Friday Morning Notes

Britepaths Seeks Volunteers — The Fairfax-based nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers to sponsor families in need throughout the county. Sponsors are matched with families and may opt to provide a December holiday meal and gifts for children under 18. [Britepaths]

First African American Appointed as State Fire Marshal — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced the selection of Virginia’s new State Fire Marshal, Garrett Dyer. Garrett Dyer will oversee the law and code enforcement branch of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP), and lead more than 28 inspectors and administrative support staff. The Virginia State Fire Marshal’s role is to implement and enforce the fire code.[Office of the Governor]

Toy Drive in Reston Town Center Kicks Off This Month — RTC’s “Toys for Tots” drive will run from the last week of November through the first week of December. The program is held in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Toys will be collected in building lobbies. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

0 Comments

Virginia, Maryland Partner to Rebuild American Legion Bridge

One of the region’s worst bottlenecks is expected to get some relief after state Gov. Ralph Northam announced a plan to expand the American Legion Bridge.

Virginia and Maryland, which will take the lead on the project, which Northam said was a “once-in-a-generation achievement for the capital region.” The interstate compact has been named the “Capital Beltway Accord”

Once completed, existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River will be replaced and two new Express Lanes will be added in each direction for roughly three miles between George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to River Road in Maryland. Trails on both sides of the Potomac River are planned to improve bicycle and pedestrian access.

“This is once-in-a-generation project that will improve accessibility throughout the region,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This is a milestone in regional cooperation. We in Virginia look forward to working hand-in-hand with Maryland to deliver this transformative transportation solution.”

Officials expect the changes to reduce congestion in regular lanes by 25 percent, providing 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge.

While Maryland would rebuild the Legion Bridge, Virginia would pay nearly half of the cost.

No homes or businesses are expected to require relocation as a result of the project, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Daily traffic on the American Legion Bridge has grown by 390 percent since the bridge opened in 1962.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, an industry-led group that advocates for transportation improvements, cheered today’s announcement, in a statement.

The Alliance applauds Governor Hogan and Governor Northam for working together to address one of the region’s worst bottlenecks.

This agreement exemplifies the importance of regional collaboration and public-private partnerships in solving our region’s transportation challenges.

Expanding the American Legion Bridge and the regional express lanes network have been long-standing priorities of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. These improvements will:

  1. Enhance Regional Connectivity – connect the two most populous jurisdictions in the region.
  2. Increase Reliability – enhance regional economic growth and competitiveness
  3. Reduce Congestion and Delays – help drivers in both the free and congestion managed lanes.
  4. Create New Travel Options – allow drivers to pay for a faster trip while incentivizing more HOV and transit ridership using the managed lanes.

Built in 1962, the American Legion Bridge currently carries around 235,000 vehicles per day with that number expected to increase to 280,000 by 2040.

It is the only bridge connecting Fairfax and Montgomery Counties – the two most populous jurisdictions in our region and home to nearly 40% of the region’s population and jobs.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

Following Sandy Hook Shooting, Dogwood Elementary School to Upgrade Security Equipment

The security systems of Dogwood Elementary School are expected to get an upgrade after state Gov. Ralph Northam awarded five Fairfax County Public Schools a state grant.

The $236,102 grant pays for video monitoring systems, mass notification systems, visiter identification technology, two-way radios and other security upgrades.  It was established through the School Security Equipment Grants program, which was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Four other schools were selected for the grant: Crestwood Elementary, Parklawn Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Whitman Middle School. The grant is given to schools that are most in need of modern equipment, cannot afford the equipment, or have a relatively high number of offenses.

This year’s grant favored elementary schools at the recommendation of Northam’s Students Safety Workgroup.

A local match of 25 percent is required of most divisions to accept the grant.

Image via Google Maps

0 Comments

Northam Appoints GRACE’s Board Chair to Virginia Commission for the Arts

State Gov. Ralph Northam has appointed Robert Goudie, board chair of the Greater Reston Arts Center to take part in the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

The commission is state agency tenant supports the arts by seeking funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Goudie is also the executive director of the Reston Town Center Association, where he expanded the RTCA’s programming. He also helped found Public Art Reston and serves on its Board of Directors. He is also a member of ArtsFairfax’s advocacy committee.

