Medicaid, Gun Violence at Top of Incoming Governor's Agenda

Jan 9, 2018


Virginia Gov.-elect, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, left looks to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, right, as they detail their legislative package at the Capitol in Richmond, Tuesday. Northam will be sworn in on Saturday.
Credit Steve Helber / AP


Democratic Governor-Elect Ralph Northam says expanding medicaid and reducing gun violence are at the top of his legislative agenda. He unveiled his priorities in Richmond Tuesday, along with current Governor Terry McAuliffe.


In a joint press conference, the incoming and outgoing Governors say they’re on the same page about what to throw their collective weight behind this legislative session. Policy proposals include a carbon trading plan, legislative protection for abortion rights, and no excuse absentee voting.

“The idea that folks are forced to go on a given Tuesday with long lines and many individuals, two three jobs, it makes it very difficult,” said McAuliffe. “We want everybody to be able to vote.”

Ralph Northam, McAuliffe’s replacement and a doctor, chose to highlight two agenda items: expanding access to health insurance for the poor, and reducing gun-related deaths.

“In Virginia our suicide rate from gun related accidents went up 21-percent over the last decade,” Northam said. “We support common sense gun legislation, we support responsible gun ownership.”

The two outlined additional priorities, including banning the personal use of campaign dollars, raising the felony larceny threshold to $1,000, and creating a student borrowers bill of rights.

Of the agenda as a whole, Northam says it’s nonpartisan and common sense.

“It is something that I think we will have support from both sides of the aisle,” he added.

Working across the aisle will be essential to passing any of the legislation. Both of Virginia’s legislative chambers have slim Republican majorities.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.