Dogwood Weekly: What happened this week

By Keya Vakil

June 9, 2019

Happy Sunday, Virginia.

If you’re like us, sitting on your couch and trying to figure out what to do with your day (or week or month), check out our list of this week’s events, including several ways to celebrate Pride month across Virginia.

ICYMI: 5 things that happened this week… 

  1. Virginia Beach shooting shatters community and re-ignites debate over gun laws – The deadly May 31 shooting in Virginia Beach left 12 dead and rocked the local community. The aftermath has reverberated around the state, with Gov. Ralph Northam calling for a special summer legislative session to try and reform the state’s lax gun laws. But as our own Davis Burroughs found, Northam and his fellow Democrats are going to face significant Republican opposition to any gun bills.

  2. Primary elections are coming up on Tuesday – On Tuesday June 11, voters will go to the polls across Virginia to vote in the state’s primary elections. There are 16 state Senate primary elections, 19 House of Delegates primaries and a slew of local races. In advance of election day, we put together a primaries FAQ that (hopefully) answers any questions you might have about election day.

  3. Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates are historically diverse – 2017 saw Democrats flip 15 seats in the House of Delegates, largely thanks to women, people of color and younger candidates. In 2019, the Democratic field of candidates for the House of Delegates is even more diverse. In an analysis of all state House candidates, including primary contestants, incumbents and candidates running unopposed, The Dogwood found that Democratic candidates are 50% female and 23% black. In comparison, 79% of Republican candidates are male and only 4% are black. For more analysis and numbers crunching, check out our full piece here

  4. Virginia aims to eliminate racial disparity in maternal mortality by 2025 – Did you know that black women are more than two times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related death in Virginia than white women? It’s true, and it’s a disparity that Gov. Ralph Northam wants to eliminate by 2025. Northam announced the 2025 goal on Wednesday, during the ceremonial signing of a bill that establishes the Maternal Mortality Review Team in Virginia.  Northam has also directed private and non-profit leaders to develop strategies to help achieve the state’s goal and ordered state agencies to expedite enrollment for pregnant women eligible for Medicaid.

  5. You could get $24,000 to pay off student loans by moving to rural Virginia – No, we’re not joking. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission officially approved a program to help pay off recent college graduates’ student loan debt if they move to one of 40 localities in Southside and southwest Virginia and fill in-demand jobs. The Talent Attraction Program will give $24,000 over two years to qualified workers willing to live in the tobacco region and fill critical jobs like doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers. So, if you qualify and are interested, go get that money!

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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