EPISODE 251: A Conversation with the Extraordinary Winsome Earle-Sears
“Do not assume that you are safe if you remain silent.”
~ Esther 4:14
Winsome Earle-Sears sent shock waves across Virginia and the country at large when she pulled off her stunning upset victory in November 2021 and became the first Lieutenant Governor of Virginia who is a woman, the first naturalized female citizen, the first female veteran elected to statewide office and who also happens to be black.
Not relying on identity politics, she earned intense national coverage because of her unwavering support for Second Amendment rights and her strong commitment to education opportunity for all students.
A devout Christian, Winsome believes in the promise of the American Dream. Her father was approved to immigrate to the U.S.A. and left Jamaica, arriving in America on August 11, 1963, with only $1.75 in his pocket. Winsome joined him when she was just six years old, and ever since has been on a mission of service with dozens of community groups ranging from leading a men’s prison ministry and serving as director of a women’s homeless shelter for the Salvation Army to serving as a hard-charging vice president of the Virginia State Board of Education.
Her unyielding belief in the fundamental righteousness of America stands in stark opposition to the increasingly pervasive ideologies that are dividing the country.
Instead, Winsome encourages Americans to never stop fighting for their country and shows us how to chart a new path forward.
She concludes her recent memoir, How Sweet It Is, with this quote from John L. Mason who once said, “You’re born an original. Don’t die a copy.”
Definitely an original, Winsome has never ceased enthusiastically bucking conventions, defying expectations, and charging straight toward challenges.
Join in this episode for a revealing and inspiring conversation with Winsome Earle-Sears. You will be hearing from her in the years to come.
EPISODE 251 TRANSCRIPT
Bill Walton (00:01):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton. Almost exactly five years ago, October 2019, I had an amazing guest on my show, and I found her in probably a pretty unusual way. I’d received a direct mail solicitation, and of course we all get thousands of these, but this stood out both for its originality and also its content. And it was from a group called Black Americans to Re-Elect the President. And I thought, “Well, that’s… In 2019, we were leading up to 2020, and I thought, “Well, gee, I really want to meet this person.” And so we called her up and next thing I know, she’s on the set and her name is Winsome Earl-Sears. And she came on with Star Parker and together they just blew the socks off of the conversation. And lo and behold, what happens? Time passes, events, and now we’re sitting with the Lieutenant Governor of the Great Commonwealth of Virginia.
Winsome Sears (01:11):
Here we are, Bill.
Bill Walton (01:12):
Here we are.
Winsome Sears (01:13):
Five years later.
Bill Walton (01:15):
And what a saga, because you weren’t running for office then. You’d had an incredible career doing a lot of other community things and been a legislature in Virginia, but you were not a candidate.
Winsome Sears (01:25):
Oh no, I was never coming back to elected politics. And in fact, I wasn’t even running for chief dogcatcher. I just was pretty much on the periphery, trying to get people to get more involved in politics, because the part about, “Of the people, by the people and for the people,” well, Bill, is a very technical term. Y’all are the people.
Bill Walton (01:46):
Y’all, okay. Well, that’ll help in Virginia.
Winsome Sears (01:50):
Bill Walton (01:51):
Well, it’s true. And I think you really didn’t do identity politics to get elected. That’s one of the things that you stand firmly against.
Winsome Sears (01:59):
No. Well, you’re looking at someone who people would say, “It’s impossible that you could be where you are today.” Why? Well, because my dad came to America with only a $1.75 from Jamaica, and he came 17 days before Dr. King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. And so I was at a Martin Luther King Junior Elementary school in Richmond, not maybe three days ago, and I asked them, “Do you believe that you can start your life with seven quarters?” Because that’s what he came with. And they didn’t believe me, but that’s my dad. And then here I am, he came and got me. And now Bill, I am, as an immigrant, as a black woman, second in command in the former capital of the Confederate states. Don’t tell me America hasn’t changed.
Bill Walton (02:52):
Well, you wrote a book that, as I started into it, I was doing the Kindle version, but the audible version is better. You’ve written a book called ‘How Sweet It Is’, and you get into what it was like to grow up in Jamaica, then move to New York, back and forth to Jamaica. Your family was incredibly interesting. I think it’s worth it, let’s go a little deeper than you came from Jamaica with the-
Winsome Sears (03:19):
Okay. So my dad came when there were real dog whistles, there were real fire hoses. And what could I tell my father is the reason why I didn’t succeed in America, is I couldn’t say, “Because I’m black.” It’s ridiculous. Sure, there are issues, there always are. But what we are, as black people I’d like to say, we’re overcomers. We’ve overcome so much, the separation of our families. I remember five years ago, I think I told you that what black families wanted, of course, when they were enslaved was number one; to gain their freedom. Number two; they wanted their families to be reunited. And number three; they wanted an education.
And education lifted my dad out of poverty and it lifted me, because I can’t ride on his coattails. I have to find my own way in this world and education will lift us all. And so that’s why, as a young man coming to America with just a $1.75, he took any job he could find, used that money to put himself through school and started his American dream and now he’s comfortably retired. So, I say we are not victims. We are overcomers and we don’t really need political parties. We just need to be left alone to be what we want to be. And that’s not just black people. That’s any of, I’d like to say, God’s children.
Bill Walton (04:46):
Well, you found your way in the US Marines.
Winsome Sears (04:48):
Bill Walton (04:48):
How did you get-
Winsome Sears (04:49):
Marine Corps, oorah.
Bill Walton (04:51):
… you go from Jamaica to the Marines?
Winsome Sears (04:52):
Yeah. Well, so I was getting ready for college. I’d gotten my curriculum, my books just ready for August, because I had graduated from high school early.
Bill Walton (05:03):
This was when you were living up in New York?
