If elected governor, Justin Fairfax is determined to bring the Commonwealth and its residents out from underneath the current issues plaguing Virginia brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic and a destructive political landscape.
Last month Lt. Gov. Fairfax (D) officially announced his entrance into the 2021 gubernatorial election, hoping to follow in the footsteps of former state governor L. Douglas Wilder and become the second black man elected to the Executive Mansion.
“I am running for governor because I want to provide more justice, fairness and opportunity for all Virginians,” Fairfax said in an interview with The Virginia Star. “I think we’re in a critical moment in the history of Virginia and of our nation. We see the challenges that are before us around issues of racial justice, economic security and opportunity and allowing everyone the opportunity to rise.”
Fairfax continued: “Right now I think we need a voice with courage. I think we need someone with statewide experience to be able to create the change that will lift up all eight and a half million Virginians.”
Assuming the position of Lt. Gov. in 2018, Fairfax touted the role he has played alongside Governor Ralph Northam in helping lead Virginia both before and during COVID-19, while also highlighting a uniting style of leadership that he would bring to the Commonwealth.
“I am the kind of leader that reaches out to people across the spectrum,” Fairfax told The Star. “[One that] says we are people first, we are Americans and we are Virginians, and we’ve got so much more in common than we have that divides us. So, I think it’s a leadership style that brings people together, allows us to reach those kinds of productive compromises, that brings progress.”
When asked what policies he would implement as governor, Fairfax focused on five subjects: policing and criminal justice reforms, housing, health care, the economy and education.
Specifically, Fairfax brought up fixing the high eviction rate in Richmond and other areas of the state, ensuring that Virginians will have access to quality health insurance, making community colleges free and record investments into Virginia’s five historically black colleges and universities.
The Lt. Gov. also outlined his “40-30-10” education plan that would help rebuild and revitalize all public schools in Virginia that are at least 40-years-old by allocating $30 billion in the next ten years, according to Fairfax.
The news of Fairfax’s bid for the governorship comes nearly two years after the former federal prosecutor was accused of sexual assault by two women in separate incidents, during one of the more chaotic weeks in recent Virginia politics history.
Since those allegations were made public, Fairfax has vehemently denied both as false, lacking evidence and part of a politically motivated effort to prevent him from becoming governor had Northam to stepped down after facing backlash over a racist photograph in a school yearbook.
Fairfax also maintains that he did not receive adequate due process because many Democratic colleagues immediately called for his resignation at the time, and has repeatedly called for investigations by the relevant district attorneys.
“It’s an incredibly difficult thing to go through personally, professionally and I wouldn’t wish anyone to have to go through that,” Fairfax said. “I learned that the fight for justice, fairness, fair treatment is more important now than ever, because sadly there is a history in Virginia and in our nation, particularly in cases involving African Americans, where there is a rush to judgment.”
One Democratic politician who agreed that Fairfax did not receive fair due process and waited to pass judgement until more evidence was presented was Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond City). The Star contacted the Senator and asked if he would vote for Fairfax, but Morrissey said he has not made a decision yet.
Overall, Fairfax is confident that he can win the election next fall and that he believes in Virginians to make the correct choice.
“I’m very confident in the people of Virginia,” he said. “Every time that I have put my name on a ballot and have put forward a positive vision, they have always responded with tremendous support. That is how we feel in this election.”
As of now, Fairfax joins two other Democratic candidates – Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City) and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Prince William County) – and Republican candidate Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield.
Former governor Terry McAuliffe (D) and Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) have filed paperwork, but have not officially announced yet.
“Now is the moment in time where we need that bold transformational leadership that moves us forward and not backwards,” Fairfax said. “That’s why I’m running for governor.”
– – –
Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Justin Fairfax” by Justin Fairfax for Governor Facebook. Background Photo “Virginia Governor’s Mansion” by Doug Francis CC BY 2.0.