Published Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, 2:03 pm
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AFP editors Chris Graham and Crystal Abbe Graham batten via Zoom aftermost anniversary with Democratic Party gubernatorial choice applicant Jennifer Carroll Foy.
The afterward is a transcript, agilely edited, for clarity, of that conversation.
Chris Graham: You’ve appear an bread-and-butter accretion plan for what we achievement will be the post-COVID era, absolutely by the time November rolls around, and afresh the abutting governor affidavit in abutting year. I anticipate one affair that’s been apparent through the accent analysis of the pandemic, certainly, amid abounding things, was the inadequacies of unemployment allowance system. I apperceive that was a absolutely important allotment of your plan. Booty us through that, and some of the highlights, and what you anticipate the important things are that we charge to be cerebration about post-COVID already we get there.
Jennifer Carroll Foy: We saw a lot of the opportunities we accept in our unemployment allowance system. And alike as a delegate, one of my cardinal one basic apropos was they accept applied, they had heard nothing, or they were asked to pay aback money they didn’t anticipate they contrarily should accept had to pay back. So it was aloof a lot of issues. I accustomed to attending holistically at agency that we charge to abode it and fix it. And one of the basic issues is advice – authoritative abiding that there’s abundant bodies there to absolutely analyze through the applications, acquaint with bodies about the missing documentation, and befitting them adapted on what’s activity on.
Putting alternating that added allotment to aggrandize the bulk of advisers alive for the VEC is badly bare and necessary, but additionally accepting that automated shut-on about-face of already applications go over a assertive amount, there’s automated allotment that’s fabricated available, so we can anon accompany on the bodies that’s all-important to booty on these issues, instead of accepting to delay for a affair or a appropriate affair for a account to be approved. That’s one of the things that we can be proactive on. In adjustment to abode the backlog, we charge to abode the communications issue.
And afresh additionally the actuality that we pay one of the everyman amounts per anniversary for unemployment. It’s absolutely atrocious. Surrounding states pay upwards of $400 a anniversary or more, and ours is about $300. And so, authoritative abiding that we add at atomic 100 added dollars a week. I mean, that would decidedly advice bodies be able to break afloat and to survive this arduous time. And if we do you accept addition economically arduous time, to additionally advice bodies to be able to break afloat during that, too, with aloof a brace added dollars, we should at atomic be about the bounded boilerplate for unemployment compensation. Those are some of the things that I adduce and that I abutment and things we should do.
There’s additionally a bill that’s pending, one of my friends, Del. Sally Hudson has proposed, that says, if the employer is arduous unemployment, the actuality should still get paid while the analysis is pending. That’s article abroad that’s been aching and adverse to bodies who are affliction now. Because if the employer contests it, afresh there’s a blooper in time for the affidavit to be requested and provided, and that actuality is about to be homeless, they’re hungry, there’s needs that charge to be met. If a actuality applies, and afresh the employer wants to challenge it, that is absolutely accomplished aural their rights, but money should still be paid out. And if it was wrongfully paid out, afresh Virginia will recover, in in the agency accurately they are able to, the money that was that was afield paid out. But, you know, we should consistently err on the ancillary of advice and abatement than annihilation else.
Crystal Graham: One of the issues for Chris and I both and for this arena has to do with kids in school, and the bulk of time that they’re accident as far as education. While they are still accepting some affectionate of online education, it’s aloof not the same. There accept been studies that appearance that the appulse on these kids is they are about a bearing lost. It’s activity to be actual adamantine for abounding of them to balance from the year that they’ve been out of school. I’m absorbed in what your affairs are. What do you anticipate the aisle advanced is for our kids?
Jennifer Carroll Foy: One of the things I abutment appropriate now anon is accepting an added division of school. Accomplish it optional, not mandatory, but I’m not acquainted of any parents who will not accelerate their kids to ensure that they’re accepting that added learning, and for some extending a added is to abode the deficits that they accept because of basic learning.
Our agents and acceptance are accomplishing the best they can with what they have, but basic acquirements is not optimal, abnormally for kids who are English as a additional accent learners, or who are disabled or autistic. I’m authoritative abiding that we accept that, and we accept the allotment to do it.
We’ll additionally accept to attending at added agency to abode what has happened and deficiencies in our children’s apprenticeship and learning, whether that agency extending the day by an hour, whether that agency abacus added canicule to the academy year, in adjustment to supplement and advice and get our kids breadth they should be. I would subscribe to any of those options, but accomplishing annihilation is not an option.
Chris Graham: Accepting apprehend through your bio, we appear from actual agnate backgrounds in some ways. I grew up in a distinct ancestor home in a bivouac park. Crystal grew up in lower average chic ambiance with a ancestors that eventually bankrupt up as well. We apperceive that you were one of the aboriginal changeable acceptance at VMI on a abounding scholarship and formed your way up. Apprenticeship was a abundant blaster for anniversary of us. As the the new governor alive with the General Assembly, what can we do to ensure that our apprenticeship arrangement gives added opportunities to bodies like us to accept a adventitious to succeed?
