History-making Winsome Sears ready to lead Virginia as lieutenant governor

History-making Winsome Sears ready to lead Virginia as lieutenant governor

Virginia’s Lt. Governor-elect Winsome Sears, left, meets with Senate Clerk Susan Schaar at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Alexa Welch Edlund)/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP) AP Winsome Sears says voters learned where she stands as she made history campaigning to become the first Black woman elected to statewide office in Virginia. But Sears may be less known for her policy positions than for a campaign photo showing the 57-year-old former Marine posing with a military rifle. The image launched the Republican from political obscurity after a nearly 20-year absence from elected office to win the GOP’s nomination for lieutenant governor, and she completed her comeback in November as Republicans swept Virginia’s top offices. Those who know her say Sears is more than a gun-toting caricature — they point to her willingness to buck her own party at times, and her dedication to school choice and other conservative education priorities. The photo grabbed attention, but she held it with an engaging, almost stream-of-consciousness speaking style, firing up the crowds for her ticket mate Glenn Youngkin, now the governor-elect. She had one-liners ready for the press as well. When asked about her pro-gun stance after the votes were counted, she told a local television station: “Harriet Tubman carried a gun and if it was good for her, then it was good for me, too.” Having won 51% to 49% over Democratic state Del. Hala Ayala, who as a Black Hispanic also would have made […]

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