Winsome Sears (05:05):
When I was in New York, yes. I graduated early in January and then my grandmother died in Jamaica. And I went back for the funeral and I thought… I was just devastated. My whole world was gone. And I told my mother, “Well, I’m just going to stay here and die.” And as mothers are want to do, they always know how to push their children. And so she said, “Well, if you’re going to stay here and die, I’ve got rules. You’ve got to do this. You’ve got to do this.” And I thought, “Wait a minute, I’m going back to America. Nobody tells me what to do in America.” I’m 18, and I was 17 at the time and she said… But I thought, “I can’t go back to America. I’m still despondent. I just wanted to die.” And she just happened to have a Jet magazine on her coffee table, an American publication, Black American publication. I flipped it open and there it was, “The Few, the Proud, the Marines,” that ad. And I said, “That’s it. The Marines will give me a reason to live. I need discipline and they’re going to give it to me.” So that’s how I got in the Marine Corps. And America had been so good to my family.
Bill Walton (06:23):
Well, you ended up as a corporal, which was the same rank I achieved when I was a draftee in the US Army. I think corporals are basically the best rank to have had in the army, don’t you think? In the Marines?
Winsome Sears (06:33):
Well, it is the first rung after all on the NCO ladder and in the Marine Corps, corporals are given so much power, because I guess it’s such a very young service. Yeah. And would’ve liked to have been Sergeant Earl, but stopped at Corporal.
Bill Walton (06:55):
You were in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Winsome Sears (06:59):
No, that was after I got out.
Bill Walton (07:01):
Winsome Sears (07:01):
Bill Walton (07:02):
So where were you stationed?
Winsome Sears (07:03):
I was at Pendleton and then I was at Lejeune. And with my MOS, I was the journeyman electrician and the diesel mechanic.
Bill Walton (07:13):
Well, that’s how you get trained to be an electrician.
Winsome Sears (07:14):
Yes, yes. My grandfather had been saying to the older cousins, “A college degree is wonderful, but get a trade, because then you always have work.” And he said that, because he came up during the depression. So, although I now have however many degrees, I still can fix a few things here and there.
Bill Walton (07:37):
Well, I’ve got a too important job to deal with that. But you became incredibly active, an active citizen. You ran a lot of community groups.
Winsome Sears (07:50):
Bill Walton (07:50):
What did you do immediately after the Marines?
Winsome Sears (07:53):
Well, after the Marines, well, I had my children. But when I started college, I had three children under five, because I remembered, after I’d gotten out of the Marines, I thought I’d always wanted to be an attorney, always. And I didn’t want to be 40 and wonder, “What if I had tried?” So, I went back to school and for actually two years of my children’s life, I don’t remember, because I was taking college courses all over the place, 18, 20 some hours, even in the summertime, just because I felt I was so old and I wanted to get to law school still. Well, I graduated and took the LSAT, passed it, got accepted into law school and guess who didn’t go to law school? Because somewhere along the way, my life changed from wanting to, number one, help people and to do good in this world to… So I thought, “No.”
Bill Walton (08:58):
Well, you managed the VISTA volunteer program. You ran an educational workshop for business schools. You developed an educational program at Hampton Roads called Workforce 27. You formed a coalition of government, educators, military, and whatever to change the curriculum in public schools. You managed the Hampton Roads Education Leadership Academy. You directed the Salvation Army’s women’s shelter in Hampton Roads.
Winsome Sears (09:24):
That was the best job I had by the way, because I could see if you’re at bottom in a homeless shelter-
Bill Walton (09:30):
With the women that were-
Winsome Sears (09:31):
… with the women, I can bring you up. You have to give people hope. That’s what my dad got when he came to America, a second chance at life.
Bill Walton (09:39):
But what animates you? This is an incredible resume and this is not achieving some big thing in Washington with a big title. You got into the community and you did things and you led groups. And it’s the civil society that I think is so important. These groups that we form together to get things done, you did that
Winsome Sears (10:02):
Well, I think because I saw my grandmother do it, she came from a place of just maybe a fourth, fifth grade education in Jamaica to becoming a landlord. She owned two properties. And what did that for her? It was education in Jamaica. And even so, she brought homeless people into our home and fed them and got them adult education, you see? And then she helped them get jobs and she would feed people on the street. She would do all that. And as a kid, you’re asking yourself, “Doesn’t anybody else have a grandmother? Why are we doing all of this?” But now that I’m of age, I understand that you don’t live this life by yourself. And funny you say that, I was just thinking the other day, and it’s not morbid by the way, but I was just thinking, “When I’m in that casket and my eyes are closed, hopefully I will have done the will of the Lord and I will have not just been here for me, but I will have made things better for others on the journey.”
Bill Walton (11:12):
Well, you closed your book with that last chapter, the epilogue. Do you remember what you wrote at the end?
Winsome Sears (11:17):
Bill Walton (11:19):
Well, you wrote; government can do some things, but can never do everything. People have been finding other Gods, I’m paraphrasing, they’ve been seeking something spiritual. They don’t know what they’re seeking. You hear about some celebrities and all the money, but it doesn’t fill them until they find the Lord.
Winsome Sears (11:42):
Bill Walton (11:42):
And I love this, what your quote was, John Mason said, “You’re born an original, don’t die a copy.”
Winsome Sears (11:49):
There it is. Yeah. I’m the only Winsome and I’ve tried being other people, it doesn’t work.
Bill Walton (11:56):
Well, I haven’t met anybody quite like you. But the things you did without really, these are not glamorous jobs that necessarily people want to do and you did them. How did your civil society work make you better at your job as a politician?
