Washington, DC – LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people, will be live tracking election night results for the 111 endorsed candidates it has on the ballot Tuesday night. Live updates on the state of the races will be made available at victoryfund.org/results2019 and will include an overview of how its endorsed LGBTQ candidates are faring nationwide.
Republicans currently control the House of Delegates by a 51-48 vote margin and the Virginia Senate by a 20-19 vote margin. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who is gay, told the Blade that Roem’s race is one of a few to watch as an indicator if Virginia is trending blue.
“Prince William will show if incumbents are holding well,” Ebbin said. “It is a bellwether county that turned over significantly in the last election with Democrats taking Republican-held seats, and we want to see if those gains have solidified there.”
More than $3.5 million in campaign cash has an Alexandria mailing address this election cycle, a spending spree that reflects the stakes this year’s election. Control of the House of Delegates and state Senate is at stake, and partisans on both sides are trying to influence the outcome.
It used to be that Jay Taylor smoked his first cigarette — a Marlboro Red — before getting out of bed in the morning. By the time most days were over, he would have smoked three packs.
Taylor worked at UNOS, which manages organ transplants, so he knew that smoking degraded his lungs, heart and other vital organs. But he couldn’t stop, until he was introduced to vaping.
“I approached it as a way to cut back,” he said. “Within 48 hours, I didn’t want a cigarette.”
The Virginia State Crime Commission heard familiar refrains during its six-hour meeting Tuesday, the second of two daylong gatherings to discuss gun policies.
In the few minutes they had to address the 13-member commission, gun rights advocates urged lawmakers to stop infringing upon law-abiding gun owners’ rights just because criminals violate the laws. They aimed to discredit Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposals, noting he’s acknowledged none of them would’ve prevented the mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
“I have an assault weapons ban bill that also deals with high-capacity magazines and silencers. And I will be allotted 180 seconds to present that important policy to Virginia, during what the Republicans promised would be a comprehensive study,” said Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria). “And 180 seconds shows how serious they are.”
“About 90 percent of Americans favored universal background checks, yet Republicans in the U.S. Congress continually obstruct,” said state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, a Democrat representing Alexandria, Va., who was in Nashville for the conference. “It’s up to the states to lead, and state legislators across this country are confronting this challenge.”
Mass shootings have become so common that even state lawmakers here admit they struggle to remember all of them. But solutions at the state level have largely fallen along party lines: Some Democrats talk about banning high-capacity magazines, raising the minimum age to buy a gun and “red-flag laws" that allow police to temporarily take away firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. Some Republicans, on the other hand, support arming teachers and putting guns in places of worship.
As that special legislative session to consider gun control measures loomed earlier this month, Ebbin spent several days prepping at the statehouse with advocacy groups such as March for Our Lives, and passed part of the opening day at a peace vigil alongside Governor Ralph Northam, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, and other politicians. Then, an hour and a half after the session began, Republican lawmakers abruptly adjourned the session, promising to reconvene after November’s elections. “The corporate gun lobby is a powerful force,” Ebbin says, “and I think we’re representing the majority of Virginians trying to push forward.”
Reeves sort of apologized to Ebbin: “I certainly meant no disrespect to him or anyone in the LGBTQ community,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Ebbin says the two have been in touch briefly since the comments surfaced. He’s saddened by the rift, but he says it makes fits the tone set by the current occupant of the White House. “As long as the current president is in office, Trump will divide people among Virginia just as he is across the country.” As an important election approaches, Ebbin says, “you never know what tactics Republicans will turn to next.”
As elected officials, it is our job to assess problems and solutions to protect the best interests of our constituents. In this case, this means taking immediate action on practical approaches to prevent gun violence. We can do this in a way that still allows Virginians to possess firearms whether for self-defense, hunting, or sport.
Yet, on the morning of July 9, 2019, with the eyes of the nation focused on Richmond, and hundreds of activists and advocates from across our Commonwealth gathered on the sloping lawn of Capitol Square, Virginia Republicans adjourned the special session in less than 90 minutes without any discussion, floor votes or committee consideration.
They summarily sent all gun violence prevention legislation to the Crime Commission for “study.” The General Assembly will not resume the special session or consider gun violence prevention legislation until after this November’s election — conveniently allowing the embattled majority to skip out on votes related to this important issue.
This was a callous and calculated attempt to silence the voices of Virginians.
A new bill in the Virginia General Assembly, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), would attempt to combat this issue by imposing a state tax on e-cigarettes. “Anything we can do to stop more young people from getting hooked is desirable,” said Ebbin. “Right now there’s no tax on e-cigarette products other than the sales tax. If you’re going to tax tobacco, there’s no reason you shouldn’t tax other tobacco products that have a profound health impact.”