RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Democratic Governor-elect Ralph Northam is coming to power in a new era. The Democrats have won more seats in the House of Delegates than they've had in years.
While the battle for control in the House is still on-going, Northam hopes the Democratic wave of this election will him reach his goals. But he's also calling for both parties to work together.
Just days before his Inauguration, Northam is gearing up to tackle his goals as Virginia's 73rd governor. Top of the list: job creation and ensuring students are trained for Virginia's hard to fill jobs.
"We want to promote economic opportunity for all Virginians, no matter who you are or where you are. Bring skills to jobs and a lot of that is by recognizing what the jobs of the 21st century are," said Northam.
Announcing their legislative agenda at the Capitol, he and outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe again called for expanding Medicaid. Northam is also focused on Medicaid reform.
"Look at ways we can provide more effective and efficient care to Virginians and at the end of the day to save our taxpayers money," said Northam.
They both announced bills calling for universal background checks for gun purchases, creating no-excuse absentee voting, and providing protections for student loan borrowers.
In his inaugural address, Northam says he'll describe how he will approach governing: the same way he approaches being a doctor.
"I've taken care of thousands of children and their families, and I've never once had one of them asked me if I'm a Democrat or a Republican, nor have I asked them. When we take care of patients, we see an individual who needs help. That's the way I approach public service in Virginia," he said.
After the divisive battle for power in the House of Delegates, Northam says it's time for unity.
"We're in a position where we need to work together to get things done," he said. "These are common sense, non-partisan challenges that I think we'll all be able to work together on."
Northam says unity will be at the heart of his tenure as governor.
"We're going to be inclusive. Our lights are going to be on our doors. We're going to welcome people to Virginia," he said.
Northam says he also doesn't want to give up his work as a pediatric neurologist. He says he hopes to see patients for a half day every other month and perhaps do some lecturing.
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