At his inauguration in Richmond on Saturday, Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe offered an olive branch to his Republican counterparts.
Virginia governors are termed out of office after four years. That means the clock is ticking for McAuliffe – a man who’s been active in politics but who has never served in elected office before moving into Richmond’s Executive Mansion on Saturday. He told the crowd that gathered in the pouring rain job creation is at the top of his agenda.
“As we begin this new term together know that my top priority will be to lay the ground work for a diverse and growing economy in every single region of the commonwealth.”
Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran says there’s a stark contrast between gridlocked Washington and Richmond. “This is an era of good feelings here in Richmond. I’ve even talked to Republicans and they’re excited.”
One of those Republicans McAuliffe needs help from is Speaker of the House of Delegates William Howell. After the ceremony Howell said he’s looking forward to working with the freshly minted governor on an array of issues. “Oh everything from K-12 reform, transportation, workforce training, ethics reform. We’ve got about 5 or 6. I’ve met with him and we talked about areas where we have agreement.”
McAuliffe is also asking the legislature to expand Medicaid, which is anathema to many in the G-O-P. Still, the governor says he wants to be judged on his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion.
“The test of my commitment to finding common ground in Virginia will not be a speech at an inauguration. It will be my actions in office.”