RICHMOND, Va. – After Democratic Justin Fairfax defeated Republican Jill Vogel in the race to become Virginia’s next Lieutenant Governor, the first-time candidate thanked the people who supported him and his family over the years.
"This is why we're Democrats. You have to lift other people as you climb. Life is not just about your success," he said. "You have to fight and make sure that that story is possible for everyone."
Fairfax shared with the gathered crowd how his grandparents took him in, along with his mother and siblings, and supported his family.
"This night belongs to the children watching who people have told that things are impossible in their lives," he said. "The answer tonight is that nothing is impossible in your lives."
Earlier in the evening, Vogel conceded defeat to Fairfax at the GOP party in Henrico County Tuesday night. Fairfax received 53 percent of the Virginia, Vogel earned 47 percent.
With the win, Fairfax becomes the second African American to hold statewide office in Virginia. Doug Wilder was Virginia's lieutenant governor from 1986-1990. Virginians later elected Wilder as the nation's first election African American governor.
Fairfax listed the things he hoped to accomplish during his time in statewide office.
"We're going to fight for a high quality education. We're going to fight to make sure we get affordable health care for 400,000 more Virginians by expanding Medicaid here in the Commonwealth," he said. "We're going to make sure that college is more affordable so that people can go to community college and apprenticeship programs and the middle skills jobs of the future. We're going to pay teachers what they're worth and make sure that our public education system is fully supported. And we are going to reform the broken criminal justice system. We're going to dismantle piece by piece the school to prison pipeline. I promise you. That is what we're going to do -- together."
Fairfax, a lawyer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia’s Eastern District, previously ran for Virginia Attorney General, but lost to then state Sen. Mark Herring in the 2012 Democratic primary.
Fairfax, 38, holds degrees in public policy and law from Duke University and Columbia Law School, respectively.