by State Senator Dave Marsden (D-SD37)
Fellow Virginia Democrats,
While there are many wonderful candidates running to serve Virginia as Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, I believe now is the time that Democrats begin to focus strategically on how to maintain our majority control in Richmond. All of you know how important this is because we have heard from so many people who are thrilled with the progress we have made over the past two years. It is imperative that we continue our electoral success and I would suggest that we consider thinking in terms of a robust and unified ticket as opposed to our individual preferences.
Let me start at the top of the ticket with the Governor. Plain and simple, we need Terry McAuliffe. When the flood of federal dollars has washed through our system, we do not know where our economy will stand, including the status of our small businesses. Southwest and Southside Virginia need our urgent attention. Terry broke all the records with respect to bringing economic investment to our Commonwealth as he secured well over $20 billion to advance our future. He works all day and he works all night and candidly, I don’t know when Terry sleeps. His four years as our 72nd governor were restrained by a Republican-controlled legislature. Imagine what he can do with a Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
Terry’s history of criminal and social justice reform initiatives on behalf of all Virginians was significant. Terry knows this Commonwealth and can hit the ground running like no other candidate in this race. I believe the majority of Democrats are in favor of Virginia considering two consecutive terms for our governors, which would require a change to our constitution. A second term for Terry now is exactly what many of us have been asking for. He will get the job done.
Next up, Lieutenant Governor (LG) – we have a number of Democrats in the race who have served well, but have relatively short terms of service in the House of Delegates. The primary purpose of the LG is to take over as governor should something unfortunate ever prevent the sitting governor from continuing service. While I appreciate my legislative colleagues running for this office, we are unnecessarily putting a number of vulnerable House seats at risk when again, maintaining our legislative majorities should be a priority. Therefore, I am supporting Andria McClellan, a two-term City Councilwoman from Norfolk, Virginia’s second largest city, for the position of Lieutenant Governor.
On the Norfolk City Council, Andria represents 125,000 Virginians, the largest constituency of any LG candidate. Andria has led two small businesses; has worked on and led several nonprofits to address domestic violence, homelessness, and re-entry programs for returning citizens; and will bring the needed perspective of local government to Richmond. The duties of City Councilmember in Norfolk more closely resemble those duties of an executive like the governor. While proposing bills in the legislature is certainly important, City Council members have to solve everyday problems in real time. In Norfolk, they include budgeting, ensuring public safety, remedying disparate economic opportunity for minorities and low-income residents, as well as combating the threat of climate change in the form of sea-level rise along, with the myriad of day-to-day issues that must be resolved, not just debated. Andria is a graduate of Virginia public schools and the University of Virginia. Her background reminds me of that of Senator Tim Kaine, who started as a Richmond City Council Member and was later elected by his fellow Council Members to serve as Mayor of Richmond.
Arguably the most important attribute that Andria will bring to the race is the fact that she is not from Northern Virginia. Republicans have chosen their ticket and Glenn Youngkin appears to be a deep-pocketed candidate for the Republicans, with ties to Hampton Roads. Their Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General nominees are both from Tidewater, and their electoral strategy involves eking out a small win in the greater Hampton Roads area. With Andria hailing from Tidewater and being well known in a vast community, we can counter the Republican strength of geographic diversity down ticket [and remember… Andria will be Virginia’s first woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor]. We need to present regional balance to effectively represent every corner of the Commonwealth and to bring votes in for Terry, Andria and my next recommendation to you as part of this ticket, the current Attorney General (AG), Mark Herring.
Quite simply, Mark Herring is the best Attorney General in America. His track record is helping to lead change throughout the South, and he has reimagined Virginia in a way that I would have not thought possible a few years ago. Mark has a history in local government as a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, plus seven years of service in the State Senate and two enormously successful terms as our Attorney General, fighting for everything Democrats believe in… and doing so successfully. While his primary opponent could well be a future star and has been a great member of the House of Delegates, he has only served a short time and does not have the lengthy political and legal experience that would best serve us in the Attorney General’s office.
There will be any number of Blue Virginia readers who will disagree with this assessment, but I do ask that you consider it seriously. The only thing that matters in 2021 is for our Democratic ticket to prevail in November. In my view and in that of many of my colleagues who are remaining silent, this is a valid viewpoint. Let’s think strategically and elect this slate of statewide candidates.
In your service,
Virginia State Senator