Local Commentary

From the Front Row: Delegate Kaye Kory’s Richmond Report

Our new Democratic majority in the House of Delegates has been very effective at implementing the progressive agenda that Virginia Democrats support.

In office barely a year and a half, we have made great strides in dismantling many pieces of the Republican legislative platform which left many Virginians disadvantaged before the Covid-19 emergency, and seriously in health and economic distress after the ravages of the pandemic.

A brief summary of the Democratic majority’s work demonstrates the lasting impact we have had on our Commonwealth:

• Expanded voting rights — for example, Election Day is now a state holiday, no-excuse absentee voting is now the law, and mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day are counted.

• We are the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

• Restored reproductive rights — unnecessary restrictions on women’s reproductive health are abolished.

• Strengthened our workforce — access to collective bargaining for public employees, a multi-year path to raising the minimum wage to $15/hour; Covid-19 presumption for first responders.

• Enacted safeguards for our most vulnerable communities — expanded hate crime definition and reporting requirements, mandated cultural competency training, repealed racially discriminatory language in the Acts of the Assembly, including school segregation, housing discrimination, public transportation, medical care and public documents; reined-in predatory lending; outlawed discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, in housing, employment and education.

• Protected our environment — established the Environmental Justice Council, enacted a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and enabled localities to establish Green Banks.

• Moved forward with criminal justice reform — created a statewide crisis response team to work alongside with first responders handling criminal emergencies, strengthened citizen review boards, banned neck restraints, prohibited no-knock search warrants, removed the penalty for simple marijuana possession.

• Passed common sense gun violence prevention laws — implemented universal background checks; requires reporting of lost or stolen firearms, prevents children’s access to loaded firearms, granted local authority for firearm regulation, mandated strong protective orders.

• Covid-19 relief — prohibited price gouging in declared emergencies, created rent payment plan opportunities, established utility bill caps for households at 150 percent of poverty, enabled advancements in telehealth, invested in broadband expansion.

But we must maintain the Democratic majority, or all our progress will be lost. Let’s vote for success in the upcoming primary.

We know what our Commonwealth needs. We know how to win. Let’s keep on winning!