RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In November, Virginians will elect a new governor. While that race has received widespread attention, there’s also a lieutenant governor’s race.
The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and casts tie-breaking votes. Capitol bureau reporter Evanne Armour sat down one-on-one with both nominees.
“When voters hear ‘Justin Fairfax,’ I want them to think economic opportunity. I want them to think of them rising,” said Justin Fairfax.
Fairfax is the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. He said the “guiding stars” of his campaign are economic security and opportunity. There are two things he’d like to see go up in Virginia. First, the minimum wage. Fairfax said he’d like to eventually see it reach $15 an hour. The other is more people with higher-paying jobs.
“If we can get people trained and certified to take those jobs, it really changes what’s possible for them in their life, to go from making roughly $14,000 a year to $30-to-50,000 a year,” he said.
One thing he’d like to see go down? Interest rates on student loans.
“It’s incredibly high and that stifles what young people in particular can do,” said Fairfax. “It delays them in buying a home, it delays them getting access to capital to start and grow a small business.”
The Democrat said he wants to create a Student Loan Refinancing Authority.
“That will shave hundreds of dollars a month off of their bill and will allow them to get out of debt much sooner and get on with their lives,” he said.
Fairfax is a former federal prosecutor.
“So criminal justice reform is something I’m very passionate about,” he said. “Virginia is number one in what’s known as the school to prison pipeline and so we want to change that.”
He also owns a family dental practice with his wife, Dr. Cerina Fairfax. They have had the business for about a decade. The two live in Fairfax County with their children, a boy and a girl.
Fairfax said he traveled about 40,000 miles around the commonwealth during the primary. He’s traveled even more since securing his party’s nomination. He said the biggest surprise on the campaign trail has been realizing that people aren’t as divided as it might seem.
“It really is the American dream that we’re all after,” he said. “I think that we sometimes have different ways of how we try to get there.”
BORN: Pittsburgh, PA; moved to D.C. around 5 years old
LIVES: Fairfax County
COLLEGE: Duke University, Columbia Law School
FAMILY: Wife Cerina, two children
MENTORS: Judge Gerald Lee, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Tim Kaine, former Gov. Douglas Wilder, Congressman Bobby Scott
CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: “Future is now”
On Wednesday, Evanne Armour sits down with Republican nominee Jill Vogel.