Winsome Sears (12:15):
Well, because the role of government is of course, I think number one, to keep us safe. In 1623, America tried this experiment of communism, socialism with Governor Bradford. And when they came off the Mayflower, the pilgrims, and it didn’t work, because; why should I work hard if the next guy isn’t going to work hard? And they almost starved to death. And so what Governor Bradford decided was, “All right, here’s the deal. Every man has his own plot of land. You work your land and if you don’t work, you don’t eat.” That is a biblical principle. It’s a Bible verse. And they lived, they survived. And so what we see today is that where the government back then pulled the people out of communism, today we see governments pushing people into communism, but people don’t want to go. That’s the difference.
Now, 1623 is significant of course, because that’s the year when Governor Bradford decided, “Okay, this is not working.” But just a few years before, 1607, is when the Virginia House of Burgesses started. And of course that’s where I was elected to so many centuries later, and it’s now the House of Delegates and it is the oldest serving legislative body in the entire new world. So we had a dichotomy. We had Virginia and we had the case of Massachusetts, what eventually became the Massachusetts Colony. So yeah, capitalism is best. And by the way, for those who say that, “Well, Jesus was a communist and they shared everything together.” Hold on. Remember what he said to the young man, the rich young ruler, he said, “Sell everything you have and then come to me.” He didn’t say, “Give it all away.” You see?
Bill Walton (14:34):
This is Bill Walton, The Bill Walton Show, I’m here with Winsome Earle-Sears, our Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Winsome Sears (14:41):
The Commonwealth. Thank you.
Bill Walton (14:44):
And I can say I knew her when, which is, and it’s remarkable five years later, she’s only gotten better, but hasn’t gotten the politician’s disease. You’re still talking common sense. You talked a lot of common sense then. Where do you go from here? You’ve been now lieutenant governor for almost two years and the election coming up, by all accounts, you and Glenn Youngkin are doing a great job. I think your popularity’s up. We’re about to face an election.
Winsome Sears (15:18):
All 140 House of Delegates, a hundred seats in the House.
Bill Walton (15:22):
What’s at stake here? Give us a primer on what’s going to be happening in Virginia in November.
Winsome Sears (15:29):
So, 140 seats are up, 100 in the house and 40 in the Senate where I preside.
Bill Walton (15:36):
And that’s all the seats?
Winsome Sears (15:39):
That’s all 140 of them. In the Senate, it’s going to be a massive turnover, because so many of the incumbents either lost their primaries or they’re retiring. And I’m going to be faced with a whole lot of new people. Fully half of them are going to be new. And so it’s going to be very interesting. I hope I don’t have to wield my gavel too much, because I’ve had to gavel a few of them down, “You are order. Order, Senator.” So, it’s interesting.
Bill Walton (16:08):
Why do I think you’d be very good at that?
Winsome Sears (16:11):
Well, I’m a mother. I didn’t know all I needed was a gavel. “Mom, can I?” Bang, “No.” And then of course, the House. Now, currently the Republicans have the house by two seats. In the Virginia Senate, the Republicans are down by two seats. And so it’s going to be a win if we’re at parody, if we’re 20-20 in the Virginia Senate, we’ve won, because I am the 21st senator. And what it will mean is we will have better, more proportional representation on at least the three big committees; on the Rules Committee, which if the Rules Committee says, “Two plus two equals five,” then that’s what it is. Well, currently there are 13 Democrats to 4 Republicans, can’t get anything through. On the money committee, the Finance and Appropriations Committee, there are 10 Democrats to 5 Republicans, can’t get anything through. On the big business committee, there are 12 Democrats to 4 Republicans. So, if they want to kill anything that just happens to get out of one of the other committees, I’ve seen them do it on the floor of the Senate. They just say, “Madame President.” And I’ll; “For what purpose does the Senator from so-and-so rise?” “To re-refer a bill, Madam President,” and the Bill has gone to one of those three and it’s dead. Well, what are we trying to do? Glad you asked, Bill. What we want to do is of course number-
Bill Walton (17:49):
I told you you could come up with your own questions.
Winsome Sears (17:53):
What we’re trying to do is to bring back common sense and what does that look like? Well, we’ve got to get out of this Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It is not good for anybody. The Democrats, when they had total control, they hitched our energy policy to California, so it’s Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California who is going to dictate the cars that we drive, et cetera. And there are all these penalties that come with it. So if you want, by the year 2035, to buy a newly manufactured gasoline car, there will be none. And just to make sure-
Bill Walton (18:34):
In what year do we-
Winsome Sears (18:34):
Bill Walton (18:34):
Winsome Sears (18:36):
And that applies to us here in Virginia.
Bill Walton (18:38):
So this would be, in common terms, this is sort of be the electrical vehicle mandate?
Winsome Sears (18:43):
Bill Walton (18:44):
Winsome Sears (18:45):
But here’s the problem. The amount of earth that’s needed to produce the batteries and whatever else to power these vehicles at the rate that we’re going digging up the soil, Bill, we’ve got, I think I saw the reports, it was about 190 some odd years to dig up the amount that we need just to replace the fuel.
Bill Walton (19:05):
Well, I had Mark Mills on with Manhattan Institute and he’s the expert in all this, in manufacturing and mining. And to create a 1000 pound battery, you need to mine about 500,000 pounds of materials. And it also means we need hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of new mines all over the world. Of course, the same people that want to mandate electrical vehicles don’t want mining here.
Winsome Sears (19:34):
Yeah, they don’t want to see great big gaping holes in the earth.
Bill Walton (19:43):
Oh, no. Not here.
Winsome Sears (19:43):
So, you can’t have one with without the other.
Bill Walton (19:43):
Yeah. So no, and also the battery materials, they all come from China. So, you’re going to wreck the environment with these mines. You’re going to put our futures in the hands of the Chinese.
Winsome Sears (19:58):
And some parts of Africa, where you see young children are digging for cobalt and some of these other rare earth minerals.
