Statement Contradicts Previous Northam Votes and Statements; Previously Applauded Governor McAuliffe for Vetoing Such Legislation
2017 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie released the following statement this evening following what appeared to be a major change in policy position by Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam when it comes to whether he would sign legislation banning sanctuary cities in the Commonwealth. Northam voted in the General Assembly against a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia. Throughout the campaign he has bragged about that vote, including saying at the Democratic gubernatorial primary debate in Richmond, “The Republicans this year put a bill that came through the Senate to ban sanctuary cities, it was nothing more than a message that they were trying to say, because we don’t have sanctuary cities in Virginia, and I was proud to be able to break the tie to make sure that didn’t happen in Virginia.” Now, it appears from tonight’s interview with WAVY-TV, the Lieutenant Governor may have changed his position in the wake of recent confirmation by the Fairfax County Police Department that there are 1400 MS-13 members in the county, and following a string of tragic stories relating to the gang’s activities in Virginia.
In today’s interview Northam has the following exchange with longtime Virginia political reporter Andy Fox:
FOX: We asked Northam, if governor, will he sign a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia
NORTHAM: If that bill comes to my desk, Andy, I sure will. I’ve always been opposed to sanctuary cities. He knows that.
In response to what would be a significant change in the Lieutenant Governor’s position, only days before Virginians head to the polls next Tuesday, and following months of criticism of Ed Gillespie for pledging to ban sanctuary cities himself if elected, Ed Gillespie released the following statement:
“MS-13 is a serious public safety issue in Virginia. Since last November, we’ve witnessed at least 8 murders tied to this vicious gang in Northern Virginia alone. Just a week ago, the Fairfax County Police Department announced there are at least 1400 MS-13 members in that county alone, meaning they outnumber police in our largest locality. That’s why I’ve put forward significant and strong policy plans, including a pledge to commit an additional $1.5 million in the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, to take on this threat to our communities, in particular our immigrant communities. Unfortunately my commitment to taking on this major issue has been met with attacks from my opponent and his allies. Ralph Northam bragged about his vote to defeat a commonsense bill to ban sanctuary cities while presiding over the State Senate. He applauded the governor for ultimately vetoing that bill. Now, only days before the election, he has told a longtime Virginia political reporter that he would actually sign the very bill he has bragged about voting against, and applauded the vetoing of when done so by Governor McAuliffe. I sincerely hope that this change of heart is real. That Ralph Northam recognizes MS-13 is a real issue, and a serious threat, and that allowing for the creation of sanctuary cities here would only make things worse. Given his track record on this issue, I’m not sure where the Lieutenant Governor stands. I hope in the days ahead he will reiterate what he said to WAVY-TV, and stand by it. Keeping Virginians safe and secure is the foremost obligation of our state government, and we must all work together to ensure we get this done.”