Republican Glenn Youngkin has defeated Democrat and former Governor Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s closely watched gubernatorial election, which was considered a bellwether for next year’s midterms. The win comes one year after Virginians voted for President Biden over Trump by a margin of 10%. Youngkin, former CEO of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, said he would support reinstating some abortion restrictions in Virginia, opposes teaching critical race theory in schools and has opposed school mask and COVID vaccine mandates. Republicans have also flipped several seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates and could retake control of the chamber, though final results have not yet been called.
New Jersey’s gubernatorial race remains too close to call, with Republican Jack Ciattarelli leading slightly over incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy with 88% of ballots counted. But at this point the heavily Democratic areas of Trenton, Jersey City, Newark and Princeton have not been counted.
In another hotly anticipated race, community leader and socialist candidate India Walton is trailing four-term incumbent Byron Brown for mayor of Buffalo, New York. Walton beat Brown in the Democratic primary, but he responded by launching a write-in campaign in the general election.
In New York City, Brooklyn borough president and former police captain, Democrat Eric Adams has become the city’s second Black mayor. During his campaign, he vowed to tackle crime while focusing on racial justice. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has elected its first Black mayor, Democrat Ed Gainey.
In Massachusetts, 36-year-old Democrat Michelle Wu has become the first woman, first Asian American and first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston. Wu, whose family immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, served as a Boston city councilor and is close to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was her professor at Harvard Law. She pledged to fight against racial inequality, gentrification, and to make transportation and housing more accessible to lower-income residents.
Two U.S. House seats were up for grabs in special elections in Ohio. In the 15th Congressional District, Trump-endorsed Republican Mike Carey beat Democrat Allison Russo, who was endorsed by President Biden. Meanwhile, Democrat Shontel Brown beat Republican Laverne Gore to take the 11th District seat left vacant by Marcia Fudge when she became the secretary of housing and urban development.
In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey is in the lead after the first round of the city’s ranked-choice vote. Minneapolis voters rejected a measure to replace the police with a Department of Public Safety. Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas, voters have overwhelmingly rejected a referendum to require the hiring of more police officers.
[Editor’s Note: On Wednesday’s program, we also reported voters in Oregon and D.C. approved ballot initiatives to legalize or decriminalize some psychedelic substances. These votes occurred in 2020.]
President Biden and other world leaders have departed Glasgow and the U.N. climate summit as day three ushers in closed-door negotiations on how to combat the climate catastrophe. On Tuesday, 90 countries agreed to slash methane emissions by 30% by 2030. This is Biden announcing the U.S.’s commitments.
President Joe Biden: “We’re proposing two new rules, one through our Environmental Protection Agency that’s going to reduce methane losses from new and existing oil and gas pipelines, and one through the Department of Transportation to reduce wasteful and potential dangerous leaks from natural gas pipelines.”
But climate activists slammed Biden for making climate pledges while his administration continues to advance plans to sell oil and gas leases on U.S. public lands.
Meanwhile, Indigenous leaders questioned commitments from over 100 countries to end deforestation by 2030. This is Telma Taurepang, who leads the Union of Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon.
Telma Taurepang: “We don’t have yet a public policy toward the Indigenous peoples in Brazil that makes sure it happens for real. And they will only for certain stop deforestation if there is the demarcation of our Indigenous lands. Without demarcation, there’s no way to stop deforestation.”
In other news from COP26, the U.S., the European Union and other wealthy nations have announced a new deal to provide $8.5 billion to South Africa to help it decommission its coal plants and invest in renewable energy. South Africa is one of the largest coal producers in the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have backed the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, opening up the two-dose shot to an additional 28 million kids, who will receive one-third of the dosage of patients 12 and older.
The Ethiopian government has declared a six-month, nationwide state of emergency, as it says it’s preparing to defend the capital, Addis Ababa, from Tigrayan rebel forces that threatened the city would be overrun within “months if not weeks.” The state of emergency allows the government to impose curfews and roadblocks and for the Ethiopian military to take over certain areas of the country. The government has also called on citizens to take up arms against rebel fighters. This comes as the U.N. has condemned human rights atrocities uncovered by a joint investigation into the war in the Tigray region. The U.N. said all parties involved in the conflict, including forces from Eritrea, had committed violations of international human rights, some of which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual and gender-based violence. The U.N. also accused Ethiopia’s government of attempting to limit the investigation.
In occupied East Jerusalem, four families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood officially rejected a deal from the Israeli Supreme Court that would delay their eviction but force them to cede ownership of their houses and pay rent to Israeli settlers who claimed the homes as theirs. This is activist and affected Sheikh Jarrah resident Muna El-Kurd.
Muna El-Kurd: “We reject, because we believe in our cause and our right to our home and country, despite that we are not getting any guarantees to support our steadfastness as Palestinians in the occupied Jerusalem from any side or organization.”
Following the rejection of the deal, the Supreme Court could order the families be evicted within weeks. In May, the planned expulsions helped spark the latest war in Gaza and galvanized international support for Palestinians facing dispossession from settler groups and the state.
Facebook announced it’s shutting down its facial recognition system and deleting face scan templates of over 1 billion people by December. Facebook will not, however, get rid of the algorithm which powered the facial recognition technology, called DeepFace. It also did not rule out using such technology in the future. The move comes amid mounting scandals for Facebook, which recently changed its corporate name to Meta. The ACLU welcomed the move, calling it a “good start,” adding, “Now it’s time for enforceable rules that prohibit companies from scanning our faces without our consent. Looking at you, Congress.”
Democrats said they reached a deal to help rein in prescription drug costs as part of the Build Back Better Act. The provision would allow the government to negotiate prices for Medicare prescriptions for the first time. But drug companies would have patent exclusivity for nine to 12 years before the government could begin those negotiations. The legislation would also ban pharmaceutical companies from raising prices quicker than inflation and cap out-of-pocket expenses for seniors on Medicare at $2,000 per year. This is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announcing the deal Tuesday.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “Fixing prescription drug pricing has consistently been a top issue for Americans year after year, including the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans, who want to see a change because they simply cannot afford their medications.”
Over 10,000 John Deere workers will remain on strike after a majority last night voted to reject the latest contract proposal negotiated by their union. Workers are fighting for better wages and pension plans. They’ve been on strike for nearly one month.