Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric physician, started off the discussion Wednesday morning with a chilling statistic – there have been 860 deaths so far this year due to opioid overdoses. Virginia is on par to reach 1000 deaths by year end he said.
Dr. Northam, met with leaders at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to discuss the opioid public health emergency and to highlight policy solutions he will push for in the 2017 General Assembly session and beyond.
Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic
Steve Arner, President/CEO, Carilion Medical Center, Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic, Dr. Willia
Sam Rasoul with his wife Layaly, mother Jenny, sisters and children.
It was a landslide victory for Sam Rasoul in the special election for the 11th district House of Delegates contest. Rasoul garnered 70% of the vote in the Roanoke City district. Octavia Johnson barely won three precincts and actually tied one of them.
Last minute negative mailers by the Republican Party of Virginia authorized by Rasoul’s opponent Republican Octavia Johnson had Rasoul supporters foaming at the mouth and more determined than ever to canvas for Rasoul. Facebook was steaming the night before the election. Rasoul won the social media war but Johnson won the sign war. Social media won the day.
Johnson conceded in a call to Rasoul. In a victory speech he thanked all who believed in him. “This victory shows that positive politics and hard work can win elections! Now it is time to work with everyone who wants to help to improve the Roanoke Valley. Time to get to work!”
“This whole moment is so surreal,” he said while thanking his supporters. He couldn’t go down the list of campaign helpers because it would take too long. That was because he had to get packing and get a little rest before he hit the road to Richmond at 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Mother Jenny Rasoul is consoled by her son Sam as emotions take hold.
He said he realized he was only one vote and in the minority to boot but promised he would keep his progressive values. Rasoul though said he would work with other Southwest Virginia Republican delegates like Chris Head the delegate in the 17th district that includes part of Roanoke City and Greg Habeeb in Salem.
When the negative mailers hit voters mailboxes the day before the election Rasoul stayed calm. He said he remembered what his 3rd grade teacher told him. Dr. Marylen Harmon, who supported him in his campaign would tell Rasoul, “kill them with kindness” and that’s what he did. Rasoul didn’t take the bait to go negative. Roanokers don’t like negative.
It took time for Sam Rasoul to prove he was a serious contender on the political scene. He was only 27 when he ran for Congress against Rep. Bob Goodlatte. He worked hard even driving around an ice cream truck giving out free ice cream to get voters attention. He lost that race in 2008 but made an impression that carried over to the House of Delegates election Tuesday.
Rasoul now 32 never changed his focus and how he ran his campaign. He just ran and ran and ran at a pace hard for anyone to keep up with and it worked.
His mother Jenny cried at the Esquisito Pizza victory party when she realized her son had won. His wife, Layaly, his father, mother, sisters and their three children along with other members of his family celebrated the good news.
It is also good news for Democrats. Keeping this lonely seat in Roanoke City surrounded by Republican delegates was crucial. Onzlee Ware kept the seat for over 10 years.