AROUND THE BEND

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2017 Virginia Election

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Virginia elected Ralph Northam (Democratic) Nominee on November 7. As governor, Northam beat Ed Gillespie the Republican Nominee. With 54 percent to 45 percent. Virginia has also elected Democrat Mark Herring for attorney governor and Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax (Democrat). The attorney governor’s principal duties are to represent the United States in legal matters and supervise and direct the administration and operation of the offices, boards, divisions, and bureaus that comprise the Department. The new Lieutenant Governor presides over debate in the chamber and oversees the movement of legislation through the chamber. While he cannot vote or sponsor legislation, he works with advocates in the Senate to introduce the legislation for him. Emma Rau, a Junior at Riverbend said, “We need new people in office and we need new opinions about certain things.” Even though Virginia has mainly elected Democrats for each position, there are more than one position to fill which each person has a duty to make decisions that are bests for their state and country.
During Northam’s campaign he talked about raising the minimum wage, supports grocery tax exemptions for low-income families, ban on assault weapons, supports the creation of a statewide public education foundation to solicit donations and make grants to schools attempting new education methods, apprenticeships and job training in the last two years of high school for students not planning on attending college. Senior Diana Romero said, “Voting was definitely so much simpler than I expected it to be. Doing research to become educated on the candidates wasn’t difficult because there were resources everywhere; online, on tv, on the road, etc. Going in to vote was easy because I knew who I was voting for for each position.” Diana Romero just turned 18 and like most new voters the process can be a difficult situation, yet knowing who you’re voting for and know what they’re promising for can make a stressful situation that much bearable.
Since 1900, Virginia voted Democratic 54.17 percent of the time and Republican 45.83 percent of the time. From 1968 to 2004, Virginia voted for both Republican and Democrat candidates in that time frame. However, in the 2008 and 2012 elections, the state voted for the Democratic Party. The same trend continued in the 2016 presidential elections. Based on the way previous elections has gone, it’s fair to say that the current election cycle this year was quite predictable. And with the way the presidential election went with so much controversy and the unwillingness to cooperate with either side it’s not surprising that democrat politicians are more adamant than ever to counteract President Trump’s future plans of America. This year’s presidential election has had everybody up in arms due to the questionable candidates America had. The election was more of a who is the lesser of the two evils than actual important issues which is a terrible way to pick a president but nevertheless it’s the reason why this year’s election got heated fast.
It’s important to understand that an election shouldn’t be viewed as just another meaningless event, but a crucial part in America’s democracy in which the state’s elections are just as important as the presidential election. People forget to realize this, because presidential elections are usually more exploited and considered more important because it has to do with selecting the President of the United States.
However, local elections are based on what people want to see change in their community, not the country as a whole. Local elections influence the states directly with issues like education, infrastructure, and state taxes that affect people who in live those states. The changes in hometowns are the most important, because these are the changes that directly affect the common citizen. The American people have much more power than they think they do and are capable of making changes they want to see.

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