Both Democratic candidates ran a great race this primary season. Tom Perriello, brought an intellectual rigor and energy to Virginia politics that was sorely needed, and there is no doubt that his influence will be felt throughout the coming months. However, in the end, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam carried the day and RVA Mag is proud to endorse Northam in his bid for Governor.
While these pages have typically focused on arts and culture, given the uncertainty in these complex times we have a responsibility to extend our voice into areas that impact our city and Commonwealth. Therefore, this endorsement should not only be viewed as a recommendation for Northam, but a rejection of ideas and rhetoric that run contrary to the values of this publication.
As a publication that looks for innovative ways to tell stories and report on what is happening in Virginia, we pride ourselves on elevating under-represented voices in our print and digital media. We also believe that engaging in hard conversations and acknowledging unpleasant truths is the foundation of all progress, which Northam has demonstrated a willingness to do.
The decision to endorse Northam has also been measured against some of the following issues, which this publication also supports:
Support for LGBTQ:
People deserve to love who they choose and identify with who they are. The antagonism towards the LGBTQ community, specifically those who identify as transgender, no longer has any place in our political discourse. The values we share with the LGBTQ community as the publisher of GayRVA remain non-negotiable.
Criminal Justice Reform:
Virginia’s criminal justice system disproportionately impacts people of color at an alarming rate, along with sentencing laws that are extremely retributive. The failure to address these disparities has criminalized entire communities, destroyed families, and ruined countless lives. Reform of this system starts with the Governor and this publication has been deeply supportive of the ongoing restoration of felon rights. We also support the decriminalization of marijuana as part of the overall platform for criminal justice reform, a policy Northam champions.
Climate change is real and the science, research, and threat posed to the coastal regions of the Commonwealth can no longer be disputed. Investing in renewable energy as a means of reducing carbon output and diversifying the economy should become a priority for Virginia. This publication will continue to support the efforts of our Mayor and Governor in keeping Virginia in alignment with the Paris Accords to combat the very real effects of climate change.
Not expanding Medicaid and obstructing access to affordable healthcare due to political expediency lacks courage and is detrimental to the overall well-being of Virginia. Additionally, this publication supports the rights of women to interact with their healthcare provider without a moral agenda that prevents access to contraceptives and reproductive services. The assault on women’s healthcare remains the vestige of a bygone political era that no longer has a place in Virginia politics.
General Human Decency:
Northam has engaged with partners, editors, writers, interns, and various staff members at RVA Mag in a way that has been transparent and conscientious. While this might seem frivolous to some, in today’s political climate having an elected official that is willing to take the time to engage with alternative media and take the concerns of younger Virginians seriously has proven him worthy of an endorsement in our pages.
Virginia was the only southern state to not vote for President Trump and we are better off because of it. We have maintained a progressive pace that has been gradual, measured, and at a speed that has not broken down all avenues of cooperation within the General Assembly. Northam is the right person to maintain this political balance and protect us from the worst excesses of fringe conservative politics. While contentious issues like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline still exist internally for Democrats, we believe Northam will work with stakeholders to ensure that all voices, progressive and moderate alike, will have a say in the future of the Commonwealth.