GRACE wrote the following about Goudie:

In the six years that Mr. Goudie has served as GRACE Board Chair, GRACE has built out its exhibition and educational content and Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in service of a new vision to identify GRACE as an important cultural destination along Metro’s Silver Line and grow its voice in the DC metropolitan region’s cultural conversation; added to its board depth and diversity; grown its financial capacity; forged new partnerships with prestigious downtown institutions like the National Gallery of Art and others; built a strong strategic partnership with George Mason University and added collaborations with other educational institutions; added a satellite gallery at the Signature building in Reston Town Center; and was recognized as one of only four visual arts institutions in the entire Commonwealth to receive a VCA 50th anniversary award.

In a statement, Goudie described the appointment as an “institutional honor.”

“We have a very dedicated and talented Board of Directors, a superb staff led by our Executive Director and Curator, Lily Siegel, and fantastic supporters,” he said. 

Photo via GRACE

0 Comments

Del. Ken Plum: Afraid of an Unknown Future

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic on a zero-emissions sailboat to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit this week. Thunberg has a strong reputation as a climate activist having staged weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish Parliament resulting in a growing movement of youth climate activists holding their own protests in more than 100 cities worldwide. Having a young person speak about climate issues is appropriate considering the higher-level interest shown by young people over adults on climate-related concerns. After all, it is their future that is being discussed.

Results of a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll released last week found that young people include climate change among the issues they think are most important facing the country. Eighty-six percent of youth think that human activity is causing climate change. Of considerable concern is the finding that 57 percent of the youth polled said that climate change makes them feel afraid. It is their future, and they feel afraid of the future we adults are leaving them. The good news is that 54 percent feel motivated to do something about it.

But young people fortunately are not alone in being fearful of climate change and motivated to do something about it. The 2019 Virginia Climate Crisis Forum held at the First Baptist Church in Vienna attracted nearly 300 activists to focus on climate justice. The forum was moderated by William Barber, III, son of the famous Rev. Dr. William Barber II, and Karenna Gore, the eldest daughter of former Vice President Al Gore. Reflecting the broad interest in the issue, panelists included representatives of the Green New Deal of Virginia, People Demanding Action, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and others. Emphasis of the discussion was on working together to repair a damaged climate while ensuring that everyone most impacted–including low-income people, people of color, the vulnerable, and those on the front lines–are part of every solution and not disproportionally impacted.

Coming out of the Virginia Clean Energy Summit also held last week was an announcement by Governor Ralph Northam that the goal in Virginia is that by 2030, 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system will be powered by renewable energy resources and by 2050, 100 percent of Virginia’s electricity will be produced from carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and nuclear. In his Executive Order establishing the goals, the Governor expressed the concerns being heard from the young people and in the various meetings on the issue: “Climate change is an urgent and pressing challenge for Virginia. As recent storms, heat waves, and flooding events have reminded us, climate disruption poses potentially devastating risk to Virginia.” Reflecting the concern about economic justice, the Governor’s Executive Order stated that “These clean energy resources shall be deployed to maximize the economic and environmental benefit to under-served communities while mitigating any impact to those communities.”

Young people remind us that there are ample reasons to be afraid of an unknown future with climate change. The best response to that fear is to intensify the discussions such as have been going on while taking positive steps like that by the Governor to reverse impact on climate change.

File photo

 

0 Comments

Del. Ken Plum: Prekindergarten

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

When asked at a session at the National Conference of State Legislatures what is the most important thing the government should be doing today, the Honorable Robert “J.B.” Pritzker, the 43rd governor of Illinois, responded “preparing young children to be successful in kindergarten.” His answer was not surprising considering that he had written earlier in a publication of his Pritzker Foundation that “preparing young children to learn the first day they enter kindergarten is the single most important step we can take to ensure better K-12 education, healthier kids, lower poverty rates, increased wage-earning capacity, and a stronger, more competitive workforce.”

He is not a former educator turned politician. He is an extraordinary person, however. According to Wikipedia, he holds more private wealth than any other governor in U.S. history and is the second wealthiest U.S. politician to have ever held office, after Michael Bloomberg. Forbes estimates his personal worth at $3.2 billion including his interest along with his family in the Hyatt hotel chain.