Bill Walton (20:04):
Exactly. If you care about labor practices, you don’t want to be…
Winsome Sears (20:07):
Bill Walton (20:08):
The list of horribles is enormous. Yet here’s the thing, you’ve talked about the Greenhouse Gas Initiative, well that’s-
Winsome Sears (20:16):
And tax policy.
Bill Walton (20:17):
And tax policy. Those are the big issues.
Winsome Sears (20:19):
And business and education. There’s so much Bill.
Bill Walton (20:22):
Well, but the only thing is that what seems to be at stake in this election is abortion and education’s on the list, but abortion looms large in terms of how people vote, even though that doesn’t have anything to do with what the Virginia legislatures should be working on.
Winsome Sears (20:42):
As Ronald Reagan said, “Everybody who is for abortion is already born.” It’s common sense, right?
Bill Walton (20:49):
Winsome Sears (20:50):
So what we are saying is at least 15 weeks and why 15? Because the baby feels pain at 15 weeks. What we need to ask the Democratic candidates is; what is your limit? Because right now they are pushing, they won’t say so publicly, but they’re pushing abortion bill up until the day the baby could be born. And in fact, we had a governor, the former governor before we-
Bill Walton (21:17):
Winsome Sears (21:18):
Ralph Northam, a pediatrician, a baby doctor.
Bill Walton (21:21):
He thought it was okay A day after.
Winsome Sears (21:24):
Afterwards. He said, “Well, we’re going to keep the infant.” He even said infant. He said, “After the infant is born, we’re going to keep the infant comfortable and then the mother will decide what to do.” What are you talking about? The baby’s already here breathing on its own. Not even China is doing this. China, by the way, they’re at 20 weeks. Europe, they’re at 15 weeks. So we need to ask the Democratic candidate; what is your limit? When can we say-
Bill Walton (21:53):
Well, China radically changed its mind. They had one-child policy and they’re watching their population shrink and they’ve cut that to two child and three child. Then they’re trying to have as many babies as possible. So I don’t know if they’ve got any abortion rules at this point.
Winsome Sears (22:09):
Well, look at education. We don’t have the population of college-aged kids to go to college. They’re going to face a steep cliff, these colleges and universities are, because we’re not having our children.
Bill Walton (22:24):
How do you defeat this at the polls though, because the Democrats seem to have got the Republicans demonized that somehow all the young women are going to be taken into alleys and having terrible things done to prevent them from… What are the politics here and how do you message this?
Winsome Sears (22:38):
What we need to do as Republicans is to not run away from the truth. The truth is that the Democrats stand for abortion up until the time of birth. And what does that look like? You’ve got to pull the baby out halfway, partial birth. You’ve got to stab the baby in the neck and then you suck everything out. You are looking at a whole baby. We have to talk about these things. And in fact, when we go to the doors and knock on the doors and talk to the people about what we really stand for, the people say, “No, I don’t believe in abortion up until the child is born.” And we talk about, yes, we support fetal abnormalities. We talk about rape and incest. We’re supportive of that.
Bill Walton (23:25):
Well, you’ve got my vote, but I’m not on the other side. The other side seems to think, they say, “Republicans are anti-abortion, so therefore we’re going to pull the Democrat lever.” How do you message-
Winsome Sears (23:39):
It’s just what I say. When we get to the doors, we have to talk about; the Democrats are for abortion up until the time the child could be born and then you hear at the doors, “Well, I don’t believe that at all.” And we say, “Ask them what is their limit.” And we talk about 15 weeks, because that’s when the baby feel pain. We support exceptions, as I said, abnormalities in the fetus. We talk about rape and incest, but we can’t avoid it by avoiding it, because the Democrats hit us with it all the time. We are the party of life after all.
Bill Walton (24:22):
So, it’s now October 24th, the election’s November 7th, and so we’ve got a couple of weeks.
Winsome Sears (24:31):
Bill Walton (24:31):
When you walked in here, you showed me something I think we ought to talk about.
Winsome Sears (24:36):
Yes. You know what I have Bill? I have an absentee ballot, Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s in my official ballot. You know what this is? This is power. And when you look at it, of course it’s different for different areas, but of course it’s got-
Bill Walton (24:53):
Can we can hold that up a bit. I want to make sure we get a shot of that.
Winsome Sears (24:56):
Yes, it’s the Senator Virginia, the House of Delegates, the clerk of the court, Commonwealth Attorneys, et cetera, et cetera. School board, commissioner of the revenue, et cetera, treasurer. And what this is, I received this ballot bill in September for an election in November. And unfortunately we say Virginians are traditionalists and so we’re saying Republicans, anyway, “I don’t vote until election day.” Yeah, but except I’ve had my ballot for 45 days. And this is how the Democrats are defeating us. They have their ballots sitting on their kitchen table for 45 days. Who’s most likely to win, Bill? The Democrats are. They are getting their voters, who generally don’t come to the polls unless it’s a gubernatorial election or a presidential election, by voting this way. When I signed up, my letter confirming my request for permanent absentee ballot, said, “From now on, Winsome, you’ll receive 45 days before every election a ballot for primary elections, a ballot for special elections, a ballot for general elections.” Bill, I don’t have to leave my house. And by the way, just in case, look what they’ve… They put a stamp on it, so I can just take this down to my mailbox and there it is.
Bill Walton (26:24):
So what are we doing to get people to send those in? How are we marshaling the troops?
Winsome Sears (26:30):
What we are doing, so as I said, Democrats are getting their voters, who don’t vote during those two times, to get this, to come to their homes. We found, Governor Youngkin and his team, found that four… No, 500,000 Republicans voted for us, the three of us in 2021, who the very next year did not vote in the congressional races. 500,000 Republicans. They are the people we’re trying to reach to say, “Sign up for an absentee ballot. It will come.” Can you imagine if we had had 500,000 Republicans vote or even half of them. We would’ve had a different Congress today, we would’ve had at least two more Republicans win congressional campaigns. So we’ve got to do this, and the Governor is having people go to secureyourvotevirginia.com to sign up, and we cannot go into elections any longer, on election day we’re winning, but then as Republicans, we say, “Oh, but the absentee ballots are coming in.” So the Democrats say, “Oh, but the absentee ballots are coming in.” You see?
