Roanoke Free Press
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling Unpredictable and Independent

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling

In a speech the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said he’d be open to the Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling filling a roll in his administration if he was elected in November. McAuliffe is seeking a bi-partisan administration said McAuliffe’s Press Secretary, Josh Schwerin.

Bolling accepted McAuliffe’s request to meet. Bolling said they talked about Virginia’s political climate and had a pleasant one hour meeting in Richmond.

Schwerin in an email said: “Terry and Lt. Governor Bolling met to discuss policy and the state of the Commonwealth.  Terry enjoyed the meeting and appreciates Lt. Governor Bolling taking the time to sit down with him.”

In a letter to Senate and House leaders Bolling parted ways with Governor McDonnell when he recommended expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He compared it to legislation he proposed in 2000 that covered thousands of Virginia children.

“I believe the mounting evidence supports moving forward with the expansion, subject to our ability to obtain acceptable waivers from the federal government to implement critical Medicaid reforms.”

Bolling estimated that there would be a savings to the Commonwealth of $300 million from 2014 to 2018. He said it would create an estimated 30,000 jobs. “As the Commonwealth’s Chief Job Creation Officer I am particularly mindful of these economic benefits.”

Bolling pushed legislators to move forward. “I am confident that there is no state better prepared to move forward on both reform and coverage expansion than the Commonwealth … To Me the decision is straightforward.”

On Tuesday Bolling broke a tie in favor of Henrico Democrat Senator Donald McEachin’s amendment to delay until 2014 the implementation of tighter voter ID identification options. Senator Mark Obenshain’s “no exception” photo ID bill takes effect in 2014. There was no money in the budget to assist voters with the cost of obtaining a photo ID.  Both bills cross over to the other chamber on Wednesday.

Bolling in a statement said that he supports the more restrictive voter ID bills but “we cannot change these requirements every year.  I am concerned that this would create unnecessary confusion among voters about what forms of ID are required at the polls.”

The Senate redistricting amendment to HB259 that made slight changes to House district boundaries was also opposed by Bolling. Without his support Republicans had to wait until a Democrat was absent. The amendment makes major changes to Senate districts more favorable to Republicans. Democratic Senator Henry Marsh was attending President Obama’s inauguration.

Bolling was outmaneuvered by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the Republican nomination for governor in 2013 when the Republican Party of Virginia changed the nominating process from a primary to a convention scheduled for May 18. Bolling pulled out seeing the deck stacked against him.

Since then Bolling has unleashed himself from the Republican Party’s hold. Bolling said publicly that he would make up his mind by mid March on whether he would mount an independent bid for the governorship.

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