Virginia governor candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy makes final bid to make history

Exclusive: If victorious, Carroll Foy would be the first Black woman governor of Virginia and in the country

Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy is vying to become governor of Virginia in what would be a historic election, but before she can make that happen she’ll have to beat out some stiff competition.

Running against Terry McAuliffe, a former governor in the state, Carroll Foy tells theGrio she is confident in her ability to uplift Virginia and make a genuine difference if elected. If victorious, Carroll Foy would be the first Black woman governor of Virginia and in the country. 

Jennifer Carroll Foy,
Virginia Governor candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy (Photo: Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor)

“I have plans that I’ve put in place to be able to uplift the quality of life of all Virginians and to address the inequities that we have here in our Commonwealth,” Carroll Foy tells theGrio.

The 39-year-old politician is not new to firsts and was one of the first Black women to attend the Virginia Military Institute following the Supreme Court ruling in 1996 that admitted women cadets. And in 2017, she became the first public defender ever elected to the General Assembly.

Carroll Foy credits many of her successes to her time at Virginia State University, an HBCU she says played a crucial role in her professional and personal development. So much so that she taught in the English department at VSU with the intent of impacting the next generation of leaders, teachers, and innovators. 

“I personally attest to the Black excellence that our HBCUs produce, because I am a product, and I’m proud to say that I’ve also given back to my HBCU by teaching there in the English department, preparing our next lawyers and doctors and nurses and teachers, and I have a plan to uplift our HBCU here in Virginia,” says Carroll Foy. 

As a legislator, Carroll Foy has been able to help create a budget to give a historic amount of funding to support HBCUs. In the future, she plans to improve HBCU research and development so they can draw more on federal funds. The gubernatorial candidate wants to ensure that millions of dollars can be put toward financial aid and modernize the classroom virtual learning landscape.

Jennifer Carroll Foy is pictured in 2017. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“I will fix that by addressing the gap and putting millions of more dollars in financial aid, and I will give our HBCUs more money for capital improvements. So this modernizes the classroom, expands virtual learning and does more for our students, who are now working two or three jobs [and] who are parents but still want to get a college degree, I will make it easier and more seamless for them as well,” Carrol Foy emphasizes about her plan to expand HBCU funding. 

In addition to these efforts, Carroll Foy is committed to creating an array of various high-paying jobs, if elected, to help end the digital divide and expand the resources offered to businesses in Virginia. 

Carroll Foy also has plans to reimagine the way that we think about law enforcement in Virginia. “We have to end the killing of Black and brown people on our streets due to racial injustice, “ says Carroll Foy.

Carroll Foy said she has strategies that are boldly transformational and have mandated civilian review boards throughout Virginia. These civilian oversight boards have subpoena powers to build out consequences so that Virginia can bring true accountability and transparency to the system. 

Although Carroll Foy is running among four other Democratic candidates — former governor Terry McAuliffe, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, Delegate Lee J. Carter, and state Senator Jennifer McClellan — Foy is still confident in her platform and her ability to come on top June 8. 

Carroll Foy emphasizes that she understands the challenges that Virginia families face because she’s lived them. “I come from one of the poorest communities in the Commonwealth. I have worked multiple minimum wage shops and a paycheck and have been unable to afford the high cost of health care,” she tells theGrio.

To learn more about her platform and vision to make Virginia’s future better than the past, visit Carroll Foy’s website, Cast your vote Tuesday, June 8, and visit to find your nearest voting location.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!