WINCHESTER — The Virginia Senate passed a bill Tuesday to do away with Lee-Jackson Day and make Election Day a state holiday.

The bill, introduced by 18th District Sen. L. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, makes Election Day — the Tuesday after the first Monday in November — a state holiday and eliminates Lee-Jackson Day. The bill passed the Senate 22-18, largely along party lines, and now goes to the House of Delegates.

Sen. Jill Vogel, who represents the 27th District, which includes Winchester and the counties of Clarke and Frederick, was one of the Republican senators who voted against the bill. She was unable to be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, endorsed the legislation in a press release.

“Voting is a fundamental right,” Northam said. “But in a state that once put up tremendous barriers to voting, too many people are still unable to participate meaningfully in our democracy. By making it easier — not harder — to vote, these proposals will ensure we are building a government that is truly representative of the people we serve.”

Lee-Jackson Day, held the Friday preceding the third Monday in January, honors Confederate Gens. Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863). It was established in 1889 to celebrate Lee’s birthday on Jan. 19. Jackson’s name was added to the holiday in 1904.

Northam told CBS earlier this month that Virginia needs to “move forward” from Lee-Jackson Day, saying, “I don’t think there’s any secret that it’s in honor of two individuals who fought to prolong slavery, which is not a proud aspect of Virginia’s history.”

Last year, Northam came under fire when a racist photo in his medical school yearbook surfaced showing a person in blackface and another dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member. The photo was on a page devoted to Northam in the yearbook. A four-month investigation, however, was unable to determine if Northam was in the picture.

Confederate monuments and holidays have come under fire since nine African Americans were shot to death by a white supremacist at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015. Numerous Confederate monuments have been removed because some people view them as glorifying slavery, white supremacy and a treasonous government.

Del. Joseph Lindsey, D-Norfolk, introduced the House version of the bill.

Despite being a state holiday, several Virginia cities — including Winchester — choose not to observe Lee-Jackson Day. Frederick and Clarke counties currently observe the holiday.

Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, who represents the 33rd District, which includes parts of Clarke, Frederick and Loudoun counties, told The Star in a phone interview that he would not support the legislation. He said he believes more Democrats work in the public sector than Republicans and that Democrats would likely benefit at the polls from having Election Day off. He said he believes the bill is an attempt by Democrats to mobilize their base and get them to vote in higher numbers. He also disliked the removal of Lee-Jackson Day, saying it was an attempt to “erase a part of history.”

Del. Chris Collins, R-Frederick County, and Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke County, were unable to be reached for comment.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

(44) comments

Spock Here

Well, ok then. All this outrage because of what? An outdated "holiday", not a national holiday, but a "some places" holiday in parts of VA. And a day set aside so people get out and vote. Libruls are turning Va into California, you should be so lucky, USA Today noted in 2018 that it's the 5th largest economy in the world. How awful is that? Move to WV? Go ahead. Services are worse than here, Taxes are more overall, but hey, it's not "librul." Do go, by all means. Or, to find a comfy spot with more "blacks, gays, and atheists, someone suggests the "libruls" move to MS or AL, two other red states ruined by your "nonlibruls". People are calling the "demokrats" blue snowflakes?? What a laugh. "libruls" are sore losers? Stop, that's hilarious looking at all this. Why not stay put, protest peacefully about issues that are important to you, go thru courts when it's not going your "way," like we're supposed to. I know 2A people in a snit here went to Richmond to have your say, if not, you should have if it's that important to you. But maybe you were on another thread instead making fun of the people at the Women's march in Washington and elsewhere, who at least had gonads to do just that. Those kids that established "March for Our Lives" did something at least about an issue that affects them personally, they got off their buttinskies and went out and organized--legally. I've taken my kids to marches and keep in touch with elected representatives, as I'm sure you do as well. And all I'm attempting to communicate is show some common sense, and get over this libtard snowflake democrat stuff and go do something about your snit. Amazing. No one should move, stay and fight for what you believe in. Gawdalmighty Ms Scarlett, you're overwrought. (I am too, sometimes, lol) Now about the "slum" of California: California’s economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth largest, according to new federal data made public Friday.

