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Video, Live Blog: Gov. Northam on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” Show; More Falsehoods On Energy/Climate Policy


See below for video of today’s “Ask the Governor” appearance by Gov. Northam on WTOP, as well as my comments/”live blog.” Also note that the show got going late today; normally starts at 10 am, but today started at 10:30 am.

  • On the proposed Rockwool plant expansion just across the border in Ranson, West Virginia, a caller says she’s concerned about the impacts on Loudoun County. Northam says “air quality is very important.” “This is a factory in west Virginia; air doesn’t abide by geographical boundaries.” “I have been working with our DEQ, they are very aware of this issue.” “It’s something that we are investigating” and will “deal with.”
  •  tweets: “On needle exchanges – Northam says efforts are underway to get some set up. Says “stigma is still out there….we need to get past that stigma”, these people may have taken path in their lives through no fault of their own”
  • On the opioid crisis, Northam says we have to do everything we can to prevent addiction. Says we need to come at this problem from all angles.
  • On Medicaid expansion, Northam says “we are on track” and he’s “confident we can do this the right way.” Of course, the federal government has to grant Virginia a waiver on the work requirement in Virginia’s version of Medicaid expansion.
  • On dealing with the Republicans’ “racial packing” of 11 gerrymandered House of Delegates districts, Northam says he called a special session to give Republicans the opportunity to “right this wrong.” Northam says Dems put a map on the table, Republicans criticized them for doing so. What we need in the end is a map that’s “fair” and “constitutional.” Also, “time is of the essence” with 2019 elections coming up…the sooner that we do this the better. “A map needs to be completed by October 30.”
  • On the 2018 elections and the importance of women’s votes and candidacies, Northam says they’re a “tremendous influence.” Voters are looking for leaders that “have a moral compass.” “The enthusiasm is still there” in Virginia in 2018, just like in 2017.
  • On Terry McAuliffe’s possible 2020 ambitions, Northam says he’s “very good friends” with McAuliffe, “I don’t know what his plans are after 2018…but…he did a great job for Virginia…especially financially…I think he’d be a good president if that’s something he chooses to do.”
  • On elections, WTOP’s Max Smith tweets, “Northam: When there’s high volume, elections system is stressed. Saw same thing in hurricane with ‘Know Your Zone’ evacuation map — need to beef up to be able to handle demand. Northam says need to keep systems up to date”
  • On Amazon, Northam says he’d very much like the company to come to the area, and that Virginia has put together a very competitive package on the table. The main thing, IMHO, is not lavishing taxpayer-funded corporate welfare on a wealthy private business.
  • Northam claims that Virginia has a plan to deal with climate change, which is simply not true, at least not a serious plan. Also, this is a flat-out lie by Gov. Northam: “Anything that we can do to move away from fossil fuels, we’re doing it as quickly as we can.” In fact, the two fracked natural gas pipelines that are being built, with Northam’s strong support, are the greenhouse gas equivalent of 45 (!) new coal-fired power plants. Aside from that, note that Virginia is pathetically weak compared to many other states when it comes to energy/enviro policy, including the absence of a mandatory, aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). So…yeah, what Northam said is simply false, and to the extent Northam understands what he’s saying (and I’m not sure he has a clue about energy/enviro issues…definitely NOT his strong suit, to put it mildly), it’s a flat-out lie.
  • Northam stands by his decision to order hurricane-related evacuations in the Hampton Roads area. Northam says, correctly, that “these storms are very, very unpredictable” and adds that he’s “pleased with the decision we made.” Thinks we “did a good job,” but will have a report “in a few weeks” to see what lessons were learned.


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