On Friday, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced additional appointments to his administration and boards. One of them is Dr. Owen Cardwell, who serves as the Rosel Schewel Distinguished Chair of Education and Human Development at the University of Lynchburg.
Cardwell, who also is a pastor at Diamond Hill Baptist Church, was one of two appointees to the governor’s Virginia African American Advisory Board, which was launched by the previous administration and has 21 members. It’s a four-year appointment.
“I am thankful for these appointees’ service to our commonwealth as we continue to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” Youngkin said in a press release issued by his office.
“Their critical work will provide essential help as we move into my administration’s day-two agenda.”
Cardwell, who submitted an application for the spot in January and received a phone interview last month, said he was a bit surprised when he got the news last week. During his interview, he’d given very honest responses — including that he didn’t agree with all of the governor’s policy decisions — so he wasn’t sure they’d want him on their board.
But as someone who’s “been fortunate to have working relationships with every governor,” Cardwell also believes it’s not about party lines.
“My position is that someone is going to be governor for four years, and it’s either going to be one party or another,” he said. “It’s not about party politics. It’s about representing the hopes and concerns of my constituents.
“I’m looking forward to that — to having a voice to express the needs and concerns of the African American community and to represent the University of Lynchburg.”
Cardwell is also hoping to take some of his local grassroots leadership work in Diamond Hill to the advisory board. He and Dr. Roger Jones, who co-leads the Good Gangs effort, have “made a lot of progress on the foundational work” in the last three months, he added.
They’ve attended several meetings with Lynchburg Mayor Stephanie Reed and connected with about 30 nonprofit organizations.
“I think it’s going to be a great example of what’s possible,” he said.