McDonnell Recounts Accomplishments in New Book

 

Governor McDonnell would like to be remembered for his accomplishments while in office, not the major scandals that plagued him in his final year in office.

McDonnell released a 52-page softcover book in December that lists all of the governor’s achievements, ranching from his landmark transportation bill to recession-defying job growth, according to the Washington Post. While produced on the taxpayers’ dime, the cost was minimal: $1,500 for 250 copies distributed to Cabinet secretaries, reporters and staff.

“As we reached the final weeks of the McDonnell Administration, we wanted to try to put the accomplishments of the last four years into one simple and concise document,” spokesman Tucker Martin said in a cover letter mailed with the book. “But as many of you know so well from covering our policy rollouts, brevity has never been our hallmark. So we hope you’ll enjoy this 52, yes 52, page book that breaks down the achievements of Governor McDonnell’s term as Virginia’s 71st governor.”

McDonnell leaves office Jan. 11, when Democrat Terry McAuliffe is sworn in.

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McAuliffe Adds Past Rival to Cabinet

Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) selected Brian J. Moran to serve as McAuliffe’s secretary of public safety.

McAuliffe announced the appointment last Friday in Arlington County, where Moran served as a prosecutor in the commonwealth’s attorney’s office for seven years.

One-time gubernatorial rivals, Moran graciously thanked McAuliffe for the appointment, saying, he was “honored” to accept the post.

“Keeping Virginians safe is the highest priority of state government, and Brian Moran has the talent, experience and dedication to undertake that important mission as a member of my Cabinet,” McAuliffe said to The Washington Post.

Moran said he was “ager to get to work alongside the thousands of firefighters, state and local police officers, sheriffs and deputies, first responders and so many others who devote their lives” to keeping Virginians safe.

Governor McDonnell Unveils 2014-2016 Budget

bobmcdonnell1Today, outgoing Governor Bob McDonnell (R) unveiled his two-year, $95.9 billion budget proposal to the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly  in Richmond, Va.

The proposal included increases in mental health and education spending, among other priorities.

Both NBC4 Washington and the Washington Post note that this budget is $10 million larger than the current biennial budget, with the majority of the increased spending directed toward Medicaid, K-12 education and state retirement and health care plans.

The budget, which is McDonnell’s final hurrah before leaving office in January, includes no new taxes or fee increases. To see the full text of the proposed budget, click here.

Obenshain Denies Decision to Involve General Assembly in Attorney General Race

Mark D. Obenshain (R) dismissed the idea that he has already decided to ask the General Assembly to step into the attorney general race, according to The Washington Post.

Obenshain had previously raised the possibility of asking the General Assembly to step in after next week’s recount. However, contesting the election through the General Assembly would be a step that has never been taken in a statewide race in modern Virginia history.

The Washington Post also reports that Obenshain is unlikely to try unless his campaign can make a case of huge irregularities in the election process. The option would be even less appealing for Democrat Mark Herring, given the Republican dominance in the legislature.

McDonnell Proposes New Mental Health System

In the aftermath of the horrific stabbing of Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by his 24-year old son, who then fatally shot himself, Governor Bob McDonnell created a $38 million proposal to improve how mental health patients are treated in the state of Virginia.

McDonnell has less than a week to get together his two-year budget proposal before introducing it to the Virginia General Assembly. McDonnell has said that he isn’t making this proposal directly because of the incident with Austin Deeds. Speaking to The Washington Post, McDonnell said, “This is about fixing the system for all Virginians. Overall, Virginia has a very, very good and competent mental health system. . . . But we’re always looking for ways to improve it.”

If the proposals are passed, authorities would be able to hold someone under emergency custody for two additional hours and there would be more psychiatric beds and crisis centers available. $1.7 million would be donated to buying equipment that would make it easier and faster to evaluate patients.

Lastly, McDonnell proposed the creation of a mental health task force. The task force will help improve the mental health services in Virginia and will hopefully prevent more crises in the future. When Terry McAuliffe (D) takes office on January 11th, he has said he is going to follow with an order of his own.

