rights: Virginia Beach will ask the General Assembly to ban conversion therapy

Redistricting: Not time to abandon redistricting reform

Unemployment: Virginia’s unemployment rate is lowest in 18+ years

Voter Turnout: Uptick in student absentee ballots might indicate higher turnout



Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, 2019Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, 2019

Federal: Supreme Court denies appeal of eminent domain for Mountain Valley Pipeline

State Executive: Northam announces $8.79M for community-based justice programs

State Legislature: Mass shooting takes center stage in Virginia Beach State Senate campaign

Economy: This county has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia

Healthcare: VCU will halt lawsuits against patients for unpaid bills

Environment: For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

September 30 thru October 6, 2019Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2019

Federal: Virginia Department of Corrections weighs prison nursery for new mothers

State Executive: Attorney General Mark Herring supports legalizing recreational marijuana

State Legislature: Chesterfield GOP kicks Sen. Amanda Chase out of the county party

Civil Rights: Judge upholds Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound, waiting period for abortions

Environment: Virginia’s Dominion Energy to Invest $594 Million in Clean Energy

Education: School accreditation stagnant across state, but Richmond sees some improvement

September 23 thru 29, 2019 1Sept. 23 to Sept. 29, 2019

Federal: Republican leaders accuse Northam of breaking deal on Medicaid work rules

State Legislature: Luria, McEachin and Spanberger join calls for impeachment inquiries

Higher Education: How Virginia’s new student loan ombudsman helps borrowers

Environment: Critics warn Trump EPA’s new coal-ash plan will let polluters off the hook

Abortion: Report: Abortion Rate Drops in Virginia, More than Almost Any Other State

Civil Rights: Same-sex unions make up 4 percent of Virginia marriages

September 16 thru 22, 2019Sept. 16 to Sept. 22, 2019

State Executive: Justin Fairfax lawsuit aims to settle scores, but it could open new chapter in Virginia politics

Issues: Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order for State’s Renewable Energy Goal: 100% by 2050


September 9 thru 15, 2019Sept. 9 to Sept.15, 2019

Federal: 3 couples are suing Virginia after being denied marriage licenses because they refused to disclose their race

Executive: Northam names ODU’s Janice Underwood as Virginia’s first diversity officer

General Assembly:
Will the anti-Trump wave that powered two years of Democratic wins flow into Virginia’s unusual off-off-year elections?

Issues: As cleanup deadline looms, Virginia mulls pushing Chesapeake Bay Act’s reach westward

September 2 thru 8, 2019 1Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, 2019

Featured Article: Cheat sheet: The House and Senate races most likely to decide control of Virginia’s statehouse

Federal:The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

Executive: Virginia Republicans thought calling Ralph Northam ‘Gov. Blackface’ would help them. That’s changed.

General Assembly:  Republicans fear drubbing in next round of redistricting

‘A small renaissance’: Pawpaws, George Washington’s favorite fruit, seeing a resurgence

Health and Safety: Virginia deaths rising despite opioid overdose drug spending

Education: Seventeen Questions Every College Should Be Asking

An aerial view of Norfolk Naval Station, the largest naval base in the worldAug. 26 to Aug. 31, 2019

Featured Article:
Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

Virginia onAir:
Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’


Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

General Assembly:
What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign
‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey LayneAugust 19 thru 25, 2019

Featured Article
Virginia finance chief says recession likely: ‘We just need to be prepared’

In effort to ‘modernize’ agency, DEQ is hampered by lack of funding, outdated laws, report finds

Governor Ralph Northam:
‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

General Assembly
3 laws that could cut homicides 36 percent and more numbers on guns in Virginia

Virginia Groundwater:
In James City County, a water crisis by 2.83 million (gallon) cuts

Student censorship
Frederick School Board tightens oversight of student publications

Why the Mountain Valley Pipeline is uniquely risky
No moratorium on solar projects in Culpeper County

