Northam: 2021 focus must be on pandemic relief for Virginians

Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 3:10 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - For Virginia’s governor, pandemic relief will have to come in many forms. 2020 was a challenging year, but Ralph Northam says even more challenges are ahead as the commonwealth recovers.

“I think 2021, we really have to focus on bringing relief to Virginians from COVID-19 and really move it forward from there,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia.

The governor says they need to focus on getting children back inside the classroom in the new year, and get aid to small businesses left crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Northam stands by his decisions this year over COVID-19 safety restrictions. He recently tightened restrictions statewide and hopes not to have to go any further.

“If we can do the right thing and follow these guidelines, I would like to not have to put any more measures on folks and really just focus the next few months on getting everybody vaccinated, and we’ll get out of this and put it in the rear-view mirror,” Northam said.

Criminal justice reform was also a top headline for Northam this year. Virginia’s General Assembly passed sweeping measures this year including a ban on no-knock warrants and establishing the Marcus Alert.

This year, the pandemic took its toll on Northam’s priorities, including prekindergarten education funding. He hopes that changes in 2021.

The governor also wants to find a way to make his G3 Program a reality: “The G3 program works without 23 community colleges and allows individuals to go to the community colleges without incurring any debt. And it also helps pay for some do the wrap around expenses like housing, transportation, childcare,” he said.

Legalizing marijuana in Virginia will be another push in 2021. Northam said it’s time to do it in Virginia and they’re prepared to do it right.

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