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Editor: Fifty years ago, long before the poet Maya Angelou used these words, my mother said to me: When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.

Those words were good advice to a young woman. They are good advice today for Virginians less than a month away from electing a new governor.

Most of us recognize the obvious challenges leading up to this election: keeping unvaccinated children safe and in school, convincing people to get vaccinated and not risk winding up in the hospital or worse, shoring up health-care workers who are at their wits’ end, dealing with hospitals facing financial ruin, and trying to keep businesses alive and a roof over families’ heads.

Terry McAuliffe knows that great roads, bridges, dams, power grids and sewage and waste-disposal systems may not be exciting, but they are critical to our state’s ability to grow and be competitive in the 21st century.

He believes in straight talk and bold public policies when it comes to education. Our children will continue to learn American history as it happened. They will grow up in a world where truth is better than fiction. They will be part of the solution to climate change and eligible for good-paying jobs in a clean energy economy.

Glenn Youngkin isn’t stepping up to the challenges facing Virginians. Mr. Youngkin has a penchant for telling different things to different people, appealing to our worst instincts and manufacturing divisive issues.

As my mother warned, when people show you who they are, believe them the first time. Terry McAuliffe is a straight-talker, someone who already turned this state around. He is prepared to hit the ground running and has earned the chance to become our next governor.

Alvina McHale, Arlington

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