In 2020, NC Needs To Follow Virginia’s Lead

Do you know how well Virginia has done with turning things around? They were in the same sinking terrible boat that we were in 2011 after terrible election in 2010. They are in excellent shape now, in 2020. VA has elected the most women to the VA Legislature in their history!  They’ve already passed laws to reverse some damage done AND RATIFIED THE Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)! This is a story of hope and an inspiration for people to vote. NC needs to follow their lead. That depends on us and others like us!

In the 2019 elections, Democrats gained control of both the VA House and Senate after 20 years. But more significantly for progress –  “Va. General Assembly reaches highest women representation in history!Their first move in the new session was becoming the 38th state of 38 states needed to ratify the ERA

From “Rapid Change Roils Virginia Republicans,” 1/26/20, Washington Post, “Women and minorities have vaulted into historic positions of power. Beyond the first female Speaker and House majority leader, African Americans chair seven of the 14 standing House committees, including the powerful Appropriations Committee that controls state purse strings.”

In “Virginia Progressive Legislative Session,” 3/7/20, CNN says, “Since taking full control of the state’s government for the first time in more than two decades after the November elections, Democrats have pursued a more progressive agenda, passing legislation that tightens gun control, expands reproductive rights and offers protections for LGBTQ individuals.”

As mentioned, “Virginia lawmakers also ratified the Equal Rights Amendment this session after years of trying and rolled back a number of laws Democrats described as “archaic.”” They finalized ratification on 1/27/20.

“Our policies are now beginning to match what’s happening around us,” Democratic Del. Hala Ayala told CNN in an interview Thursday, adding, “We were able to make progress with the policies that have been waiting to be passed for 10 to 15 years, and also the ideals that the newly elected have brought to the table. We’re catching up.”

North Carolina needs this kind of turnaround! It’s been a brutal 9 years.

The NC Legislature refuses to face problems that are exacerbated by the pandemic – poverty, unemployment, lost health care coverage, and more. The NC Legislature still refuses to expand Medicaid, and NC’s unemployment benefits are terrible. NC has been denying over 90% of claims up until March 2020. Governor Cooper alleviated the problem as best he could. 

To give an idea of the problem, according to the Budget and Tax Center’s County Economic Snapshots 2020, 31.9 percent of NC residents are considered low-income (less than 50,200 for a family of four). 861, 713 North Carolinians filed unemployment claims between March 15 and May 11 (Source: NC Division of Employment Security). 

Be sure you vote! The NC NOW PAC endorses in statewide races, from Governor down to Legislative races.

We also want to recognize and thank others who worked together to bring about this change in VA. Virginia NOW members did got out the vote. In addition, Kamala Lopez, director/writer/producer of the Equal Means Equal documentary and Natalie White, an artist and activist from New York, spent a few months living in Suffolk VA, and brought ERA activists from other states to them to get Virginians to vote for Virginia candidates who support ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Some of our own NC ERA activists went to Virginia to help get out the ERA vote, Florida NOW activists, and more. Read about their efforts in “Suffolk becomes unlikely ground zero for ERA ratification,” 11/1/19, The Virginian-Pilot.


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