Home Ralph Northam Video, Live Blog: Gov. Ralph Northam on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor”

Video, Live Blog: Gov. Ralph Northam on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” [UPDATED: Northam’s Comms Director Says Anti-Pipeline Folks “not acting in good faith”]


UPDATE 11:57 am – Holy crap, check out the following exchange on WTOP between Gov. Northam’s comms director Brian Coy and the WTOP folks. Note that it appears they didn’t know this was being broadcast to the public (whoops!). Coy basically tells the WTOP people that two questions on the pipelines was too much, just ask one. Coy adds, “Many of these people, they are not acting in good faith.” WTF? He seriously thinks that people like me who oppose the pipelines are not acting in good faith? Grrrrrrrrrrr. Also, seriously? People who OPPOSE the pipelines are NOT acting in “good faith,” but Dominion Energy and the Mountain Valley Pipeline people ARE??? Totally warped.

See below for video of Gov. Ralph Northam on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” shortly after 10 am this morning. I’ll live blog it underneath the video. We’ll see if they sneak in a pipelines question, like they did last month.

UPDATE 10:56 am – Question, finally, on the gas pipelines, with just 4 minutes left, so no real time for followups. “I’m very sympathetic to these individuals” (ha!). As expecdted, he’s spewing out the usual b.s. talking points – “the science,” “most rigorous” environmental enforcement, “land rates,” “these are federal/interstate projects,” “transparency,” “the law,” blah blah blah. And, as predicted, no followups to Northam’s boilerplate, and false, non-answers.

UPDATE 10:54 am – Question on Apple possibly coming to Northern Virginia. Northam says he’s “excited” about Apple and Amazon possibly coming to Virginia. “What I hear…the most important thing is workforce development.” “They’re also very interested in inclusivity…that we don’t discriminate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” “Congestion is an issue…transportation…infrastructure…whether it’s Apple or Amazon, we need to do these things…affordable housing is another big issue.”

UPDATE 10:53 am – Looks like WTOP is doing everything it can to protect Northam from answering tough questions about the pipelines. Pathetic.

UPDATE 10:48 am – Questions on medical marijuana for veterans, also veterans being pushed out of the housing market. Says we need to be open-minded about the use of cannabis as medicine.

UPDATE 10:47 am – Caller question on active duty service members deployed overseas have to pay state taxes. Northam says we want to have “our doors open for our military in Virginia,” make sure Virginia is the “most veteran-friendly state in the country.”

UPDATE 10:46 am – Caller question on K-12 STEM education. Northam says “we are tremendous advocates” for “STEAM-H,” that “these are the jobs of the 21st century.” “We have an all-out effort” on this, working with colleges and universities…”most importantly is early childhood education.” “We have a great Secretary of Education.”

UPDATE 10:44 am – Another caller question, this time on schools starting after Labor Day. Northam says the tourism industry wants school to start after Labor Day, that we’re going to think “outside the box,” consider “year-round education.”

UPDATE 10:43 am – Caller question on salary increases for teachers in Virginia. Northam says his wife is an educator and that he teaches too, that they’re big advocates for education. “Our current budget…if we can get it passed today has a 3% raise for teachers.” Teachers in Virginia making $9,200 less than the national average – “we have to pay them.”

UPDATE 10:37 am – Question on voters being placed in the wrong legislative district. “Integrity is of utmost importance…we want to know that every vote counts.” “We’ve brought in new management” at the Board of Elections. “It starts at the top and it starts with me…we’ve made changes…I think Virginians will see we’ve made some significant changes.”

UPDATE 10:36 am – Question on VA-10 Democratic candidate Jennifer Wexton, who Northam has endorsed, and corporate PAC money. Northam thinks we need “comprehensive finance reform,” but that we need “bilateral disarmament.”

UPDATE 10:34 am – Question on Rep. Tom Garrett and on the midterm elections. Northam sends his “best to Tom and his family.” Says it “does open up that seat” (wrong). “We have a great chance to pick up some Congressional seats.” Need to keep the enthusiasm up, strong coordinated campaign.

UPDATE 10:32 am – Question about the “G3 [education] initiative,” which Northam talked about CONSTANTLY during the 2017 campaign, but that we haven’t heard much about since then. Northam said this will be a second-year initiative, that it’s “something that we’re working on” and is “very excited” about it.

UPDATE 10:25 am – And another favorite topic/obsession of WTOP – tolls. Northam says we “desperately need to address I-81” but that “these projects are “very very expensive” and the “money doesn’t fall out of the skies,” so looking at tolling as an option.

UPDATE 10:24 am – And yet more on Metro. My god, how many times do you have to ask about the same topic? Lame.

UPDATE 10:22 am – Question on Metro maintenance, service. Northam says Metro is “vitally important to the economy” but “has some challenges.” “I think there are going to be some nuisances…but we need…to keep up with the maintenance…keep Metro safe.”

UPDATE 10:19 am – So far, no tough questions…all softballs and somewhat repetitive questions.

UPDATE 10:17 am – Question on Metro funding and losing transportation dollars for other projects. Northam says he certainly hopes that we’ll have adequate transportation funding in addition to the dedicated funding for Metro. The problem is taking money out of NVTA, but “some folks in the Republican House” defeated Northam’s amendment to restore that money…”it wasn’t a good direction.” “It absolutely will be” addressed in future years.

