Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Wednesday, March 24

By Megan Schiffres

March 24, 2021

Houseless rates are up, a whistleblower is fired and Northam signs an executive order to reduce plastic pollution.

Daily Number

11 – That’s the number of years since the Affordable Care Act became law under former President Barack Obama. The Act celebrated its anniversary yesterday, but its original goal of universal, affordable healthcare for all Americans has still not been achieved.

U.S. Rep. Endorses Jennifer Carroll Foy

Typically we don’t cover all of the endorsements that pour through, but a few rate high enough that we have to take notice. That was the case today, as Jennifer Carroll Foy got an endorsement from the other side of the country.

California Rep. Katie Porter, a well-known member of the U.S. House, said Foy had her support.

“Jennifer Carroll Foy is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet, go without healthcare, and raise a family as a working mom,” Porter’s statement read. “She is building a grassroots movement that is centered on working families which is exactly what we need right now with special interests trying to gain even more power and influence.”

Foy is one of five Democratic candidates in the governor’s race. You can read more about her here. All five will be in a debate tonight, which you can follow through live updates on Dogwood’s social platforms.

Houseless Rates Up Across Virginia

Rates of houselessness in Virginia are up 3% in comparison to 2019, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Seven in every 10,000 people in the Commonwealth are experiencing houselessness, according to the report. 968 of those people don’t have access to a shelter.

AHA Report to Congress
Source: 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress

Russo Endorses Candidate for Lieutenant Governor

And here’s our second endorsement note of the day. There’s a good chance you’re familiar with the name Claire Russo. She led a team of Marines that targeted insurgent networks in Afghanistan and Iraq. A victim of sexual assault by a superior officer, she fought to make sure her attacker was prosecuted and jailed.

Now, why are we mentioning this? Because Russo, who is a Virginia native, endorsed Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan on Wednesday. McClellan is one of eight Democrats competing to be the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor. We talk about the race a bit here and here is what happened in their last debate.

Inspector General Fires Investigator Who Uncovered Scandal

An investigator working to uncover misconduct on the Virginia Parole Board was fired Monday. That’s according to reporting by the Richmond Times Dispatch (RTD).

Jennifer Morchetti, lead investigator on at least nine reports in 2020 against the board, was still in the process of investigating them when they fired her, RTD reports.

These investigations showed a pattern of releasing inmates without giving proper notice to prosecutors of the families of victims, according to RTD.

Morchetti filed a lawsuit on March 8 asking a judge for whistleblower status, according to the Associated Press. In her lawsuit, Morchetti alleges that she faced retaliation after coming forward with the wrongdoings her investigation uncovered. Now, according to the RTD, she’s dropping that lawsuit.

“The Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG) models integrity, trust and ethical behavior and demonstrates the highest standards of honesty, respect and accountability,” the Inspector General Michael Westfall said in a statement to RTD.

Virginia Governor Signs Executive Order to Reduce Plastic Pollution

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order yesterday that he says will decrease the Commonwealth’s reliance on single-use plastics.

The order directs all executive branch state agencies, including state institutions of higher education, to stop buying, selling, or distributing certain plastic items within the next 120 days.

These items include disposable plastic bags, singe-use plastic and polystyrene food service containers, plastic straws and cutlery, and single-use plastic water bottles. State agencies must also phase out these items by 2025.

“As a large producer of solid waste, the Commonwealth must lead by example and transition away from single-use disposable plastics to create a cleaner, more sustainable future for all Virginians,” said Northam.

The governor’s executive order does not apply to necessary medical, public health, or public safety uses.

Who Influenced You? Dogwood Series Continues

Throughout the month of March, we’ve been asking statewide candidates to tell us about a woman or women in their life that helped guide or shape their path in some way. Here’s our latest edition, courtesy of Norfolk City Council member and candidate for lieutenant governor Andria McClellan.

Facebook Removed Amanda Chase’s Facebook Page

Facebook has deleted Virginia gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase’s state Senate Page.

According to Virginia Business, a representative of Facebook’s U.S. politics and government outreach department, Rachel Holland, says the page’s deletion was the result of “incurring multiple violations of our Community Standards which resulted in content removal. … Due to the potential for real-world harm, we do not allow exceptions [to] this policy.”

The initial suspension of Chase’s state Senator Facebook Page happened on January 8. That was just a few days following her attendance and public support of the white supremacist terrorist attack on the Capitol. It was also around the same time former President Donald Trump’s Facebook page met the same fate,

According to Virginia Business, Chase says she’s strongly considering bringing a lawsuit against Facebook. She says she’ll sue on behalf of herself and others whose accounts have been deleted for their support of Trump.

“You don’t adopt un-American policies, Facebook,” Chase said. “This is all a target on conservative Republicans. This has lit a fire under me. I will put Facebook out of business.”

Chase’s personal Facebook Page and the Facebook Page she created for her gubernatorial campaign are still active.

RELATED: Amanda Chase Rejects GOP Convention, Vows to Run as Independent

Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: The Moon

I know, it was a very good riddle. So good in fact, I’m hoping it eclipsed your expectations! As you may have guessed, the answer to our trivia question yesterday is the moon!

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