November 4 to 10, 2019 – VA News

Nov. 4 to Nov. 10
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Lily Mirjahangiri cheers as Democrat Ghazala Hashmi takes the stage as a newly elected Virginia senator at an election party in downtown Richmond, Va., November 5, 2019. (Parker Michels-Boyce/ for the Virginia Mercury)

Summary

Federal: Virginia Hates Tyrants: Senator Tim Kaine reflects on what it took to make his commonwealth bluer than Massachusetts

State Executive: Virginia Democrats win control of General Assembly, sealing Trump-era power shift;Va. Gov. Northam starts making plans for his new Democratic legislature

State Legislature: Voters give Democrats control of the General Assembly

Civil Rights: Democratic sweep in Virginia gives new life to Equal Rights Amendment

Energy: Democratic sweep sets up confrontation with corporate that has loomed over Virginia politics for a century

Gun Control: As Democrats triumph in Virginia, pro-gun groups confront ‘worst scenario’

 

Federal

Virginia Hates Tyrants: Senator Tim Kaine reflects on what it took to make his commonwealth bluer than Massachusetts.

By Edward Isaac Dovere

The Atlantic-November 7, 2019

Life under President Donald Trump has Tim Kaine thinking a lot lately about the Book of Job. The results of last night’s election in Virginia, where Kaine is a U.S. senator, had him thinking of Job too.

“He thought, I’d been such a good person. So is it just all pointless? I’m going to suffer just pointlessly,” the onetime missionary paraphrased the story for me, sitting in his office on Capitol Hill and reflecting on the election. What Job experienced is not unlike what the country is going through, Kaine was telling me. “There’s been pain and there’s going to be more, in my view. But I think the outcome is going to be: We held fast to our principles. We’re sadder but wiser, but we held fast to our principles. And we’ve continued to show the ability to move forward.”

State Executive

Va. Gov. Northam starts making plans for his new Democratic legislature

By Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider

The Washington Post-November 6, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used a Cabinet meeting Wednesday to showcase all he expects to get done with a state government under Democratic control for the first time in a generation.

Northam, still buoyant after his party wrested control of the General Assembly from Republicans on Tuesday, assembled his team in a ceremonial meeting room in the State Capitol, instead of the workaday Patrick Henry Building, where they typically meet.

“Virginia spoke and we’re going to listen and we’re going to take action,” said Northam, who is halfway through is four-year term.

State Legislature

Voters give Democrats control of the General Assembly

By Patrick Wilson

Richmond Times-Dispatch- November 5, 2019

Fueled by President Donald Trump’s unpopularity, Virginia voters on Tuesday handed control of the state’s General Assembly to Democrats, setting up the most progressive legislature in modern times.

Democrats have not held both the state House and Senate and the governor’s mansion in 26 years, and Tuesday’s results give them power to pass an agenda and allow Gov. Ralph Northam to sign his party’s bills into law.

Democrats celebrated across the state Tuesday night. Their momentum began two years ago when Democrats flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates.

Virginia Democrats win control of General Assembly, sealing Trump-era power shift
By: Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury – November 6, 2019

Virginia Democrats won enough seats in Tuesday’s elections to take control of the General Assembly next year, ushering in an era of unified Democratic governance for the first time in a quarter-century.

Powered by a spike in voter turnout for a legislative election year, Democrats gained at least eight seats, locking in majorities in both the state Senate and the House of Delegates.

Issues

Civil Rights

Democratic sweep in Virginia gives new life to the Equal Rights Amendment

By Gregory Krieg

CNN-November 6, 2019

The coming Democratic takeover of the Virginia legislature has cleared the path for the state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee equality for women under the Constitution.

Earlier this year, the state Senate voted to advance the ERA. But the bipartisan progress was halted in the House of Delegates, where Republican opponents blocked a full floor vote. The new Democratic legislative majority is poised now to finish the job — and make Virginia the critical 38th state to back the amendment.

As they celebrated their sweep in Richmond, top Virginia Democrats promised the ERA would be a priority in 2020.

Energy

DEMOCRATIC SWEEP SETS UP CONFRONTATION WITH CORPORATE GIANT THAT HAS LOOMED OVER VIRGINIA POLITICS FOR A CENTURY

By Lee Fang

The Intercept-November 6, 2019

THE STUNNING VICTORY on Tuesday by Virginia Democrats, seizing control of both chambers of the state legislature and bringing the state under unified party control, sets up a new confrontation with a powerful adversary: Dominion Energy.

Dominion Energy, the privately owned utility company, has long cast a shadow across the state, buying favor in both parties as the most generous donor in state history, writing its own lax regulatory rules, and funneling consumer bills into billions of dollars of investor dividends and executive compensation.

The election results mark a turning point that will likely transform into a brutal legislative fight in 2020 over the future of energy policy, corporate consolidation, and climate change.

Gun Control

As Democrats triumph in Virginia, pro-gun groups confront ‘worst scenario’

By Graham Moomaw

Virginia Mercury-November 8, 2019

In a victory speech in Richmond Tuesday night, Shannon Watts, the founder of gun-safety group Moms Demand Action, finished by mentioning a get-out-the-vote tweet from the National Rifle Association. In the video posted a few days before Virginia’s General Assembly elections, a woman in an NRA hat said people who didn’t go vote to protect their gun rights should “pack your shit and git.”

“Tonight, all my thoughts and prayers go out to the NRA’s leaders and lapdogs,” Watts told the jubilant crowd as Virginia’s statehouse flipped blue. “And tomorrow, they can pack their shit and git.”

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