Governor Pritzker along with his wife established The Pritzker Children’s Initiative which directs its investments on a single, attainable goal: that all at-risk infants and toddlers in the United States have access to high-quality early childhood development resources, increasing their likelihood of success in school and life. As the Governor explained further, “Early childhood development is an arena that’s long been overlooked by philanthropy and government. Even programs as large as Head Start cover a very small sliver of the population of at-risk kids. It’s an arena attractive for a private philanthropist like me because I see it as a terrific investment.”

There is an abundance of evidence to support the Governor’s conclusion, but government has been slow to invest in early education as he advocates. While Virginia has made some modest beginnings, there is much remaining to be done by state and local government. There are some hopeful signs. Last week Governor Ralph Northam announced release of an Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment and Draft Strategic Plan for public reviews and comment. Echoing the sentiments expressed by his counterpart in Illinois, Governor Northam said that “when children have access to quality, stable, affordable care during their earliest years they build the foundation they need for future success not only for themselves but for their communities.” I encourage everyone interested in this critically important issue to review the draft plan at vcef.org and to submit their comments on it to [email protected] by August 31, 2019. More information on the plan and an opportunity to discuss it is provided on August 14, 10:00 a.m. at the ACCA Child Development Center, 7200 Columbia Pike, Suite 2, Annandale, VA 22003. Sorry for the last minute notice that I just received.

The Virginia State Chamber of Commerce that has been a consistent supporter of early childhood education is teaming up with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation for a conference in Richmond on “Smart Beginnings for Virginia’s Workforce Pipeline” for legislators and thought leaders to explore a strong, public-private early childhood system in Virginia.

The evidence of the importance of earlier than kindergarten programs must not be ignored by politicians.

File photo 

0 Comments

Del. Ken Plum: The Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

In last week’s column I suggested that the record-breaking for brevity, 90-minute session of the General Assembly came about because of a dysfunctional House of Delegates and a lack of leadership by the Speaker of the House. Further evidence unfolding since I wrote that column strengthens my concern and adds to it the problem that in the Virginia House of Delegates the “fox is guarding the chicken coop.”

The Special Session of the General Assembly that was called by Governor Ralph Northam in response to increasing gun violence should have provided a forum for debate to determine a response by the legislature to keep the people of Virginia safe. Few sessions general or special have attracted as much public attention as this one with hundreds of advocates at the Capitol representing all sides of the issue.

One side got high-level special attention. Ordinary citizens and state-wide and national groups concerned about gun violence attended a rally at the Bell Tower in Capitol Square and spent the rest of the morning visiting legislative offices and milling about the street between the Pocahontas Building where legislative offices are and the State Capitol. The National Rifle Association (NRA) representatives were in the Speaker of the House of Delegates Conference Room picking up their red caps and tee shirts and no doubt getting reassurances that everything was going to be alright.

A website inviting NRA members to the event encouraged their attendance: “Governor Ralph Northam and his gun ban allies are ready to push their extreme anti-gun agenda when the General Assembly convenes its special session tomorrow–July 9th. Your NRA is calling on members and Second Amendment supporters to join in the fight against Gov. Northam’s misguided gun control proposals by coming to Richmond on July 9th to personally urge their elected officials to stand up for our rights and oppose the Northam gun ban agenda.”

The most astonishing part of the announcement came in the details of the event: “WHERE: Pocahontas Building, 6th Floor, House Conference Room.” That just happens to be the Conference Room of the Speaker of the House of Delegates!

On this topic the Speaker effectively relinquished any impartial role of conducting the business of the House and became the host for those opposing common-sense gun safety laws that according to dozens of public opinion polls are supported by an overwhelming majority of Virginians. It brings back memories of the time this same Speaker moved from his position as Speaker to take the floor of the House of Delegates to speak passionately against a women’s right to make decisions about her own reproductive health.

The announcement included some red meat to encourage participation: “Our members are concerned that Gov. Northam’s special session is a political stunt aimed at distracting from his scandals…”

With the cooperation of the Speaker of the House of Delegates we clearly have the fox guarding the chicken coop in Virginia.