Bill Walton (27:45):
This is Bill Walton. It’s The Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Winsome Earle-Sears, and we’re talking about the mail-in ballots, and they’re real. They’re happening. We’re not going to change it. And Conservatives and Republicans who want to win elections have got to get with the program and jump in and make that happen. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of traditionalists that think, “Well, I’m going to wait,” and waiting has caused us to lose elections.
Winsome Sears (28:10):
Yes. Yes, it’s…
Bill Walton (28:12):
But let’s talk about ballot harvesting. That has a terrible reputation. Ballot harvesting is terrible, terrible. But it’s legal in Virginia.
Winsome Sears (28:21):
It’s legal in Virginia, absolutely. And what the Democrats are doing is they’ll get to the doors and they’ll have people sign up for a ballot and then they’ll come back and say, “Did you fill out your ballot?” That’s what we need. And that’s what we’ve been trying-
Bill Walton (28:37):
Are we doing that?
Winsome Sears (28:38):
We’re trying to get that done.
Bill Walton (28:39):
Okay. Do we have the volunteers for that?
Winsome Sears (28:40):
Bill Walton (28:42):
The Democrats have paid volunteers. We don’t.
Winsome Sears (28:44):
Yeah, that’s the other thing. As Republicans, we’ve always felt, if you thought it was a good idea, then we shouldn’t have to pay you. But the fact of the matter is that-
Bill Walton (28:55):
Not real world.
Winsome Sears (28:56):
… that’s not the real world. So we’ve changed. Thankfully we’ve changed. But what we also have to do more than anything is we’ve got to win hearts. We’ve got to show the people that we are the party with the common sense ideas. We can’t afford to let the Democrats tell our story, because they never will. In fact, what they live on is fear. I remember when I was coming back in 2019, I was in Louisiana and I was coming back to the airport in an Uber and there was a commercial that said, “Republicans are going to bomb your churches.” I swallowed my spit wrong, Bill. I thought, “Wait, what? Is this what we’re saying in 2019 and people are believing that?”
So, I think there are more people who are conservative who don’t realize that they are conservative, because it doesn’t seem like a conservative message, which is you got to get up, you got to go to work, you got to eat. I’m not paying for you. A good education is what everybody needs. We don’t need political parties to be our saviors. We will save ourselves. Just get out of our way. We don’t need you to tell us how to vote. We know how to vote. But if our schools are running down and nobody cares about our schools, and it’s not just the school, we’re talking about a child, forget about the brick building. We care about the life of the child.
Bill Walton (30:23):
What about the trans issue? There’s a poll that says that 74% of Virginians, and this by the way was in the Washington Post, 74% of Virginian voters said that education was very important, but only 34% said the same about transgender issues.
Winsome Sears (30:45):
Well, this is it. And the Governor, within his powers, his constitutional powers through the Department of Education has put forward policies that say, “We will respect everyone. We will respect the privacy of everyone. We will treat everyone with dignity. But we are not going to have,” and they’re fighting him on this, these school boards, they’re fighting him on this. Although these very same school boards, especially in the northern parts, the reason why they put forward Governor Northam’s policies on education was because they said the law said so. But what about Governor Youngkin? Does the law not give him that same opportunity? So parents are saying, “I don’t want my child, my girl child, to be in a shower with a male. I don’t want my girl child to have to fight in a race or a swim meet or whatever, or a volleyball game against a male.” We see the problems that are cropping up and we’re trying to give parents the opportunity to make these decisions for themselves. But the Democrats, they’re saying, “No, no, no, we have the better plans,” except that their plan is; my way or no way.
Bill Walton (32:00):
Well, the Post is telling us that Youngkin’s policies are controversial, that students are required to use facilities associated with their gender.
Winsome Sears (32:09):
Yeah, I saw a recent cycling event where the number one winner was a transgender woman. The number two winner was a transgender woman, and the actual woman was in third place.
Bill Walton (32:27):
Yeah, I saw that.
Winsome Sears (32:29):
Have we lost our minds Bill?
Bill Walton (32:31):
Well, in fact, we have.
Winsome Sears (32:33):
This is ridiculous. And so, okay, great. You’re the boy, you’ve beaten the girl.
Bill Walton (32:37):
We got to win elections. I’m going to stick with the election. I don’t understand politics.
Winsome Sears (32:43):
But see, this is all part of it. These are policies that are-
Bill Walton (32:44):
I know it’s insane, but how do we get people to vote the right way?
Winsome Sears (32:48):
Because we’ve got to keep talking about these… Elections have consequences. And if you don’t want to see where a biological male is winning all the races and beating all the biological girls, then you’ve got to change how you vote. If you want to be safe in your neighborhoods, where we’re not going to defund the police, you’ve got to change your vote. If you want to have education choice where, all right, you want to have these crazy policies, school boards on education, well then give me my tax money as the parent and I will send my child to a school where they will actually learn something, then you’ve got to change the way you vote. If you want your tax money back in your pocket and the government isn’t telling you how to spend it, then you need to change the way you vote. If you want businesses to come to our Commonwealth or your state, wherever you are, then you’ve got to change the way you vote. Because in our election in 2021, I kept hearing businesses say, “We’re waiting to see what happens in the election, because either we’re not coming to Virginia, we’re not relocating, or number two, we’re not expanding what we already have as the presence in Virginia. Or number three, we’re picking up and leaving and we’re going to places like Tennessee and Florida and Texas and Georgia.” We can’t have that anymore.
Bill Walton (34:15):
How’s it look?
