While racial and sexual controversy has engulfed the entirety of Virginia’s Democrat-led executive branch, the Commonwealth still has business to do. At the half-way point during the 46-day session in Richmond, hundreds of bills are still being considered by the General Assembly, as well as work being done to complete a fiscally conservative budget.
Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) issued a statement on Wednesday reassuring Virginians that although “our diverse Commonwealth has been deeply shaken,” it nevertheless “remains economically vibrant, fiscally sound, safe and secure.”
“The last seven days have been tumultuous for our Commonwealth. The revelations against and admissions by the leaders of the executive branch are disturbing,” the speaker said.
To recap some of the events that occurred within the last week:
Governor Ralph Northam (D) reportedly appeared in a photo in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) yearbook either in blackface or in KKK robes. He first confirmed that he was in the photo – not saying which one – then backpedaled the day following at a very odd press conference, which included an attempt to “moonwalk” in front of reporters and his wife, Pam, telling him “inappropriate circumstances.”
Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) faces a sexual assault accusation from a woman at the 2004 DNC conference in Boston. Although Fairfax has continually denied the claims – suggesting supporters of embattled Governor Northam leaked the accusations – the Virginia Democratic Party released a statement saying that the allegations will be evaluated.
Attorney General Mark Herring (D) admitted to wearing blackface to look like a black rapper at a party at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1980. His admission came Wednesday morning after he previously called for Northam’s resignation for also appearing in racist photos.
“The allegations of sexual assault against Lt. Governor Fairfax are extremely serious. The Lt. Governor, the alleged victim, and Virginians all deserve a full airing of the facts,” Speaker Cox stated. “The belated admission from Attorney General Herring is shocking. He should adhere to the standard he has set for others or he loses credibility.”
Regardless, Cox added that “[t]hese current controversies will be resolved in due course.”
“In the meantime,” he continued, “we will continue our work on the budget and the hundreds of bills remaining before us. The General Assembly will steadily continue with the business of governing on behalf of Virginia’s 8.4 million citizens.”
“The people should be confident that our work continues unimpeded and that the Commonwealth’s 100,000 state employees also continue to serve without disruption,” the speaker explained. “Our diverse Commonwealth has been deeply shaken by these developments, but nonetheless remains economically vibrant, fiscally sound, safe and secure.”
In conclusion, Speaker Cox added, “We have weathered the storms of four centuries and will weather this one as well. We continue to pray for Virginia during this difficult time.”