Youngkin and McAuliffe release new plans; a new ad from Youngkin; House Republican candidate follows up after "Nazi" comment

The latest in Virginia politics

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Youngkin announces plans for how he would use billions in surplus & federal relief money

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin announced plans Thursday morning for how he would want to spend Virginia’s budget surplus and COVID-relief funding if elected governor. 

The surplus and federal money will total well over $5.5 billion when everything is finalized. That leaves Virginia leaders with a lot of extra money to allocate, which they plan to begin to do next week during a legislative special session. Youngkin wants to use that money for tax relief, promoting school choice, reinvigorating job creation, and retention bonuses for police officers. 

Speaking from the campus of Virginia Union University, Youngkin began by stating that he wants to provide $1.5 billion in tax relief to Virginians. “Taxes and fees have increased at two times the rate of GDP growth,” Youngkin said during the press conference. “The state government keeps grabbing more of the pot from individual taxpayers and families.”  

Youngkin also talked in-depth about providing parents with more educational options for their children. “The best means to economic development in Virginia is an educated child,” Youngkin said. “I believe when you give parents choice, you give children a chance.” Youngkin then discussed creating 20 new innovation schools in failing districts and providing parents with a $500 refund for each student to help them catch up from lost education time during the pandemic.  

Youngkin then addressed the economy and said that he has a vision for Virginia where it will be the leading state for job creation. One of the steps that he wants to take to try and achieve that goal is protecting employees and small businesses from payroll tax increases by fully funding the deficit of the Virginia Unemployment Insurance fund. “Otherwise it will be disastrous to all small businesses and jobs,” he said. 

Youngkin also wants to provide a tax holiday for small businesses that have less than 50 employees. “When the hard left looks at jobs, they see tax revenue. I see income for families and opportunities for Virginians. We have to stop piling up more taxes on the job machine,” he said. 

A common talking point from both parties, Youngkin pledged to invest in rural broadband and said that Governor Northam and McAuliffe haven’t done enough in that area. Northam recently announced a $700 billion plan to reach universal broadband access in Virginia. 

Youngkin didn’t finish without showing support for law enforcement. He said he wants to use some of the extra money to provide a $5000 retention bonus for law enforcement officers over the next three years. 

“This is a moment for transformational investment,” Youngkin said. “Make no mistake, with a Youngkin administration, this is the Virginia that you can expect. When I am governor, we will get things done.” 

The campaign for Youngkin’s opponent Terry McAuliffe responded to the new proposals. “All of Glenn Youngkin’s ‘plans’ have one thing in common: they would decimate funding for public schools and put Virginia’s economy squarely in the ditch Glenn loves to talk about,” said Christina Freundlich, a spokesperson for McAuliffe. “His Trumpian tax plan would blow a massive hole in our budget and lead to drastic cuts to public education and police. He’s called billions in funding for Virginia schools from the American Rescue Plan ‘unnecessary.’ And his latest ‘plan’ focuses on a scheme to siphon even more funding away from public schools. Unlike Glenn, Terry McAuliffe has laid out clear plans to move Virginia forward.” 

The Virginia General Assembly will be meeting on Aug. 2 to figure out how to spend most of this money, but the next governor will be in charge of implementing a new biennial budget that will have a surplus of at least $1 billion after rainy-day funds are taken out.

Listen to Youngkin's comments


McAuliffe announces agriculture and forestry plan

According to an announcement from the Terry McAuliffe gubernatorial campaign, he will try and provide a boost to Virginia’s agriculture and forestry industries by expanding domestic and international markets for Virginia products and creating new opportunities for small businesses. 

“Agriculture and forestry are the backbone of Virginia’s thriving economy, but they need the Commonwealth’s support as we continue to rebuild a stronger post-COVID economy and move Virginia forward,” said Terry McAuliffe. “As governor, I will make sure Virginia leads the way in agricultural innovation by expanding training partnerships with community colleges and institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, creating new markets for Virginia-grown agricultural products, and expanding broadband access to every Virginian. It’s time to take Virginia agriculture and forestry to the next level, and together we will get it done.”

The announcement from McAuliffe’s campaign also said that this plan would provide more support for small businesses in agriculture by creating new family farms, growing access to local foods, expanding the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and fully funding the Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost Share Program, which helps farmers transition toward more sustainable farming, before the end of his term.