Winsome Sears (34:17):
Well, we think it’s looking good, but it’s just polls. The only poll that matters of course, is the ballots.
Bill Walton (34:23):
On November 7th.
Winsome Sears (34:24):
On election day. And the absentees.
Bill Walton (34:26):
Well, now increasingly they go on for weeks.
Winsome Sears (34:28):
Well, we hope not.
Bill Walton (34:29):
Okay. So, do we end up taking back the Senate?
Winsome Sears (34:33):
I believe we will, 20-20 at least. And everything else after that will be gravy.
Bill Walton (34:40):
We’re going to see a lot of you, if it’s 20-20.
Winsome Sears (34:42):
Well you’re going to see a lot of me anyway, because I’m beating feet and we’re running around. So, we want to win. We have to win, not just to win, but because we can’t be at each other’s throats.
Bill Walton (34:55):
So, when you win, Greenhouse Gas Initiative, we got to get that reversed. We’ve got taxes. What do we want to do on taxes?
Winsome Sears (35:04):
Well, we want to make our tax cuts permanent. We want to have additional tax issues that we’re looking at. Recently we heard about, you know Bill, these Commonwealth attorneys, they’re not prosecuting in the way that they should. And so you’ve got criminals on the streets, when they really should be behind bars, because their communities aren’t safe. We’ve got to tackle that. Got to tackle some of these school boards. There’s just a lot to do and we’ve got to, as I say, be the adults in the room to get it done.
Bill Walton (35:39):
How much power do you have to change education?
Winsome Sears (35:42):
Well, if we win-
Bill Walton (35:44):
And what do we mean… We’ve got the trans issue, which is a sideshow in a way. We’ve got all that lost learning that occurred, because of lockdowns.
Winsome Sears (35:53):
Well, let’s say it this way. The reason why we had at least two years of education loss isn’t because of COVID. It’s because of COVID policies-
Bill Walton (36:01):
Oh, that’s right. Absolutely.
Winsome Sears (36:02):
… that were instituted by the previous Democratic Governor. You couldn’t even be out on the streets, unless you had an edict by the king, well, the Governor, to say that, “Yeah, I had a reason to be out.” Otherwise, the sheriff when they stopped you… This is crazy. Are we in medieval times, Bill? That’s what Democrats do with absolute power that they had. They had control of the Governor, the Governor’s mansion, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the House and the Senate, and they went to town. They had stupid policies like marijuana was now legal, so you could grow it, but they said you couldn’t sell it. What do you think they’re growing it for? So now you’re creating a black market. And by the way, they said you had to have a license to sell it once we give you that opportunity. There are people on the corner who are selling it already and they don’t have overhead, rent, utilities, insurance. What is it? Unemployment compensation. Please. You think they’re going to follow these stupid rules and laws that you’ve got. And you can have up to just under a pound of marijuana and all you would get was a $25 fine. Well, goodness, a pound of marijuana, do you know what that looks like, Bill? I took a baggy-
Bill Walton (37:28):
Winsome Sears (37:29):
I took a baggy to a meeting to show people and I said, “These are weeds.” And they didn’t hear me. They thought I said weed. I said, “No, no.” [inaudible 00:37:39] I said, “No, these are weeds from my yard,” just to show them. Bill, none of this makes any sense to anybody. But I’m saying with Republicans, you’re going to be safe. Your children are going to learn something, the jobs are going to come here, because we’ll have policies that will cause businesses to want to come and people will come and veterans will stay. That’s the other thing. We got the chance where now we protect veterans’ pensions up to the first 40,000 and there is no age limit. Whenever you retire, you get to keep that. We were losing our veterans to these other states that don’t tax their benefits. It was so hard to convince Democrats this was the right thing to do. We have veterans who have federal connections, who have the discipline, who have the training, the know-how. These are no-brainers.
Bill Walton (38:37):
This is The Bill Walton Show and here with Winsome Earle-Sears. And we’ve been talking for almost 40 minutes about real issues, both the election issues and the election and the issues that Glenn and Winsome are going to attack after they win. But we need to bring up the I word now and it’s interesting how lovely it is that we didn’t get into it, which is the identity issue, identity politics. You’re supposed to be a black female. I’m supposed to be voting one way or another, because you’re a black female. But I’d rather vote for you, because of everything you’ve been telling me. How does identity politics play right now in Virginia and what’s your role in fixing that or addressing that or dealing with or whatever the verb is?
Winsome Sears (39:30):
Well, I had Democrats who wanted me to become a Democrat. But I have certain things that I believe. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in freedom and I don’t want, “Everything is black and white,” and all of this. I just want people to be left alone. And so I like to say that black people are not victims. We are overcomers. We continue to overcome whatever obstacle it is. Think about it. Just what, 10 years or a little bit before, after the end of slavery, it was Black Wall Street, the first Black Wall Street, not Oklahoma, but right here in Richmond, in Jackson Ward. We had our own bank. We had our own schools. We had our own businesses, because the policies to succeed were already in place and we did so well that of course the other certain folks got mad and damaged and destroyed and racist, et cetera. And the Ku Klux Klan and everything. But we got our schools and we educated people and we were successful. We can be that. That was not government involvement. There was no Medicaid and Medicare. There was no welfare programs. There was none of that. There were two parent families and we did fine. We can do what we need to do. We just need the government to get out of our way.
Bill Walton (41:06):
Well the ’60s, the Great Society of legislation and then on with Nixon and some of the stuff that he did really wrecked the black community.
Winsome Sears (41:16):
Well, it’s proved positive.
Bill Walton (41:17):
Or is that over simplistic?
