RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam delivered an address to the Joint Assembly on Monday.
Northam laid out his agenda for what he believes is working and what needs improvement. He started with the need to create more opportunities for Virginia workers.
"Bringing more jobs to Virginia is only half the battle," said Northam. "Too many of our fellow Virginians are out of work or underemployed because they lack the skills they need to begin a long-term career."
Northam says Virginia needs to strengthen its workforce development system and expand access to registered apprenticeships.
Next, he talked about improving the education system. He wants to make Virginia the leader in teacher pay.
"We should make sure every school can hire the best," said Northam.
Governor Northam talked about expanding medicaid and making it easier for women to access reproductive healthcare.
"I have diagnosed people with treatable conditions who suffered for years because they never had the resources to see a neurologist. These men and women are not living the lives they deserve," said Northam. "If we bring our tax dollars home to expand medicaid, many of these Virginians who currently get healthcare one day a year will have access for the other 364."
He also talked about gun violence and restricting gun sale to people who do not pass background checks.
"This isn't a new issue for the General Assembly, but this is a new General Assembly," said Northam. "As long as Virginian lives are at risk...we will fight on this ground. We must act together to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them."
Northam says he wants to pass no-excuse absentee ballot voting to allow more people to vote.
He talked about climate change and how his administration would fight against it by creating clean energy jobs. He also talked about continuing former governor Terry McAuliffe's restoration of rights to felons.
Finally, he called upon Republicans to work together with Democrats to solve Virginia's problems.
"[Virginians] are counting on us to work together to solve these problems and make Virginia work better for everyone...I firmly believe we are up to that task."
Delegate Emily Brewer (R-Suffolk) and Senator Glen Sturtevant (R-Chesterfield) delivered the Republican response:
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