Virginia emerges as South progressive leader under Democrats
Added 02-15-20 10:03:01am EST - “In a state once synonymous with the Old South, Democrats are using their newfound legislative control to refashion Virginia as the region's progressive leader on racial, social and economic issues. Lawmakers are on the verge of passing…” - Washingtontimes.com
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - In a state once synonymous with the Old South, Democrats are using their newfound legislative control to refashion Virginia as the region’s progressive leader on racial, social and economic issues. Lawmakers are on the verge of passing the South’s strictest gun laws, broadest LGBTQ protections, highest minimum wage and some of its loosest abortion restrictions, churning through landmark legislation on a near-daily basis.
The leap to the left has sparked fierce pushback from rural Virginians, social conservatives and others who are chafing under the political shift in the state, where a holiday honors Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and monuments to those men dot the landscape.
“It’s like a jewelry store smash and grab,” Republican Sen. Bill Stanley said of Democrats’ strategy. “They’re going to grab everything they possibly can while they can get it before the lights go on and the siren goes off.”
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It’s a breathtaking change after years of legislative inertia. Virginia has been a political outlier among southern states for a while, routinely electing Democrats to statewide office. But Republicans held a firm grip on the legislature until President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, which mobilized disaffected suburban voters and boosted Democrats in two successive legislative elections. They have full control of the General Assembly this year for the first time in two decades.
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