Winsome Sears (41:22):
Well, when you remove the father from the home-
Bill Walton (41:22):
Because I’ve been challenged on that. I believe that. Is that right? Or is it-
Winsome Sears (41:25):
No, it’s true. When you remove the family from the home and then when you say that if you have a baby, then we’re going to give you X amount of dollars, you can move out of your mom’s home as a teenager. Well there you have it. And now we have 70% of black babies being born out of wedlock. Where are our fathers? We talked about this. And a family, in a family, a child understands their role in society. The first form of government, I would say, is the self-government. The family is a part of that. There’s a family unit, and as the family goes, so goes the rest of society, so goes the country. And you’ve got to have the child learning how to comport themselves within the family. You learn about leadership, the good and the bad. You learn how to understand rules and you learn so much and we see what’s happening in the black families. You see in our neighborhoods, they’re falling down and in our urban areas, it’s just in our education system, it’s bad. And there are those though who say, “No, we cannot continue down this path and we want change and we want it now.” As I said, my dad was so poor, he couldn’t even afford the OR, so he was just PO. He was just PO.
Bill Walton (42:57):
So are you conveying that to the voters in Virginia and the black community in particular?
Winsome Sears (43:03):
We’re doing it and it’s not just limited to the black community, it’s anyone.
Bill Walton (43:08):
I think it’s everyone, but that’s true for… Those virtues by the way, apply to everyone.
Winsome Sears (43:13):
Bill Walton (43:14):
Winsome Sears (43:15):
I did it when I was a homeless shelter director. I did it during my two years of leading a men’s prison ministry. And it’s the story of my life. And I like to, when I talk about certain things to say, “Look, if you don’t believe that I’m the real deal, if you don’t believe that I will serve you, just look at what I’ve done in the past and then you’ll see that I’m not a Johnny-come-lately to serving people.” So, politics is where I am today, but I look for the downtrodden to help them, to say, “I can do it. I’ve done it. My family has done it. We were dirt poor and I can show you the way. Let me help you.”
Bill Walton (44:01):
Well, I’m sitting here thinking you’re not even remotely the typical politician. I’m thinking of you more as a social philosopher.
Winsome Sears (44:12):
I don’t know about that.
Bill Walton (44:13):
You’re articulating a way of life and values and principles that I think everybody can live by. If we can somehow invest our political agendas with those values, we all win.
Winsome Sears (44:27):
Yeah. Well, it is common sense. It is common sense.
Bill Walton (44:31):
Well, to you.
Winsome Sears (44:31):
Let me help you to succeed. I’ve done it. I know how to do it. And unfortunately, the other side turns everything political, “You can’t believe her.” In fact, I remember a female Senator who was black, said about me in the newspaper to the children, “You can’t be like Winsome. She’s a one-off.” So here I am trying to get black children, immigrant children, whoever will listen to say, “You can be like me.”
Bill Walton (44:58):
Now, why would you be a one-off?
Winsome Sears (45:00):
It’s because they don’t want the eyes of our community to be open. But it’s too late, because I am out there and I’ve seen Asian… I remember I looked up in the gallery one time of the Senate and I saw an Asian mom and she elbowed her daughter to say, “You can be like her. You can be like her.” So it’s already, even without me saying anything, but I am saying things and I am in whatever communities to say, “Let’s work. Let’s move beyond these identities that we’re supposedly pushed into these boxes and let’s just get to work. Let’s work together.”
Because Bill, you know what we’re trying to do? Our charge is no less than preserving America for the next generation. That’s what this is about. And we’re not going to get there if we’re calling each other racist, if we’re calling each other sexist, if we’re calling classism and fighting. We’re not going to be that city on a shining hill. And it takes just one generation. And we can destroy ourselves, in fact, that’s what Abraham Lincoln said, that if America is destroyed, she’s going to have to be destroyed from within. That’s how Rome was destroyed.
Bill Walton (46:22):
How do we deal? I don’t want to talk… Race is not our… You and I don’t ever really talk about this, but it’s out there. We’ve got things like Ibram X. Kendi and Critical Race Theory and how we’re all supposed to be racists.
Winsome Sears (46:35):
Did you see how that is imploding on him? All that money.
Bill Walton (46:39):
Well, he’s been at the University of Rhode Island. Is that the university… Wherever he is.
Winsome Sears (46:45):
And come to find out, “Oh no, maybe he didn’t believe what he was saying.” I don’t know.
Bill Walton (46:50):
It’s been a hustle.
Winsome Sears (46:50):
It’s been alleged.
Bill Walton (46:52):
It’s been a hustle.
Winsome Sears (46:53):
Bill Walton (46:53):
The thing is to hustle and it’s a power play.
Winsome Sears (46:54):
And BLM and all that money.
Bill Walton (46:56):
Winsome Sears (46:57):
Bill Walton (46:57):
Do you know PNC Bank gave a billion dollars to Black Lives Matter?
Winsome Sears (47:02):
Maybe I should set up shop. Is that how to do it?
Bill Walton (47:04):
Walmart gave them a hundred million. It’s been a hustle. This has been an incredibly corrupt-
Winsome Sears (47:09):
And know why they did that? Because they didn’t want to be called racist. They didn’t want to be called white supremacists.
Bill Walton (47:14):
They were afraid of… Yeah.
Winsome Sears (47:16):
A society built on fear is not where we want to be, Bill. And unfortunately, I think eyes are opening now, because you see what’s happening with Hamas and you see all of these universities and the colleges and we’re finally beginning to understand, “Oh, so this is how it’s been.” Yes, you’ve been cultivating a generation and they’re not hearing the truth. And so we are hearing about babies being beheaded by Hamas and here we have Hezbollah and everything else they’re doing. And the kids are saying, well, the college kids, anyway, “No, no, it didn’t happen. Fake. You can’t believe it.”
Bill Walton (47:54):
What can you do? And I hope I’m sitting here with the next Governor of Virginia.
Winsome Sears (47:59):
Well, my lips are sealed for now. We have to wait, Bill, until after this election.