UPDATE 10:13 am: Question on whether the federal government reneges on its commitments. Northam says he doesn’t “buy into that argument.” (I couldn’t agree more; this is just assinine) On how ready the state is to implement Medicaid expansion, the answer is “January 2019…about six months from now we should be up and running.”

UPDATE 10:12 am – Question on work requirements as part of Medicaid expansion. Northam says the “simpler we can do this…will be easier.” “There’s been give and take on both sides.” “There is a work requirement clause in there…we don’t need to be penalizing people,” but should help people get back into the workforce.

UPDATE 10:05 am – First question of course about Medicaid expansion, given that the Senate is in session right now. Northam says “it’s been a long time coming” and that he is “hopeful” the Senate will act to expand health care in Virginia. “We’re going to watch closely.” “It’s time to put the excuses aside.” “I’m hopeful I’ll get it either today or tomorrow.” “There have been some tough negotiations.” Some of the Senate’s GOP leadership “have chosen not to be at the table.” “We’ve been fighting [for] this for five years.”

  • Henry Howell

    Is there a medal, or at least a merit badge, for listening to Ralph-Make-Me-Ralph for an hour?
    I wouldn’t have made Eagle Scout if that had been mandatory.

    • According to his comms director, people like us are “not acting in good faith.” Check out the video I just added, when they clearly didn’t think they were being broadcast by WTOP. Hahaha.

  • Cindy

    You know what was acting in good faith? Acting in good faith was canvassing and working every weekend in rain and hot and cold weather, knocking over a thousand doors for a DEMOCRATIC gubernatorial candidate who promised to be a steward of the environment, who promised that the pipelines would only be built if they could be built safely (spoiler alert: they aren’t), who said he would ask for a stream by stream assessment of the pipelines (spoiler alert: he hasn’t), who said he would meet with the affected Virginians (spoiler alert: he hasn’t). I took him at his word and worked hard IN GOOD FAITH to get him elected. Now what?

    • Definitely not helping him get RE-elected. 😉

      • VA 5th CD Dems

        He’s not eligible for re-election. Not for consecutive terms, anyway.

        • LOL, that was a snarky joke, hence the 😉 I’ve been covering Virginia politics since 2005, am well aware our governors can only serve one term. 🙂

          • VA 5th CD Dems

            We know. We mention it for the benefit of those not familiar with Virginia’s unusual 1-term limit. 🙂

          • It most certainly is “unusual,” that’s for sure! Also needs to go, as soon as Dems take back the General Assembly. So ridiculous.

        • Henry Howell

          Ever heard of Mills Godwin, elected Governor in ‘66 and ‘73?

          • VA 5th CD Dems

            Your point? If it’s that Northam could run again in 2025, you are correct. Godwin was the 60th and the 62nd Governor. Linwood Holton served as the 61st Governor in between Godwin’s non-consecutive terms.

    • A_Siegel

      After supporting Perriello in the primary, in good faith, I explained why I could vote in good conscience, in good faith, for Ralph Northam.

      I did not expect Ralph Northam to be a climate hawk, for him to truly ‘get’ what it is required, but I did expect at least a modicum of honest engagement on absolutely critical issues like the creation of the equivalent of 45 new coal fired power plants. That “good faith” expectation has been met.

      A ‘good faith’ honest evaluation of the pipelines would show that they are not just bad environmentally (both local (trees cut down, streams polluted, etc) and globally (fostering increased emissions) but also economically (as they will lock in costs for Virginians for decades to come that will hamper economic competitiveness; also, quite possible stranded assets that VA ratepayers will be stuck with paying for as natural gas gets priced out by clean energy AND carbon pricing comes in to help deal with climate impacts).


  • galatians 3 28

    Pipelines disrupt vast swaths of nature, jeopardize communities with pollution that lasts a long time, force down – rather than enhance – property values, provide little local good employment with advancement and growth potential, and it not likely the ‘highest and best usage’ of a county’s land.

    What else can we say all these things about?

    THE MEGA LANDFILLS in rural Virginia counties where VIRGINA and other URBAN ELITES ship off their filthy, nasty, stinking, toxic sh*t, garbage, trash, waste because they are such ‘White Supremacist’ ELITE SNOTS that they won’t keep and handle their filth in the city where they made it!

  • Jason

    Very disappointing comments from Brian Coy. Some of us have worked in Democratic politics and on environmental issues specifically for way too long to be disparaged as “not acting in good faith.”

  • Morris Meyer

    Dominion tries to double-charge ratepayers and pipeline activists are operating in good faith. @GovernorVA time to get a new communications director.

  • Henry Howell

    Brian and Ralph: Twiddledee and Twiddledum.
    They are good VMI cadets. BM changes the tire, and RN gives the orders, and they both get three hours credit..

  • Henry Howell

    When was the last time Ralph had an original thought? He hasn’t? He came out of the womb saying, “Tell me what to do.”
    It makes BM’s job easy.

  • Brendan

    I asked WTOP last time if there was any of this kind of discussion regarding the questions that would be asked and they deflected. Based on the casual manner by which the discussion occurred this time, easy to believe that this was a willfully dishonest reply. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e4413743f0486615f1ac9471afa2db4dda49b4dc57677dd8d6211968e2f9ad5b.png

    • WTOP wants to maintain its “access” – and to not “bark” at their guests, as Chuck Todd infamously said, to keep them coming back for more…