People in the valley react to growing state controversy

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — All three of Virginia's top democratic state officials are continuing to face backlash amid their individual scandals that broke recently.

We spoke with people in the valley on Thursday about their thoughts on the growing controversy facing the commonwealth. For some, the recent controversy is surprising and unsettling.

"I was just perplexed and saddened by it," Judd Bankert said.

A few people believe the governor and attorney general should resign because of their decision to appear in blackface in the 1980s.

"And I think he should honestly resign. Anyone who's done that should resign because that's just a terrible thing," Maxwell Pierce said.

Lemuel Robertson said he thinks the blackface affects their ability to lead.

"How are you going to stand for something for your citizens, if you're isolating one of them, or isolating a few of them," Robertson said.

But not everyone took such a strong position on what top politicians should do.

"Stay in office. I really believe that. I don't think they should step down. Herring is a different story because he put his foot in his mouth," Donnie Pannell said.

The people we spoke with also weighed in on how they think the controversy will impact the state.

"I think it could bring a lot of division to Virginia," Rebekah Hull said. "It's bringing up a lot of emotions."

For Robertson, the photos of officials in blackface are a reminder of difficult times.

"This was perpetuated by Jim Crow, and things of that sort, segregation, discrimination. So how are we going to, how are we going to actually say that we're trying to do better when all we're doing is worse."

Pierce thinks they should resign because the controversy affects not only how people who live in Virginia see it, but also those who live outside the commonwealth.

"I think that would help the view of the state from other states," Pierce said.

Bankert said he thinks the impact could be reconsideration.

"I think the citizens of the commonwealth, and maybe the citizens of the country reflect back on what happened, 20, 30 years ago."

But Pannell does not believe this will ultimately have an impact on the state, but it is something they will think about.

'I don't think it has much impact at all. I think it's something that people will think about, maybe when the next election comes up, then it might resurface."