Jennifer Carroll Foy Enters Virginia Race, Could Become 1st Black Woman Governor In Any State

Jennifer Carroll Foy Enters Virginia Race, Could Become 1st Black Woman Governor In Any State

Jennifer Carroll Foy enters Virginia gubernatorial race. She could become the first Black woman governor ever in the U.S. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, holds her son, Alex Foy, while she points out the vote tally on the Equal Rights Amendment in the House chambers at the Capitol, in Richmond, Va., Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Rising political star Jennifer Carroll Foy announced she will jump into the 2021 gubernatorial race in Virginia, making her the first Black woman to run for the job in 30 years. If elected, Carroll Foy will be the first Black female governor anywhere in the country, The Huffington Post reported.

Carroll Foy, a Democrat, has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2018 and is in her second term in the General Assembly. 

“I look forward to being more bold in what we get done here in Virginia, especially dealing with everyday, kitchen table issues,” the 38-year-old state delegate said in an interview with HuffPost. 

Virginia, once the capital of the Confederacy, has never had a female governor. Democrat Douglas Wilder, who served from 1990 to 1994, is the only Black person elected governor in the state. 

Carroll Foy grew up in Petersburg. After the Supreme Court forced the Virginia Military Institute to accept female cadets in 1996, she received a full scholarship to attend. She was part of the third class of women to graduate from the institute, and earned a master’s degree from Virginia State University and a law degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in California. 

She went on to become a public defender and was elected to the General Assembly in 2017.

Carroll Foy has become known for her push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment as the chief sponsor in the state House. In January, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the provision, which guarantees legal gender equality for all American citizens regardless of sex. Next, there will be a fight about whether Virginia’s vote means that the Equal Rights Amendment can be added to the U.S. Constitution. 

But for Carroll Foy, her next battle will be to land in the governor’s office and she has already started promoting where she stands on issues. 

“I’ve been fighting for the issues that covid-19 has exposed for other people since day one,” she said. “I’ve always been fighting for increasing the minimum wage and paid sick days, paid family medical leave and ending pregnancy discrimination. All of these issues have (come to) bear during this pandemic.”

Gov. Ralph Northam (D), cannot run again because of term limits in Virginia — the only state where governors are not allowed to serve consecutive terms.

“Campaigning during a global pandemic is a challenge in and of itself…Now that doors are closed ― and we don’t know the next time we’ll be able to knock on a door ― we have to turn our attention to where we can meet people where they are,” Carroll Foy said. “And the best way to do that is through social media, through digital, and through the mail.”

Carroll Foy is a former foster mom and mother to twin boys. She was pregnant during her campaign and faced scrutiny about not choosing motherhood over a career. She introduced anti-pregnancy discrimination legislation and a bill requiring school boards to write their dress codes in a way that eliminates gender and racial discrimination, the HuffPo reported.

Also, Carroll Foy wants to address the disproportionate impact of covid-19 on Black Virginians and people of color, who already face inequitable access to employment and health care, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Carroll Foy will most likely have challengers for the Democratic nomination, including attorney General Mark Herring, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. 

On the GOP side, state Sen. Amanda Chase is the only declared candidate. The gubernatorial term starts in January 2022.

If she wins, Carroll Foy will have some challenges, among them, workers’ rights. Human rights group Oxfam ranked Virginia last or worst among the “best places to work in America.” 

“I stand on the side that we are No. 1 in the country for businesses but we can also be No. 1 in the country for workers,” Carroll Foy said. “And our economy is working very well for the very wealthy, but it’s not for those people who are working two to three jobs and still living paycheck-to-paycheck. And there’s been a concerted effort to end unions and labor here in Virginia, even though they are the other reason that we have weekends, we have minimum wage pay, we have child protection. They were the way that we got to the middle class.”

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Carroll Foy and her husband, Jeffrey Foy, live in Woodbridge with their sons. Jeffrey Foy is the manager of homeless services for Prince William County and the track coach at Potomac High School.

Carroll Foy quietly filed her paperwork to run for governor in April and didn’t make the announcement until this week.

“I knew I had to go into politics because I was just frustrated because no one was speaking to the problems we were facing every day,” she told The Richmond Times-Dispatch.