California’s gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, the data said. Meanwhile, the UK’s economic output slightly shrunk over that time when measured in U.S. dollars, due in part to exchange rate fluctuations.

"

Ping

Is this a book? You seem a bit perturbed. Perhaps you should go lie down for a while and think pleasant thoughts.

ralcabin

Geez Spock you must be related to Adam Schiff, you have a lot to say, without saying anything of value. Have you checked out the homeless situation in California, pathetic.

Conservatives are just that & don't need to go on & on to convey a point. Democrats look backwards to change our history, & try to destroy our future, that's all one really needs to say.

woke-unicorn

Another "woke" privileged liberal white male. Or a Bruce Genders kind

Will

Woke-unicorn and just who are you referring to exactly?

woke-unicorn

Someone sure "woke" up on teh wrong side of hate now didnt they. Oh well, you are white and privileged too so regardless of the details for your "IM a good white liberal" exhortations you are still one of us. Cheers

Will

Wow! What an embarrassment. When do we stop blaming history and trying to erase history? Virginia would not be what it is today without the General. This Liberalism is making me sick, our kids want us to move back to Va as we are getting older but I don’t know if I can stomach such a liberal state.

JohnGalt

Will, WV has invited us to join them and leave Liberal VA.

woke-unicorn

Voting is gonna solve the culture clash in this nation?>

Rattler

You mean government expansion into the state. Now gov has another paid holiday and social security gets tiny raise taken away my raising Medicare part B. Slowe, you had a good idea with filling guns with concrete, now i can go somewhere and just swing. Imagine how many people can be taken out quickly. Guess now you want a tax on concrete. Why dont the dems get alot of vehicles, go house to house and pick all criminals, illegals, deadbeats go in and hold their hands to make sure they vote democrat. Democrats got voted in without a holiday so whats the problem. Oh thats right civil war monuments hurt your feelings and you are offended. Y'all don't get it. Mississippi and Alabama?? Why dont you move got alot more blacks,gays and atheists maybe you could be happy and leave the this state alone. Its ok to push your agenda, but anyone who disagrees with you are "deplorables". So sad

JohnGalt

You know to fit their agenda, since drunk drivers kill people, we should take cars away from those that do not drink and drive as well.

Will

Oh I couldn’t have said it better myself! Bravo!

Will

Just to be clear the comment “ Oh I couldn’t have said it better myself! Bravo!” was in reply to Rattler’s comment, lest Spock or any other liberal’s comments think it may be in response to theirs!

Spock Here

The democrats won control of the legislature, and that means you have to suck it up and protest peacefully or go through the court system or vote them out in 2 years. I see republicans can be "sore losers" too. Now, this mangled mess of thoughts from rattled: "Mississippi and Alabama?? Why dont you move got alot more blacks,gays and atheists maybe you could be happy and leave the this state alone". It almost sounds like you want blacks, gays, and atheists to leave Virginia? Leave it to the pure whiteys? Shame

Ping

Just because demokrats "won an election" doesn't mean they get to trample on the Constitutional and God given rights of others. When will the mob leaders of the left ever understand that truth?

woke-unicorn

Dont be so "woke". Its boring.

Rattler

That was in answer to slowe. I dont have problems with gays, blacks,or athiests until only their biased agenda is all that matters. I'm not the one who will do the final judging. I happen to like Mississippi and Alabama, maybe slowe should try it for awhile. I also lived in California for 3 years and what a pity Virginia is trying to become little California. Msybe one needs to look at statistics on this liberal state

Ping

lol. boy, those clowns in Richmond are sure on a roll, aren't they? They are determined to just shove their tripe down everybody's throat. And all this in just a few days. Just imagine what they will do in a year. Why, what a liberal blue snowflake utopia we will become! Unicorns for everyone!

Spock Here

LaRock is shameful. He might as well have said "I want to suppress votes."

