CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - On Tuesday, Democrats in Virginia will pick their nominee to face Glenn Youngkin in the gubernatorial race - and there could be history in the making.
Either former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, both running, would be the first Black woman to ever run a state. They say there’s no better time than the present for that to occur.
“These issues take bold transformational change and that’s why I’m the right leader for this moment,” Carroll Foy said. “Because I am unafraid to have the tough conversations about racial reckoning.”
When asked about what it would mean to be the first Black woman governor, McClellan said: “Knowing that I am my ancestors wildest dreams, but also that I am an example to my daughter and future generations that no barrier is too big to overcome, it’s a source of great pride and responsibility.”
While Carroll Foy and McClellan are looking to etch their names into the history books, the job for them would be more than just a symbol. It’s about the work, and their policies, which are influenced and shaped by their experiences.
“We have an opportunity to rebuild in a way that addresses inequity that’s always been there,” McClellan said.
“When I say being intentional about the policies we put in place, it is directly addressing the Jim Crow relics that we have here in Virginia, including one of the largest which is disenfranchisement,” Carroll Foy said.
As voters head to the ballot box on Tuesday, the two candidates have a final push about why they are the right choice.
“We have to have serious intentional anti-racist policies to address redlining, mass incarceration, the racial wealth gap, all of the issues that we’ve seen for the last 10, 20 years that politicians of the past have failed to address,” Carroll Foy said.
McClellan said: “[Voters] want somebody with that new perspective, a new generation of leadership. They want a woman, they want a Black woman, but they want somebody with the experience to get things done.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that Virginia voters have helped break a barrier. It’s been just over three decades since Douglas Wilder was elected Virginia’s governor - he was the first Black governor in the country’s history.