Announcement of James' Departure
In a surprising turn of events, Kay Coles James, a seasoned political figure in the cabinet of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, announced her resignation and subsequent appointment to the Spirit of Virginia PAC. This move comes as the Republicans strategize to maintain control of the House of Delegates and possibly gain control of the state Senate in the upcoming November elections.
James' Role and Controversy
As the Secretary of the Commonwealth, James was responsible for overseeing a significant number of appointments to state boards and commissions. However, her role in the restoration of civil rights to convicted felons stirred controversy earlier this year. The new application-based restoration process, introduced without prior notification, saw a sharp decrease in the number of individuals having their rights restored.
James' Career and Impact
James has been a stalwart in Virginia politics, having previously served as Secretary of Health and Human Resources under Gov. George Allen in the 1990s. Before joining the Youngkin administration, she was the president of the Heritage Foundation. Her departure has been met with praise from Gov. Youngkin, who commended her for her leadership and service to the Commonwealth.
Appointment of New Secretary
Kelly Gee, who has been serving as the executive director of the Virginia Lottery under Youngkin, has been appointed as the new Secretary. Her appointment has yet to be approved by the General Assembly.
James' New Role and Youngkin's Cabinet Changes
Shortly after the announcement of James's departure, the Spirit of Virginia PAC confirmed her appointment as a senior advisor. Her role will involve providing strategic advice, fostering community engagement, and advising Governor Youngkin. This news comes amidst various cabinet changes under Youngkin's administration, including the departure of the first chief information technology officer, Phil Wittmer, and the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, Andrew Wheeler.