It’s been a hell of a morning Del. Mark Levine.
News broke this morning that Levine, a Democrat from Alexandria, is now one of 12 candidates who have thrown their name into the Lieutenant Governor race and one of eight Democrats. Since then, Levine says the morning has been one of non-stop phone calls.
“I’m excited,” Levine said. “It’s a firehose and I’m starting to drink the water.”
Levine said part of his goal is to transform the role into a full-time position rather than the part-time, back-up position it currently occupies.
Levine touted his history of working for Barney Frank, the fight to put his brother-in-law behind bars after his sister’s murder, and his history of pushing for LGBT rights. If elected, Levine would be the first openly gay statewide elected official. It’s a series of accomplishments that were at the forefront of Levine’s campaign for the House of Delegates in 2015, but this year some of the attention is shifting towards work done over the last year now that the Democrats control the legislature.
“I’ve introduced 47 bills; 23 became law: some in my name and some in colleagues’ names,” Levine said. “A number of my bills were incorporated into other bills.”
Levine’s website has a 20-page summary of progress made on bills during the 2020 legislative sessions and a few areas where Levine hit stumbling blocks. Of those, Levine said one of the ones he’s most proud of is the “most comprehensive LGBT rights bill in Virginia” that Levine said added sexual orientation and gender to non-discrimination statutes. Another required voter-verified paper ballots.
One of the bills that failed was one that would allow localities to fund law libraries — a longtime priority for Alexandria — and one that would make it easier for non-clergy to perform marriage ceremonies.
Levine has been an outspoken Democrat, particularly on gun control issues — though Levine said he prefers to call it gun violence prevention. Earlier this year, an armed protester stood outside Levine’s house to protest Levine’s position.
“The people who disagree with me are passionate, but they aren’t the majority of Virginia,” Levine said. “I’m not trying to ban guns. [Gun owners should] have background checks and should be trained. So I think some of my stances have been overstated, frankly, but I think reasonable people will support me, including reasonable gun owners, because I think reasonable gun owners don’t mind background checks. The people who believe every child should have a bazooka, no, they’re not going to support my campaign.”
Levine said if he does not win the Lt. Governor race primary this summer, he intents to run for reelection as a Delegate later that year.