Va. Democrats start week with new calls for governor to step down

WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s fellow Democrats, including friends and allies, are keeping up the pressure on the governor to resign over the controversy sparked by racial images on his medical school yearbook page and his revelation that he used black face in a 1984 dance contest.

“Everybody deserves forgiveness, everybody deserves a second chance, but not everybody deserves to be the governor,” said Delegate Mark Keam, D-Fairfax.

“There’s mounting pressure and I hope he will listen to the voices calling on him to put the interest in the stability of the Commonwealth first,” said Delegate Luke Torian, D-Prince William County.

Democrats are concerned over the compressed schedule in the General Assembly versus the distraction of the governor’s controversy.

“Monday and Tuesday our workload is extremely heavy … we really don’t have the bandwidth to deal with anything other than the sheer number of bills we have to pass,” Keam said.

Keam also said that Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly are locked in difficult negotiations over tax policy and the governor’s problems hurt his own party.

“I can’t fathom a circumstance where we have a governor with a controversy, a taint over his reputation, presiding over some of the most difficult negotiations that we’re going to be dealing with in this General Assembly session,” Keam said.

Members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus will be meeting Monday to search for a way forward, but some delegates say it’s unclear if state law provides the means for the General Assembly to remove a governor who’s not physically disabled and didn’t break any law.

“We may not be able to impeach him” Torian said. “I think there’s mounting pressure, and I’m hoping he will listen to the voices calling on him to put the interest in the stability of the Commonwealth first, I hope he will,” he said.

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