I’m optimistic as the 2019 General Assembly convenes. I recognize the great gains made for us and our fellow Virginians with the historic passage of Medicaid expansion. I’m encouraged by increased citizen engagement as reflected by strong voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, resulting in a House of Representatives that reflects America and creates appropriate oversight.

Here in Virginia, Delegate and House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert and state Sen. Mark Obenshain have a unique opportunity to make history this year. Virginia is poised to be the 38th and final state needed for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Shenandoah County Democrats applaud our Republican-majority Board of Supervisors, who, in September, brought positive attention from across the commonwealth with their support of a resolution for ratification of the ERA. Local men and women across the political spectrum have also shown their support by signing some 1,400 postcards in favor of ratification.

The Shenandoah Valley has demonstrated stronger grassroots support for the ERA than any other area of the commonwealth as measured by petition signatures and cards.

Upon Virginia’s ratification, the ERA will not see automatic inclusion into the Constitution. However, Congress and the courts cannot address any procedural issues around the amendment until it is fully ratified.

We urge Del. Gilbert and Sen. Obenshain to support this non-partisan and critical legislation. On this 100th anniversary year of women’s right to vote, it’s time for full equal rights under the law.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex” — the Equal Rights Amendment.

Gentleman, let’s have Virginia make history again.

Katherine Morrison, Woodstock