Welcome to Tuesday! Check out the latest updates from Virginia politics below. (Don’t forget to subscribe to our full newsletter to receive all of the insider information as it breaks.

Youngkin announces investment in down-ballot races

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin announced a long-term, seven-figure commitment and fundraising effort with the goal of electing Republicans up and down the ballot across Virginia.  

Youngkin, the former Carlyle Group executive, along with his wife Suzanne and a number of conservative allies are teaming up to launch the Virginia Wins PAC, an operation “dedicated to restoring and renewing conservative leadership in the Commonwealth.” Youngkin’s advisor and gubernatorial campaign manager Garrison Coward will be the Executive Director.

“This is a huge investment in rebuilding the Republican Party in Virginia and fighting back against George Soros’ ideological agenda,” Youngkin said in the announcement.

Youngkin’s investment and fundraising will go towards building a team of local and statewide Republicans to “restore the Commonwealth,” and counter the “liberal agenda driven in Virginia by George Soros.” 

“Democrats have poured millions of dollars into transforming Virginia, and I can’t sit by and watch while the left runs wild in my home state,” Youngkin said. “Our party has failed to win statewide for over a decade, but I’m going to change that in November.”

The Virginia Public Access Project shows that Youngkin only donated $18,150 to Virginia candidates prior to 2021. His campaign provided an explanation for this in the announcement, stating that while he was a senior executive at The Carlyle Group, he was restricted from supporting Virginia’s statewide and local candidates due to his work on behalf of the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).

The Carlyle Group handles a large chunk of VRS funds, including the $1 billion VRS committed to them in October of 2020. 

But now that he is no longer running Carlyle, Youngkin says he plans to support Virginia candidates and is committed to ensuring that his campaign for governor will not be a “lonely victory.”

“When I’m governor, I will need a new crop of conservative leaders across Virginia working with me to get things done and make our Commonwealth the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” Youngkin said Tuesday. 

Delegate Cliff Hayes Endorses Sean Perryman (D) for Lt. Governor

Sean Perryman’s campaign for Lt. Governor of Virginia announced the endorsement of Delegate Cliff Hayes on Tuesday. Delegate Hayes represents the 77th House district, which includes the city of Chesapeake

“I’m proud to endorse Sean in his run for Lt. Governor,” said Delegate Hayes. “Sean is an expert in technology public policy and is committed to creating a modern Commonwealth where privacy is protected online. He’s backed up his expertise with years of experience fighting for equity and inclusion. I’m confident Sean has what it takes to help lead Virginia into an even better future.”

Jennifer Carroll Foy to appear in ‘Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words’ on Starz

The program airs Monday night at 9 p.m. on Starz.

“While this documentary does contain the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September, there are other voices as well. One of them is Jennifer Carroll Foy, who was able to attend Virginia Military Institute following the United States v. Virginia Supreme Court decision which led to the abolishment of the college’s male-only admissions policy.”

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Former Attorney General Mary Sue Terry Endorses Delegate Jay Jones for AG

Former Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, the first and only woman ever elected to statewide office in Virginia, is formally backing Delegate Jay Jones’ campaign for Attorney General.

“As our Commonwealth and our nation grapple with a long-overdue awakening on racism and inequality, we need leaders like Jay Jones who have a vision for transforming the Attorney General office to confront these challenges. That’s why I’m endorsing Jay Jones to be Virginia’s next Attorney General. I know from experience that Jay is accessible, a good listener and that he values what’s right over what’s politically expedient.”

National Air Traffic Controllers Association Endorses Terry McAuliffe for Virginia Governor

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) endorsed Terry McAuliffe for Governor. NATCA represents thousands of aviation safety professionals across the nation, including air traffic controllers, flight test pilots, and engineers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to aviation safety professionals, chief among those is the economic impact it has had on the transportation industry,” said Paul Rinaldi, President of NATCA. “It is crucial now more than ever for Virginians to have leaders who will create a stronger and more equitable post-COVID economy, protect workers, and lift working families up. We are proud to endorse Terry McAuliffe because he is the bold leader Virginia needs to create a more equitable post-COVID economy and invest in workers.”  

Jennifer Carroll Foy Releases Plan to Expand Broadband Access Across the Commonwealth

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy introduced a plan Tuesday to expand broadband access to every corner of Virginia. Her plan aims to ensure 97 percent of Virginians have access to high-speed internet by the end of her administration so that every Virginian has access to opportunity, no matter where they live in the Commonwealth. 

“I remember as a girl growing up in Petersburg, we couldn’t bring home books and materials for our school work, and this simply cut us off from opportunity,” said Del. Carroll Foy. “That’s exactly what this boils down to — a lack of access to the internet is a lack of access to opportunity. It’s being held back by no fault of your own. Access to the internet today means access to healthcare, better jobs, education, and so much more. As Governor, I pledge to expand rural broadband so no family is held back.” 

