UPDATE 10:57 am – Question on industrial hemp. Northam agrees we should be able to grow hemp in Virginia but that’s a federal issue. My friend Brendan Lilly just messaged WTOP on Facebook, “WTOP is probably going to ask Northam about whether or not hotdogs are sandwiches before they talk about pipelines. What a joke.” So true!
UPDATE 10:55 am – Question on the proposed tuition raise at VCU. Basically, Northam said he’s concerned about this and wants to keep college affordable for all Virignians.
UPDATE 10:53 am – Northam talking about the GOP defeating all commonsense gun legislation, but that “this energy from youth is not going away.” Claims, laughably, that this is “not a partisan issue” and that Kirk Cox – who killed EVERY SINGLE GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION BILL – is working on this. WTF?
UPDATE 10:46 am – Question on Amazon and whether there should have been a more regional approach. Northam said he feels like Metro funding helps attract business to this area. Companies like Amazon really interested in workforce development. Thinks we have a good a chance as anybody to attract Amazon. It will be a “win-win” for the greater Washington area.
UPDATE 10:45 am – Question on “sanctuary cities” bill. Northam says that was “a solution looking for a problem,” “we don’t have sanctuary cities in Virginia.” “I don’t believe in political ploys…political games.”
UPDATE 10:42 am – Questions on more signs about the price of I-66 tolls. Always “tweaks that can be made.”
UPDATE 10:34 am – Caller asks about Medicaid expansion and specifically about people with disabilities on waiting lists for care. Northam says he talks to governors around the country and they are glad they have expanded Medicaid. Because we haven’t, we’ve given over $10 BILLION to other states, and “that is no way to run a business.” “It’s time to put the excuses aside…let’s do the right thing” for 400,000 Virginians.
UPDATE 10:33 am – Now talking about the V.A. for whatever reason, even though that’s a federal issue.
UPDATE 10:32 am – Northam now asked – only on FB Live, though – about the pipelines. Northam blatantly lies, claims we’re using the “strictest environmental regulations that have ever been used for projects in…Virginia; we’re using the law…and science.” He claims, also laughably, that he’ll continue working with DEQ and the Army Corps of Engineers. Says the easements have gone through the legal process, that what people up in trees are doing is unlawful. Says Red is asking for cigarettes, which makes him worry about her health. WTF? Also claims, again laughably, that environmental studies that need to have been done HAVE been done, that we’re in a “compliance phase” on the pipelines, “there’s an oversight process and we’re following that very closely.” Uh no! Bizarrely, WTOP asked this question only on the FB Live, NOT on the air, so probably 99% of people didn’t hear it! Un-be-friggin’-lievable.
UPDATE 10:23 am – Question on Metro funding. Northam said the current funding is “not the last word.” Taking away money from NVTA is not the right way to go. Funding formula “could be amended” through the budget or by “changing seats” like that of Del. Tim Hugo, who is not listening right now. Del. Hugo has not been “listening to the people,” and it’s very “irresponsible.” Del. Hugo is “way out of step” on this. Wow, Northam is just RIPPING Tim Hugo, and rightfully so! This could put transportation projects on the back burner for years to come…”there’s a finite amount of resources” (e.g, Rt. 1, Rt. 28 funding could be jeopardized).
UPDATE 10:15 am – Question on education vouchers and charter schools (barf). Northam says education is “very important to me.” Says we need to recruit/retain talented teachers; vouchers take money away from K-12 education, so “not a viable option right now.”
UPDATE 10:11 am – Northam said we are “going to have a budget,” but “time is of the essence” in part because of “our AAA bond rating.” “We cannot play with fire, we’ve got to get this done.” “There’s just no excuse.” “I think it’s all about politics…I hear one excuse after another.” House Republicans plus “a couple Republican Senators” are “on board.” We “need to listen” to voters. On the work requirement, Northam said “it’s a buzzword Republicans like to talk about,” but “let’s do it with a carrot and not a stick.” “Let’s not create more bureaucracy…let’s help people get back into the workforce, not penalize them.” “The last thing we want in Virginia…is a government shutdown, so that’s not going to happen.” The vast majority of Virginians favor expanding Medicaid. “Disappointing” Republicans are waiting to May 14.
UPDATE 10:09 am – On Medicaid expansion and the budget, Northam calls the delay “very disappointing,” said he’s going to stick to the “simpler we do this the better.” He said the “writing is on the wall” and encouraged the Senate to get it done. He said that Senate Republicans are “trying to run the clock out” and making excuses; “time to put the excuses aside.”
Ralph Northam on WTOP “Ask the Governor” right now – you can ask him questions at the WTOP Twitter feed, Facebook page or call 877-336-1035.