Excellent address this evening by Governor Ralph Northam to the 2018 Joint General Assembly (see below for video). What I found particularly striking was how, as Northam laid out progressive policy after progressive policy – Medicaid expansion, universal gun background checks, action on climate change (or even that it’s real!) and creating a clean energy economy, defending and expanding women’s access to reproductive health services, fighting discrimination of any kind, making it (much) easier to vote, helping create a level playing field by enhancing educational opportunities for all Virginians, raising the felony threshold, etc., etc. – Democrats (a diverse group, making up about half the chamber after last November’s amazing election night) stood and cheered, while Republicans (basically a bunch of older white males, making up the other/shrinking half of the chamber) sat on their…er, hands. It presented a stark, clear contrast, one that all Virginia voters should take into account the next time they have an opportunity to vote for (or against) these people.
I also found it striking that Gov. Northam – despite his repeated, stated preference for bipartisanship – directly called out Republicans for voting on partisan lines this morning to reject a bunch of legislation on guns and other issues. I hope to hear a lot more of that, especially given the fact that Republicans apparently have no intention of working with Democrats on anything, or on helping move Virginia forward. If they don’t, that’s their choice, but they all should have to answer for it in 2019.