McDonnell lecturing as visiting professor at Liberty University

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will serve as a visiting professor at Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, VA. The Christian based university has 10,000 students enrolled in campus and online classes. A spokesperson for the university said that McDonnell has guest lectured in Liberty’s Helms School of Government for nearly a month.

“I am privileged to have the opportunity to teach the outstanding young people at Liberty University who will be future leaders for the state and nation,” McDonnell said in a statement released by the school. “Liberty’s international reach, dynamic growth and focus on excellence make it a force in higher education.”

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch,McDonnell indicated near the end of his term as governor that his future could involve higher education, but speculation about his post-gubernatorial life was eventually consumed by whether he would be indicted.

Senior vice president for communications Johnnie Moore stated that McDonnell is not scheduled to lecture in another class this semester, but the school is developing its schedule for fall, when he could lecture four to six times during the semester.

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Majority of Virginians oppose Medicaid expansion

A majority of Virginia voters oppose using federal Medicaid funds to expand health care coverage, but strongly want the General Assembly to compromise, according to a Christopher Newport University poll released today. About 53 percent of participants oppose expansion, compared to 41 percent who support it.

The survey reveals that Virginia voters say they are not happy with the direction of the state, with 44 percent saying things in the Commonwealth are mostly going in the wrong direction, and 42 percent saying they are mostly going in the right direction. Positive views on the direction of the state have dropped by 8% since February.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that while 7 out of 10 voters want Democrats who favor expansion and Republicans who are opposed to find a compromise on the issue, the results suggest the argument made by GOP lawmakers made to separate the issue from budget negotiations is winning support.

If the state government shuts down, Virginians are overwhelming in their support of Governor McAuliffe using his executive orders to keep the key functions of state government running.

The results of this poll are based on 806 interviews of registered Virginia voters, including 386 by cell phone and 420 by landline, conducted April 16-22, 2014. 

Cantor leads Congressional trip to Asia

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, has embarked on a nine-day trip to Asia with a congressional delegation that includes Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., among others. The trip will end on April 27th.

Cantor’s office has reported that he will lead the delegation as they meet with leaders in Japan, South Korea and China to discuss “economic growth and trade, regional security challenges and strengthening our alliances in the region.”

“While the situation in the Middle East continues to deteriorate and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has raised new concerns about security in Europe, the United States must also remain engaged in promoting peace and stability in Asia,” Cantor said in a statement.

The congressional delegation is expected to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, among other officials.

Governor McAuliffe names Jay W. DeBoer to serve as director of DPOR

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday that he has appointed Jay W. DeBoer as the Director of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

According to a statement released by the governor’s office, DeBoer previously served as the Director of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) from 2006 until 2010, overseeing the regulation of more than 310,000 individuals and businesses, a quarter of Virginia’s workforce.  

Prior to joining DPOR, he was Virginia’s Commissioner of Aging, from 2002 until 2006.  DeBoer was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1983 until 2002, representing the 63rd House District, centered in the City of Petersburg. 

Va. Democratic Party’s new executive director was fired from party in NC

The Virginia Democratic Party’s newest executive director is scheduled to start this week, just two months after being terminated from a similar position in North Carolina. According to ABC 7 News, Robert Dempsey will run the day-to-day operations, party spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said Monday.

Dempsey stated that he wants to “help strengthen the party at a local and county level in Virginia.”

He replaces former executive director, Laura Harmon, who lasted less than a year in the position.

D.C., Maryland, Virginia officials teaming up on pedestrian and bicyclist safety

Officials from D.C., Maryland and Virginia have teamed up to launch an effort to help improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in the region.

The effort, called the Street Smart campaign, kicks off today in Woodbridge, Virginia.

According CBSDC, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments says 73 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed in 2013, based on preliminary data. That accounts for more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities in the area.

The campaign will run through May 1, and police will be on the lookout for those who break traffic safety laws. Fines range form $40 to $500. 

Anti-tax group praises Va. House speaker

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, an anti tax group, Americans for Tax Reform, is standing by Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell for his opposition to Medicaid expansion. Americans for Tax Reform is a nonprofit organization that does not have to reveal its donors.

“We applaud your leadership and commitment to stop Medicaid expansion and look forward to working with you and the legislature going forward,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said in a letter sent last Wednesday.

Last year Americans for Tax Reform advocated for new leadership in the Virginia House of Delegates. The group criticized Speaker Howell for supporting then-Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation spending plan, which greatly increased Virginia’s sales tax rate.

Richmond to open Cold Weather Overflow Shelter tonight

The city of Richmond has announced that it will open a Cold Weather Overflow Shelter tonight and on Wednesday. The shelter will be open from 7 p.m. and close at 6 a.m., and is located in the City’s Public Safety Building, 501 N. 9th St., through the second entrance on the 9th Street side of the building closest to Leigh Street.

 

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that those who need overnight shelter should first report to the Commonwealth Catholic Charities Homeless Point of Entry at 511 W. Grace St. by 5 p.m. for a referral. The overflow shelter is for those ineligible for other shelters or if available beds elsewhere have been filled. Food will not be provided and pets are not allowed.

Sen. Kaine, D-Va., launches volunteer initiative in Richmond area

Former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, D-Va., will launch is new “Citizen Day” initiative in the Richmond area this weekend. Kaine’s goal is to highlight causes and organizations that are helping Virginians in need.

“It’s good to be able to connect with this public service motive and do it in a way that can draw attention to the cause,” Kaine said in an interview Tuesday. “By doing this, I can both have fun and, hopefully, shine light on good work Virginians are doing.”

From 2002-2006, when Kaine was lieutenant governor he was involved with various nonprofit organizations, doing volunteer work at shelters for women and children who were domestic violence victims, and at feeding programs and initiatives supporting low-income workers or homeless people.

According to the Richmond Times-Disptach, Kaine plans to volunteer for his initiative at least four times a year. “Some of the best public service any of us ever do is doing volunteer work,” he said.

Arlington elects first non-Democrat to County Board in 15 years

For the first time in 15 years, Arlington residents elected a non-Democrat to the County Board of Supervisors. Independent John Vihstadt won Tuesday night’s special election to replace former supervisor Chris Zimmerman, who retired in February.

Vihstadt captured 57 percent of the vote to Democrat Alan Howze’s 41 percent. ARLnow.com reports that Vihstadt had the endorsement of the local Republican and Green parties.

“We won the race by a higher margin than my most aggressive expectations,” Vihstadt told supporters at his victory party tonight. “The most exciting and gratifying measure of our victory was that it was north to south and east to west. There really is one Arlington, not two Arlingtons.”

According to ABC 7 News-WJLA, Vihstadt will be sworn in to office as soon as vote counts have been certified, the county said.