Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Ready on Day One

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Ready on Day One

Next Tuesday, June 13, Virginia Democrats will select our nominee for governor. I strongly believe the best candidate is Ralph Northam.

His record and policy priorities, first as a senator, and now as lieutenant governor are key reasons that he is my choice. He has worked hard to build the Virginia economy, prepare children for school by investing in quality pre-Kindergarten programs, prevent gun violence, and safeguard the personal liberties of women and our LGBT community.

Working alongside Ralph, I’ve seen him change minds in the General Assembly, and I know he’ll continue doing that as our 73rd governor.

In 2012, with Democrats in the minority in the State Senate and Gov. Bob McDonnell in the Governor’s Mansion, Ralph led the fight against a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds for Virginia women seeking abortions. Leveraging his background as a doctor, he convinced Republicans to back down and drop the transvaginal mandate. That’s one reason why he has earned the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

Ralph passed the law that banned smoking in bars and restaurants — bringing both Democratic and Republican legislators together. He’s also helped lead the fight for expanding Medicaid in Virginia, to provide healthcare for up to 400,000 more hard-working Virginians. With the future of the Affordable Care Act under assault, we need Doctor Northam as our next governor.

Ralph’s fought for better gun safety laws in Virginia too. When Democrats from rural parts of the state balked at closing the gun show loophole back in 2009, Ralph didn’t. He treated wounded soldiers during the first Gulf War, and children who were victims of gun violence in Hampton Roads. Ralph will carry those experiences into the Governor’s office. That’s why the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is behind him 100 percent.

Ralph will continue to fight to reform Virginia’s criminal justice system, and break the school-to-prison pipeline. He’ll keep up the fight to raise the felony larceny level (we’re tied for the lowest in the country right now in Virginia), end the suspension of driver’s licenses when people can’t afford to pay court costs, and to decriminalize marijuana.

Ralph has been a longtime ally of LGBT Virginians, which is why he’s been endorsed by Equality Virginia. He signed onto my nondiscrimination bill his first month as a state senator, and introduced legislation to outlaw all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ralph is the first statewide official in Virginia to oppose offshore drilling — not afraid to break with other Democrats on that issue — and he’s been a leader on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. He’s served on climate change commissions for Governors Kaine and McAuliffe, and he’s fought to expand renewable energy, including a mandatory renewable energy portfolio standard.

We need Ralph Northam because he will hit the ground running in January 2018 on all these issues. I’ve seen him do it day-in and day-out for the past nine years, and that’s why I urge you to vote for him on Tuesday, June 13.

Adam P. Ebbin

State Senator (D-30)