Friday, June 7, 2013

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will attempt to right the Republican Party ship

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.

When asked about what some people call Virginia’s extreme right-wing 2013 Republican ticket Lt. Governor Bolling said that is what happens in small, closed party conventions.

Bolling dropped his bid for governor when the Republican Party of Virginia changed the nominating process from a primary to a convention. More tea party conservatives had taken control of the Central Committee.

After Bishop E. W. Jackson was nominated for lieutenant governor his past inappropriate comments surfaced.”You’re entitled to your views but you’re not entitled to insult people,” said Bolling. He hopes he will learn to express his views in a more positive and constructive way.

On the governor’s race Bolling said that both candidates are trying to define themselves. He gives Terry McAuliffe credit for talking about jobs and the economy. He sees Cuccinelli trying to redefine himself and soften his image. “Whether he can do that successfully or not between now and November remains to be seen.”

When asked about his own political future he said he’s learned to “never say never.”

He formed his Virginia Mainstream Project (VMP) PAC out of concern for where the Republican Party of Virginia was headed. He echoed the concerns of other Republicans who see the need for the Party to connect with key demographic groups including women, younger voters and the changing face of Virginia – Hispanic and Asian voters. “We’ve got to do a better job with connecting with these important demographic groups,” said Bolling.

“All the data says the reason the Republican Party is having trouble connecting with the key demographic groups is because the Republican Party is being viewed as too extreme and ideologically driven, too combative and confrontational. We’ve got to get our Party back to a more mainstream place,” said Bolling.

The Party will remain conservative “but we have to be a conservative party in a way that it appeals to these more moderate and independent voters and doesn’t drive them away.”

Bolling is going to devote his time to that effort. VMP will be the bully pulpit for mainstream governing in Virginia. Financial support will target mainstream conservative candidates in the 2013 House of Delegates race and the 2015 State Senate races. He’d eventually like to see VMP evolve into a more mainstream policy think tank. “A group that can reach out to Republicans and Democrats.” (See his endorsements and press release HERE)

This is what Karl Rove is trying to do on the national level with his Conservative Victory PAC said Bolling. Finding the right balance and uniting the people of Virginia is his goal. The emphasis we put on some of the issues that divide Virginians needs to change he said.

Roanoke County Board of Supervisor Chair Mike Altizer introduces Bill Bolling.

Roanoke County Board of Supervisor Chair Mike Altizer introduces Bill Bolling.

The Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has reached out to Bolling several times. Bolling said he is glad to help him better understand what the state needs to do to bring jobs. “I’d do the same thing for Mr. Cuccinelli if he asked me to do that.”

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Business Appreciation Week Breakfast hosted by the Roanoke County Office of Economic Development Thursday.

Money from the state Department of Business Assistance was awarded to Integrity Windows and doors ($84,635), Optical Cable Corporation ($59,015), Atlas Logistics ($55,000) and Tecton Products LLC ($41,000).

Acting director of economic development Jill Loope said employment is 36.6% below the national average. Building permit activity is up 8.8% and taxable sales is up 14.6% over 2010. “I am very encouraged about the future,” she said.

Bolling was introduced by Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Altizer.

During his address Bolling credited Governor Bob McDonnell for pulling Virginia out of the recession. “We’ve really been able to reinvest in Virginia’s economic development infrastructure.” With $130 million of new programs Virginia was able to market itself more aggressively he said.

He criticized Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for suggesting he would be less inclined to use incentive programs. Saving money by eliminating incentives would be a “big price to pay,” said Bolling. Without aggressive incentive programs Virginia would have lost businesses like Amazon and Northrup Grumman he said. “I don’t think he’s done the research to fully understand why these programs are so important … my hope is as he learns a little bit more about that and moves away from that reluctance on incentives and embrace a more responsible approach.”

Virginia doesn’t throw money away with the incentives he said. Only about 15% of the larger deals require some incentives.

“In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to incentivize any business to come to Virginia … it is not a perfect world,” he said. As many as 1666 large and small economic deals have been closed in the last three years and 171,000 net jobs were created said Bolling.

He called NOVA the economic engine of the Commonwealth where 45% of the jobs have been created. One third of the jobs have been created in rural Virginia said Bolling.

Bolling will leave his public service career and go back to the private sector. “There are people that are trying to get me to end [his public career]  as soon as they can,” he said.

Bolling asked that as citizens the should look to the gubernatorial candidate who is going to lead Virginia into the future. “Make them talk to us on the issues facing the state and not about rigid ideologies. We have a responsibility to build on the works of our predecessors.”

“Just because Virginia is a great place today doesn’t mean it will always be a great place.” It depends on “the quality of the leaders we elect.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Elections, Politics, State Politics

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