RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In less than two months, Virginia will elect a new lieutenant governor.
The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and casts tie-breaking votes.Capitol bureau reporter Evanne Armour sat down one-on-one with both nominees.
Republican Jill Vogel is no stranger to Virginia’s Senate chambers. She has been a state senator representing part of northern Virginia for the last decade.
“I care about getting things done,” she said.
Now, she wants to preside over the Senate as lieutenant governor. If elected, she will be the first woman to hold Virginia’s number two spot.
“It requires being able to work across the aisle, to understand how the legislature works, to understand how the Senate works,” she said.
She said her experience is what sets her apart from her opponent, Democrat Justin Fairfax.
Because Virginia is a part-time legislature, Vogel said she is able to hold public office while still working as an ethics attorney and being a devoted mom.
“I have loved the constituent service piece of this. The fact that I go to Richmond with a legislative agenda. Not one that I just dreamed up or that I think is popular, but because real people have said, ‘I have a real problem and this needs to be fixed,'” she said.
One of her proudest moments serving as a state senator has been getting legislation passed that bans childhood marriage.
SB 415 passed through the Senate in 2016. An identical bill, introduced by democratic Sen. Jennifer McClellan, cleared the House.
The republican said she is not focused on partisanship.
“I have been willing to put principle over party always and have been willing to break with my party on many, many issues that are really important in our time like discrimination, like medical marijuana, like ethics reform.”
She said health care is top of mind for her campaign. Jobs and the economy are other main focuses. She is concerned about people leaving Virginia for more opportunity elsewhere.
“Other states are being really innovative when it comes to tax reform and regulatory reform and education,” she said. “Virginia used to be number one and now we’re kind of getting smoked.”
Vogel said she would be committed to passing legislation that makes Virginia more competitive.
When asked what she would do differently than the current lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam, she said one decision in particular came to mind.
“He cast a vote for sanctuary cities that has come up consistently. I would have done that differently,” she said. “I think in Virginia we have laws that we have to respect and that we need to enforce. If you wish to change the law, then change the law, but you can’t just selectively enforce some laws over others.”
To see the one-on-one interview with the democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, click HERE.