Ralph Northam in 2019 Governor's State of the State speeches


On Civil Rights: Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

If we are going to work together to ensure that every Virginian has equal opportunity for a successful life, that means enshrining equal rights for women and legal protections against discrimination in our laws. This is not a partisan issue, and legislators from both parties have long championed this idea. Virginia can be the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this year--it's time we do so.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Drugs: Think innovatively about treating pain, to avoid opioids

Few issues are more deserving of our intense focus than the opioid crisis. Last year, we lost 1,227 Virginians to opioid overdose. We lost 1,534 Virginians to overdoses from all drugs.

Physicians need to think more innovatively about the ways we treat acute and chronic pain. [One] high school football [athlete broke his leg and] was rushed to the hospital and started on dilaudid for his pain. He was prescribed other narcotics and became addicted. When his prescriptions ran out, he turned to heroin, and then fentanyl. To support his addiction and to avoid the symptoms of being dopesick, he took actions that led to run-ins with the law. Eventually he spent 18 months in jail.

With medically assisted treatment and counseling, the support of his family, and a strong faith in God, he has been clean for over a year. He and his father have put their family's story together in a powerful video. Please welcome Ryan Hall and his father, Sheriff Kevin Hall, to the gallery.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Drugs: Make marijuana possession a civil penalty only

For the third year in a row, our prison recidivism rate is the lowest in the country. This is due to our re-entry programs and treatment offered by the Virginia Department of Corrections.

We want to keep people safe. But we shouldn't use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don't enhance public safety. So I'm proposing that we decriminalize simple possession of marijuana.

Current law imposes a maximum 30 days in jail for a first offense of marijuana possession. Making simple possession a civil penalty will ease overcrowding in our jails and prisons, and free up our law enforcement and court resources for offenses that are a true threat to public safety.

Moving forward on this front will have the same significance as our work together to increase the felony larceny threshold: one mistake won't define Virginians for the rest of their lives.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Education: Pay raise for teachers, to retain the best and brightest

I am eager to work with you to give our teachers the largest single-year pay raise in 15 years. This isn't just about the educators who deserve to be paid more. It's about improving the education we offer our children by ensuring that we can attract and retain the best and brightest educators to classrooms in every corner of our Commonwealth.

Raising teacher pay is only part of the puzzle when it comes to making sure that every Virginia student is able to reach their full potential. Schools, educational leaders, and parents across the Commonwealth have been clear that students need a variety of services to succeed in the classroom.

That's why I've proposed to fund more positions for school counselors statewide, and additional flexible funding so that school divisions can make their own decisions about which services will most benefit their students.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Education: More tuition assistance; protect consumers on student loans

We need to work even harder to make postsecondary education more affordable and accessible to all students.

We're working with the Virginia Community College System to reframe their programming, so that students can get the skills they need on the front end for 21st century jobs. Our training certificate programs and our higher education system need to work hand in hand. And they need to be affordable.

Expensive tuition and high student debt can close the door to opportunity for too many people. My budget would offer more tuition assistance, and requires our institutions to create tuition predictability plans.

It is high time we began regulating the companies that service our student loans. While people may not be able to avoid taking on debt to get an education, they should be able to count on basic consumer protections.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Government Reform: Finally allow no-excuse absentee voting

As we approach the anniversary of the first representative General Assembly in the New World, we have a responsibility to the full and true exercise of democracy. In this day and age, that means ensuring the elimination of unnecessary and prohibitive barriers to voting. I'm proposing we finally allow no-excuse absentee voting.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Gun Control: More deaths due to guns than car accidents: so let's act

In 2017, 1,028 Virginians died of gun-related causes.

In comparison, that's more deaths due to gun violence than the 956 Virginians who died due to vehicle accidents in 2017.

We have recognized that we have a problem with road safety and vehicle deaths--and we have acted together to prevent future ones [such as] the Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety, and efforts to strengthen our Move Over law, aimed at protecting our first responders.

If we are able to agree that we need to act when we have a problem with highway safety and preventable deaths, then surely we can agree to work together to keep more Virginians alive by improving gun safety. This has to be a dialogue--that's a two-way exchange of ideas.

This year I'm proposing we act to approve an "extreme risk law." It creates a legal way for law enforcement and the courts to temporarily remove firearms from someone who has shown dangerous behavior, and who poses a risk to themselves or others.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Homeland Security: Tuition assistance for National Guard, plus Tech Talent

I'm proposing specific tuition assistance for National Guard members so that the men and women who step forward to keep us safe in times of need can advance in their civilian careers as well. Our National Guard members offer critical help, responding during and after disasters or other missions.

As we've learned from economic development projects, including the Amazon headquarters, good jobs come to states and communities whose workers are ready for high tech jobs.

That is why our administration is proud to partner with legislative leaders of both parties in proposing a Tech Talent Investment Fund, which will offer grants to our higher education institutions to help them provide more computer science degrees. Our goal is to produce up to 17,500 more bachelor's degrees in computer science over the next 20 years. This is an investment in our people and our future.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

On Technology: Ensure universal broadband access

I'm laying out the roadmap to a competitive, brilliant future for all Virginians.

Until we come together to ensure universal broadband access, we are keeping opportunity out of reach for entire communities in Virginia.

When a community doesn't have reliable Internet access, it can't attract businesses, support its home-grown entrepreneurs, keep its students up to date, or use telehealth to keep people healthy.

The ability to get online anywhere--that's what makes a Commonwealth of opportunity.

Weeks ago, I shared an ambitious budget proposal to speed up our progress and achieve universal broadband access within the next few years. This is probably the number one issue I hear from Virginians as I travel around the state, and the number one issue I hear from legislators--both Republicans and Democrats.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature Jan 9, 2019

The above quotations are from 2019 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts from 2019 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts by Ralph Northam.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: [email protected]
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Mar 19, 2019