John Foust Challenges Frank Wolf for Congressional Seat

Democratic Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust has announced that he will officially be running against Republican representative Frank Wolf for his seat in the House of Representatives in 2014. Foust is extremely popular in Virginia and has decided to launch a campaign against Wolf, who has been in the House since 1981.

After recent incidents with the government shutdown, Foust is hoping that people will side with him and he will be able to unseat Wolf. In an article published by The Washington Post, Foust said, “I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, and I think the thing that caused me to actually do it was the government shutdown. I find it totally unacceptable the way they’re operating in Washington.”

Foust has been on the Fairfax board since 2007 and has represented Drainesville district. Wolf is going to be a tough candidate, considering he has won elections in the House for over thirty years. If Foust is going to win this election, Foust will have to play up Wolf’s conservative leanings.

Wolf hasn’t been up against a sitting elected official since 1986 so it’s definitely going to be a very interesting race.

Virginia’s Glass Ceiling

According to The Washington Post, Virginia has been coined the worst in the nation in electing women to office, which is not an accolade Virginia should be happy about. Virginia has a very successful political background, producing four of the first five presidents, but our country has come a long way and the lack of women in office is sad compared to other states.

Mary Sue Terry was the only woman elected to state office as attorney general in both 1985 and 1989, but there has never been a female governor or even a Senate member. In the House, there have been a total of three women ever to hold seats and right now all eleven seats are filled by men.

Representation 2020 created an index that formulates women’s parity and Virginia’s score was 4.5 out of 50. 50 is the score that reflects equality. This is the lowest score of any state in the nation and the people of Virginia should fight for more women in office in order to get on the same level as the rest of the country.

Women have come a long way in the United States and deserve an equal say in the government. It is up to the people of Virginia to encourage powerful women to run for these statewide, congressional and leg

Deeds Blames State Agency for Son’s Death

Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds blames a local mental-health agency for the tragic events last week that ended with the senator recovering from stab wounds and his son taking his own life. 

Deeds’s son, Austin, was released from state-ordered mental-health care just one day before Austin and the senator had an argument ending in Austin reportedly stabbing his father and then taking his own life.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Gov. McDonnell Speaks Out About Ken Cuccinelli

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There have been plenty of conversations going on in Virginia about Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s loss to Terry McAuliffe, and now Governor Bob McDonnell is speaking his mind. McDonnell thinks that the government shutdown and fundraising deficit did more damage for Cuccinelli than anything else, including all of the scandals.

In an interview with The Washington Post, McDonnell said, “I think what we saw was the government shutdown, which I strongly opposed, about five weeks out caused a really significant shift in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, where we’ve got a lot of federal workers. I think that was probably the biggest factor along with a great money deficit as well.”

McDonnell is currently being investigated for taking $160,000 in gifts from fellow businessman and friend, Jonnie Williams. The spotlight was on Cuccinelli during the race, too. Cuccinelli received $18,000 from Williams, but claims he donated the money from the gifts.

In the interview, McDonnell talks about how he’s taken responsibility for the things he’s done wrong, but not for being a reason that Cuccinelli and the Republicans lost the race. The race is over, and Cuccinelli lost, but many are still searching for a reason why.

Senator Deeds Released From Hospital

After spending three days in the hospital with multiple stab wounds, Senator Creigh Deeds was released from the University of Virginia Medical Center earlier this morning. Eric Swensen, spokesperson for the UVA Healthy System confirmed this in an email published in the The Washington Post and also said there are no other details that he is able to provide.

The Senator also turned to social media and posted, “I am alive so must live. Some wounds won’t heal. Your prayers and your friendship are important to me,” on both his Twitter and Facebook pages.

We wish the Senator and his family well as they try to recover from this horrific tragedy. Stay tuned to the Vibe for more updates on the investigation as it unfolds.