Northam: Will Focus on Racial 'Equity' As Governor

Leroy Wright
February 10, 2019

But the latest allegation of rape brought a torrent of demands for Fairfax to quit, including collective calls for his ouster from all Democrats in the state House of Delegates and Senate, and the state Legislative Black Caucus.

A second woman has now accused Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.

In a statement Saturday, Fairfax renewed his denial of the accusations.

"Mr. Fairfax's attack was premeditated and aggressive", her lawyers said.

The top three Democrats in Virginia's state government are now dealing with various scandals - Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring both admitted to having worn blackface in the 1980s.

The new allegations comes after Dr. Vanessa Tyson, now a professor at Scripps College, released a detailed statement earlier this week saying that Fairfax had physically forced her to perform oral sex in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention.

Ralph Northam said Saturday that reports disclosing racist photos that appeared on his high school yearbook might serve a higher goal: The scandal could make him a better governor.

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The official says Northam told his Cabinet during a Friday afternoon meeting that he intends to stay. The man spoke to AP on condition of anonymity out of concern publication of his name would damage his career.

Northam, a Democrat, has refused calls to step down after an old medial school yearbook photo showing a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit surfaced a week ago.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has told his staff that he doesn't intend to resign his office, his communication director, Ofirah Yheskel, told NPR member station WCVE Friday.

Those denials are not enough for him to keep his job, according to his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe were among the first. Northam originally said that he was in the photo, but he has since retracted that claim, though he admits that under other circumstances he wore blackface to dress as Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

A hip-hop pioneer who was imitated by a Virginia politician in blackface says he hopes people will learn lessons from such "regrettable actions". Now Herring is struggling to shore up his political support amid calls for his resignation. They leave a state capital that remains deeply divided after long, hectic days of loud outrage from critics and nervous silence from allies of the embattled governor. "The central issue at the heart of her account is consent, and there can be no better authority to decide whether it was given than Dr. Tyson herself", several Virginia Democratic lawmakers said in a statement Friday night. She only began to tell friends about the alleged assault in October 2017, after seeing a photo of Fairfax next to an article about his campaign.

As the crisis widened by midweek, Democratic leaders appeared willing to give both Fairfax and Herring the benefit of the doubt for the time being - in Herring's case, because he apologized personally for wearing blackface.

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