Jennifer Carroll Foy: In some genitalia of Virginia, our schools are aloof as absolute as they were in the ‘60s. Attending at Petersburg and Colonial Heights. I came from Petersburg. We didn’t accept books to booty home. We had actionable agents in the classroom. We were accomplishing worksheets in 12th brand science class. I had to accept a babysitter in about every chic my aboriginal year at Virginia Aggressive Institute. Whereas Colonial Heights, which is a majority-white district, had the best of schools, best teachers, best technology.
Number one, I abutment aggregate acceding for teachers. Because in adjustment for our agents to accept what they charge to be acknowledged for our students, they charge to get the pay that they deserve. They charge protections, abnormally with their apprenticeship time that they need. I absolutely abutment aggregate acceding for accompaniment employees, abnormally our teachers.
The additional is modernizing our standards of quality. We are not affair our built-in obligations by absolutely allotment apprenticeship the way we should, and the accompaniment acrimonious up majority of the purse as we declared to, and relying so abundant on localities. You accept communities like Petersburg and Portsmouth and Pulaski who don’t accept the acreage taxes to accumulation to the schools the all-important allotment that should be there. That’s breadth you see huge deficits.
The third, activity aback to the antecedent catechism also, is that our kids charge those amusing assurance nets. I accurate the legislation to admission the cardinal of academy attorneys we have, and in the account absolutely allotment those positions. It shouldn’t be one advisor per 1,000 children. It needs to be one to at atomic 250, and that’s still not enough, really. But those are the things that will advice so they can readily analyze accouchement who are depressed, and who are adversity from post-traumatic accent syndrome, who are actuality afraid and who charge those services, who are actuality sexually abused at home. That’s what they’re there for, not alone for academy prep, but added issues, too.
Another antecedence is accretion aboriginal adolescence education. That’s breadth the absolute bisect begins. Pam Northam has formed to get added federal block grants to Virginia, subsidizing added and accepting added 3- and 4-year-olds in abounding daycare, which is important. Rethinking adequate aboriginal adolescence education, it doesn’t accept to be in a brick and adhesive classroom. That’s what makes it so cost-prohibitive. We can do it in artistic agency – abbey basements, YMCAs, association centers
Crystal Graham: Alike admitting suicide ante abide to increase, the bulk of allotment that absolutely goes to brainy bloom assets continues to decline. What can be done at the accompaniment level, and what you can do as governor, to try to advance through some initiatives that advice in the brainy bloom area, because post-COVID, this is activity to be added all-important than alike before.
Jennifer Carroll Foy: One of the best atramentous things in agency that we amusement brainy bloom actuality in Virginia is that a lot of bodies with brainy bloom don’t get apparent or diagnosed or advised until they admission a bent amends system. As a aloft accessible defender, and as a court-appointed apostle now, I see that every distinct day. What has to appear is that I will advance in aberration programs in a way that Virginia has never done. We’ve fabricated abounding promises, but accept not fabricated adequate on it. That agency investments in association account boards.
When a actuality is best up for accepting a brainy bloom emergency, they’re not beatific to bastille or to a cloister judge. They’re beatific to a association hospital, or they’re apparent by association account lath who can afresh get them inpatient or outpatient care, whatever their needs required. But appropriate now, that’s not an option, because we don’t accept the beds, and we don’t accept the resources. We charge the bodies to be able to appraise them and get that done. Aberration programs is cardinal one, accepting bodies admission to care.
The additional allotment of that is, let’s say, for instance, they do move over beneath the bent amends system. I will aggrandize brainy bloom dockets in every cloister in Virginia. We’ve apparent that is how we bead the backsliding rates. A actuality answerable with chaotic conduct, trespass, petty theft, they airing into a store, they’re hungry, they booty something, they’re talking to the choir in their head, and they’re apparent as an undesirable, so bodies alarm the badge on them, instead of accepting them to help. Authoritative abiding that we accept those brainy bloom dockets, that is the way we accompany our backsliding rate, by giving them the collateral, the abutment that they need, that they contrarily don’t get.
And afresh they additionally charge to be affiliated to housing. And they additionally get affiliated to clinics so they can get their decree pills. All of those things will advice abode abounding of those challenges.
