Ned Oliver

Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association. Contact him at [email protected]

Scathing audit faults poor management for Virginia’s unemployment insurance failures

By: - November 8, 2021

Virginia’s failure to deliver unemployment benefits in a timely manner left thousands of jobless Virginians waiting months for aid during the pandemic. Now, a scathing audit says much of the blame lies with poor management coupled with limited oversight by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. “It’s clear that additional oversight and assistance is needed,” Lauren Axselle, […]

GOP agenda takes shape in Richmond

By: - November 4, 2021

A friendly meeting between the governor and the governor elect. A preview of the new House majority’s agenda. Promises to refocus the attorney general’s office on law enforcement. The transition of power from Democrats to Republicans in Richmond began in earnest Thursday after the GOP’s electoral sweep earlier this week, which handed the party control […]

Wild-card Democratic senators in line to be power players of divided government

By: - November 3, 2021

With Republicans in Virginia suddenly one Senate seat away from total control of state government, attention turned almost immediately Wednesday to a pair of Democratic senators with a history of siding with the GOP on key issues like education and abortion. And on Wednesday morning, the two men, Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, and Sen. […]

Youngkin wins major upset as GOP roars back in Virginia

By: and - November 3, 2021

Republican Glenn Youngkin narrowly defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Tuesday’s election for governor, a major upset on a night that saw the Virginia GOP make sweeping gains after a nearly decade-long losing streak in statewide elections. Several news outlets called the race for Youngkin shortly after 12:30 a.m. Republicans Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares also […]

Cheat sheet: Youngkin and McAuliffe on the issues

By: , , and - November 1, 2021

As the race for governor comes to a close, here’s a look back at the stances Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin have staked out on major policy issues. Public education has become the dominant issue of Virginia’s gubernatorial race. But in the last weeks of the campaign, both candidates have focused less on […]

Virginia’s prison population fell by thousands during the pandemic. Will it stay down?

By: - October 28, 2021

Virginia’s prison population dropped by more than 5,000 people during the pandemic, and officials tasked with projecting future trends are wondering if it’s going to stay that way. In a report released this month, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran’s office said said it’s too soon to know what impact legislation passed […]

After years of bipartisan giving, Dominion Energy leans into Democratic control

By: - October 26, 2021

Dominion Energy’s political giving in Virginia has surged into the millions this year, and Democrats are the biggest beneficiaries, with donations totaling more than $1.8 million so far this cycle, according to campaign finance records compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. Republicans, meanwhile, have received just over $1 million from the influential electric utility, […]

Probation reforms face pushback, confusion in the court system

By: - October 21, 2021

When lawmakers voted to reform probation in Virginia earlier this year, they said their motive was simple: Stop people from getting sent back to prison for minor violations like missing an appointment or failing a drug test. But three months after the new law went into effect, officials across the criminal justice system say the […]

Big-name Richmond landlords sued for refusing Section 8 vouchers

By: - October 18, 2021

Twenty-nine real estate companies in the Richmond area are facing allegations they categorically refused potential tenants who planned to pay using government vouchers. The companies, named in 13 lawsuits filed by Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday, own and operate some of the city’s more recognizable apartment complexes. “Every single Virginian has the right to […]

Virginia seals 64,000 marijuana distribution charges

By: - October 15, 2021

Virginia has sealed records documenting more than 64,000 misdemeanor marijuana distribution charges since the state legalized the drug in July. The figure came out Thursday during a meeting of the legislature’s Cannabis Oversight Commission. Officials said the records were scrubbed from the state’s criminal record database, which is used by employers like school boards, state […]

Virginia moves to immediately sever ties with prison health care contractor. ‘The relationship has degraded significantly.’

By: - October 13, 2021

The Virginia Department of Corrections appears headed toward a messy breakup with the company that provides medical care in about half of the state’s prisons. DOC director Harold Clarke announced in July he intended to bring all health care services in-house, ending its $90-million annual contract with Miami-based Armor Correctional Health. But rather than let […]

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Federal judge presses AG to weigh in on election calendar. ‘I want him to do his job.’

By: - October 12, 2021

A federal judge is urging Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring to issue a formal opinion on the state’s election calendar after U.S. census delays forced members of the General Assembly to run in outdated districts this year. Herring has steadfastly declined to weigh in despite receiving a formal request for an opinion five months ago […]