Yesterday, Governor McAuliffe held a community roundtable in Richmond to discuss his historic restoration of rights order. This was first of several roundtables the Governor will lead across Virginia to address his executive action. These meeting serve as an opportunity for the Governor and the people of Virginia to hear the stories of redemption from those who have been benefitted from Governor McAuliffe’s restoration of rights order.
Kenneth Williams, a Virginian impacted by the Governor’s order, attended the Governor’s roundtable yesterday. A former felon-turned-business owner, Mr. Williams explained that even after turning his life around and creating a successful business that he still felt like a second-class citizen. Mr. Williams said the Governor’s order has made him truly feel like a member of society again, “Now that I have a vote, I have a voice just like you have a voice.”
Despite an overwhelming 65% of Virginians supporting the Governor’s actions, GOP leadership has chosen to ignore their constituents and their own voting history to wage a campaign of false information and scare tactics. Virginia Republicans do not care that the Governor’s order put Virginia’s policy in line with 40 other states.
We can’t let Tommy Norment, Jill Vogel, Frank Wagner, Frank Ruff and Bill Stanley forget they joined Democrats in 2013 to approve a Constitutional amendment for automatic restoration of civil rights for nonviolent felons. We can’t let Del. Greg Habeeb forget that he introduced a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights in 2013 that made no distinction between violent or nonviolent felons. Virginia Republicans are either experiencing severe short-term memory loss, or they more concerned with attacking Governor McAuliffe than standing by the courage of their convictions.