Youngkin Vetoes 25 Bills, Including Nine of Sen. Ebbin’s Ten 2022 Bills That Passed

Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed 26 bills from the 2022 General Assembly session, including nine of the ten bills sponsored by Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) who helped lead efforts to block some Youngkin appointees. Youngkin also amended over 100 bills, including a bill introducing staggered elections at the Loudoun County School Board; Youngkin’s amendment would force all the members of the board to run for re-election this year.

“My goal as Governor is to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family and the bills I vetoed today reaffirm that commitment,” Youngkin said in a Monday evening announcement of the 25 newest vetoes. “I look forward to working together with members of the General Assembly in the future to ensure that we’re working for all Virginians. Together we can make the Commonwealth a place where businesses can prosper, students can thrive, and communities are safer.”

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Youngkin Resumes Rollout of Cabinet Picks

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is continuing his rollout of key administration announcements. On Monday, he announced that Youngkin campaign COO and Transition Director Jeff Goettman will be chief of staff. On Tuesday morning, he announced that Craig Crenshaw will be the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs of Virginia. On Tuesday evening, he announced that USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Matt Lohr will serve as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

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Landmark Democratic Initiative Virginia Clean Economy Act Under Fire From Republicans

The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) is one of the signature pieces of legislation Democrats passed during their control of Virginia’s General Assembly and the governor’s mansion. It set deadlines for utilities to be 100-percent carbon, set energy efficiency standards for utilities, declared that solar and wind are “in the public interest,” created a Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, and brought Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI,) a program where utilities have to bid for carbon dioxide emissions allowances.

The day after the act passed out of the House in February 2020, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) called Democrats’ actions including the VCEA historic, but warned that those bills would have far-reaching impacts, including higher energy prices for citizens and businesses.

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Rejuvenated Virginia GOP Prepares for Future Victories at 2021 Advance

In a weekend that was part play, part work, attendees at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance spent weekend networking and attending events including a Friday reception with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, breakout sessions, a congressional breakfast, a luncheon with Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, and a 1920s-themed gala and ball featuring Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears. The event was held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, which provided activities like the Cascades Gorge hike or a hayride. Moods were high as Republicans celebrated Virginia’s sudden-seeming return to swing state status, with more wins expected in future years.

“I encountered a relatively empty shell of an organization in August of 2020. But we have worked together, we have grown, we have expanded, we’ve answered the challenge,” RPV Chairman Rich Anderson said in remarks at the Saturday gala. “Virginia Republicans: we fought! We won! The Virginia GOP is red again.”

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Lt. Governor-Elect Winsome Sears Tells Virginia GOP Advance: ‘Democrats Get Four Years of Me, It’s Going to Be Fun’

In his speech at the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Advance, Glenn Youngkin got applause and cheers, but Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears also earned laughter with her Saturday keynote address that was part victory speech, part stand-up comedy routine aimed at Virginia’s Democrats and identity politics.

The crowd of RPV insiders at the gala erupted when she took aim at outgoing Governor Ralph Northam.

“So actually, I don’t know. They say that I’m a white supremacist. I’m going to try to figure out if I’m the one in the blackface or I’m the one in the sheet,” Sears said.

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Preparing to Take Power, Newly Elected Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces His Transition Team

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced his transition steering committee and advisors on Wednesday. The group includes Republican legislators, Republican Party of Virginia officials, and the three previous Republican governors of Virginia. Former Democratic Governor Doug Wilder is also on the list; he aimed several attacks at opponent former Governor Terry McAuliffe during the campaign without ever endorsing Youngkin. The list also includes Sentara Chief of Staff Aubrey Layne, who was a cabinet official to both Governor Ralph Northam and McAuliffe.

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Republicans Competitive to Retake Virginia House of Delegates Majority

Republicans have a good chance to retake the majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, powered by historically-Republican voters in swing districts who were alienated by former President Donald Trump. To win the majority, Republicans need to protect what they have and take six seats. They see opportunities in Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Virginia Beach, and downstate Virginia.

“We feel that with the environment that’s going on right now, we’ve got great opportunities to pick up five to nine seats to take over,” Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise) told The Virginia Star. “That’s one thing you don’t have any control of, but the environment, you know, of Biden and just the overreach by a lot of the Democrats’ bills last year has really focused the independents back our way.”

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Cook Political Report: Virginia Gubernatorial Race Is a Toss Up

Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe

Glenn Youngkin’s tightrope walk between suburban moderates and hard-right Republicans seems to be paying off — on Friday the Cook Political Report (CPR) announced a rating shift in the gubernatorial contest from Lean Democratic to Toss Up. That matches with polling from a variety of sources that show an increasingly close race.

