Saturday, May 25, 2013

Terry McAuliffe officially opens his Roanoke campaign office

Terry McAuliffe presents a stark contrast with his opponent Ken Cuccinelli.

Terry McAuliffe presents a stark contrast with his opponent Ken Cuccinelli.

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor told 70 supporters and volunteers Saturday that the race between him and his opponent, Republican and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is possibly the starkest contrast between two gubernatorial candidates in the history of the Commonwealth.

At the office opening was his wife Dorothy, Jack Kennedy, board member of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and former attorney general Mary Sue Terry who served two terms from 1985.

“This is a real fork in the road in which way we go in Virginia,” said McAuliffe. He wagered that on September 30 sequestration will continue for another year and will have an economic impact on Virginia especially in military cuts. “We are the number one recipient of DOD dollars,” he said.

“You’re not going to grow businesses if you have a stark ideological agenda which is dividing folks,” said McAuliffe. Virginia should welcome women, the LGBT community, immigrants and reject putting up ideological walls. McAuliffe pointed to the Richmond legislators who he said pushed an ideological agenda that has thrown Virginia into the national spotlight of ridicule.

Terry McAuliffe opens office at Elm and Franklin Road.

Terry McAuliffe opens office at Elm and Franklin Road.

He said he wants Virginia to be first in cyber security, transportation and education. He again congratulated Governor Bob McDonnell on the transportation bill. Without the bill the state’s federal transportation match would dry up in 2017 he said.

McAuliffe played to the thirsty Roanoke crowd saying his fist priority would be to get rail extended from Lynchburg to Roanoke. Getting passenger rail speeds up and cars off the roads is his vision.

“[Cuccinelli] tried to stop the transportation bill on several different occasions,” he said. Cuccinelli called it a tax hike for Virginians and wanted to stop funding for the DC-to-Dulles Silver Line expansion after it had already been started. “That’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard of,” said McAuliffe.

There are challenges in education he said. “We spend too long demonizing our teachers – we’ve got to start paying our teachers what they’re worth.” The General Assembly passed a bill in the 2013 session making it easier to fire under-performing teachers.  “We’re dead last,” said McAuliffe when comparing average Virginia pay to average Virginia teacher pay.

With the majority of teachers over 50 years of age and low entry level teacher pay it will be difficult to entice new good teachers. “We’ve got to pay our teachers the national average,” he said. The SOLs do not work. One test at the end of the year makes no sense. “If the tests are to gage progress of our students … do it in the beginning of the year.” Multiple choice tests don’t adequately gage student progress he said.

McAuliffe wants to see pre-K and early childhood development nurtured in Virginia.

He is a staunch advocate for community colleges that provide a skilled workforce to businesses. So far he has visited 18 of the 23 community colleges in Virginia.

Volunteers line up to sign up.

Volunteers line up to sign up.

“I never view education as an expense – to me education is an investment,” he said. “It has to be more affordable too.”

He promised that as governor he will accept Medicaid expansion while his opponent would reject it. Accepting Medicaid expansion from the federal government will create jobs and add to the economy.

He pointed to Cuccinelli’s book where he said that Social Security and Medicare are giveaway projects. “It’s not,” said McAuliffe.

He said getting out the vote for President Obama was not the end of the battle. The same fervor needs to extend to this year’s gubernatorial race. “This race matters.”

The issues that went on in Virginia last year were disgraceful said McAuliffe. “We made Virginia a laughing stock on the late night talk shows.” Company CEOs hear the ridicule on “personhood and contraception” and businesses will go elsewhere.

Later McAuliffe confirmed his support for U.S. Senators Mark Warner’s and Tim Kaine’s proposal for off shore oil and gas exploration and drilling. This is a change from his stance in the gubernatorial primary in 2009. McAuliffe waffled at first on lifting the uranium mining ban but has concluded that the risk is too great and its safety has not been proven.

The primary that will complete the Democratic ticket is June 11 and the general election is November 5.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (2)

Thom Ryder

May 27th, 2013 at 12:55 PM    

Valerie, this is an excellent article-perhaps your finest.


May 27th, 2013 at 1:51 PM    

Ahh, thanks Thom. You are my biggest fan. He spoke extensively on education, probably 1/4 of the time. That man can talk fast.

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