One of the things we accept to pay absorption to is that there’s marginalized communities, poor communities, atramentous and amber communities, rural communities, who accept buck the burden of overpolicing, the war on drugs, disinvestment. Now that we accept these admirable revenues, such as with bank revenues, revenues from the amends of marijuana, and we’re activity to abide to body these things out added acquirement streams, we charge committed allotment to the programs that are bare the most. Authoritative abiding that we accept those brainy bloom programs in the communities, allotment the association casework boards, and ensuring those communities accept access, is so important
Chris Graham: We appetite to ask about ancestral amends issues. Article that we’ve been focused on, anxious about, aback aftermost spring, afterwards the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, our abhorrence was, what happens aback the drive goes away, and we accept to still do things after? Our abhorrence was, and I anticipate maybe we’re seeing this, that we would accede to booty a few statues down, but afresh we wouldn’t do annihilation substantive. What are your thoughts on that? What can we do to try to animate the drive that we had aftermost summer and body aloft it in the future?
Jennifer Carroll Foy: I’m so blessed that you said it in the way that you said. It was appropriate on point. Because what I consistently say is that, listen, while I do accept the debris of the Confederacy and abhorrence and bigotry charge to appear down, that those no best reflect the ethics of Virginia’s anymore, let’s absolutely allocution about and get to the basis causes. Because it’s easier to annihilate monuments than it is to annihilate systems and inequities – in our healthcare system, environment, education, in our economy, you name it.
That’s my protest. I don’t absolutely beef by boot with the Atramentous Lives Amount movement. I beef by casual bills and budgets that are activity to disengage the aching and abuse to so abounding communities.
I’ve anesthetized bills to abate the atramentous affectionate bloodshed amount by authoritative doula affliction covered by Medicaid. This makes abiding that Atramentous women who die four times at a college amount than our counterparts carefully due to absolute bent accept the culturally competent affliction and advancement that they charge and deserve. Do things like end beard discrimination, so Atramentous and Amber bodies can be their accurate selves and not be discriminated adjoin or accursed and lose their job for what artlessly grows out of their scalp.
Passing a bill to end atramentous babe academy pushout. Alive with the National Women’s Law Center to canyon a bill that establishes in Virginia, and it’s the aboriginal in the nation, that no dress academy dress cipher can discriminate, or prohibit, braids, locks or arch wraps or religious headgear like hijabs from actuality beat in school.
So abounding of our young, marginalized accouchement were actuality targeted and addled because of their culture, or how they absitively to accurate themselves, in a way that was not distracting, that was not causing a problem, but because of people’s bias, and what we apperceive as accustomed or adequate or professional.
I agitated a bill to accept a $15 minimum allowance that is angry to the index, breadth we apperceive the majority of the bodies who accept been afflicted the best from COVID-19 are Atramentous and Amber women, because we accomplish up the majority of retail and accommodation fields, which accept been afflicted the most, and we’re added acceptable to accomplish minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. So, aggravating to accession a ancestors on $14,000 a year. That’s the apprehension actuality in the Commonwealth, but we charge to change that. We alarm bodies basic workers, but aback they attending at their paychecks, it says that they’re expendable. That’s what we accept to change.
Passing the bill to end abundance discrimination. Demanding and acute administration to accomplish reasonable apartment for women, which we saw women of blush are added acceptable to be aching and afflicted by that. I was the arch co-patron on the According Rights Amendment, and it was my resolution that anesthetized authoritative Virginia the 38th accompaniment to apotheosize women’s equality. And that helps Atramentous and Amber women the most, because Atramentous women are paid 60 cents to a white man’s dollar, while Latinas 50 cents and aboriginal women beneath than that.
When you allocution about who’s out actuality accomplishing the work, who’s adopting the anecdotal and accepting these afflictive conversations about chase and disinterestedness and what that means, that’s what I’m doing.
One of the things I’m best appreciative about is my attitude with unions, because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the aftermost things he was angry for was according pay for sanitation workers, because he said it doesn’t amount if you accept a bench at the cafeteria adverse if you can’t allow what’s on the menu. Bread-and-butter disinterestedness is absolutely the key to acclamation the ancestral abundance gap, and accurate disinterestedness amid the contest here, and not alone in Virginia, but beyond our country.
Something I’m absolutely aggravating to focus on is allowance SWAM businesses. I accept committed as governor to allocating 45 percent of our arbitrary spending for appurtenances and casework appear SWAM businesses. Additionally creating a agency whose sole purpose is to attending into basic assets and allotment and mentorship and programs that will advice boost our SWAM businesses also. As a delegate, I anesthetized the bill that says, if you’re a SWAM business, your bid for a account contract, which is one of the accomplished affairs that we accept in that state, can be 3 percent college than anybody else’s, and it’s still advised to be reasonable and prudent, to accomplish them added competitive, to accept them accept added access. That’s what it’s about. I’m aflame to abide to body on that to advice our marginalized communities added and abide to do the assignment that’s unfinished.
Crystal Graham: Virginia has done a lot already as far as commonsense gun laws. As governor, are there added items in gun abandon ameliorate that you would like to see confused advanced in our state?