Will

What IS shameful is the Dems trying to erase history and make Virginia the Eastern California! See how well California is doing with all the Libs in charge!

Blondie

We can't have a Lee-Jackson day but we can have a Martin Luther King holiday. This country is unreal.

Spock Here

Yeh, it's terrible . . . a national holiday for an inspiring Christian who led peaceful protests to try to end Jim Crow style racism in this country, vs two men who inspired Jim Crow types. Oh, the inhumanity!

Ping

Spock, How many girlfriends did MLK have while he was married? And you attack Trump over his Indiscretions! (And ignore Bill Clinton’s and every other libbie’s as well)

Will

Exactly Blondie! Pathetic! MLK was a womanizer, an adulterer, a cheater but yet we honor him, go figure.

JohnGalt

Here is an idea, move voting to a Saturday open at midnight and close at midnight, no early voting.

Spock Here

Not a bad idea, but people do work Saturdays as well; the idea is to have a day solely to vote and not work around work schedules.

Rattler

They dont work 24 hrs spock

Will

Agree! But that’s too easy, they think it is better to dishonor the 2 Generals who fought for the state. Lord have mercy...

Ping

Like Stalin, they like to erase the history that doesn't please them or meet their template of how things are.

BillboBaggins

I’ve always thought elections should be a weekend event. Sat morning thru Sunday night

slowe

Vogel and LaRock must go. WHy do Republicans always oppose moves to make it easier to vote? As for erasing history: history is done and cannot be erased, it is well documented. What we can do is decide how to value parts of history or not value some parts. Lee / Jackson deserves to be lowered in our appreciation and value in our history. As should also our shameful support for the confederacy and its failed attempt to continue the practice of slavery by the rich, white, Christian land owners in the south. Contrition, not pride should be our attitude about that sad chapter in our history. BRAVO to the Democratic legislature!

jake277

I am tired of all this libtard stuff in Richmond. Leave well enough alone and move to Cali if you are that much of a lib.

anon

Yup, Virginia being conservative for several hundred years is not enough. As a VA native, Southwest VA no less, I never thought I would live in a progressive state.

The two parties are two extreme. All the Repubs had to do was throw a couple of bones with some minor issues and not be so extreme and they would still be in charge.

.

slowe

Or: you could move to Mississippi, or Alabama !

Will

Why don’t YOU move to California and stop trying to make Virginia the eastern California? See how well California is doing with all the liberals in charge?

Ping

You've already moved to DC, haven't you? Why are you still concerned with this paper and area?

Will

This is for “PING” (as in pong) I do NOT live, nor have I ever lived, in DC, what on earth gives you that idea? As I lived in Frederick Co for over 20 years and have family and grandchildren who reside in the county, I believe I have the civil right to read this paper or are the Libs now going to dictate who may read a paper too?

Spock Here

Oh dear, Pong must have the vapors what with someone confusing him with a "lib"[scared]

Ping

No Will......that was for slowe, not for you. Slowe lives in DC I think. I am no liberal. The way this paper posts things leads to confusion sometimes. I should have made that comment with it labeled for slowe.

Anna Thomson

Three cheers. Finally some common sense legislation. Is LaRock talking about more teachers, law enforcement, and firefighters heading to the polls to vote now that election day is a state holiday and like robots they will vote a straight ticket for democrats? He will say or do anything to promote a twisted agenda.

Will

OMG! I would take another history class (or 2, maybe even 3 if you have difficulty understanding it) if I were you. Stop with the race card please! It is a cop out. Those two Generals fought for the state, just like a Liberal Dem to blame race and now religion too?

JohnGalt

Will, I am beginning to like you. There are a few of us conservative types left here.

Will

Thank God! All one (it requires a functioning brain) has to do is look at what the Dems did to California, more than sad. They need to call Pelosi, Schiff, Waters and a few others back.

Ping

Quite right, will. Just look at all the liberal utopias that they have run for decades. What do they blame all those messes on? I bet they don't take the blame themselves. lol.

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