|MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released his bold new Lifting Black Virginians agenda, a comprehensive roadmap for how he will fight to create a more equitable Commonwealth. As governor, Terry will continue to defend civil rights, ensure equitable access to quality health care and a world-class education, and create opportunities for Black Virginians to build wealth by increasing access to homeownership and investing in Black-owned banks and businesses. He announced the plan at a Black-owned business in Richmond, where he was joined by his campaign co-chair Mayor Levar Stoney and criminal justice reform advocate and 2016 Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year Honoree Carol Adams. Adams and civil rights leader, former state senator, and first Black Mayor of Richmond Henry L. Marsh also endorsed Terry today, joining a broad and diverse coalition of more than 200 leaders, including more than 100 Black leaders, from across the Commonwealth who are supporting Terry for Virginia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated and deepened the inequities and impacts that systemic racism has had on generations of Black Virginians, from education to housing, criminal justice, health care, and more. As the next governor, Terry will work to ensure Virginia’s post-COVID recovery lifts up Black communities and creates equitable access to resources and opportunities. His bold new policy agenda was crafted in partnership with prominent Black Virginia leaders to develop solutions that will address systemic racism and create a more equitable present and future for Black communities in the Commonwealth. Terry for Virginia’s Lifting Black Virginians Policy Council includes: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, criminal justice reform advocate Carol Adams, and community leader Taikein Cooper.
As governor, Terry will work to tackle the systemic barriers that have kept Black Virginians from accumulating wealth for generations. According to recent data, Black Americans typically earn $1 million less than white Americans during their lifetimes, and white families have almost ten times the wealth of Black families. Terry will close this racial wealth gap by accelerating the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2024, supporting Black-owned banks and promoting diversity in financial fields, supporting minority-owned businesses, and combating mortgage lending discrimination to ensure Black Virginians can become homeowners. He will also work to ensure Black communities benefit from ownership opportunities in the Commonwealth’s newly legalized marijuana industry, and that state revenues are reinvested into communities that have been unfairly targeted by over-policing and over-criminalization for too long.
Terry will continue to build on his work as Virginia’s 72nd governor by taking a holistic approach to ending systemic racism and lifting the barriers that have disproportionately impacted Black Virginians in health care, energy policy, criminal justice reform, education, and more. As governor, Terry will build a health care system that is accessible and responsive to Black Virginians by lowering premiums, promoting health literacy, diversifying the health care workforce, and combating maternal mortality. He will fight for environmental justice, including promoting equitable land use, ensuring equitable access to green spaces, and diversifying Virginia’s clean energy workforce. And he will deliver equitable access to a world-class education for every Black student.
He will fight to protect and expand Virginians’ right to vote by spearheading registrar reform and ensuring that Virginia permanently enshrines the automatic restoration of voting rights in the constitution during his first year in office. Recent events have also demonstrated the continued need to increase police accountability and build better trust between communities and law enforcement. Terry will work to address this as governor by strengthening accountability and transparency in incidents of misconduct, increasing funding for community policing and police accountability initiatives, improving training and expanding body-worn camera programs. Terry will also work to improve identification, reporting and enforcement of hate crimes and protect LGBTQ+ Black Virginians.
“Since I started fighting for civil rights more than 70 years ago, Virginia has made important strides, but our work is far from done. We are at a crossroads as we rebuild from this pandemic, and we need a leader with the plans, vision and experience to act boldly and deliver a more equitable and just Virginia. That leader is Terry McAuliffe, and I know he is going to do an incredible job as our next governor,” said civil rights leader, former state senator, and first Black Mayor of Richmond Henry Marsh. “Just as he has done before, as our next governor I know he will invest in education to give all of our children a shot at a better future. He will support Black-owned businesses to help them recover from COVID-19, fight the systemic racism that keeps too many Black families from owning homes, and create critical opportunities for wealth generation. And Terry will always protect our civil rights, because he knows that the right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights we have as Virginians and as Americans.”
“COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives, and the future for our families and our children depends on how we approach the years ahead. As Terry says, we can’t tinker around the edges — now is the time to go big and be bold to secure a more equitable recovery that lifts up Black Virginians. That’s why I’m supporting him for governor and why I’m so proud to be part of his big and growing coalition of Virginia leaders,” said criminal justice reform advocate & 2016 Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year Honoree Carol Adams. “Terry has demonstrated his willingness to fight and deliver equity to underserved Black communities on issues that impact their livelihoods and life experiences. As governor he fought against a discriminatory system that has disenfranchised black Virginians for centuries. Terry was not discouraged by lawsuits lodged against him due to his efforts as a public servant to fight for equality for all residents of Virginia.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light what Black Virginians have known all along: systemic racism has been embedded in our health care, economy, education, criminal justice, and housing systems for far too long. Virginia needs a bold leader who is prepared to take action and deliver real solutions to the challenges Black Virginians face, and we are proud to have joined with Terry McAuliffe to develop this smart, aggressive plan,” said Terry for Virginia’s Lifting Black Virginians Policy Council. “Terry’s record of delivering results for Virginia’s communities of color is unmatched – he restored voting rights to 173,000 Virginians, made record investments in education, created good paying jobs, and fought tirelessly to expand access to health care. We look forward to continuing to work with Terry as our next governor, as he fights to ensure our COVID-19 recovery lifts up Black Virginians and creates equitable access to opportunity for all.”
“When we have inequities in our schools, in health care, in housing, that’s racism and we’ve got to fix it. That means ensuring children of color have access to a world-class education, making health care more affordable and accessible, and tackling the systemic discrimination that has prevented Black families from accessing homeownership and generating wealth for generations. I will use my power as Virginia’s next governor to remedy the wrongs of the past and build a more equitable future for all Virginians,” said Terry McAuliffe. “I am honored to have the support of so many incredible Black leaders in my campaign, including Henry Marsh and Carol Adams, and to have their insight and guidance on how we can build a more equitable Virginia. Together, we are going to fight to lift up Black communities and create a better, brighter future for all.”
Terry’s new policy agenda also builds on his strong track record of upending the status quo and fighting for a more equitable Virginia. As Virginia’s 72nd governor, Terry boldly reversed a racist Jim Crow law that was created to disenfranchise Black Virginians and restored voting rights to 173,000 Virginians — more than any governor in American history. He issued a record 227 pardons to right the wrongs of unjust and discriminatory sentences, reformed Virginia’s juvenile justice system, worked to improve police-community relations, and fought for millions of dollars of investments in mental health screenings and services to help keep Virginians out of the criminal justice system.
He made a record $1 billion investment in education, expanded pre-school to thousands of children, and thanks to his efforts, Virginia served 13 million more school meals. He also fought tirelessly against an extreme Republican legislature and laid the groundwork for Medicaid expansion by embedding $421.7 million in estimated savings from expansion into his outgoing budget. While Republicans refused to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Virginians in need, Terry still extended health care coverage for tens of thousands of Virginians and secured critical dental care for low-income pregnant women.
Since launching his campaign in December, Terry has released 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 setting an aggressive target to reach 100% clean energy by 2035.