Posted by 19 January 2018
On Saturday, January 13, Ralph Northam took office as Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He did not waste any time in discussing hot-button issues. His inaugural address touched on three issues that will be hotly contested during this year’s session of the Virginia General Assembly – Obamacare expansion, access to abortion, and gun control.
Here is what he had to say on these topics when he addressed the inauguration crowd:
- Obamacare: “It is past time for us to step forward together and expand Medicaid to nearly 400,000 Virginians who need access to care.”
- Abortion: “We should also resolve together today to refrain from any effort to curtail a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about her health.”
- Gun Control: “If we are going to build a healthier Virginia for everyone, we must address the public health crisis of gun violence. Gunshots kill more people in Virginia every year than car accidents, but if you walk into the right gun show, it’s easier to get a firearm than it is to rent a car. I am ready to work with you to make Virginia safer by passing smart reforms that keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.
Governor Northam’s stances on these issues put him at odds with the General Assembly. While the 2017 elections narrowed their majority in both chambers, Republicans still control the legislature. As their track record under Governor McAuliffe shows, they are not hesitant to pass conservative legislation in spite of gubernatorial veto threats.
With an increased number of Democrats in the legislature than during Gov. McAuliffe’s term, Gov. Northam will have more allies in his legislative fights. Even so, it is difficult to see how the governor will convince legislators to expand Medicaid, refrain from passing abortion restrictions, or enact gun control measures.
Do you think that Virginia legislators should work with Governor Northam to expand Medicaid eligibility, preserve access to abortion, and place more limits on gun ownership?