Fort Monroe 400th Anniversary
Virginia’s other 400-year anniversary


Spanberger squadAugust 12 thru 18, 2019

Featured Article
Sentries, not ‘squad’: Moderate Dems ones to watch for 2020 

Wittman shifts stance on background checks
Female Candidates May Finally Crush the ‘Electability Paradox’

Herring challenging Trump Administration immigration rule, ex-AG Cuccinelli

General Assembly
Virginia Incumbents and Their Challengers Often Have More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Why a Virginia Democrat says he launched a political fundraiser off of a mass shooting that was still unfolding

Health Care
Cleared to leave Virginia’s overcrowded mental hospitals, many patients have nowhere to go
Poll finds most Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion
Health officials have distributed 28,000 clean needles to prevent hep C and HIV, but the law allowing them sunsets next year.

Democracy and the Internet:
New book looks at digital culture’s impact on politics

To stem killings, GOP lawmaker wants to boost violence intervention programs in Virginia

Conservative activist rebukes Virginia Tech’s ‘leftist’ freshman orientation


tree-sitterAug. 5 thru 11, 2019

Feature Article – Education:
Yearly cost of college increase was the smallest since 2000, new report finds

Va. Dems to Mitch McConnell: Pass languishing gun control bill

General Assembly:
Trump renews calls for red flag laws … Va. GOP voted down earlier this year

Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot

The wrong US response to Russia and China may trigger a “new Cold War,” warns Stanford University’s Larry Diamond

Getting in the way:’ Inside the standoff over the Mountain Valley Pipeline
DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section
SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills
Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

New Richmond Arena:
Richmond considers committing millions in tax revenue to build the state’s largest arena


Ibraheem Samirah at JamestownJuly 29 thru Aug. 4, 2019
  • Why I Disrupted Trump’s Speech at Jamestown
  • ‘Unjustified and unreasonable’: Navy, Walmart, attorney general and legal aid workers oppose Dominion’s profit push
  • Virginian-Pilot alums launch statewide investigative reporting center
  • Virginia’s Board of Education is considering recommendations to ‘force the hand of the General Assembly’
  • Blue Ridge Caucus: Local GOP committee passes motion of no confidence in Riggleman
  • Black and Latino students may struggle with ‘unsustainable’ student debt, report says
  • Varshini Prakash and the Sunrise Movement’s plan for the Green New Deal
  • Trump shows he can take the high road. He just usually chooses not to.
  • Trump interrupted by state delegate’s protest at Jamestown as black lawmakers boycott president’s appearance
  • Hemp is legal. Marijuana isn’t. State forensic scientists say soon they’ll have tests to tell the two apart
  • Fort Monroe is better protected in the state’s hands, for now
  • Finding peace on Virginia’s Eastern Shore
Trump talking to reportersJuly 22 thru July 28, 2019
  • ‘Send Him Back’; Va. Democrats say they’ll boycott Trump at Jamestown commemoration
  • ICE ordered her deportation. Instead she’s spent the last year living in a Richmond church. ‘I will not dare to put a foot outside’
  • Twenty-year high: Where Virginia police are making the most marijuana arrests
  • Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds
  • Dominion’s new renewable programs are about limiting choice
  • As Democrats debate campaign finance reform, an intimate mountain retreat with corporate lobbyists continues
  • Mueller says report doesn’t exonerate Trump; Va. congressman says it’s time to ‘move on’Trump’s Interior Department is sidelining scientists, experts warn lawmakers; Virginia congressmen skip hearing
  • General registrars were given a raise, but some may not be seeing it
  1. 400 years of representative government in Virginia
  2. Will Reddit un-quarantine its biggest pro-Trump community? CEO Steve Huffman isn’t holding his breath.
Highlands-Lonesome PinJuly 15 to July 21, 2019
  1. In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its root
  2. It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.
  3. Dominion’s carbon cutting plans aren’t good enough
  4. Congressional Republicans mostly keep quiet on Trump’s tweets
  5. Virginia plans two new cross-state bus lines, citing success of Blacksburg-D.C. route
  6. House Insurrections Are Here to Stay
  7. Trump effect the top question in Virginia’s key elections
  8. Virginia’s community colleges will offer programs with guaranteed transfer credits next fall
  9. Bill to boost federal minimum wage passes House, likely to fizzle in Senate
  10. Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood


It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.

Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – July 14, 2019

But the NRA’s money in Virginia doesn’t go very far. Instead, analysts and people who work in Virginia politics say the power of the NRA comes from the sheer number of voters who align themselves with the organization and show up at the polls and in front of lawmakers, especially in solid red districts where politicians’ biggest fear is a primary challenge from the right.

“It’s their capacity to mobilize people at election time, ” said Bob Holsworth, a longtime Virginia political analyst. “It’s a better strategy to have the grassroots support than it is to pump dollars in.”

Dominion’s carbon cutting plans aren’t good enough

Ivy Main
Virginia Mercury – July 14, 2019

Other utilities have avoided the gas trap. National leaders like Minneapolis-based Xcel, Consumers Energy in Michigan, and NIPSCO in Indiana are replacing coal with renewables and leapfrogging over new gas. That puts them in a position to deliver on their promises of rapid emissions cuts.

In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its roots

By Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – July 15, 2019

Early Monday morning, the global environmental nonprofit announced it had added 153,000 acres in Virginia known as Highlands-Lonesome Pine to its Cumberland Forest Project. When combined with an existing 100,000 acres of forest in Kentucky and Tennessee, the total footprint of the site amounts to a quarter-million acres, larger than Shenandoah National Park.

Virginia plans two new cross-state bus lines, citing success of Blacksburg-D.C. route

After a state-run bus line between Blacksburg and Washington beat ridership estimates by more than 200 percent, state officials are planning to introduce two new routes connecting Southside Virginia with points north.

Trump effect the top question in Virginia’s key elections

By Alan Suderman
Associated Press – July 19, 2019

“That is the big thing I wrestle with every single day: Do we have the same intensity that we had in ’17?” said former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has been actively raising money and campaigning with state Democrats this year.

Republicans are cautiously optimistic that Trump, having been in office for more than two years now, will have less of an impact on voters this year.

Virginia’s community colleges will offer programs with guaranteed transfer credits next fall

Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – July 14, 2019

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R- Henrico, and Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk introduced legislation in 2018 to create the Passport and the Uniform Certificate of General Studies. The certificate requires twice as many classes as the Passport to cut out about a year of college for students.

The programs come amid heightened attention to the cost of Virginia’s public colleges and universities. In Norfolk Thursday, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said he will roll out a plan for a “tuition for service” model for free community college.


US House

Congressional Republicans mostly keep quiet on Trump’s tweets

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – July 15, 2019

After remaining largely silent about Trump’s remarks over the weekend, congressional Republicans began weighing in on social media and in press releases Monday. Some were pressed on the president’s comments on Capitol Hill as they returned to Washington from their districts.

House Insurrections Are Here to Stay

By Steve Israel
The Atlantic – July 16, 2019

There’s nothing new about a speaker managing insurrection. It’s a safe bet, moreover, that these battles will only intensify and grow more frequent, no matter who grips the gavel or which party controls the House.

Bill to boost federal minimum wage passes House, likely to fizzle in Senate

By Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – July 19, 2019

“The Raise the Wage Act is not just good for workers, it’s good for the economy,” House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-3rd) said on the House floor. Scott is the lead sponsor of the bill.

Politics  & Government

Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood

By Drew Gilpin Faust
The Atlantic – August 2019 issue

We stopped first at the cemetery. My brother had picked me up at the Philadelphia airport, and we had driven south and west from there—to Baltimore and Frederick, then down through the hills of the Blue Ridge, past the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at Harpers Ferry and into the Valley of Virginia. Civil War country. The route of the Antietam and Gettysburg campaigns. The site of John Brown’s incendiary attempt to foment a slave uprising. The place where we grew up.

Apart from one brief drive-through, I hadn’t been back in nearly two decades—not since a visit the year after my father died. Now we could see next to his grave the dirt already unearthed to make a place for my stepmother’s ashes the next day. We had come for her funeral and in my father’s memory.

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