Bill Walton (48:05):
Well, okay. That’s what Glenn always says too.
Winsome Sears (48:08):
We’re working on bringing in the Senate and the House-
Bill Walton (48:11):
The bad thing about Virginia is you’re limited to one term. The good thing is you can say nice thing about the Lieutenant Governor and not irritate the sitting Governor. So you’re both doing a great job. But how do you do something like DEI, diversity, equity, inclusion that’s been permeating the… Biden and people brought in this whole thing and have made everything about identity and nothing about achievement and nothing about meritocracy and it wrecks things, when you take achievement out of the equation. What do you do to begin to turn the needle there?
Winsome Sears (48:48):
The sad part about all this, Bill, is that we got DEI in Virginia, because of the former Governor Northam, who allegedly, they have the pictures in the yearbook and we couldn’t decide if he was the one in blackface or if he was the one under the sheets. And yet they’re calling me the white supremacist, the one who’s trying to help all children of all colors. So, then he went overboard to try to prove that he’s not a racist, and so we have the policies that we do.
Well, what we’re trying to do is to ensure that everybody, everybody has opportunity. And that’s why I side on to the amicus brief, along with the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, Mark Robinson, to say we’re going to support all children to have the same opportunity to have higher education. That we’re not going to keep Asian children out and put other children in. You’re not going to take the bread out of the mouths of the Asian child to give to another child. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to make sure everybody has some. But the way to do that, of course, is to make education better. And so I was called all kinds of names for supporting that. Bill, we’ve played these color games. When are we going to learn they don’t work.
Bill Walton (50:06):
They don’t work.
Winsome Sears (50:07):
It’s identity politics.
Bill Walton (50:07):
They don’t work.
Winsome Sears (50:08):
They don’t work
Bill Walton (50:09):
Well, I think you can achieve the higher moral ground if we make it about meritocracy.
Winsome Sears (50:16):
Bill Walton (50:19):
It’s wrecked everything, because even if you’re a person of color and you get a job, you don’t know whether you got the job because you were talented or because you were the person of color. And it’s demonized work.
Winsome Sears (50:32):
And that’s why I don’t like quotas. I remember I was asked during my campaign, “Well, how are you going to make sure that we have so many numbers of so many types of people on a board?” The problem is you start talking about quotas and the boards will say, “Okay, we need at least one black person. Okay, we got one. And that’s all we’ll have.” And then if you fire that one, then well, we don’t need to fill that one, because well, we can say we had a black one or a woman or whoever, whatever categories you want. It’s nonsense. Let everybody rise. That’s why I say I’m hoping that businesses will provide internships, mentorships, apprenticeships, opportunities. And we have schools, by the way.
There’s one school I know in particular that in this school you are 300% below the poverty line. And so these are very low income children. And the school is geared so that at least one day out of the school week, you go to an internship, an apprenticeship, a mentorship program. That’s the sort of thing that we need and that’s why I want parents to have choice in education. Right now, unless you have the means or you have that choice, school choice is not about rich people. Rich people aren’t waiting on some government program to decide where to send their children to school. This is the new Brown versus Board of Education fight.
As Ms. Virginia Walden Ford talked about a couple weeks ago, she’s black and low income, et cetera, fighting for her children in DC, got other parents to say, “We want school choice. This is not a white thing. This is not a rich thing. This is an every child thing.” And what did she say? She was actually one of the Little Rock people kids who were trying to desegregate the schools in Arkansas. And she said, “We were fighting to get in the schools, because of what was in the school. It wasn’t the building. It was they had the equipment, they had the books, they had all that. That’s what we were fighting for. The contents of the building, not the building. Now we’re fighting to get out, because the kids aren’t learning.” And by the way, this is not against teachers. We’ve got teachers-
Bill Walton (53:12):
No, it’s never been about bad teachers. That’s not the issue. It’s the system.
Winsome Sears (53:15):
Yeah, that’s not the issue.
Bill Walton (53:15):
It’s the structure, it’s the-
Winsome Sears (53:19):
We want choice. What makes everybody better? Choice in education. It works in business. Here’s what they’re saying, it’s like what Henry Ford used to say. “You can have any car, any car you want, as long as it’s a Model T. And you can have any color you want, any color, as long as it’s black.” As soon as we had competition, what happened? Oh, things changed.
Bill Walton (53:44):
I’m so with you on this. We’ve got to wrap up now. Last words.
Winsome Sears (53:50):
Last words are America provided my family an opportunity and we didn’t do anything special except, for me, stay in school and study. I didn’t know anybody, Bill. I wasn’t politically connected. And as a matter of fact, when I ran my first race, I ran against the black establishment and I won. And here I am 22 years later, again, coming against the sort of establishment, I guess you could say. I was out politics for 20 some years and nobody really asked me to run. I just thought I have a message and the message is; education isn’t working. Our children are failing and we’ve got to get them on the right path, so that they can have a hope in the future. So, let’s not be down on America. She is our last and best hope. There is no other country to run to.
Bill Walton (54:50):
Thank you. Thank you. Winsome Earle-Sears. My fervent hope is the next Governor of Virginia, but we can’t talk about it until the actual election happens. But I think we’ve all, if you’ve been listening carefully, she’s laid out an extraordinarily broad and deep vision about a great country and what we can do to turn it around and fix it. And so I’m thrilled to hear all this. Glad you were here. And if you like the show, be sure to hit the like button. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe and if you think you have friends, if you know you have friends would be interested in this kind of in-depth conversation, have them subscribe too. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. I certainly did. And hope to have you back with us again soon. And perhaps we’ll be talking with the Governor, Winsome Earle-Sears next time.
Winsome Sears (55:47):
Focused on 2023 though.
Bill Walton (55:49):
- Okay, we got it. All right, thanks.
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