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Youngkin Launches New Digital Ad

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House Republican candidate faces backlash over “Nazi” comment

Democratic Party of Virginia spokesperson Grant Fox condemned the video in a press release Thursday morning. “Minimizing the Holocaust is inexcusable, and Perry’s antisemitic comments have sadly become the norm for Virginia Republicans,” Fox said.

Perry issued a statement after the video started circulating on social media.

“It was never my intention to be disrespectful,” she said. “I wish I could go back and express what I said differently, to more accurately convey the fear and intimidation I and many of my fellow teachers have felt in the face of the political activists calling us racists and saying they wish we were dead. Even though one of my grandparents was Jewish, I was called a Nazi just because I don’t agree with the far-left agenda invading our schools. We need to stop the ugly politics and bring people together, that’s always what I aim to do because that’s what is best for students.”

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Northam Announces $111 Million Investment to Make College More Affordable for Virginians

Governor Northam announced plans Thursday to use $111 million in American Rescue Plan funding to increase access to financial aid for low- and moderate-income undergraduate students. The proposal designates $100 million for public higher education institutions through the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, and $11 million for private institutions eligible for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program.

“The economic uncertainty of this pandemic has led many to question whether a college degree was still an affordable reality,” said Governor Northam. “Our Administration has worked hard to make higher education accessible to every Virginian, and this targeted investment represents a significant stride towards that goal. Increasing access to financial aid will help create more equitable pathways to opportunity and put a world-class education within reach of even more students.”

Governor Northam has been announcing the plans all week of how he and his administration intend to use the $4.3 billion in federal COVID-relief money.

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ICYMI: House District 66 will have new representation for the first time in over three decades

Colonial Heights, Va – With the retirement of Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) from the House of Delegates, the race to fill his seat is heating up. Either Mike Cherry (R-Colonial Heights) or Katie Sponsler (D-Colonial Heights) will be the next representative for the people of Colonial Heights and part of Chesterfield.

Cherry and Sponsler have similar professional backgrounds. Both served in the Air Force, Cherry works as a chaplain for the local police department and Sponsler was a police officer for the federal government. 

After retiring from the Air Force in 2011, Cherry became a full-time pastor and eventually began running a Christian Pre-K-12 school called Christian Life Academy in Chesterfield and Colonial Heights. He was also elected to serve on the Colonial Heights City Council in 2016 and won his re-election bid in 2020. “I have won elections within the district that encompasses the 66,” Cherry said in an interview.  “I think I am very qualified and ready to run to take Kirk Cox’s seat and to represent this district well.”

Now a mother with two children on the spectrum, Sponsler first spent her time after the Air Force as a park ranger for the National Park Service before becoming involved with political activism. “I have spent most of my adult life fighting to make sure those values reflected in what I have done for a living are protected in legislation and law,” Sponsler said in an interview. “It was a natural progression for me to start running for office and getting involved with politics.” 

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Anemic start for Virginia’s campaign finance study could delay final report - Virginia Mercury

by Graham Moomaw

As both political parties flood supporters with desperate-sounding pleas for money to win the 2021 elections, an effort to study campaign finance reform in Virginia is off to a decidedly less urgent start.

A joint General Assembly subcommittee approved in February to study whether Virginia needs stricter laws on money in politics still hasn’t held its first meeting.

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Defamation lawsuit filed by state Sen. Lucas against VB attorney Tim Anderson dismissed - WAVY 10

by Brian ReeseRegina Mobley

A $20.7 million defamation lawsuit filed by state Sen. Louise Lucas against Virginia Beach attorney and House of Delegates candidate Tim Anderson has been dismissed.

In the suit, Lucas alleged that Anderson “knew … information he stated involving Lucas’ involvement in Portsmouth’s Confederate monument controversy was untrue at the time he stated it…” and that “these words harmed Senator Lucas’ reputation, by lowering her in the community’s estimation…”

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Democrats build case for Annette Hyde in Virginia's 30th House District - Culpeper Star-Exponent

by Clint Schemmer

Virginia’s Election Day 2021 is four months away, but partisans’ intensity and enthusiasm is building.

That was plain in the Culpeper area this past weekend as Democrats gathered to hear from elected leaders and candidates during a three-county fundraiser for Annette Hyde, who is challenging Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, for his 30th District seat.

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