Meet the 2017 November Election Candidates

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

This year another election will take place on November 7th: The Virginia Election.

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is similar to the President of the United States. The governor is the head of Virginia’s executive branch and holds the duty “for ensuring that laws are faithfully executed” and also “for the safety of the state, as he serves as commander-in-chief of the Virginia Militia.” The candidates for this office are Ralph S. Northam, Edward W. Gillespie and Clifford D. Hyra.

Ralph S. Northam is the democratic nominee for Governor and is currently Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor. Before entering politics, Northam was both in the military and medical fields.

Northam’s website describes one of his objectives as creating “an economy that works for everyone–no matter who, no matter where.” The site also says that some of Northam’s key issues are gun ownership reform, healthcare for all and environment conservation.

Edward “Ed” W. Gillespie is the Republican representative who is a former Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and the RNC.  Gillespie also owns a lobbying firm, Quinn Gillespie & Associates. He founded Crossroads GPS and co-founded Resurgent Republic.

According to Gillespie’s website, Gillespie believes that “With our (Virginia’s) vast natural resources, our fertile lands, our port…Virginia should be in the top five states when it comes to economic growth–not the bottom five.” Improving the Virginian transportation system, issuing income tax cuts and assisting people struggling with addiction and mental health issues are some of Gillespie’s goals.

Cliff Hyra is the Libertarian Party nominee and has worked in patent law. In an interview with Ballotpedia, Hyra said he would help Virginia compete economically by having a “world-class tax and regulatory system that fosters innovation and eschews crony capitalism…” Some of his  goals include liberating the potential of entrepreneurs and small business owners, protecting Virginia’s booming food/drink industry and exempting the first $60,000 of a household’s income from state tax.

The Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Virginia, similar to the vice president. But unlike the vice president, this position is voted on separately from the Governor, making it possible to have a partisan split (two different parties).  For this position, Justin E. Fairfax and Jill H. Vogel are the candidates.

The democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor is Justin E. Fairfax. Fairfax has an extensive background in law, as he served as the deputy of the Major Crimes & Narcotics Unit and as a member of the Human Trafficking Task force. Fairfax’s objectives include restructuring student loan debt, increasing the minimum wage and fighting the Heroin and Prescription Opioid epidemic.

Jill Vogel is the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor and works as a managing partner at a law firm. According to her website, Vogel seeks to promote growth in the economy, restore trust in government and defend the Constitution.

This is only a brief look at the candidates. Other offices that are being voted on include the Attorney General and Commonwealth Attorney. In order to fully understand a candidate’s character and stance on certain issues, be sure to conduct intensive research and be wary of sources.



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