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Last Wednesday marked Governor Terry McAuliffe’s final State of the Commonwealth,and Monday was Governor Ralph Northam’s first. Those addresses bookended theInauguration of Dr. Northam as our 73rd Governor. I’ve been fortunate to attend the ceremonies

of all five of the governors I’ve served with, and participating in this process, fundamental todemocracy, inspires a deepened appreciation of our Commonwealth’s history and the greathonor to be a part of it. Despite the cold and even a few snowflakes, I greatly enjoyedwitnessing, once again, the peaceful transfer of power. Reflecting on the outgoing and incomingremarks from Governors McAuliffe and Northam, I was moved by two optimistic visions for thefuture: the belief in second chances and a call for hope.

In his Inaugural Address, Governor Northam acknowledged our Commonwealth’scomplicated heritage: Virginia helped set the stage for the American Revolution when PatrickHenry, our first elected Governor, cried “Give me liberty or give me death”

while only half amile away one of the largest slave markets in America was growing. Governor Northam saidthat as Virginians we have a “responsibility to shape the future to leave this place better thanwe found it.” He called on us all to rise above the shouting and the shallow tweets fromWashington and once again lead the way. With the party breakdown in both chambers nearly

tied, Dr. Northam’s Inaugural message must be realized: “If we work together today, tomorrowwill be better for all of the Virginians who have placed their trust in us.”

We welcomed nineteen new members to the House of Delegates fifteen Democratsand four Republicans. The freshman Democratic class is as diverse as the Commonwealthitself. These talented and promising new Delegates are majority female and include Millennials,a VMI alumna, two Latinas, the first Asian American woman,
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a former news anchor, the first outlesbian, and the first openly transgender legislator in the United States. Our LGBT caucus nowproudly includes five members. Other signs of progress include Governor Northam’s majority female Cabinet, and our new Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, who became only the second African

I’ve introduced 23 bills so far and intend to file up to seven more. Eight are on the topicof election reform, including no excuse absentee voting (SB 602), which will be heard by theSenate Privileges and Elections Committee where I serve as a member. On the subject of gunviolence prevention, I’ve introduced a bill to prohibit carrying loaded firearms while intoxicated(SB 2), universal background checks (SB 5), and a ban on bump stocks (SB 1). The urgency ofbanning bump stocks was further underscored by the brave testimony of Courtney Carroll, asurvivor of the Las Vegas tragedy who lives in Richmond. I’m continuing my fight to

decriminalize marijuana, this year with bipartisan support. Other topics I’m also pursuing includepreventing sexual abuse of public and private school students; allowing a governor to serve twoconsecutive terms; and establishing an office to assist immigrant service organizations. I intendto co patron a range of legislation including funding for Metro, redistricting reform, and a repealof the misguided rate freeze that has provided millions in over earnings for Dominion Power. Ialso look forward to assisting our new Governor’s efforts to expand and strengthen the NewVirginia Economy as we develop our new two year budget.
doc martens size 3 A New Governor