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Virginia Voters’ Choice: Forward with Voting Rights Champ for Governor or Backward With Team Trump

Sound familiar? On one issue after another, voters can contrast Youngkin’s unproven claims with McAuliffe’s proven record.

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A young black man with his I voted sticker after voting in an election./iStock

Virginia’s voters will pick the state’s next governor in November. The choice couldn’t be clearer and neither could the national implications of this race in a bellwether state.  Not only is the Virginia election a curtain-raiser for the midterm elections of 2022, it’s also the biggest test so far of whether the Trumpified GOP can win major races.

The Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, had a successful term as governor. The Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, is a super-wealthy businessman trying to buy his way into power.

Sound familiar? On one issue after another, voters can contrast Youngkin’s unproven claims with McAuliffe’s proven record.

Take voting rights. During his 2014-2018 term, McAuliffe overcame Republican resistance and Jim Crow-era voting laws to restore voting rights to 173,000 Virginians.

What about Youngkin? He refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s victory for months—until after he won the GOP nomination—and has helped promote false right-wing claims about voter fraud that are being used by Republican legislators to justify restrictive voting laws around the country.

Just last month, Youngkin spoke at an “election integrity” rally organized by a Trump supporter who was outside the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. No wonder Trump has so enthusiastically endorsed Youngkin.

Youngkin promotes himself as if Virginia needs him as some kind of savior to pull the state out of the “ditch” he claims it is in. The Washington Post’s editorial board said Youngkin’s claim is “flatly contradicted by a tsunami of evidence to the contrary.” That sounds like a polite way of saying Youngkin is lying. The state has a budget surplus, lower-than-average unemployment, and a AAA bond rating. This summer CNBC declared Virginia the top state in the country for business.

The real danger of the state dropping into a ditch comes from Youngkin himself. His desire to abolish the state’s income tax would slash the state’s ability to provide services to its residents.

When McAuliffe was governor, he was so successful at attracting economic development and generating new jobs that he was named “Public Official of the Year” by “Governing” magazine in 2017.

The magazine honored McAuliffe “based on his success navigating an opposition Legislature, creating new jobs, and persevering in restoring the civil rights of more than 168,000 Virginians.” McAuliffe credited his team for helping him “build a stronger, more inclusive Virginia.”

In his previous term as governor, McAuliffe also oversaw record spending on education and created the country’s first workforce training program to help people without a college education get access to jobs in high demand. He is pledging to build on that track record by raising teacher pay above the national average, expanding access to preschool, and getting all students online.

Meanwhile, Youngkin’s search for ways to fire up right-wing voters has led him down another divisive road paved by Trump. Youngkin has joined Trump, Fox News, and right-wing activists who are trying to stop schools from having honest conversations about racism in our history, culture, and institutions. They’re hoping to inflame conservative white voters to drive up turnout, and Youngkin has made it the centerpiece of his campaign.

His dishonest comments about Virginia schools show us that he will say or do anything to get into power, no matter how much damage he does along the way.  Youngkin fails another test that is of vital importance to Virginians’ health and economic future: dealing responsibly with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youngkin opposes vaccine mandates and doesn’t think schools should require students to wear masks. He said he would follow the lead of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whose irresponsible policies have encouraged an upsurge in hospitalizations and deaths. McAuliffe knows that you can’t rebuild the economy if the pandemic is allowed to ravage the workforce and disrupt our lives and jobs.

Virginia voters rejected Donald Trump twice and I believe they will reject Trump’s pick for governor. McAuliffe, whose successful record as governor reflects his commitment to a Virginia that works better for everyone, deserves Virginians’ votes, and the nation will be watching.

Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way.

Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. “80 years ago, one of the largest invasions in historical warfare—and the start to the end of World War II—took place. Today, we look back to the over 2,400 American lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, remember their stories, and honor their immense bravery.

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“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”
“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”

Washington, D.C.  – Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

“80 years ago, one of the largest invasions in historical warfare—and the start to the end of World War II—took place. Today, we look back to the over 2,400 American lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, remember their stories, and honor their immense bravery.

“My father, Lt. Col. Garvin A. Tutt, was a Buffalo soldier in the 92nd infantry, a racially segregated and Black-only division that was instrumental in the success of Normandy and the Allied advance. Today and every day, I think of him and all of the brave servicemembers who sacrificed for our country, even when our country didn’t love them back.

“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”

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Community

Public Policy Inst. of California Releases Data on Hate Crimes

Hate crimes against minorities have increased statewide over the last decade with a spike in violent crimes between 2020 and 2022, states a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report. The recent increase in violent hate crimes is backed by data revealing that victims were targeted based on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Those violent hate crimes disproportionately affected Black, Latino, and Asian individuals.

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By California Black Media

Hate crimes against minorities have increased statewide over the last decade with a spike in violent crimes between 2020 and 2022, states a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report.

The recent increase in violent hate crimes is backed by data revealing that victims were targeted based on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Those violent hate crimes disproportionately affected Black, Latino, and Asian individuals. Incidents of violent hate crimes including assault grew by 791. The number of property-related hate crimes, including vandalism, increased by 314 incidents. In all the incidents reported, 25% of the hate crimes included the use of weapons including knives, handguns, and clubs.

The report stated that violent hate crimes remain underreported. The California Department of Justice is working on plans to invest more money in facilitating the reporting of hate crimes and supporting communities affected most by these incidents.

According to the report between 2019 and 2022, hate crimes targeting Black people tripled, while incidents against Latinos doubled, and attacks against Asians more than tripled in recent years.

“These increases are overwhelmingly driven by violent rather than property crimes,” the report stated.

In 2022, approximately 75% of all reported hate crimes included violent attacks against Black, Latino, or Asian people.

The state has since passed bills to address current and emerging issues related to hate crimes. The Legislature passed AB 485 in 2020, requiring local law enforcement agencies to post monthly updates of hate crimes online. Legislators passed AB 449 in 2023, a law that requires local law enforcement agencies to report suspected hate crimes and provide information that helps report hate crimes to the state attorney general.

Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the “CA vs Hate” campaign, an educational awareness campaign that includes a hotline and online resources for reporting hate crimes. The campaign also provided funds to community-based organizations supporting victims of hate crimes.

“This potential change in reporting behavior, along with increased media attention to the problem, may be partially responsible for the recent uptick in the number of incidents we report on here,” the report stated.

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