Progress Virginia Statement on State of the Commonwealth Address

Richmond, Virginia—Governor Ralph Northam delivered his State of the Commonwealth address this evening, laying out his legislative priorities at the start of the General Assembly session. Progress Virginia was thrilled to see his support for free community college and equitable marijuana legalization, as well as abolishing the death penalty in Virginia, and hopes that members of the legislature will follow the Governor’s lead by passing bold, progressive legislation on these and many other issues during the legislative session.

“Legislators have a lot of work to do to ensure that Virginia’s communities get back on track after dealing with the dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19,” Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, said. “We need them to stand up for our communities to tackle the big issues Virginia faces with bold solutions: dismantling structural racism, creating opportunities for traditionally marginalized communities to thrive, and keeping all of us safe from this devastating pandemic. We need our legislators to pass legislation that will lift up struggling families and ensure that all of us are able to thrive. Let’s get to work.”


Governor Northam outlined an agenda that included:

  • Abolishing the death penalty 
  • Equitably legalizing marijuana 
  • Free Community College 
  • Funding for initiatives to address the high rate of Black maternal mortality including funding for doula services for pregnant people
  • $25 million in funding for affordable housing 
  • $50 million in funding for expanding access to rural broadband
  • $500 million in funding for schools 
  • A constitutional amendment that would restore civil rights to returning citizens