"Finally, we're in a position to do things": Roanoke's state lawmakers react to Democratic sweep

Virginia has a Democratic governor, House and Senate for first time since 1993

ROANOKE, Va. – Democrats have full control of Virginia's government for the first time in a generation, but what's next after Tuesday's election?

State Sen. John Edwards (D), who represents Roanoke, Roanoke County, and Giles County, says the answer is to get to work.

"We're not there to push through ideological positions," Edwards said. "We're there to solve people's problems."

Edwards has held his Senate seat since 1995, but he has never been in the position where his party controlled the Senate, House and the governorship. The last time that happened was in 1993.

"This was the most important election because finally, we're in a position to do things," Edwards said. "If you have the House and the Senate, you can do so many things that we have been prevented from doing for a long time."

The new majorities are also uncharted territory for Roanoke-based Del. Sam Rasoul (D), who was in high school the last time Democrats held the three majorities at once.

"It's a challenging endeavor, but fortunately, we've got some great talent and good people that want to get things done," Rasoul said.

Edwards and Rasoul said many things could end up on the new General Assembly's agenda, including gun control, criminal justice reform and transportation funding. However, they believe one of the first actions they will take is ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, becoming the 38th and final necessary state to ratify it in the Constitution.

"We clearly as a country, in 2019 going into 2020, should be able to ratify our Constitution and give that protected status to women as we do with others," Rasoul said.