Coincidentally, Youngkin and his wife, Suzanne, were visiting the Capitol on Tuesday with the General Service Department.
Valerie Coley of Chesterfield County, a certified peer recovery specialist with a local government mental health department, joined Sears on the tour. Sometimes his eyes got wet. She’s a black woman who grew up in public housing in Richmond, was once jailed for drug offenses and said she was so inspired by Sears and the GOP ticket that for the first time she was did not vote Democrat.
One thing that has changed for her, Coley said, is that she started watching what politicians do. Democratic control of Virginia, she said, has led to political cliques but no improvement in the quality of life of African Americans in forgotten areas, she said.
“In fact, things had gotten worse,” she said. Pastor, she said she was called a traitor for supporting Republicans.
She said Sears cares about people coming back from incarceration like her.
“It’s not about parties with me. It’s about a purpose” and supporting “anyone who presents a purpose for the good of everyone – humans, period.”
Sears said she took Coley as a special guest because she was previously incarcerated. “America gave my dad a second chance at life, so I wanted people returning to see that they can get a second chance at life.”