Va. Gov. Ralph Northam says he plans to finish term with devotion to racial equity

Published: Saturday, February 09, 2019 @ 2:06 PM

RICHMOND, VA - FEBRUARY 02: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor's mansion on February 2, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Northam denies allegations that he is pictured in a yearbook photo wearing racist attire. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
Alex Edelman/Getty Images
RICHMOND, VA - FEBRUARY 02: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor's mansion on February 2, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Northam denies allegations that he is pictured in a yearbook photo wearing racist attire. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)(Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

In his first interview since a controversial yearbook photo came to light, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam reiterated that he has no intention of stepping down, and said he plans to devote the rest of his term to racial equity.

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Northam, described as “chastened and subdued,” told The Washington Post Saturday that he’s spent the week grappling with the issue of white privilege. Despite calls from many to resign -- including the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe -- Northam said he’s determined to finish the remaining three years of his term pursuing “equity.”

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“It’s been a horrific week for Virginia. A lot of individuals across Virginia have been hurt,” Northam said.

Northam still contended that he’s not in the photo on his yearbook page in a 1984 medical school yearbook that shows a man in blackface next to a man dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes.

The Democratic governor said that moving forward, he wants to address inequities to access of “education, health care, mortgages, capital, entrepreneurship.” But first, he plans to ensure his Cabinet undergoes sensitivity training.

When asked about sexual assault allegations brought against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Northam said he’s “monitoring the situation” but hasn’t made any decisions about who he’d appoint as Fairfax’s successor, should he resign.