Local Commentary

Senator Dick Saslaw’s Richmond Report

saslaw-fcnpIn less than two weeks, Virginians will have the opportunity to select the final two contenders for Governor as well as Lt. Governor. My choice is clear all the way to the general election in November — Ralph Northam. Dr. Northam has the experience and temperament for the office and deserves your support. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Since mid-April, I have been at a number of community meetings giving an update of what happened during the General Assembly. At each and every gathering people are quick to share their concerns over the appalling things happening across the Potomac River. I have been politically engaged for a good many years. As a result, I am confident in the democratic process and the checks and balances in our system of government.

Last November, while Virginians solidly voted for Hilary Clinton she did not prevail nationwide. The outcomes of that election surprised even the victor who had been calling the process “rigged.” As more facts come to light, that might have been Donald Trump’s most accurate statement. Less than six months into his term, most of us are dismayed by the lack of understanding, political know-how, and diplomacy normally demonstrated by the American President. Combine that with a historically-low approval rating and you have a pretty good idea that elections not only matter, they have consequences.

A quick assessment of huge staff vacancies, nepotism in the White House on a scale we have never seen before, false starts on advisors and policy initiatives, and reckless global rhetoric make it easy to identify the consequences. This daily evidence continues to keep the nation on edge and policy makers in turmoil. A dangerous emergence of governing by fiat through executive orders also gives me pause. It’s difficult to explain the necessity of governing through executive orders when there is a Republican majority in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives as well as an elected Republican in the White House.

Despite having the past seven years to do it, the House of Representatives leadership ramrod move to fulfill a campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act moved through its chamber by a mere four votes. Thankfully, the Senate will take its time to review or replace the TrumpCare bill entirely. With millions of American’s health care hanging in the balance, it should be thoughtful. Trump turning his back on hard-working families who must go into dire financial straights to pay for a prescription, obtain treatment for a critically ill child or a family member with a preexisting condition is mean spirited and as close to fraudulent speech as you can get.

Coming on the heels of the suspension of federal regulations on carbon emission, Governor McAuliffe issued an executive order to address climate change on May 16. A growing body of scientific evidence makes it hard to argue that climate change is not real. Reducing our carbon footprint in the Commonwealth is good public policy as well as an important step forward. Turning back the clock on the progress we have made is another consequence of the presidential election.

Northern Virginia is home to some 70,000 government employees. We are not strangers to what a recession can do to Virginia’s economy. Thus it’s unbelievable that the leader of the free world would actually encourage a government shutdown. Try making a mortgage payment, helping an elderly parent, or penning a check for a child’s tuition with that looming over your head. There is no place for reckless rhetoric when you are an elected official.

Returning to the primary election, Ralph Northam is the most thoughtful, compassionate and deliberate individual I have ever served with at the Capitol. A graduate of VMI, Eastern Medical School, a veteran with hands on experience serving in Iraq, a small businessman and a member of the state Senate – Ralph Northam checks off the most important boxes for earning your vote as Governor. You can start with supporting on June 13.
Ralph knows the process, the players, and how to get the job done in Richmond. There is a sharp distinction between Ralph’s proven leadership and all other candidates.


Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be emailed at district35@senate.virginia.gov.


  • Dick Saslaw

    Dick Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be emailed at district35@senate.virginia.gov.