Jennifer Carroll Foy: We anesthetized accomplished seven of our eight top accepted faculty gun assurance bills a year ago. We did accepted accomplishments checks, one gun a month, all of those abundant things. But we were not able to get the advance weapons ban passed. That is article that I will absolutely advance and apostle for.
I don’t alone allocution about catastrophe accumulation shootings like the ones in Virginia Tech, in Virginia Beach. I additionally talked about the accustomed burghal gun abandon that’s apparent in places like Petersburg and Portsmouth. Investing in those abandon abeyance programs is actual important, because there is aggressive violence, and gun abandon is happening, and these communities accept gone abandoned and alone for far too long. But if they were to admission added flush and white communities, afresh we’ll be accepting a altered conversation. That is article that I am so acquainted of, with accompany from aerial academy actuality victims of gun abandon in our community.
Those are the things that I will do, I’ll get done.
Chris Graham: I’m account Barack Obama’s autobiography, and I’m in the allotment appropriate now breadth he’s talking about aback he ran aback he absitively to run for Accompaniment Senate, and afresh aback he absitively to run for Senate, and afresh he absitively to run for president. And it’s a almost abbreviate aeon of time in his life. But as he’s authoritative these decisions to accomplish these runs, and I affectionate of can see a alongside in one faculty with you in 2017. You’re abundant with twins, and you decide, I’m activity to run for the House of Delegates, and it wasn’t easy. You won your primary by 12 votes, and afresh you serve two terms, and you’re 39 years old. You know, certainly, God willing, you accept a continued time you can you accept a adventitious to do this. But he had the aforementioned issues. He was a adolescent man active for Accompaniment Senate, Senate and afresh president. But he said, you don’t aces the opportunity, the befalling picks you. Is there article agnate for you in this, a faculty of, you know, yes, you could quote, delay your turn, but is that the appropriate way to anticipate of it? Or is it more, the befalling is there, and affectionate of demands that you accomplish this run?
Jennifer Carroll Foy: Article my bedmate says to me all the time, he’s like, Jen, aback are you activity to booty your cape off? It’s article that has been in me for a actual continued time. I am in awe that you saw the parallels, because abounding added bodies are adage that to people. They say, you’re a firebrand, upstart, you’re new, you’re demography on this machine, and you’re unafraid. How is that possible?
I say, well, you know, I’m congenital for this, I’m congenital for this, because I’m consistently accessible to accommodated the moment.
One of the things that disturbs me the best is bent and injustice. That’s what confused me from activity to be a cloister adjudicator to actuality a accessible defender. It wasn’t the pay. It was the actuality that bodies in Richmond who kept advancing afore me were Atramentous and Brown, and you are added acceptable to be captivated in bastille if you were poor and innocent than affluent and guilty. I had a botheration with the system. So I said, you apperceive what, I can abide to be a allotment of the problem, or I can do article about it.
When I begin out that there are colleges that I couldn’t attend, aloof because I was female, and I heard the articulation of aloft Supreme Cloister Amends Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aback she said that women can do all things if accustomed the opportunity, I didn’t blink twice, and jumped at the befalling to be one of the aboriginal women to anytime alum from one of the top aggressive colleges in this country.
And again, in 2017, aback I saw Trump actuality elected, the best incompetent, racist, bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic person, actuality adopted the baton of the chargeless world, and to see a lot of their address bottomward in Richmond, with the transvaginal ultrasound bill, the connected attacks on women, I absitively to do article about it. And alike admitting I was abundant with twins, alike admitting I was outraised four to one, alike admitting my adversary had aloof ahead absent this bench by 127 votes, and he was the enactment candidate, he had the House Democratic Caucus leaders endorse him and abutment him, none of that mattered. Because I’m accomplishing this, because it’s the appropriate affair to do. I am accomplishing this because it’s needed, necessary. I never feel like I charge permission to do what’s right.
I was accomplished by my grandmother at a actual adolescent age, you consistently put account aloft self, and if you accept it, you accept to accord it. It wasn’t a ‘but,’ right? It wasn’t a caveat. ‘But’ if you accept abundant money, ‘but’ if there’s a alley to win, ‘but’ if alone if you’re the favorite. None of those things. It’s never steered me wrong. Already I’m led to do something, I don’t catechism it. I aloof go for it. I go all in, I put my arch down. I assignment hard. And I apperceive I’m angry for the appropriate reasons. That’s what matters.
It’s never bootless me in the past. I don’t anticipate it will abort me now. And in this moment, I anticipate Virginia is accessible to move advanced and not back. They’re attractive for a new baton who’s appropriate for this moment. We appetite to agitate up the cachet quo in backroom as usual. And you can’t do that by recycling aforementioned old politicians and the aforementioned old policies.
I’m aflame that bodies say it can’t happen, because what I consistently like to say is aggregate is absurd until it’s done.
Transcript edited by Chris Graham
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