Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had a message for reporters last week when he served as the keynote speaker at the annual VPA Day in the Capital, which was held at VPA offices in Glen Allen.
“You are not an enemy of the American people,” Lt. Gov. Fairfax said to the at-capacity room during the address. “You are essential to who we are as an American people.”
Fairfax drove this point home and said he had “grave concerns” regarding recent attacks on the First Amendment. He said he was deeply disturbed by the murder of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, and by the backlash—both personal and professional– against NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick, who has taken part in silent protests against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
“He’s exercising his rights peacefully,” Lt. Gov. Fairfax said of Kaepernick. “He’s in a long line of people protesting to address a societal ill.”
Pointing to accomplishments during his tenure as Lt. Governor, Fairfax said he was proud of passing Medicaid expansion and bringing Amazon to northern Virginia.
He also discussed issues that he said need attention in Virginia. Fairfax said crumbling infrastructure in Virginia schools has been a problem that has been ignored but that needs addressing.
“It’s a very serious issue,” Lt. Gov. Fairfax said. “Children need to have a safe and stable environment to learn”
In the upcoming General Assembly, Fairfax said he anticipates that fair housing and eviction procedures will be addressed through proposed legislation.
A report by the New York Times that showed Virginia–specifically Richmond– has some of the highest eviction rates in the country has spurred a conversation across the state about how to best address the issue.
Asked about the Governor Northam’s recent decision to remove two board members from the state Air Pollution Control Board before a controversial vote that involves Dominion building a compressor station in a historic African-American community, Fairfax said, “the Governor made his decision.”
Asked about the “unintended consequences,” of Virginia’s HQ2 deal to house one half of the new Amazon headquarters, Fairfax did not single out one issue. He did mention that concerns regarding housing availability and pricing in Crystal City have been brought to his attention.
He went on to say Virginia can expect a six-to-one return on the Amazon HQ2 deal.
In a humorous reference to running for Governor in 2021, Fairfax said he did have an announcement to make: He is running in 2021—the Army 10-Miler.
VPA Day in the Capital also included panels that discussed redistricting, the changing face of Virginia politics, the legalization of CBD oil and the Commonwealth’s recent steps toward legalizing more forms of gambling.