Gov. Ralph S. Northam greets 3-year-old Kamara Townes following the Jan. 7 renaming and dedication of a row of state-owned historic homes on Governor Street in Capitol Square. Both the governor and the youngster occupy a place in Virginia history. Gov. Northam is the 73rd governor of the Commonwealth, serving from Jan. 13, 2018, until his term ends this Saturday, Jan. 15. Last week, he dedicated the three newly renovated buildings, formerly known as Morson’s Row, in honor of Dr. William Ferguson “Fergie” Reid, the first Black person elected to the General Assembly following Reconstruction. One of the three buildings now called Reid’s Row was dedicated as the “Townes House,” in recognition of the Townes family that has worked at the Executive Mansion since the 1970s. Kamara is the youngest of that historic lineage. Her father, Martin C. Townes Jr., and his parents and sister are the current Townes family members serving there. Mr. Townes is the deputy butler, while his father, Martin “Tutti” Townes, is the head butler.
Progress continues on the construction of Virginia Commonwealth University’s new home for instruction in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math. More than $120 million is being poured into the development of the six-story building that replaced the now demolished in Richmond Franklin Street Gymnasium, 817 W. Franklin St. The vacant gym was torn down in 2020, clearing the way for this new development that will include the Math Exchange’s innovative instruction, a science learning center, computer labs, wet and dry sciences labs and classrooms for teaching chemistry, biology, physics, psychology and kinesiology as well as math. The building, which is to be complete within a year, will be a hub for VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences and enable VCU to graduate more students with STEM degrees that are in high demand.
Members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus offer details Wednesday on their legislative priorities for the 2022 session of the General Assembly just hours before the session’s noon start.
Among the priorities: Fully funding public education; ending solitary confinement; preventing evictions; universal paid family and medical leave; strengthening employment discrimination and harassment laws; equity in renewable energy development; and protecting recent progress, including the new Voting Rights Act of Virginia, the repeal of the death penalty, the increase in the state’s minimum wage and legalization of marijuana.
VLBC members attending the virtual news conference are: Top row from left: Adele McClure, VLBC executive director; Delegate Delores L. McQuinn of Richmond; Delegate Michelle Maldonado of Manassas; and Delegate Lamont Bagby of Henrico, VLBC chairman.
Second row from left: Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan of Richmond; Delegate Marcia S. “Cia” Price of Newport News; Delegate Briana Sewell of Prince William County; and Delegate Angelia Williams Graves of Norfolk.
Third row from left: Delegate Jeion A. Ward of Hampton; Delegate Candi King of Stafford; Delegate Nadarius Clark of Norfolk; and Delegate Sam Rasoul of Roanoke.
Bottom row from left: Delegate C.E. “Cliff” Hayes Jr. of Chesapeake; Sen. Mamie Locke of Hampton; and Delegate Jeffrey M. Bourne of Richmond.
Raindrops in North Side