Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here.
Thousands of people attended the dedication of Arthur Ashe Boulevard in Richmond on Saturday, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga). The event honored Ashe, the Richmond-born tennis star who earned plaudits off the court for his humanitarian work and activism.
5 Things you need to know today…
- Charles City power plant approved by state – Virginia’s state Air Pollution Control Board approved a permit for a huge new natural gas-fired power plant in Charles City County. The Chickahominy Power Station had its pollution permit approved, despite concerns from conservation groups and local residents that the plant, which is expected to emit 6.5 million tons of carbon per year, could have negative impacts on public health and the environment.
- More than 10,000 kids in southwest Virginia experience food insecurity – More than 10,000 children in southwest Virginia face hunger, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Map the Meal Gap 2019 report. Food insecurity is often caused by unemployment, low wages, medical conditions, a lack of affordable child care and poor access to grocery stores or food banks. While the issue is a significant one in southwest Virginia, the state as a whole has the fifth lowest child food insecurity rate in the nation at 13.2%, or 247,470 children, which is lower than the national rate.
- Biden leads Virginia Dems in new 2020 poll – Former Vice President Joe Biden has a nearly 20-point lead over his 2020 Democratic competitors in a new Hampton University poll of Virginia Democrats. Biden won the support of 36% of self-identified Democrats, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) earning 17% of voters and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) coming in third at 13%. Biden has had a comfortable lead across the country since declaring his candidacy in April, but his numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks and his competitors are likely to use this week’s first debates to try and chip away at his lead.
- Virginia GOP affirms Scott Wyatt as nominee in 97th House district – The GOP’s State Central Committee voted to affirm Scott Wyatt as the party’s nominee in the 97th House of Delegates district in Hanover County. The committee chose Wyatt over incumbent Del. Chris Peace (R-Hanover), marking the latest development in what has become the state’s most dramatic primary battle. Peace criticized the party for violating its own charter and governing rules and did not rule out challenging the decision in court or running as an independent.
- Charlottesville attack perpetrator asks for mercy – The white supremacist who killed Heather Heyer when he drove his car into counter protesters opposing a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville two years ago is asking a judge for mercy. Lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr. said their client, who has pled guilty, should not spend his entire life in prison because of his age, a traumatic childhood, and a history of mental illness. Prosecutors responded that Fields has shown no remorse since he killed Heyer and has a long history of racist and anti-Semitic behavior. Fields will be sentenced on June 28.