ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam delivered his annual State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday evening.
His address kicked off the Virginia General Assembly’s 2020 legislative session.
The Democrat-controlled House of Delegates and State Senate are expected to take up a number of measures related to gun control, increasing the minimum wage, infrastructure, education and voting access, among other topics.
With a new party in power, Northam’s address pointed to the coming changes in Virginia, and he called on his fellow legislators to embrace it.
“Virginia is changing. These are simply facts. In politics, over these past ten years, if you understood these facts, and you embraced change, then you advanced. If not, you fell behind,” Northam said.
Tonight, I’ve presented an agenda that is different from every previous General Assembly session. It’s a lot bolder, and it’s more forward-looking than ever before. I’m here as your Governor because I’m a builder, and I hope you will choose to build too. #SOTC— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 9, 2020
He also alluded to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, saying, in part, ..."We celebrate this milestone, and we begin a new era. We spell that … E-R-A!"
When Northam got to the topic of gun safety, he acknowledged that for many in Virginia, it’s a “deeply emotional issue.”
He mentioned that the eight “common sense” measures Democrats want to pass are all “fully consistent with the Second Amendment.”
“Every one of these proposals has passed constitutional muster. Other states have passed them into law. They were drafted by your own attorneys at Legislative Services, and teams of lawyers have reviewed them,” Northam said.
To read the full transcript of Governor Northam’s remarks, click here.