Discussion event with region’s governors canceled

A “Conversation With the Governors of Delmarva” was canceled this week, amid mounting pressure for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign.

Northam was scheduled to be in Salisbury on Monday, joining Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Delaware Gov. John Carney for the third annual Conversation, a popular discussion series sponsored by the Greater Salisbury Committee.

“All parties have agreed to come back at a different time. All parties have agreed they love the idea and were genuinely looking forward to being in Salisbury,” Mike Dunn, CEO of the GSC, told the Salisbury Independent.

Late last week a photo, published on Northam’s medical school yearbook page, surfaced, showing two men, one in black face and one in a KKK robe and hood.

Northam commented, first saying he was not one of those men, and, in another instance, saying he is not the same man today that he was in his college years, when the picture was taken.

On Tuesday, Dunn and GSC announced the event would not be held “after consultation and discussion” with GSC’s elected board leaders.

“The governors of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia each value the Delmarva Peninsula and the people who call this great place home. GSC looks forward to bringing together Delmarva’s governors in the near future for a discussion on our region,” Dunn said in the announcement.

Just last week, Dunn had said excitement had been building and that, during a conference call to determine logistics, officials from all three governors’ offices confirmed the three state leaders had never before appeared together.

“This is a rare opportunity to shine a really strong light on the Delmarva Peninsula. There is no other way to shine that light than to come out and be part of this,” Dunn said at the time, urging the public to attend.

The event was set to be at Holloway Hall on the Salisbury University campus, with discussion focusing on cooperation and bipartisanship and the men’s thoughts about the Delmarva Peninsula, its uniqueness and opportunities.

Northam, 59, a Democrat, has been governor of Virginia since January 2018. A physician, he served as the 40th lieutenant governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018 before winning the governorship against Republican nominee Ed Gillespie in the 2017 election. An Eastern Shore of Virginia native, he and his wife, Pam, have a son and a daughter.

Hogan, 62, a Republican and frequent visitor to Salisbury, is beginning his second term in office.

He was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 and is the second Republican governor of Maryland in nearly 50 years.

Carney, 62, a Democrat, has been governor of Delaware since 2017. He served as the U.S. Representative for Delaware’s at-large congressional district from 2011 to 2017 and was 24th lieutenant governor of Delaware from 2001 to 2009.

While Hogan has yet to comment on the situation facing his colleague Northam, Carney issued a stinging statement late Tuesday.

“If Gov. Northam continues in office, we risk condoning something that we should be teaching our children is wrong,” Carney said. “That kind of behavior is part of our country’s troubled past.

“I’m hopeful that Gov. Northam will resign and that we use this as a painful reminder that we have much more work to do as a country to move past the thoughts and actions that are behind this image,” the Delaware governor said.

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