Press Club

Peter’s Take: Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Peter Rousselot

While the high-profile political publicity this year has focused on the scandal-plagued situations of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Governor wannabe Ken Cuccinelli, far less attention has been devoted to the race for Virginia Lieutenant Governor.

In the LG race, the contrasts are breathtakingly stark.  The Democratic nominee is Virginia state Sen. Ralph Northam — a moderate Democrat.

Northam, from Norfolk, Virginia, is a practicing pediatric neurologist. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Neurology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and volunteers as the Medical Director for a children’s hospice in Portsmouth.

First elected to the Virginia Senate in 2007, Northam has played a leadership role on several major issues, including the prohibition on smoking in restaurants, enhancing the protection of student athletes from concussions, and improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay.  He has also been a strong advocate for women’s health, public education, and long-term transportation solutions.

With an even split between Democrats and Republicans in the Virginia Senate, the lieutenant governor may be called upon to cast the tie-breaking vote on legislation. Northam has developed key relationships with Senators from both major political parties. These relationships will enable him to discharge his Senate responsibilities effectively.

In a contrast that could not be more striking, the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor is E.W. Jackson — one of the most extreme right-wing politicians ever nominated for statewide office in any state.

A brief sampling of Mr. Jackson’s views include these:
“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies, their minds are perverted, they are frankly very sick people psychologically and mentally and emotionally”

“The Ku Klux Klan did not do nearly as much to destroy black life as Planned Parenthood has done.”

“Liberalism and their ideas have done more to kill black folks who they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan and lynchings and slavery and Jim Crow ever did, now that’s a fact.”

“I don’t think that the federal government has much of a role at all constitutionally, at all [in disaster relief].”

With views like these, E.W. Jackson deserves no further consideration.

The choice is clear: Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

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