Gov. Northam delivers his final State of the Commonwealth
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Governor Ralph Northam (D) is delivering his final State of the Commonwealth.
Northam addressed a joint session of the General Assembly Wednesday, Jan. 12. The theme the speech was “Taking care of one another: Honoring historic progress and a challenge to continue this work.”
“We’ve leaving this commonwealth better than when we came into office,” Northam said. “One that treats everyone right.”
The outgoing governor touted Virginia’s economy during his time in office, as well as educational achievements.
“Education does not just happen in a classroom. And it is not only the young who can learn new things. If we are not learning, we are stagnating,” Northam said. “For too long, we’ve been comfortable telling a story about Virginia’s history that left out a lot of people, and a lot of uncomfortable facts.”
Northam spoke also about history, diversity, and the environment: Our climate is changing, and our weather is changing faster than ever, and with devastating consequences. We must do our part to stem the tide, and make sure that the world we leave for our children and grandchildren is safe,” he said.
From there, Northam touched upon criminal justice and voting rights in the commonwealth.
“We are a state that believes in justice, not just punishment,” Northam said.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also came up in his address: thanking the medical community, and touting Virginia’s vaccination rate.
Northam spoke on increasing access to broadband and improving infrastructure.
“It has been a more tumultuous four years than I think any of us expected. But the challenges have also been opportunities,” Northam said. “Tonight, I can say that together, we have accomplished more than we could have dreamed of.”
In the Republican response, Del. Tara Durant, who represents the 28th District, and Sen. Todd Pillion, who represents the 40th District, discussed education and what they expect from Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.
“Parents told us they were worried about their children’s education,” Durant said. “They told us virtual education was a failure, and that their children were falling behind, and that falling standards could hobble their children’s future.”
Pillion added that Northam can bring people together “by advancing initiatives that will lower your cost of living, create jobs by improving our business climate, and make our streets and neighborhoods safer.”
Northam wrapped his tenure with a question: will Virginia keep up with progress?
“I hope we’ll continue to be people who want to serve the world, rather than conquer it,” he said. “People who sow kindness and hope, rather than anger and fear.”
Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) is set to be sworn in Saturday, Jan. 15.
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