GREAT news from Richmond!
Earlier this week, Lynwood Lewis officially defeated his anti-choice opponent to become the next Senator from the Eastern Shore. With his swearing in yesterday, Sen. Lewis and newly-elected Sen. Jennifer Wexton give Democrats 20 votes in the evenly divided Virginia Senate - with pro-choice champion LG Ralph Northam as the tie-breaking vote!
Because of these changes, Democrats were able to officially take control of the Virginia Senate yesterday afternoon. And one of their first orders of business was to reorganize the membership of Senate committees, including the critically important Senate Education & Health committee. The Senate Education and Health committee is responsible for hearing almost all choice-related legislation, and until yesterday the committee had a strong anti-choice majority. But not anymore.
Starting today, the Education & Health committee has a significant pro-choice majority — and has added three new amazing Senators who have long stood for women’s health and rights! Here are the new pro-choice Senators on the Education & Health committee:
Sen. Favola is a fierce advocate for women’s health who has received a 100% rating on our scorecard since elected to office. Sen. Favola is also the Senate chair of the Reproductive Health Care Caucus.
Sen. Puller is a steadfast pro-choice champion representing parts of Fairfax and Prince William County. Since her election in 2000, Puller has consistently received a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.
Sen. Edwards represents parts of Roanoke and Blacksburg cities in Southwestern VA, and like his colleagues above has a 100% score from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. Sen. Edwards was pulled off this critical committee when Republicans took power over the Senate in 2012, and we’re thrilled to welcome him back!
The new make-up of the Senate Education & Health committee – as well as it’s new 100% pro-choice Chair Sen. Louise Lucas – is a HUGE victory for women’s health. Instead of seeing critical bills defeated by anti-choice extremists in committee, women’s health advocates will now have our best shot in years to advance positive, proactive legislation that will move Virginia forward. And with a pro-choice majority on the Ed & Health committee, we will be better able to stop extreme anti-choice bills before they ever reach the Senate floor!
We’re thrilled to bring you this good news from the Capitol – and we’ll continue updating you on important choice-related activity as it occurs. For up-to-the-minute updates, join our Legislative Rapid Response Team or sign up for VA Choice Texts!