Terry McAuliffe Holds “Second Chances” Virtual Conversation With Two Virginians He Pardoned About Investing in Virginia’s Future

As Governor, Terry Will Address Inequities, Invest in Education & Create Fairer Virginia for All

MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe held a virtual conversation today about second chances and investing in Virginia’s future with Lenny Singleton and Eric Branch, two Virginians he pardoned during his tenure as Virginia’s 72nd governor. As governor, Terry issued 227 pardons, including for many Virginians who received excessive and unjust sentences. He also reversed a racist Jim Crow-era law and restored voting rights to 173,000 Virginians — more than any governor in U.S. history. 

Lenny Singleton’s story has received national attention for the incredibly harsh nature of his sentence that led Terry to issue him a pardon. Eric Branch joined Terry in 2016 when he announced he would individually restore voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who had been unfairly disenfranchised for far too long. Eric recently shared his story, saying: “to be able to vote now means that I’m voting on things in the future: better schools, better education for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Some key remarks from the conversation:

“I used to call [my wife Vandy] on the phone and tell her about the things that [Terry was] legislating, especially when [Terry] created that commission to review paroles, which Vandy had an opportunity to speak at one of your commissions,” said Lenny Singleton, who received a pardon from Terry McAuliffe. “So all the guys inside the prisons, Governor, we were just stocked. We were excited. We sensed something new was on the horizon. And there are more Lenny Singletons in there. There are a lot more Lenny Singletons in the prisons today who are working on themselves. And they are ready to come out of there.”

“[Terry’s] record speaks for itself. His record as governor. He did great things for the Commonwealth in the area of the economy, he expanded the growth of opportunities for the Commonwealth,” said Eric Branch, who received a pardon from Terry McAuliffe. “He tried to push for change to make things better. Yeah, there were those who wanted to stay in the old era of how things work. But we are moving forward. It’s progressive.”

“We have racism in education, in housing, in health care delivery, and the criminal justice system. We can’t have different schools with different quality teachers and facilities. If you do that, that is inherent racism,” said Terry McAuliffe. “So I called for a big, two billion dollar investment for the first time in Virginia history to pay teachers above the national average, to get 40,000 at-risk three and four year olds pre-k, and really to make sure every child gets broadband. Because it’s not fair. So that’s what this is about.”

Terry launched his campaign for governor this month by announcing his plan to finally tackle inequities in education and give all Virginia students a world-class education. Through a $2 billion annual investment, Terry will raise teacher pay above the national average for the first time in Virginia history, expand preschool to every 3 and 4-year old child in need, and get every Virginia student online. Terry’s full education plan is available at TerryMcAuliffe.com/education.

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