Balance the budget
Ralph knows that businesses are attracted to well-governed states. He was in the Virginia Senate when the Great Recession hit, and he voted to cut spending by $4.6 billion to keep our budget balanced. He also supported tax relief for Virginia homeowners. Governors of both parties have conducted government efficiency reviews, and Ralph supports another complete audit of state operations because taxpayers deserve to know their money is being spent wisely.
Build a school-to-work pipeline
Ralph believes our education system must create a pipeline from high school to community college, higher education, or a good paying job. Not only would this encourage students to stay in school and graduate, but it would also encourage employers to locate in Virginia, a commonwealth with good schools and a skilled workforce waiting for them.
To build this pipeline, we need to completely rethink the high school experience and ensure that all students are prepared to enter the workforce with the skills they need to be successful. A Northam administration will continue to support high school redesign efforts started under Gov. McAuliffe, and coupled with programs like Dr. Northam’s proposed G3 Program (Get a Job — Get Skilled — Give Back), Virginia’s students will have the resources they need to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.
Ralph has fought for transparency and ethics reform in Richmond, supporting the administration’s plan to reform the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) by increasing accountability and promoting long term strategic planning in order to continue streamlining economic development across state agencies. That means bringing in new leadership, crafting a new vision, and holding the VEDP to higher standards of accountability. During his time in the senate, Ralph sponsored the Conflict of Interest Act that would have created an independent review board that would investigate accused politicians even after they resign from office.
Longtime supporter of nonpartisan redistricting
During six years in the senate, Ralph repeatedly sponsored redistricting reform so voters could pick their elected officials, not the other way around. As governor, Ralph will revive further ethics reform previously rejected by the legislature, including redrawing legislative and congressional districts by a non-partisan commission instead of the partisan legislature. Serving in the government should be about service, not automatic reelection.
Ralph passed legislation to establish firm guidelines for dealing with concussions incurred playing sports in Virginia schools. As a pediatric neurologist, Ralph knew the brains of growing adolescents are even more susceptible to long-term consequences from multiple concussions.
Against long odds and powerful special interests, Ralph authored the smoking ban in restaurants because it would improve Virginia’s economy and public health. When he first tried in 2008, the bill was defeated and the headwinds were too strong. In 2009, he came right back and introduced it again. Reaching across the aisle, he passed the smoking ban and Governor Kaine signed it into law. Today, cancer deaths are down in Virginia and below the national average.