Governor McAuliffe: Restoration of rights order was not political move

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Terry McAuliffe is proud that he restored some 206,000 former felons’ their right to vote, and on Tuesday he explained why.

“Why is it the right thing to do? In the process, I met with individuals who continued to tell me on the road I feel like a second-class citizen,” McAuliffe explained. “I finished my sentence, I’m done with parole, I’m done with whatever probation, I’ve been out in society, I go to church I pay taxes … why am I continuously treated like a second-class citizen?”

8EE1F3FCEA864487BB510E001EDF8264McAuliffe explained during a roundtable discussion at Trinity Family Life Center in Richmond that his April executive order was morally the right thing to do.

“Folks let me be clear; I said from day one this is not a political action. If I thought it was politics, I would’ve done it a long time ago. It was morally the right thing to do, and I stand by I am proud of it,” McAuliffe said. “I am disappointed in the rhetoric that has come out of our republican legislators. Some in 2013 actually proposed legislation to get rights back, but all of sudden because I did it they want to make it political.”

Virginia is the 41st state to restore voter rights to ex-convicts; 67-year-old Kenneth Williams is one of them.

“Now that I can vote, you know, I got a voice like you got a voice,” Williams told 8News Reporter Jonathan Costen. “I’m just as good as you are, so I don’t have to go out here and commit a crime because I feel good about myself. I’m going to get me a job.”

Williams said he served ten years behind bars several years ago.”I did three my first time I did seven the second time but that was 30-years ago.. but I’m older and wiser and I’m entrepreneur today… a class A contractor,” said Williams.

“I did three my first time, I did seven the second time but that was 30 years ago,” he said. “But I’m older and wiser and I’m an entrepreneur today. A Class A contractor.”

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to

Comments are closed.