In particular, Carroll Foy’s plan would:

  • Target and streamline funding for broadband deployment in underserved communities through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative
  • Repeal roadblocks preventing municipal broadband authorities from reaching new regions
  • Prioritize and recruit local broadband providers and ensure large cable corporations don’t have an unfair leg up 
  • Launch a pilot program to subsidize high-speed internet access for Virginians eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
  • Improve broadband data maps which help the Commonwealth better target investments to communities and areas that need it 
  • Expand and fast track the completion of broadband infrastructure projects
  • Partner with school districts to tackle the homework gap to make sure children can access their education — at home and at school
  • Cover remote medical services for rural and underserved Virginians, expanding telehealth as outlined in her healthcare policy plan

OSIG turns over parole board records to Northam, who wants outside investigation – Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Patrick Wilson and Mark Bowes

At the governor’s demand, a state watchdog agency provided him with records related to the agency’s investigation of how the Virginia Parole Board handled the release of a man who killed a Richmond police officer in 1979.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s spokeswoman said Monday that the governor wants an outside investigation and will talk to lawmakers about next steps.

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Kim Melnyk (D) announces candidacy for the House of Delegates in Virginia’s 84th District

Virginia Beach School Board Vice-Chair Kim Melnyk announced her candidacy for the 84th District in the House of Delegates Tuesday. Glenn Davis (R) is the current delegate in this seat.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia families are hurting,” said Melnyk. “1 in 4 small businesses have closed throughout the Commonwealth. Students are struggling to close the learning gap and the cost of healthcare continues to rise in the midst of this global pandemic. We need more leaders in Richmond who will reach across the aisle to build consensus and make progress for our residents. I’m running for Delegate because I have the proven track record of delivering meaningful results for Virginia Beach on our School Board. As Delegate, I will continue to put the needs of my constituents first, prioritizing job growth, our public schools, and affordable healthcare for every Virginian.”

A Virginia Beach resident for more than 40 years, Melnyk is a product of Virginia Beach Public Schools, graduating from Brandon Middle School and Green Run High School. After graduating from college, Melnyk came back to Virginia Beach and taught 1st grade in Virginia Beach Public Schools for more than a decade.  Melnyk serves as Vice-Chair of the Virginia Beach School Board

Death penalty, marijuana, statues and taxes: 26 reasons why the General Assembly session mattered – Richmond Times-Dispatch

The General Assembly on Monday formally capped a COVID-19-complicated session that featured landmark action on issues ranging from the death penalty to future marijuana legalization.

Here are 26 reasons why the session mattered.

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House Republican Leadership Statement on Conclusion of the 2021 Legislative Session

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert, Caucus Chair Kathy Byron, and Caucus Whip Jay Leftwich issued the following statement upon the conclusion of the 2021 General Assembly Session:

“One of the most important issues facing Virginians over the past year was and continues to be the education of their children.  

“When schools were closed and various learning options were implemented, it was evident that virtual education was going to present numerous challenges for students, their parents and teachers. As the pandemic dragged on from ‘two weeks to stop the spread’ to an indefinite lockdown, it became clear that our kids were losing more than just extra-curricular activities. They were losing academic and social progress. Depression and anxiety became more prevalent. Kids who were thriving gave up on learning and began going through the motions.

“That’s why we’ve been fighting to get our kids help since last summer. We offered legislation and budget amendments time and time again to get parents the help they needed to make virtual learning work — tutoring, technology, assistance for learning “pods,” or even the curriculum to teach their children themselves.

“When it became clear that not only could schools open safely, but it was more dangerous to keep schools closed, Republicans fought hard to give parents a real choice — an immediate return to five-day a week, in person education, or virtual education if they weren’t ready to come back yet.”

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Virginia Restaurants Grapple with Plastic Foam Container Ban

By David Tran

Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. — From vermicelli bowls to crispy chicken, Pho Luca’s, a Vietnamese-owned Richmond restaurant, uses plastic foam containers to package takeout meals. That may soon change after the General Assembly recently passed a bill banning such packaging.

After negotiations on a Senate amendment, the House agreed in a 57-39 vote last week on an amendment to House Bill 1902, which bans nonprofits, local governments and schools from using polystyrene takeout containers. The Senate passed the amended bill in a 24-15 vote.

“We’re just leveling the playing field,” said Del. Betsy B. Carr, D-Richmond, about the amendment. “So not only do restaurants, but nonprofits and schools will be subject to this ban in 2025.”

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Virginia Legislators’ 2021 ‘Batting Averages’ – VPAP

The 2021 General Assembly passed nearly 57% of bills introduced. Check out the success rate for each legislator.

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