“We can no longer say this is a contest where the Democrat has the advantage. While many of the fundamentals favor [Terry] McAuliffe — and we expect he still has a slight edge — it’s Youngkin who seems to have the enthusiasm on his side,” CPR reported.

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At Conference, Northam Says Virginia Is Ideal for Offshore Wind Industry

RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Ralph Northam and Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue announced that the Port of Virginia will lease 72 acres of the deep-water Portsmouth Marine Terminal for staging and pre-assembly of Dominion’s offshore wind project.

“This announcement is yet another milestone toward making Virginia the national leader in offshore wind power,” Northam said. “The Commonwealth and Dominion Energy are standing together to promote clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and build a new American industry on the East Coast of the United States.”

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Group of Southwestern Virginians Sues Redistricting Commission over Prison Population Counting

Based on population shifts reflected in 2020 Census Data, southwestern Virginia is likely to lose a House of Delegates district, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. On top of that, HB 1255, a 2020 bill passed by the General Assembly now requires incarcerated people to be counted at the address where they were living prior to their incarceration. That’s a problem for some districts with a significant number of prisons, including Senate District 38, where Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell) was recently elected. Hackworth is part of a group of Southwestern Virginians suing the Virginia Redistricting Commission, the State Board of Elections, and the Virginia Department of Elections to block the change in where incarcerated people are counted.

“Virginia prisons are typically located in rural districts with greater Republican voting strength, particularly in the Southside and Southwest regions of the Commonwealth in which Petitioners are voting permanent residents (and, in Petitioner Hackworth’s case, an elected state senator,)” court documents state, noting that incarcerated people do use local infrastructure.

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Candidates Line Up to Challenge Spanberger in Virginia Midterms

Taylor Keeney for Congress

Former Governor Bob McDonnell communications staffer Taylor Keeney is running for the GOP nomination in Virginia’s seventh congressional district. Keeney is the second GOP candidate to announce a campaign for the seat in July; Tina Ramirez announced her candidacy earlier in July.

“I’m tired of the same career politicians failing to flip the seat from blue back to red. That’s why I’m running for Congress,” Keeney said in an announcement video Wednesday.

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A Roundup: Over 50,000 Delegates Register for RPV Convention, Cox Tries Ranked-Choice Strategy, Youngkin Announces Law Enforcement Coalition

The Republican Party of Virginia has 53,524 delegates registered, as of Tuesday, to participate in the RPV unassembled convention at 39 locations on May 8. That’s an all-time record that speaks to party enthusiasm, according to RPV Chairman Rich Anderson’s remarks at a Tuesday debate. Anderson said the last time the RPV was this energized was in 2009 with Bob McDonnell leading the ticket.

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Virginia Leaders Mourn Sudden Passing of Dominion Energy Chairman and Philanthropist Tom Farrell

Tom Farrell

Dominion Energy Chairman and Virginia philanthropist Thomas F. “Tom” Farrell II has died, causing the Commonwealth of Virginia and it’s political leaders to mourn the loss of one of the most powerful businessmen in Virginia history. Farrell, age 66, passed away due to cancer on Friday, one day after relinquishing the Chairmanship of the company he had steered from 2007 to 2020. Mr. Farrell and his family have heavily influenced some of the most important business and political decisions in the Commonwealth.

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Northam Snubs Herring, Endorses Jones for Attorney General

Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) picked up a big endorsement in the race for Attorney General this week. Governor Ralph Northam chose to endorse Jones instead of incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, Northam’s former running mate.

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Virginia GOP Candidates Start to Collect Endorsements

As the 2021 campaigns accelerate, Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial candidates have started to pick up some big name endorsements, including from two former governors for Delegate Kirk Cox and from influential grassroots organizer Martha Boneta for Pete Snyder.

“Pete is the trusted, proven conservative that we need to battle career politicians in Richmond that failed us when we needed them most. I want all Republicans to support Pete for governor,” Boneta said in her endorsement Thursday.

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Virginia Delegate Jones Files Bill to Automatically Reinstate Felon Voting Rights

Attorney General candidate Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) has pre-filed a bill that would automatically reinstate felons’ voting rights after completion of their sentence. Governor Ralph Northam is also pushing for passage of the bill, HJ546.

“If you break the law in Virginia, you’ll be punished. But right now, part of the punishment follows you for the rest of your life—even after you’ve paid your debt to society. ” Northam said in his State of The Commonwealth address. “You lose your civil rights—like the right to vote—and you don’t get them back unless the governor acts to give them back.

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Republican Delegate Kirk Cox Launches His Candiacy for Virginia Governor

Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) announced his candidacy for Virginia governor on Tuesday. He has 30 years of experience as a Virginia delegate, including a stint as Speaker of the House.  He thinks his brand of conservatism and results is what Virginia is looking for.

“I do think I have a record,” Cox said, “but I also feel like we need to bring back civility and respect.”

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