0 Comments

DMV 2 Go to Reinstate Suspended Driver’s Licenses

Gov. Ralph Northam will be in Herndon tomorrow (Tuesday) to promote his successful move to reinstate driver’s licenses that were suspended for failure to pay court fines.

Northam’s initiative, which began on July 1, allow any Virginian whose driver’s license was suspended for failure to pay court fines and costs to have their driving privileges restored. Fees for reinstatement will also be waived.

DMV 2 GO, the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ mobile office, will set up shop at the Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street) to raise awareness about the policy from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

State elected officials will be also be on-site to deliver remarks.

The Virginia General Assembly passed Northam’s proposed budget amendment in April, a move that his office said would “help countless others by preventing future debt-related suspensions for the remaining duration of the state budget.

“All Virginians must have a fair opportunity to fulfill their obligations without losing their jobs, their ability to take care for their families, and their dignity,” Northam wrote in a statement.

The mobile offices will come to Herndon every third Thursday of the month.

File photo

0 Comments

New State Driving Laws Go Into Effect Today

Drivers who hold a cellphone while passing through a Virginia road work zone could face a $250 fine.

The law — which bars drivers from holding cellphones in work zones — goes into effect today (Monday).

Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill in April as part of a broad attempt to tackle distracted driving in the state. Currently, texting while driving is banned.

Northam is also cracking down on drivers who fail to slow down or move to the side of a road when police or firefighters pass by with flashing lights.

Additionally, children up to age eight must be secured in a child safety restraint that meets standards adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Children must remain in a rear-facing carseat until the age of two or until they reach the minimum weight requirement for a forward-facing child safety seat.

Failure to follow the new law, which also went into effect today, will be considered reckless driving.

Lawmakers also approved a move that would free up the ability to increase local housing stock.

The quick fix changes how jurisdictions in the state bargain with developers for proffers or development conditions.

File photo

0 Comments

Lake Anne Fellowship Redevelopment Awarded $700K in State Gap Funding

The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which has provided affordable housing for seniors in Reston fore more than 40 years, received a funding boost on Tuesday (June 5) .

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the project will receive $700,000 in state gap funding, one of 17 projects in the state to tap into $11.1 million in affordable and special needs housing loans.

In a release, the loans will create or maintain 1,283 affordable housing units in the state. Northam made the announcement at American Legion Post in Arlington.

Loans were awarded through a competitive process by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding streams for loans include a combination of state and federal sources.

The state selected proposals from 29 applications requesting a total of more than $21 million. Proposals were scored based on funding availability.

“Through this program, we are providing the necessary financing to preserve and create safe and sustainable housing for many low-to-moderate-income Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball in a statement.

Four other Northern Virginia projects received funding:

  • $1.3 Million for the Residences at North Hill Bond 94
  • $1 million for the Residences at North Hill Bond 47
  • $700,000 for The Arden
  • $700,000 for Virginia Square

The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which was approved in October last year, will preserve 240 apartments as affordable units for seniors for the next 30 years.

Approved plans call for replacing the existing apartments at Lake Anne Fellowship House with a modern building along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road.  The plan also include 36 market rate townhouses to help pay for the cost of senior housing.

The project is part of a partnership between Fellowship Square Foundation, which owns and operates Lake Anne House, and real estate developer Community Preservation and Development Corp.

Rendering via Fairfax County Government

0 Comments

Tuesday Morning Notes

Open chair — Want to run the Reston Association’s Fiscal Committee? The chair position is open and accepting applications. [Reston Association]

Northam appoints Reston man — Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced more appointments to his administration, which include Michael Rush, a Reston resident and senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads, to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. [Virginia Governor]

Great Falls historian and civic activist dies — “Kathleen J. Murphy brought her intellect and passion to initiatives that improved the community, friends said. Murphy, who died Jan. 2 at age 71, was president of the Great Falls Historical Society from 2011 to 2017 and was ‘absolutely dedicated to preserving the history of Great Falls, which is a very historical area,’ Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) said” at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting. [Inside NoVa]

Read to a therapy dog — Head to the Reston Regional Library this evening for kids to read to a therapy dog during 15-minute sessions. [Fairfax County]

0 Comments

Howell Breaks Reston Lawmakers’ Silence on ‘Horrible Week’ as Scandals Engulf Virginia

State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) is breaking the silence among Reston lawmakers about the recent developments in a series of scandals among state-elected officials.

