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.

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

After paperwork lapse, senior House Republican asks state board to put him on the ballot

By: - June 25, 2019

One of the state’s most senior Republican delegates isn’t officially a party nominee for his re-election bid — yet. At Tuesday night’s Board of Elections meeting, attorneys for Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, asked that he be declared the Republican nominee for the 1st House of Delegates District even though his nomination paperwork from a local […]

State approves new teacher education programs to fight shortage

By: - June 24, 2019

In an effort to combat Virginia’s teacher shortage, 15 Virginia colleges and universities will start new four-year teacher education degree programs this fall. The Virginia Board of Education approved the programs last week. The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia, which oversees public colleges and universities, approved the new programs at public institutions in […]

George Mason will study addition of a medical school

By: - June 19, 2019

George Mason University will study the possibility of launching a medical school in Manassas near its Science and Technology Campus. The study should be finished by early fall, a news release from Prince William County said. The county is chipping in a $50,000 grant to help fund the study. The Claude Moore Foundation, a Fairfax-based […]

House Republicans want hearing on sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax during special session

By: - June 18, 2019

House Republicans are again asking Democrats to allow two women who said Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted them to testify in front of the General Assembly during a special session beginning July 9. Gov. Ralph Northam called lawmakers back to Richmond in the wake of a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 13 […]

New poll finds support for gun control in Republican-led districts

By: - June 14, 2019

 A new poll conducted by a gun control group in Republican-held Virginia legislative districts found that “voters from all persuasions are widely in support of common-sense gun reforms,” including those Democrats will push during a special session to address gun violence next month. Public Policy Polling, of Raleigh, N.C., on behalf of Brady United, a […]

Where have cross-party primary voters cast ballots?

By: - June 11, 2019

The Virginia Public Access Project identified 10 primary elections over four years that may have had the most voters who cast ballots in the opposite party’s contests. “Virginia’s open primary system creates the potential for candidates to make cross-party appeals or for members of one party to make mischief,” VPAP wrote in an email presenting […]

Some Virginia Beach lawmakers say it’s ‘too soon’ to talk gun control

By: - June 9, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — The day of the municipal building mass shooting, Republican Del. Barry Knight, who grew up in Virginia Beach and currently represents part of the city, was at a friend’s memorial service when the city manager contacted him to tell him six people had been killed. By the end of the shooter’s rampage, […]

Virginia Explained: State’s primary process is ‘something of a free for all’

By: - June 6, 2019

Things have gotten a little confusing in Hanover County’s 97th House of Delegates District. There have been two different winners from two nomination processes for the Republican candidate in that House of Delegates seat. In November, all of the General Assembly’s seats are up for a vote. “Virginia’s process is something of a free-for-all and […]

Northam establishes commission to examine racial inequity in state laws

By: - June 4, 2019

Inspired by bills that require some jobs historically held by black people to be paid at least minimum wage, Gov. Ralph Northam established the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law. “The purpose of this commission is to review the Virginia Acts of Assembly, Code of Virginia and administrative regulations with the goal of identifying […]

Kaine says he’s worried about a war with Iran, not impeachment

By: - May 28, 2019

While one of his Virginia Democratic counterparts in the U.S. House is calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine isn’t as quick to do the same. “They’re grappling with what they’re going to do and if and when it comes to the Senate, we’ll take it seriously but there are so many […]

Tuition freezes are a ‘watershed moment’ for college affordability, advocates say

By: - May 28, 2019

At each of Virginia’s public colleges and universities, in-state undergraduate students won’t pay more in tuition next school year. Instead, the schools will get millions more in one-time funding from the state in exchange for leaving tuition alone as a part of deal with lawmakers that advocates hope is the first step on the road […]

More than 300 schools could provide free meals for all with help from a federal program

By: - May 27, 2019

More than 300 schools in the state that are eligible for federal reimbursement if they provide free breakfast and lunch to all students didn’t use the program this school year, according to an analysis by The Commonwealth Institute. The Richmond-based, liberal-leaning think tank reported that this past school year was the first time since 2014 […]