If any Virginian still has doubts about who to vote for, Donald Trump’s tweet last Thursday night should help you decide. Trump highlighted the dirty politics of his candidate Ed Gillespie. Trump tweeted, “Ralph Northam who is running for governor of Virginia is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs and sanctuary cities. Vote Ed Gillespie!” The fact is there are no sanctuary cities in Virginia. This is part of Republican dirty attacks and they will backfire because Virginians are too smart to fall for them.
Personally I would vote against anyone Donald Trump supports. But for Virginians the Democratic ticket of Northam, Fairfax and Herring makes the choice easy. All three are far and away superior candidates. If you support teachers and working to improve the education system; improving transportation options; clean air and water; and equal rights for all; you will vote Democratic across the board including electing a Democratic House of Delegates.
For Governor Ralph Northam. A man of principle; a man who grew up in Virginia and understands its people and politics. He is a progressive, supports a women’s right to choose, stands up for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and for the civil and human rights of all. He is a veteran and supports our troops. He is a physician having spent his adult life caring for people, young and old, from the Army Hospital to a children’s hospice. He understands why the Affordable Care Act is so important. He is a gun owner; grew up hunting but contrary to Republicans is not bought and paid for by the NRA. He understands the first words of the Second Amendment — “A well-regulated” — means the writers of the Constitution foresaw Congress regulating guns. Northam believes in common sense regulation; background checks, keeping military weapons like AK-47s out of the hands of civilians, banning “bump stocks” and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those on the no-fly list.
For Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. A progressive and a symbol of how you can succeed even if you aren’t born to privilege. He lived with his mom and three older siblings in inner-city Washington, D.C., in a neighborhood transformed from a close-knit middle-class community into one ravaged by a growing drug epidemic, increasing violence and dwindling economic opportunities. Fairfax learned early on how fragile the future can be, watching the lives of many friends and neighbors unravel in the face of unexpected challenges because they didn’t have the same strong network of support he had.
Fairfax’s mom put all four of her children through college and two through law school. Justin received scholarships to Duke University, where he graduated with a degree in public policy studies, and Columbia Law School, where he was selected for the Columbia Law Review. He was determined to re-pay his spiritual debt dedicating himself to public service to help others gain access to the kind of opportunities he had to pursue his American dream.
Fairfax has worked in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, developing a keen insight into solving the challenges facing Virginia families today. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and deputy coordinator of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. He is a small business owner with his wife, Dr. Cerina Fairfax, DDS, and understands the importance of strengthening and diversifying Virginia’s economy. Fairfax has the experience and drive to make a positive difference for all Virginians.
For Attorney General Mark Herring. This is an easy choice. Herring has been fighting for progressive causes and for the civil and human rights of all Virginians. Since the day he was sworn in, Herring has worked nonstop to defend the rights of Virginia taxpayers, seniors, veterans, and military families. He has won more than $100 million in debt relief and restitution for veterans and military families, and his best-in-the-nation Medicaid fraud unit has saved taxpayers more than $60 million.
Just 12 days into his term, Herring became the first attorney general to successfully argue that his state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples should be struck down, winning at the district court and appeals court before the U.S. Supreme Court let the decision stand, bringing marriage equality to the commonwealth within 10 months of his taking office.
He has won huge victories in courts for clean air and water including the Chesapeake Bay, for affordable health care and for the right of all Virginians to live and worship free from hate and discrimination.
He has his priorities right and has been working to keep our children safe fighting the heroin and opioid epidemics in Virginia. He has forged strong relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and has made additional public safety and law enforcement tools and resources available to Virginia communities. Herring is respected across the nation for standing up to racists, homophobes and sexists who would curtail the rights of African Americans and other minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and women.
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Virginia voters, Democrats, Independents and even Republicans can send a message to the rest of the nation. Americans will not bow to the far-right and will not accept discrimination of any kind. Americans will reject any candidate who refuses to stand up to Donald Trump who is taking our country backwards; making us look like fools in the eyes of the rest of the world. Virginians have always been leaders and they can prove that again by electing Northam, Fairfax and Herring.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.