Months After Blackface Controversy, Virginia Governor Wields Renewed Power

June 11, 2019 AT 7:58 AM

By Gregory S. Schneider

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is wielding renewed power as Virginia’s chief executive four months after nearly resigning over a racism scandal that his own party said left him unable to lead.

Emboldened by encouraging internal poll numbers and growing support from fellow Democrats — though most never retracted their calls for him to step down — Northam is becoming more assertive.

He has emerged from hunkering down in Richmond to resume signing bills in ceremonies around the state. He is once again making his schedule public a week in advance. He has taken high-profile actions — such as vetoing a criminal sentencing bill because he said it would hurt African Americans — and is working to overhaul the way public schools teach black history.

His political action committee is back to boosting Democratic candidates, though the account is smaller than it should be for a sitting governor.

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