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Youngkin apologizes for mixing up two Black state senators

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Sen. Louise Lucas (left), D-Portsmouth, and Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, spoke in the state Senate earlier this month.

Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, president pro tempore of the Senate, said Friday that she received a text message from Gov. Glenn Youngkin congratulating her for a speech marking Black History Month.

The only problem, Lucas said, was that Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, another Black legislator, delivered the speech.

Lucas took at jab at Youngkin over the mix up in a tweet that by Saturday afternoon had been liked more than 12,000 times.

“I want to thank [the governor] for his text message this week, congratulating me on my excellent speech on Black History Month. I appreciate the effort, but that speech was actually given by [Sen. Locke],” she wrote, adding side-by-side photos of the legislators.

“Study the photos and you will get this soon!”

In a statement provided by his office, Youngkin confirmed the mix up and said he quickly apologized to Lucas.

“I had the floor speeches on while doing too many things at once earlier this week. I made a mistake and I apologized to Senator Lucas right away,” Youngkin said.

Locke’s speech delivered Tuesday on the floor of the Virginia Senate focused on the persistence of Black Americans through threats and violence, including the bomb threats received by historically Black colleges and universities around the country.

“We work despite efforts to take us back and silence our voices. We do so for all of the named and unnamed African Americans that work to make this a more perfect union,” Locke said.

“We will dig in our heels and go on and get to work.”

Youngkin’s error attracted jokes on social media and anecdotes about Black people facing such actions often.

“I wish I could say this was rare,” said former Del. Lashrecse Aird.

Rep. Don McEachin, D-4th, responded to Lucas’ tweet, saying simply “not ready.”

Arne Duncan, who served as U.S. education secretary under President Barack Obama, tweeted: “Maybe a few courses in [Critical Race Theory] might be beneficial to [the governor.]”

mleonor@timesdispatch.com (804) 649-6254

Twitter: @MelLeonor_

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