Earlier this week, a racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page surfaced, prompting Reston-area lawmakers to join widespread calls from both sides of the aisle for Northam’s resignation.

Then, the man in line to replace Northam if he steps down, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, became mired in scandal after a woman came forward alleging Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004.

On Wednesday (Feb. 6), Attorney General Mark Herring, the third in line for the governor’s seat, admitted to wearing blackface while he was a student at the University of Virginia in 1980.

Yesterday, news reports revealed that Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City County) was a top editor of a 1968 Virginia Military Institute yearbook that included photos of people in blackface and racial slurs.

Howell called the recent news a “horrible week” in a newsletter she wrote to constituents today (Feb. 8).

While Howell previously urged Northam to step down, she stopped short of calling for the resignation of Herring, Fairfax and Norment in her newsletter.

Here is her message:

Greetings!

This has been the week from h— here in Richmond. All of us, regardless of party, are shocked and devastated by the recent revelations about our Richmond leaders. Ralph Northam, Mark Herring, Justin Fairfax, and Tommy Norment are men we have known and worked with for years. Worse, we have trusted them to lead our state. We are all trying to sort through what is true and what isn’t.

At the same time we are being surrounded and queried by press – most of whom know little about Virginia. They don’t know about our shameful racist past or about how hard we have been working to overcome it.

I saw raw racism in Virginia. In 1963 I was a 19 year old civil rights worker in Danville, trying to guarantee fair pay and voting rights for everyone. Tensions were high and skirmishes broke out between civil rights activists like me and local white youth. The day after I left, a police riot occurred – called “Bloody Monday”- where dozens of peaceful demonstrators were injured by police. Those were ugly times.

People of goodwill have been working tirelessly to help Virginia move beyond the disgraceful parts of our past. Progress has been slow but there has been progress. We recently have been viewed as a beacon of hope for the South. The revelations of the past week and the pain they have caused have been a major setback. Obviously we must work harder. A bandage cannot cover the pain.

I am hopeful that this can be a cleansing moment for our state. We must each search our souls and work to bring about reconciliation and healing. There is a role for each of us to do so. This is not a time to sit back.

Meanwhile, please be assured that we are working hard here in Richmond to do the people’s business. Just yesterday the Senate passed our budget – on time and balanced. We Senate Democrats worked closely with Senate Republicans to produce a budget we can be proud of.

Please feel free to write me about anything of concern to you. I read all the emails myself and respond to as many as humanly possible.

Best regards,

Sen. Janet Howell

P.S. I found this article to be very insightful and urge you to read it.

Photo courtesy of Janet Howell’s office

8 Comments

Del. Ken Plum: Week of Absurdities

This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

[Note: This column was written before the release of the photos from Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook.]

The 2019 session of the General Assembly has reached its mid-point, or crossover, when the two houses start to consider bills that have survived the other house. It also represents the final action on many bills giving an indication of what the ultimate legislation for the session is likely to be.

In the back of most legislators’ minds is the fact that when the legislature adjourns sine die (until another day) the election season will begin. The thought of going home to meet their voters motivates many votes. After all, that is the way it should be in a representative democracy. The results, however, create some absurdities.

Republicans appear to be planning to focus once again on abortion. Although Roe v. Wade — decided in 1973 — was supposed to set the rules for abortions, the debate still goes on. This week in a massive media campaign linked to fundraising, the opponents accused Gov. Ralph Northam, who is a pediatrician, and first-term Del. Kathy Tran, a mother of four (the youngest of whom she was nursing during the session last year), of favoring infanticide!

I witnessed the verbal ambush by some of the most skilled lawyers in the House who with some editing of the tape of their cross-examination of her created a false impression of her bill and what it did. Calling the episode absurd is a mild description; I think Gov. Northam came closer to an accurate description when he called it disgusting. (Read more at abortion restrictions bill.)

Thirty-seven states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. It is looking doubtful that Virginia will join that group this year. In floor speeches on the amendment, one of the women opposing the amendment said that she did not need “words on a piece of paper” to get what she wanted.

