The two delegates are both first session members of the General Assembly and Sen. Deeds is completing his 29th year in office. The members spoke about the successes and disappointments of the session. All three were pleased with the passage of the budget on March 12,2020 and concerned about the anticipated $2.2-3 billion deficit (2% of total budget) anticipated because of the COVID virus. The unknown effect of COVID-19 was an overriding concern of all three.
The members were asked questions on their primary goals. Deeds said education, healthcare and safety, Hudson replied budget with both more equitable taxation and less spending, and Runion listed non-partisanship, redistricting, agriculture, clean energy, and broadband to rural areas. All three agreed on the concern and responses of government to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Deeds emphasized the need to reform policing and stressed importance of training for de-escalation skills and implicit bias training. Hudson said racism should not be a separate issue, but a consideration in every decision made. Runion agreed with his colleague’s goals but said the conversations on the topic were important though the solutions each have may differ.
Asked about the Confederate statues Deeds replied that local government control made sense and Hudson pointed out that the legal aspect of removing statues is determined by different laws in different locations. Other topics of conversation centered around redistricting, on-line v. mail voting, clean energy, gun control. and the agenda for the August session.
The delegates spoke at the Wednesday June 10, 2020 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by Meg Heubeck, Director of Instruction for the Youth Leadership Initiative, UVA Center for Politics.