Lawmakers differ on Fairfax fate
Senator hesitates to call for LG’s resignation; delegate asks for it, but both wary of impeachment threats
State Sen. Amanda F. Chase admits she is “very troubled” by separate allegations of sexual abuse against Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax, but she is not adding her name to the list of politicians calling for the Democrat to step down.
And while Del. Lashrecse D. Aird is one of those who has stated that Fairfax should resign, she does not want possible attempts to impeach him to turn the remaining weeks of the 2019 legislative session into “a political spectacle.”
Last week, Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual abuse on two different occasions as far back as 19 years ago. The first allegation came from Dr. Vanessa Tyson, a California professor who claims Fairfax forcibly assaulted her during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Later in the week, a second accusation came from Meredith Wilson claiming that Fairfax raped her in 2000 at Duke University. Fairfax has vehemently denied the charges and vows to not resign.
Chase, R-Chesterfield, said Sunday afternoon that she did not want to pass judgment on Fairfax until all the facts were in because that is how she would want to be treated.
“I’m still waiting to hear all of the details,” Chase said. “I’m very much a dueprocess person, and every person deserves to have all of the facts heard. I certainly would want them to do the same for me.”
In a weekend tweet, Aird, D-Petersburg, called for Fairfax’s resignation “due to the seriousness of these allegations and all that is required in the investigations he has called for.”
However, both lawmakers said they were not keen on a call by Del. Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington, for Fairfax to be
impeached if he does not step down by Monday.
“I take impeachment proceedings very seriously, and I do not think this meets the threshold,” Aird said Sunday.
She said that as the legislative session winds down, lawmakers should be focused on doing Virginia’s business “and not entertaining a political spectacle.”
Chase said she, too, is unfazed by any impeachment talk, calling it “a bit extreme.”
According to Article IV of the Virginia Constitution, a lieutenant governor can be impeached for “malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor.”
Impeachment charges would be filed in the House of Delegates and tried in the Virginia Senate.
At least two-thirds of the Senate must vote for removal from office.
Meanwhile, the chorus of calls for Fairfax to
According to Article IV of the Virginia Constitution, a lieutenant governor can be impeached for “malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor.” Impeachment charges would be filed in the House of Delegates and tried in the Virginia Senate. At least two-thirds of the Senate must vote for removal from office.
step down continues to intensify.
Much of Virginia’s congressional delegation — including Democrats — want him to resign, as do state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Over the weekend, House Speaker M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, asked Fairfax to resign immediately, calling his ability to serve “permanently impaired” and saying it “is in the best interests of the commonwealth for him to resign.”
However, a spokesman for Cox declined comment on the impeachment calls by Hope. “That’s all we are saying at this time,” Parker Slaybaugh said in a text, referring to the resignation call.
The second accusation against Fairfax capped a week filled with drama for Virginia Democrats. Gov. Ralph S. Northam is swatting away calls for his resignation after it was revealed a photo of two men, one in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan robes, appeared on his 1984 medical-school yearbook.
Attorney General Mark R. Herring also admitted during the week that he wore blackface to a 1980 party at the University of Virginia celebrating rappers and rap music, although no photographic evidence has surfaced.
Herring has left open the possibility of resigning.
Both Democrats and Republicans have called for Northam and Herring to resign.