Author

Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.

William & Mary will offer the state’s first Japanese degree program

By: - July 17, 2019

The College of William & Mary will be the first public college in Virginia to offer a bachelor’s degree program in Japanese studies starting this fall, fulfilling a need for the business and governmental sectors. The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia approved William and Mary’s new program this week. The council must approve […]

Virginia Lottery’s profits, which go to education, break record

By: - July 17, 2019

The Virginia Lottery made nearly $650 million in the fiscal year that ended in June, all of which will be used for education funding. The amount breaks the agency’s previous record of $606 million put toward education last year. The Lottery’s profits came from $2.29 billion in sales, Lottery Director Kevin Hall said at a […]

It’s not the NRA’s money that sways Virginia politics: It’s the members.

By: - July 12, 2019

Before the short special session on gun control earlier this week, hundreds of gun rights advocates poured into the city block around the capitol and legislative building.  They wore shirts and hats with the National Rifle Association’s logo and sported bright orange “Guns Save Lives” stickers. Some showed up with handguns in holsters. Others carried […]

Board of Elections approves another candidate for the ballot after paperwork problems

By: - July 11, 2019

The Virginia Board of Elections allowed another candidate on the ballot as a party nominee despite a mix-up with his nomination paperwork. Clinton Jenkins, a Democrat challenging Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, won a party nomination process but the local party chair responsible for submitting the paperwork to the state used the wrong email address to […]

Special session on guns: A big crowd, a quick adjournment, a post-election punt and a confusing charade

By: and - July 9, 2019

Huge crowds of advocates on both sides of the gun debate crammed into the Capitol on Tuesday, one heavily armed with rifles and pistols and the other wearing red T-shirts and ready with a string of chants. Both left surprised when a special session to take up gun legislation following the mass shooting in Virginia Beach concluded […]

Republicans introduce bills restricting guns in government buildings

By: - July 8, 2019

Virginia Beach Republican Del. Glenn Davis will carry legislation that would allow municipalities to ban guns in local government buildings, with some caveats. Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, went further, introducing a bill that would prohibit guns and other weapons “in any building owned or used by a locality for governmental purposes in […]

Gun control special session: Here’s what to expect

By: and - July 7, 2019

Virginia lawmakers return Tuesday, July 9, for a special session to consider gun control laws. Here's what to expect from Democrats and Republicans.

Va. senator calls rape victims ‘naive’ and critics ‘trolls’

By: - July 5, 2019

State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, posted a Fourth of July video on her Facebook page to respond to critics, who have called her out over comments made earlier this week about rape. During an online back-and-forth with a constituent on Facebook, Chase had written that people who are “naive and unprepared end up raped.” The […]

The 8 bills Northam wants passed in the special session

By: - July 3, 2019

After several roundtables around the state, Gov. Ralph Northam’s legislative package for the special session to address gun violence remains mostly unchanged from the plans he laid out just over a month ago. After a shooting in Virginia Beach left 12 dead and four injured, Northam called the legislature back to Richmond to tackle gun […]

Northam issues order to study disparity in state contracts

By: - July 3, 2019

After the same proposal failed during the General Assembly veto session, Gov. Ralph Northam has issued an executive order to study how the state awards contracts to certain businesses. “Small businesses are a vital economic engine for Virginia, making up 97 percent of all businesses, but we know there is work to do to ensure […]

Board of Elections allows Kilgore on ballot

By: - June 28, 2019

One of the most senior Republicans in the House of Delegates will appear on the ballot as the official party nominee even though his nominating paperwork didn’t make it to the Department of Elections by the required deadline. Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, was the winner of a local party convention, which should have allowed him […]

Virginia State Capitol

Poll suggests support for a Democratic majority in the General Assembly has fallen since last year

By: and - June 26, 2019

Fewer people are sure which party they want to control the General Assembly following a tumultuous six months for the state’s top three elected officials, all Democrats, according to a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Public Policy. A plurality of respondents (43%) said they preferred Democrats to take control of the two […]