|MCLEAN, VA — Terry for Virginia launched a new digital ad today, “Restoration of Rights,” running across Facebook and YouTube, which highlights Terry McAuliffe’s answer on restoration of rights during the first Democratic gubernatorial debate last night. As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry fought tirelessly to reverse a racist Jim Crow-era law that disenfranchised Virginians previously convicted of felonies, and he restored voting rights to more than 173,000 Virginians – more than any governor in American history.
Terry also shared Eric Branch’s personal story. In 2016, Eric stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Terry as he announced that, in spite of Republicans’ repeated legal action to try to stop his efforts, he would individually restore voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Eric joined Terry in Richmond during this first televised debate as one of his guests. In December, Eric also joined Terry in a virtual conversation about second chances alongside Lenny Singleton, who Terry pardoned as governor and has received national attention for the incredibly harsh nature of his sentence.
In the digital ad, Terry says, “As you all know, I restored the rights of 173,000 individuals who lost their right because they’ve been convicted of a felony. That was a hundred and fourteen year old Jim Crow racist law that I ended with the swipe of my pen. That’s just not a statistic. These are people’s lives. I have Eric Branch with me here tonight. Eric, a young man, made a mistake. For decades, he could not vote here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And you know what? I gave his voting rights back, and look at him today. He’s a fine upstanding citizen, and all he wanted to do was help his grandchild, have a say in her education. We need to lean in on all of these equity issues.”
In January, Terry released a bold Plan of Action for a Fairer Commonwealth to reform Virginia’s criminal justice system. As governor, Terry will work tirelessly to ensure the passage of the second resolution and its approval by voters during the first year of his administration in order to permanently codify the restoration of voting rights in Virginia’s constitution. Terry shared his vision on restoration on rights in a recent op-ed he penned for the Washington Post.
During his time as Virginia’s 72nd governor, Terry also transformed Virginia’s juvenile justice system, reduced the population of incarcerated youths by nearly two-thirds, and provided free transportation for families to support visitation. Terry also invested millions of dollars in re-entry programs, alternatives to incarceration, and mental health and substance use disorder services. Under Terry’s leadership, Virginia achieved the lowest recidivism rate in the nation for the first time at 23.4%.
Terry has proposed more than a dozen big, bold plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, reform our criminal justice system to create a more equitable Virginia, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricing, boldly confront the gun violence epidemic, make Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Healthcare (STEM-H) and computer science education, tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth and invest in Virginia’s workforce to create a more equitable post-COVID economy, ensure Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable health care, and tackle climate change and secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035 and Lift up Every Black Virginian.