Richmond, VA — Republican Delegate Kirk Cox formally announced his campaign for Governor today after spending an entire year hoping Virginians would forget about his extreme record as Speaker of the House of Delegates. After his failed leadership motivated Virginians to vote out 20 Republican Delegates in two election cycles and give Democrats trifecta control of Virginia government for the first time in a generation, Cox is trying to recast himself as a moderate and distance himself from his hyper-partisan record in the General Assembly.
But Virginians know Kirk Cox as the man who spent his time as Speaker killing numerous popular policies that would have made them safer, healthier, and more prosperous. Cox led Virginia Republicans' resistance to common sense policies on issues ranging from gun safety legislation to Medicaid expansion to abortion access while raking in campaign cash from special interests like the NRA. As Governor he'd stand in the way of progress in the exact same way.
As Washington Republicans' effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed in 2017, Cox released a statement lamenting the failure, calling the ACA "a collapsing system" and demanding cuts to both Medicare and Social Security. When it came to health care policy in Virginia, Cox was just as extreme as Donald Trump. Like Trump he relentlessly attacked the ACA, voting for a bill that allowed the sale of junk insurance plans that don't have to comply with the ACA, and voting to repeal ACA protections in the state code.
But worst of all, Cox blocked the expansion of Medicaid for years. "We've been clear that we're not going to do Medicaid expansion," Cox told the Virginian-Pilot in 2014, and spent the following years voting against Medicaid expansion five times, depriving over 470,000 Virginians of affordable health care for years.
Cox also made a name for himself as an extreme anti-abortion Republican, voting for an abhorrent bill that forced women seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound for no medical reason.
Under Cox's leadership, Republicans in the General Assembly also failed to address the growing problem of gun violence in the Commonwealth. After a tragic mass shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginians demanded action from the General Assembly during the 2019 special legislative session. But after Cox allowed the NRA set up shop in his office, Republicans voted to adjourn the special session after 90 minutes without voting on a single bill. To rub salt in the wounds of Virginians demanding change, Cox said in an interview afterwards that the gun safety proposals supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Virginians "would have been defeated" anyway.
Cox also used his role as Speaker to block numerous common sense bills from even getting a vote in the House of Delegates. That meant popular legislation that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, mandated equal pay for equal work, and more were killed without a vote.
"Virginians aren't buying Kirk Cox's phony attempts to appear like a moderate. For years he stood in the way of affordable health care for over 400,000 Virginians, non-discrimination measures to protect the LGBTQ community, a minimum wage increase, and so much more. His record of right-wing extremism is something Amanda Chase and Donald Trump would admire. Virginians made the right decision when they voted his party out of power last year, and they'll keep him far from the Governor's Mansion next year too," said DPVA Communications Director Grant Fox.