The Weekender (10/8/21)


Welcome to the Democratic Governors Association’s Friday newsletter, The Weekender.

Let’s get started.

Virginia:Glenn Youngkin is continuing to run a campaign for governor that’s against the life-saving science that will put an end to the pandemic. This week, Youngkin’s radical anti-vaxx platform reached a new level when in an interview with CNN, his running mate, Winsome Sears, refused to say whether or not she had received the COVID-19 vaccine. Instead of advocating for people to get the safe and effective shot, Sears resorted to fearmongering and spreading anti-vaxx rhetoric, saying that asking for vaccination status is a “slippery slope.” This is just the latest in Youngkin’s anti-vaccine platform that just keeps getting more and more extreme. He previously encouraged students to get exceptions to avoid COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and he’s against all forms of COVID-19 vaccine requirements — even for child care workers, teachers, and health care workers. In the most recent gubernatorial debate, Youngkin even stated he was against requiring the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella, a vaccine that has been mandatory for students across Virginia for four decades.

New Jersey: This week, the Murphy for Governor campaign launched its third general election television ad — “Repeated” — highlighting how Jack Ciattarelli has consistently undermined lifesaving public health measures and prioritized extreme politics over science while repeating Trump’s discredited lies on COVID-19. Ciattarelli’s out-of-touch and dangerous Trump-style approach to the pandemic reflects his actual public health positions, including his opposition to vaccine requirements for childhood diseases like mumps and measles. Ciattarelli has doubled down on his COVID-19 stance, downplaying the seriousness of the virus with his jaw-dropping and demonstrably false claim that “children are not vulnerable to this virus.” Watch “Repeated” here.

Following Bombshell AP Investigation Exposing Kristi Noem Corruption, DGA Files Public Records Requests

In response to a scathing report from the Associated Press showing South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem abused her taxpayer-funded office for the benefit of family members, the Democratic Governors Association sent public records requests to the Office of the Governor for all records concerning her intervention to help one family member win her certified real estate appraiser license, among other examples of cronyism. The DGA also filed requests with the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program for communications with Noem’s office concerning the daughter’s appraiser license, and any other emails mentioning the daughter.

However, this is hardly the first time Noem has abused her office to benefit her family members. Earlier this year, Gov. Noem’s family benefited from $600,000 in COVID relief grants under a program that was previously capped at $100,000 per recipient until the South Dakota governor personally intervened. Noem also hired another daughter in a top role in her administration while she was still in college and paid her an annual salary of $59,000 after giving her a raise. With Noem’s history of giving her family members special treatment, the DGA is also requesting all communications between the Office of the Governor and the South Dakota Dept of Labor & Regulation’s Division of Insurance regarding Noem’s husband, who runs an insurance company.

New York Times Highlights Three Governor’s Races as Sea Wall for Fair Elections
A recent New York Times article highlights the importance of 2022 governor’s races in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Govs. Tony Evers, Gretchen Whitmer, and Tom Wolf have become a “sea wall against a rising Republican tide of voting restrictions and far-reaching election laws.”

Governor’s races have become increasingly urgent in the past year as Republicans attempt to undermine democracy. On top of existing attacks in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Republican gubernatorial candidates in all three states have proposed additional cutbacks to voting access. “At stake are how easy it is to vote, who controls the electoral system and, some Democrats worry, whether the results of federal, state and local elections will be accepted no matter which party wins,” the Times writes.

Govs. Evers, Whitmer, Wolf have been the last line of defense for voting rights. All three governors have vetoed anti-democratic bills introduced by Republicans, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has long led legal efforts to defend the 2020 election results. “The stakes are damn high,” said Gov. Evers. “This is about our democracy. It’s frightening.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on CNN with Ana Cabrera speaking about vaccine mandates and keeping schools safely open.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on MSNBC with Chris Hayes discussing the state’s progress on getting kids vaccinated.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on CNN with Erica Hill talking about vaccines and infrastructure.

“This legislation is about breaking the cycle and getting help for those suffering from addiction. It’s a matter of public health to allow individuals to get treatment, not prison time. We are giving Rhode Islanders the opportunity to lead meaningful lives, and that is something we can all support.”

  • Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee ceremonially signing legislation that amends the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to reclassify simple possession of 10 grams or less of certain controlled substances as a misdemeanor charge, punishable up to two years, rather than a felony.

Asked whether she’s received the COVID-19 vaccine, “I want to hold certain things close … What are we going to ask for now, HIV status? What else are we going to ask for?”

Who said it? Send your answer to, and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!

If you guessed New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarreli last week, you were correct! Despite rising hospitalizations in pediatric cases, Ciattarreli claimed that children were not susceptible to COVID to justify his anti-mandate stance.