Bills that would have created an independent redistricting commission including my perennial bill have been defeated in the House. A bill introduced by the Speaker of the House that would create a commission to redistrict the legislature is far from independent in that it still has legislators picking their voters in order to protect incumbents and hold onto the majority. If the bill makes it through the legislature, it will be amended or vetoed by the governor.

It remains difficult for the majority to play fair especially when it holds control by such a slim sliver of power. A two-vote shift in both houses would put Democrats in charge of the legislature.

Major divisions continue to exist between the parties on finalizing the budget. Republicans favor a plan that continues the federal approach of giving tax breaks to those with the highest income. My bill to establish a partially refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was defeated. About half the states have used an EITC to help raise the income of working families. There is a slight possibility that Gov. Northam could get the EITC in a compromise budget as he is a strong proponent of it.

Several weeks remain for the legislature to work its will. Some good bills are passing that will be favorable to the people of the Commonwealth, and I will discuss these in future columns. With an election looming in the fall, we may still see more absurdities!

File photo

8 Comments

Reston-Area Lawmakers Join Calls for Northam to Resign After Racist Photo Surfaces

Reston-area lawmakers are calling for Gov. Ralph Northam’s resignation after a racist yearbook photo recently surfaced.

The photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook shows two people standing next to each other — one in blackface and the other person in a KKK costume.

Northam apologized on Friday (Feb. 1) for appearing in the “clearly racist and offensive” photo and the hurt it caused 35 years later, indicating that he plans to stay in office.

Then on Saturday, Northam said that he doesn’t think he is in the photo and suggested that it may have been placed on his yearbook page by mistake. He admitted to a separate incident where he darkened his skin for a costume, according to news reports.

Still, many politicians from both sides of the aisle say a resignation can help heal the pain caused by the photo and bring in a new leader who Virginians can trust — a sentiment backed by Reston and Herndon lawmakers (who are all Democrats).

State Sens. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) and Jennifer Boysko (D-33rd District) called on Northam to resign. Howell wrote the following to constituents:

The Ralph Northam I know is not a racist.  The Ralph Northam I know is a decent and kind man.  For the ten years I have known him, he has courageously tried to promote racial harmony in our Southern state.

However, if he is in the disgraceful, abhorrent photo, he must resign. This is a very sad time for our Commonwealth.

This horrible episode has ripped the scab off the festering wound of discrimination still in Virginia.  We must all examine our consciences to see what more we can do to bring healing and reconciliation to all Virginians.

Del. Ken Plum (D-36th District) said in a tweet that he agrees with the statements of the House Democratic Caucus, the Legislative Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic Caucus calling for Northam’s resignation.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th District), who represents Reston and Herndon, released a statement with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) on Saturday (Feb. 2) saying that “nothing we have heard since changes our view that his resignation is the only way forward for the Commonwealth.”

Connolly and Breyer said that the governor must step aside and “allow the process of healing to begin” under Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax.

“Virginia has a painful past where racism was too often not called out for its evil. The only way to overcome that history is to speak and act with absolute moral clarity,” the statement said.

Both of Virginia’s Democratic U.S. senators tweeted that they believe Northam should step down.

Despite the widespread condemnation, it remains unclear at this time whether Northam will resign or not. If he does, Fairfax would become the second African American governor in Virginia’s history.

Photo via @GovernorVA

 

29 Comments

Monday Morning Notes

Drawing class — Head to ArtSpace Herndon from 5-8 p.m. to develop artistic skills with pens, watercolors and pencils. [ArtSpace Herndon]

Photo of Reston lawmaker goes viral — A photo posted by photojournalist Tom Brenner of Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) quickly went viral on Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez responded that the photo makes it look like they are “in a road trip buddy comedy or something.” [Patch]

Data products partnership — Herndon-based SAP NS2 recently partnered with Google to bring integrated cloud computing and data products to the federal market — similar to the Herndon company’s partnership with Amazon Web Services last year. [Washington Technology]

Calls for governor to resign over racist photo — Democrats and Republicans are calling for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after a photo of two people — one wearing a KKK costume and another in blackface — surfaced from his medical school yearbook. “In a press conference held Saturday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he now does not believe he was in a racist picture in his 1984 medical yearbook and has no immediate plans to resign. Northam said that while he previously apologized, after further reflection he does not believe he is in the photo.” [ABC7]

3 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list