The Latest: Northam signs Amazon legislation without fanfare

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the fallout from a racist photo that appeared on the 1984 medical school yearbook page of Virginia’s governor (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Amid fallout over a racist photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation which would carry out the state’s promise to Amazon for up to $750 million in incentives if it creates almost 38,000 jobs at its new Arlington County headquarters.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Northam, without fanfare, signed the Major Headquarters Workforce Grant Fund on Tuesday. The legislation establishes a fund to receive and distribute $550 million in incentives for the creation of 25,000 jobs by Amazon in the first phase of its HQ2 project in Arlington.

The bill reached Northam’s desk last Wednesday, two days before the controversy erupted over a racist photograph on his page of his medical school yearbook in 1984. The governor is weighing whether he can stay in the job despite the uproar over the photo.


6:50 p.m.

A medical school classmate of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he believes a racist photo that appears on Northam’s yearbook page in 1984 was taken at a Halloween party students attended.

Dr. M. Scott Klavans said Tuesday that attendees were told to dress up in the crudest or most obnoxious costume they could imagine. 

Klavans says he doesn’t remember whether Northam was wearing either of the costumes in the photo. But he says there were a “lot of people dressed up in costumes that were not appropriate at the time” and that they were probably a “bad attempt at humor at the time.”

Klavans said he was friends with Northam in school and the photo doesn’t reflect the person he knew. He says Northam “is not a racist.”

Northam has denied he’s in the photo or that he submitted it for publication.


5 p.m.

A Republican lawmaker and close friend of Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he believes the governor will remain in office based on their frequent conversations.

State Sen. Richard Stuart told The Associated Press that he speaks daily to Northam and talked to him on Tuesday.

Stuart said he believes the governor won’t resign after Northam told him he felt responsibility to stay in office and make amends. He said the governor told him that he doesn’t intend to run away from the problem.

Stuart said that he “firmly” believes the governor “is going to do what is right and face this head on.”

Northam hasn’t publicly said which way he’s leaning amid calls to resign over a racist photo that appeared on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

Stuart and Northam entered the Senate together in 2008.


3:20 p.m.

The president of a medical school in Virginia has apologized for the pain inflicted on African Americans by a racist photo that appeared on a yearbook page belonging to Gov. Ralph Northam.

Dr. Richard V. Homan told reporters Tuesday that Eastern Virginia Medical School takes full responsibility for the image and others that appeared in the 1984 publication.

A photo on Northam’s yearbook profile shows a man in blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. At least two other photos in the yearbook show people in blackface.

Northam has denied he’s in the photo or that he submitted it for publication. Homan said an independent investigation will try to get to the bottom of how the images got there and will review all yearbooks.


3:20 p.m.

A Republican Virginia lawmaker has offered support for Gov. Ralph Northam amid fallout over a racist photo on the governor’s 1984 medical school yearbook page.

The statement Tuesday by state Sen. Richard Stuart appears to be the first public comments by a Republican lawmaker supporting Northam since the scandal erupted.

The photo of two people in racist party costumes surfaced Friday and set off a barrage of calls for Northam’s resignation from Democrats and Republicans.

Stuart said he’s heartbroken about the pain caused by the photo, but that Northam should have the opportunity to clear his name. Stuart also said a poor choice 34 years ago “should not outweigh a selfless service to people from every walk of life.”

He said Northam is his friend and he knows the governor will do what’s right.


2:15 p.m.

Despite pressure to resign, Virginia’s governor is showing signs of trying to move forward with public business by offering condolences to a fallen state trooper.

Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statement Tuesday paying tribute to State Trooper Lucas Dowell, who was killed in the line of duty this week.

The most-awaited statement from Northam is whether he will resign over a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. The photo became public Friday.

Northam has been huddling privately with advisers to figure out his course amid mounting calls to resign.

Northam’s condolence message was met on Twitter with a mixture of sympathy for the fallen officer and calls for the governor to step down.


2 p.m.

Eastern Virginia Medical School alumni say a racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page is likely to have gone unnoticed after it was first published.

Several say students were too busy in the intense program to pay much attention.

Dr. John “Rob” Marsh was Northam’s roommate for two years before graduating in 1983.

Marsh says the yearbook was put out after graduation, when he and Northam both rushed off to the military. Others were beginning their medical residencies.

The photo depicts someone in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

Northam says it’s not him in the photo, but there have been a barrage of calls for the 59-year-old Democrat’s resignation.


8:15 a.m.

Amid the political upheaval over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page featuring a racist photograph, a woman who accused the state’s lieutenant governor of sexual assault is consulting with a law firm.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax strongly denied the allegations Monday. They were initially circulated on a conservative website.

A person close to the legal team who’s not authorized to speak publicly says the woman accusing Fairfax has retained Washington law firm Katz Marshall & Banks and is consulting about next steps. The person insisted on anonymity.

A firm founding partner, Debra Katz, represented Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago when they were teenagers. He denied the allegation and was confirmed to the court.

The Associated Press is not reporting the Fairfax allegation because the organization hasn’t confirmed it.


Associated Press writer Julie Pace contributed from Washington.

Categories: National & International News