UPDATED 12:20 pm – I had a chance to speak for about 15 minutes with Jennifer Carroll Foy. I asked her how she decided to run for governor right now, as opposed to – for instance – running for LG or AG. Basically, she reiterated/elaborated on the points she made in her announcement, that she feels like COVID-19 “has exposed what was already beneath the surface,” that “the status quo just isn’t working,” and that she “understand[s] all of the challenges that Virginia families face, because I live it.” She reiterated her work on helping to pass Medicaid expansion, environmental protection, the ERA, getting Virginians back to work, protecting workers from COVID-19 (with PPE and paid sick days), vote-by-mail, etc. She argued that the governor “is in a unique position” to “help create policies that will move all Virginia forward and make sure no community is left behind.” She added, “I’m all-in running for governor.”
I asked her what experience/skillset someone should have to be a really effective governor of Virginia. Carroll Foy responded that she’s traveled through the Commonwealth, has “heard from everyday Virginians” and that they keep saying: a) they “need a champion”; and b) “they feel like their voices aren’t being heard”; and c) that their communities are “being left behind.” “Virginians need a leader who understands the challenges and obstacles that they face” and will tackle those with “smart policies.” She said we “need a principled leader right now who will “be bold,” and a “leader who is right for this moment who understands the problems Virginians are facing.” She added, “I will never take no for an answer…will always lead from the front.” She also argued that she’s been in Richmond “long enough to know that it’s not working as it should,” and that “special interests have a stronghold in Richmond stifling progress.” She promised to do “the people’s business in Richmond.”
I asked her if there was a particular governor in Virginia history who she admires or sees as a role model. She responded:
“Of course I would have to name Doug Wilder. Not only did he have a historic and monumental election, but he supported women being admitted to Virginia Military Institute…[and] tackled sex discrimination in a real way…I appreciate that, especially during that time when it was not widely acceptable for women to attend Virginia Military Institute. And as one of the first women to graduate, I now understand the significant of that in breaking down barriers and setting new trails…”
I asked her what she would do to change the fact that Virginia has been first for business but last for workers. She responded that she absolutely agrees that we should be BOTH the #1 state to do business, but also “ensure we’re the best state in the country to live, work and raise a family, and we do that by uplifting workers and working families…where people can get ahead…not force students to incure 100s of 1000s of dollars in debt.”
I asked her what blocks progress in Richmond and how we change that? She responded that there are “a lot of organizations or groups who are focused on their issues solely and not what’s best for Virginians,” that she supports campaign finance reform, that she was one of the first people to take the “Dominion pledge,” and that she would love to see Citizens United repealed.
She concluded that she’s “all-in running for governor,” that Virginia needs a principled leader who’s right for this moment,” that “pound for pound, policy for policy, I’ve been able to pass some of the most legislation in Richmond…the Equal Rights Amendment…expanding broadband to rural and southwest Virginia…increasing teacher salaries…collective bargaining for police officers, teachers and firefighters…will continue to fight for working families” and will be a “champion” for working families, to represent regular people’s interests in Richmond, and to ensure that “we all have an opportunity to thrive.”
See below for a press release from the Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor campaign, in which she formally announces her campaign. This follows her filing of paperwork back on April 7, but then COVID-19 intervened, presumably altering kickoff plans for Carroll Foy’s and others’ campaigns.
It will be interesting to see how this campaign plays out, given the pandemic and the intense focus on winning back the White House. My guess is that it won’t really get going until after November, when we’ll know who’s going to be in the White House, and presumably when former Gov. Terry McAuliffe will announce his own intentions. In the meantime, the only other Democratic candidate for governor listed on VPAP is Attorney General Mark Herring, but nobody seems to know what he’s going to end up doing (run for another term as AG? run for governor? not run for anything?). Other possible Democratic candidates include State Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, while on the Republican side, so far it’s just State Sen. Amanda Chase actively running…and with others presumably waiting to see who wins the White House.
As for Del. Carroll Foy, she was first elected in the Blue Wave election of 2017, then reelected 61%-39% in November 2019. According to VAPLAN’s 2020 scorecard, Carroll Foy is the 11th-most-progressive member of the Virginia House of Delegates. And, according to the Virginia Sierra Club’s just-released 2020 scorecard, Carroll Foy received a 100% score and an “A” rating. Other than that, the press release emphasizes that Carroll Foy “led Virginia’s effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, proudly supported the successful fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians, and successfully led the passage of a bill to bring better broadband to rural Virginia…[and] has been a champion for commonsense gun safety legislation and helped lead efforts to pass seven historic and comprehensive measures that will help stem violence and keep our families safe.”
JENNIFER CARROLL FOY ANNOUNCES HISTORIC CANDIDACY FOR VIRGINIA GOVERNOR
(Woodbridge, VA) — Today, Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy formally announced her bid for Governor of Virginia.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for all Virginians. This crisis has exposed what was just beneath the surface: in the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world, in one of the wealthiest states in the country, working families don’t have what they need to thrive. The status quo has left us with a deeply broken system where too many Virginians are working too hard for too little and can’t catch a break.
“Growing up, my family faced challenges — many of the same challenges Virginians face today. Back then, I was taught by my grandmother ‘if you have it, you have to give it.’ I’m ready to give my all to Virginians — that’s why I’m running for governor.
“I have a clear vision for how to move Virginia forward: one where healthcare is affordable for all. Where everyone has a good job that helps their family get ahead, instead of barely get by, and where we implement solutions to our infrastructure crisis. Where the criminal justice system is no longer broken and all Virginians are treated with dignity no matter what they look like or who they are.
“We can’t wait for problems to be solved — the time for action is now. It’s time we listened to those who haven’t been listened to before, and it’s time for fresh leadership. I’m ready to be the leader Virginia needs.”
During her time in the legislature, Carroll Foy led Virginia’s effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, proudly supported the successful fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians, and successfully led the passage of a bill to bring better broadband to rural Virginia. She has been a champion for commonsense gun safety legislation and helped lead efforts to pass seven historic and comprehensive measures that will help stem violence and keep our families safe. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carroll Foy has led the call for comprehensive paid sick leave, an increase in unemployment benefits, stronger support for public school teachers and students, a new vote by mail system for the November election, and more.
Carroll Foy has been an effective leader because she works with anyone, regardless of background or party affiliation, to tackle the problems Virginians face – a skill she learned at Virginia Military Institute. During her time in the General Assembly, she passed over 15 bills with broad bipartisan support, including bills to give veteran and women owned businesses more access to capital, to create career and technical education opportunities for Virginia students, and to expand broadband to rural Virginia.
Carroll Foy grew up in Petersburg, VA and was raised by her grandmother. Over the years, she watched her hometown of Petersburg decline, families like hers get sick, and the number of good jobs decline while the opioid and guns epidemics took over. Ever since, Carroll Foy has been dedicated to serving others. As one of the first women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, a foster mom at the age of 24, a magistrate judge, and public defender, she embodies the ideals of community, honor and commitment in every facet of her life. In 2017, she flipped a district from red to blue with 63% of the vote. She is ready to serve and solve the problems Virginia families have faced for too long.
If elected, Carroll Foy will be the first African-American woman to become governor in the United States.