Dec 9, 2020 • 11M

December 9, 2020: Democratic field for Governor getting crowded with Carroll Foy, McAuliffe announcing their candidacies; Another Virginia record for COVID cases

 
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Sean Tubbs
Regular updates of what's happening in local and regional government in and around Charlottesville, Virginia from an award-winning journalist with nearly thirty years of experience.
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Do you still have got some Holiday shopping to do? Today’s Patreon-fueled shout out is for you to check out a curated gift guide from local Charlottesville Black-owned businesses. Follow this link to learn more and get new gift ideas!

In today’s newsletter:
  • Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy resigns to run for Virginia Governor

  • Former Governor Terry McAuliffe also enters the race, as does Delegate Lee Carter

  • Nelson County signs universal broadband agreement with Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

  • Charlottesville to “date” Guatemalan town 

  • Albemarle distributes $2.3 million in emergency funding to local businesses


The surge of COVID cases in Virginia continues today with another new record with 4,398 new cases reported this morning by the Virginia Department of Health. The state-wide seven-day average for new cases is now at 3,521. Other indicators are also up sharply since Thanksgiving. The seven-day average for new cases per 100,000 people is at 41.3 today, up from 30.4 thirteen days ago. The total number of new cases per 100,000 over the last 14 days is 479.3. 

In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are 76 new cases, and the seven-day average for new daily cases is now at 74. There has not been a new fatality reported since Thanksgiving Day. 

To the south, North Carolina reported 4,724 cases yesterday, continuing an upward trend. Governor Roy Cooper took to the stage to announce new restrictions. 

“The virus is upon us with a rapid viciousness like we haven’t seen before,” Cooper said. “So today I am announcing new action to slow the spread. Effective Friday December 11, North Carolina will enter into a modified stay at home order.” 

The new restrictions require people to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. 

“With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Cooper said. 

*

The field for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s governor’s race is getting crowded. 

Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy of Woodbridge is resigning her 2nd District House seat to run for Governor. Carroll Foy announced in a video message yesterday. 

“All of us who love and live in Virginia are facing an especially challenging time,” Foy said. “It’s going to take a new leader with bold solutions to move Virginia forward.”

Carroll Foy has been in the House of Delegates since being elected in 2017. She’s a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.

“I’m stepping down from the House of Delegates to focus a 100 percent of my time on building a grassroots movement to meet this moment. Helping families and workers recover and building a post-COVID economy will be tough but so are we.”

A special election will be held on January 5, 2021 to replace Carroll Foy. 

A day later, former Governor Terry McAuliffe announced he would seek a second term. Virginia’s constitution does not allow consecutive terms, but former executives can run again. McAuliffe was introduced by four Black elected officials earlier this morning, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring.  

“I am running for governor again to think big and to be bold and to take the Commonwealth of Virginia to the next level and to lift up all Virginians said,” McAuliffe said. He began his real estate career in the late 70’s and served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2009 but won in 2013. 

“The old Richmond approach just doesn’t work anymore,” McAuliffe said. “Folks it is time for a new Virginia way. And I know that old way of thinking because I fought against it constantly as G overnor.” 

Two other candidates have previously declared their intentions for the Democratic primary. They are Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-9). Of those two, McClellan has announced on her website. 

“Across Virginia, people are echoing the words of Martin Luther King Jr., where do we go from here?” McCllelan said. “When we face the challenges of our time and the painful legacy of our past together, we have transformed challenges into opportunities and pain into action. I’ve lead that kind of progress in the legislature. I’m running for Governor to keep leading progress into our Future.”

According to a filing with the Virginia Department of Elections, Delegate Lee Carter has also filed paperwork for a run.  

*

The Nelson County Broadband Authority has signed an agreement with the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative that promises to extend internet to every residence. The county will invest $1.25 million to help CVEC’s Firefly Fiber Broadband subsidiary expand throughout the county. The event happened at a special called meeting yesterday. The Lynchburg News and Advance has published a gallery of recent fiber installations

*

Charlottesville City Council has given the okay to a preliminary exploration of a city in western Guatemala becoming the next Sister City. Huehuetenango is a municipality of about 120,000 that has been selected through a community-driven process. Jordan Linebeck presented the proposal to Council on Monday.

“I first visited back in 2010, a good family friend started a foundation called the Ixtatán Foundation which is a nonprofit based out of Charlottesville that focuses on increasing access to education for rural Mayan youth,” Linebeck said. 

Linebeck said an armed conflict in Guatemala lasted for several decades before peace accords were signed in 1996. She said the fallout from the conflict still lingers.

“It was a militarized government persecuting and murdering many indigenous people, many of which were in rural areas and the department of Huehuetenango was one of the most attacked and focused and areas of the country,” Linebeck said. 

Linebeck said there are many opportunities for collaboration and the Ixtatán Foundation has worked on exchange programs. 

Council voted 5-0 to move forward with the friendship. City Councilor Michael Payne said there could be some lessons to learn about the impact of interregional politics. 

“I think it could also be an opportunity to have important discussions just given the history, some of which you referenced,” Payne said. “It was the United States that backed the military coup in Guatemala and likewise provided support for the government which was committing genocide of the indigenous population and I think those are important conversations and connections that in our city and our country we can have as well.”

*

Albemarle County has announced the granting of $2.3 million in funding to 58 local businesses. This is the second round of the LIFT Grant, which distributed $1.25 million in the first round. 

"The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on public health. Many of our local businesses are struggling to continue to serve our community while protecting employees and meeting restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Albemarle County identified these grant funds to support our local businesses experiencing financial harm due to COVID-19.”

Businesses were selected through a scoring mechanism overseen by the Community Investment Collaborative. For a complete listing, check out a link in the newsletter

*

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the Albemarle Planning Commission held a joint work session last night to weigh in on the creation of a housing policy that seeks to increase the supply of residential units. Stacy Pethia is the county’s housing coordinator.

“These strategies include changing the way the county defines affordable housing and qualifying incomes, as well as introducing a new category of workforce housing,” Pethia said. “Both of these housing categories propose home sales price limits that are significantly lower than the county’s sale price limit of $243,750 that we have currently.” 

We’ll have more from this meeting in the next installment of the newsletter. 

Today in non-governmental meetings: 

  • The Senior Statesmen of Virginia is sponsoring a forum on community policing at 1:30. Both Charlottesville and Albemarle County police chiefs will be presenting. (register)

  • At 7 p.m. the Virginia Festival of the Book will hold an event with Matthew Desmond, the author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. (register)

  • Also at 7 p.m., the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society will host another installment of Ask a Genealogist with ACHS Board President Dr. Shelley Murphy and ACHS Librarian Miranda Burnett. 

In government meetings:

The Crozet Community Advisory Committee returns to their regular meeting time after a series of special meetings to provide recommendations on the Crozet Master Plan. This meeting will focus on transportation improvements to accommodate additional growth expected by 2045.  (meeting info)