ICYMI: Richmond Free Press Endorses Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor

“In this critical election for Virginia’s future, we firmly be- lieve ... Hala S. Ayala for lieutenant governor ... is by far the strongest to lead Virginia for the next four years.”

In case you missed it, the Richmond Free Press Editorial Board has endorsed Delegate Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia over Winsome Sears and her running mates, who “would do little or nothing to help African-American families and people of color,” and “have expressed little concern about the health and safety of people of color in the pandemic by rejecting vaccination and mask mandates.” 

Richmond Free Press: Vote Democratic
By: Richmond Free Press Editorial Board

The Nov. 2 general election all boils down to this simple choice — whether the Commonwealth continues to move forward on a path to help boost the lives of all of its people or returns to the narrow, restrictive, exclusionary, racist, misogynistic and homophobic policies and practices that we have fought for decades to overcome.

In this critical election for Virginia’s future, we firmly be- lieve the Democratic team of Terry R. McAuliffe for governor, Hala S. Ayala for lieutenant governor and Mark R. Herring for attorney general is by far the strongest to lead Virginia for the next four years.

After careful consideration, we believe Mr. McAuliffe, Delegate Ayala and Attorney General Herring have the track records, the vision and the backbone to keep Virginia moving forward, unlike their Republican opponents.

We have listened throughout this campaign to the racially tinged rhetoric of the Republican candidates, who would do little or nothing to help African-American families and people of color if they were to be elected. Their interest lies more in banning from public classrooms books and lessons about the truth of America’s racist history throughout centuries of slavery as well as any meaningful understanding of how those racist laws, policies and practices have undergirded systems of inequality and discrimination in employment, housing, education and justice to the present.

They also have expressed little concern about the health and safety of people of color in the pandemic by rejecting vaccination and mask mandates. As the state health department data continues to show, African-Americans and Latinos across the state have been disproportionately impacted in terms of deaths and hospitalizations by COVID-19.

GOP candidates Glenn A. Youngkin, a Trump acolyte, and Jason S. Miyares have shown us where they stand. They care so little about African-American voters that they declined to even engage in an editorial board meeting with the Free Press to articulate their platforms for endorsement consideration. Only Winsome E. Sears, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor who is Black, participated in an editorial board meeting with the Free Press.

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Ms. Ayala and Mr. Herring would help Mr. McAuliffe’s progressive agenda come to fruition as lieutenant governor and attorney general.

In addition to backing Medicaid expansion, Ms. Ayala voted as a member of the House of Delegates to increase the state’s minimum wage, for tougher gun laws to reduce violence, to legalize marijuana use for adults and to extend eviction protections for renters facing financial hardship during the pandemic.

She also voted to repeal the death penalty in Virginia, a measure that was signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Northam, making Virginia the first Southern state to do so.

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This election is too important for Virginians — and Black Virginians, in particular — to sit out. We understand the fatigue voters are facing after the whiplash of four crazy years of President Trump and the emotional, financial and social toll of the continuing pandemic.

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Women’s health care and reproductive rights would be abridged under GOP control, along with possible attempts to roll back Virginia’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Any efforts to end qualified immunity for police officers who abuse, brutalize and kill people would die on the vine. Public money for education would be siphoned off to fund private and charter schools. And we wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP would try to put the Lee statue back up on Monument Avenue.

We can argue from now until the cows come home about who did what to whom and why, but the situation is this: If we don’t get ourselves together by Tuesday, Nov. 2, and vote, we will be in serious trouble if we wake up on Nov. 3 to find Baby Trump, aka Mr. Youngkin, will be the next occupant of the governor’s mansion.

We urge our readers to vote and to support Democrats Terry R. McAuliffe, Hala S. Ayala and Mark R. Herring.