Three Democrats declare they will run for governor

So far, three Democrat gubernatorial candidates have declared they will be running in the upcoming open 2021 primary, which is currently scheduled for June 8. They are: Jenn McClellan, Justin Fairfax and Jennifer Foy.



• Jenn McClellan is a member of the Virginia State Senate, representing District 9. Her term ends on Jan. 10, 2024. She previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates representing District 71. In 2019-2020 she was assigned to the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, the Local Government Committee and the Transportation Committee.

She is campaigning on a platform of expanding health care access, pointing out how the coronavirus crisis exposed disparities in the heath care system and the strains on the safety net. She fought for the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange and to expand Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians. She advocates lowering the cost of prescription drugs, expand preventative, reproductive care for all Virginians and to make the system easier to understand.

She co-sponsored the in-home consumer-directed services; electronic visit verification exception SB5116, which was left in appropriations in September 2020. She also co-sponsored SB5038 which is a mental health awareness response and community understanding services (Marcus) alert system. It was signed into law on Nov. 5.

She was a co-sponsor on the outbreaks of communicable disease of public health threat posting of information bill,  SB5081, which was signed into law on Oct. 28. McClellan also co-sponsored a bill that requires the Board of Health to amend regulations governing nursing homes, certified nursing facilities and hospices that require each living facility create a protocol on how each patient receives visits that are consistent with CDC guidelines and as directed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Board of Health. It was signed into law on Oct. 21.

• Justin Fairfax has been the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia since 2018 and was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. While he was a federal prosecutor, he served as a deputy of the Major Crimes & Narcotics Unit and as a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force.

In 2013, he sought the Democratic nomination for attorney general, but was narrowly defeated by Sen. Mark Herring. Fairfax was endorsed by The Washington Post. He and his wife own a dental practice.

Fairfax cast the tie-breaking vote to expand Medicaid in 2018 and pledges to make affordable health care available to more Virginians, he said in a statement on his website.

• Jennifer Foy has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing District 2 since 2018. She is currently on the House of Delegates’ Courts of Justice Committee and Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee.

She co-sponsored bills related to health care including HB5086. That bill instructs the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to develop a first response and alert system so that mental health service providers and law enforcement officers can work together as a team, with the providers being the team leaders. The intention is to stabilize individuals during mental health crises. The bill is currently in committee.

She also co-sponsored Marcus Alert System. The bill directs the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), law enforcement, and other stakeholders, to submit a plan for the establishment of a Marcus Alert System no later than July 1, 2021. The system is named after Marcus-David Peters, a 24-year-old high school biology teacher who was shot and killed by a Richmond Police officer while experiencing a mental health crisis. The bill was signed  into law on Nov. 5.