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McAuliffe: Virginia Can Do Better on Job Creation

Rosalind Helderman

At an appearance last night before the civil rights organization the Richmond Crusade for Voters, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe had harsh words for Virginia's recent efforts to lure new business to the state.

"Why are we losing all this business to six southern states?" he asked, then mentioned several examples -- a Dutch company manufacturing crystals for solar panels in Tennessee, another company that has opened a plant to build turbines and towers for wind farms in Arkansas.

"Why did we not bid on that here in Virginia?" he asked. "We should be bidding on every project."

He continued with other new job creators that have gone to places other than Virginia, including a multi-billion BWM plant with 5,000 new jobs.

"I can go through the whole list," he said. "Now, you go with me to Martinsville and you look at those people in the eyes, 22.2 percent unemployment and you tell me you didn't sit at the table to try to bring 5,000 jobs into Martinsville. You should be ashamed of yourself, and as governor, I will fight for every deal and I'll bring in more jobs than 49 other governors in this country."

It all sounded potentially pretty critical of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's record on job creation, given that he's been the guy tasked with negotiating those deals for the last four years. But, in an interview this morning, McAuliffe insisted that's not what he meant at all.

Instead, he lay the blame at the feet of that ever popular Democratic target, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, which he said has refused to approve new tools the governor could use to attract business. The governor needs bonding authority and an expanded ability to offer tax breaks to companies contemplating a move, and the Governor's Opportunity Fund needs to be beefed up.

"Tim's tried. Mark's tried," McAuliffe said. "They agree with me 100 percent. It's not the governor's fault. It's the House of Delegates' fault, who will not give the governor the legislative ability to go out and bring business in."

If Republicans refuse to give him more tools to attract business, McAuliffe said he would visit the home districts of those who vote "no" and hold town halls to highlight the issue.

"I've got great contacts, and I think I'm pretty good salesmen, but I can't do it without tools from the legislature," he said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 22, 2009; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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You gotta understand Richmond. The legislature restricts the ability of the Governor to act, just as the legislature restricts the ability of local governments to act to represent the best interests of the people they are elected to serve. The Virginia Senate is now finally Democratic. The House of Delegates is still Republican. The House of Delegates has stymied, out of destructive spite, to the detriment of all Virginians, many of Mr. Kaine's thoughtful forward thinking initiatives.

Terry McAuliffe is spot on. The Republican House of Delegates is holding Virginia back. Virginia has the people, the education system, the desire and the Democratic leadership to be a magnet for multitudes of great jobs. What's the problem ---- solely the Republicans in the House of Delegates. The Republicans in the House of Delegates are responsible for the 22% unemployment in Martinsville and the high unemployment in too many other parts of Virginia.

Throw the bums out! With a Democratic legislature and a governor with the vision and leadership of Terry McAuliffe, we'll get all of Virginia working again in good! jobs.

Posted by: Willis3 | April 22, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can do better, but aren't we doing some things better? VW corporate HQ to Herndon. Hilton corporate HQ to Fairfax. Biotech firms to Richmond Biotech park. Not sure how the biotech compares to other states.

Gov has opportunity fund. Is it small compared to NC, Maryland and other states? One of the strongest ways we do attract companies is
1) our consistent rating as number 1 state for business
2) our rating as number 1 state for a child born to have a successful outcome in life

Brian Moran (and Deeds) were here to build those outcomes. Where was Terry?

Posted by: Virginian703 | April 22, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Would McAuliffe or Willis3 like to pinpoint any specific bills that they think Kaine proposed to bring businesses to Virginia but the evil House of Delegates voted down?

Posted by: VABlogger | April 22, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Virginian703- "Brian Moran (and Deeds) were here to build those outcomes. WHERE WAS TERRY?"

Well, i guess Terry "the TERRIBLE" McAuliffe was campaigning outside virginia to try and help the Clintons get elected to the White House. Oh well, we know how that ended up?

Posted by: ehs2002 | April 23, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to sound disdainful but references to Terry's fundraising and correlations to gubernatorial potential really have little or nothing to do with the questions outlined by this race. Please stop bringing them up! It's tantamount to beating a dead horse!

Deeds and Moran were indeed parties to some of the standing successes starting with the Warner administration through this current administration under Kaine. Denying that is not only frivolous but incredibly inaccurate. I'm proud of both of them.

At the same time, in terms of strategy and this current primary race [and ultimately the general campaign], "doing better" entails a more aggressive approach. For McAuliffe, that means utilizing his national resources to bring investment into Virginia, which I think offers a very large canvass on which we can paint new jobs, new technologies and new opportunities. For Moran and Deeds, I think that it would be more difficult to attain this level of investment since they are coming from the same local school of politcs as Kaine et al; I'm not insinuating that opportunities would be stagnant under their leadership but would be a struggle from the inside of the box facing out. Bringing someone who can attract millions upon millions in not only political fundraising dollars but also business investments seems like an outside in strategy. With relation to the investment contracts going to other states, Virginia needs this sort of strategy in order to be able to maintain a competitive, business-friendly edge over other regional states. To me, that best encapsulates this particular race. Finding someone that is aggressive, progressive and resourceful enough is incredibly important. I think that the current status of problems in our state dictates the need for an aggressive approach.

Posted by: robsmithiii | April 24, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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