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Virginia Politics Blog: April 25, 2010 - May 1, 2010

McDonnell: Virginia will leave high-risk insurance pool to feds

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) notified U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Friday that Virginia will not create its own high-risk pool for people with pre-exising conditions under the new federal health-care law, leaving it instead to the federal government. But McDonnell also said that federal funds set aside for the high-risk insurance pool -- $113 million -- will run out by 2012. After that, the state will not have enough money to sustain the account, he said. Read his letter. Friday was the deadline for each state to tell the federal government whether it would create its own insurance pool for people who otherwise have trouble getting coverage. The issue has become the latest dividing line between states that are enthuasiatically embracing the new federal health-care law and those that believe it will cost their residents money. California announced it will create its own pool, while other states,...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Virginia DMV eliminates toll free hotline calls

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles: saving money, one 3-cent per minute call at a time. The DMV announced today that it is doing away with its toll-free hotline to save money. So, if you're still on hold to 1-866-DMV-LINE (866-368-5463), it's time to hang up. Kidding, kidding. Callers to the old toll free line get a message directing them to call the DMV's new number--(804) 497-7100. DMV Commissioner Rick Holcomb said in a statement that the state had paid about 3 cents every minute for toll free calls and should save $500,000 a year because of the change. The DMV call center, staffed by 95 call takers, answers between 5,000 and 6,000 calls every day. Holcomb said a majority originate from the 804 area code....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 30, 2010; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Virginia, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles  
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Virginia colleges announcing steep tuition hikes

The University of Virginia announced today that tuition for in-state students will rise almost 10 percent. The decision comes a day after Virginia Commonwealth University announced its tuition will be rising 24 percent for in-state students. California has seen massive student protests over tuition hikes. Could Virginia's politicians face political problems for the increases? Read more on the Post's College Inc. blog,...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 30, 2010; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Tuition, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University  
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Undeterred by Gulf accident, McDonnell to speak at off-shore drilling conference

While some Virginia leaders are urging the federal government to slow down or even reconsider drilling offshore after a fatal accident off the Gulf coast, Gov. Bob McDonnell will fly to Houston Monday to speak at a conference promoting offshore oil and natural gas drilling. McDonnell will speak about "Jobs and the Economy: How the Energy Industry is Creating Jobs, Leading the Economy and Impacting Consumers" at the 2010 Offshore Technology Conference The conference is sponsored by a variety of associations, including those that represent petroleum companies. McDonnell strongly supports drilling off Virginia's coast. Thursday, he said the oil well accident off Louisiana's coast was a "setback' but it will not deter him from trying to make Virginia the first state on the East Coast to begin drilling for oil and natural gas. The White House vowed Friday that no expansion of offshore oil drilling will take place until federal...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Energy, Louisiana, Oil and Gas  
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Sheila Johnson: "I will never get involved in politics again"

Does Sheila Johnson, one of Gov. Bob McDonnell's top supporters, regret her recent foray into politics? It sure sounds that way. Johnson, the wealthy co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, told Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast that after supporting Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and Republican Bob McDonnell in 2009 that she may have had enough. "Politics, oh gosh!" she told him. "I feel like I was thrown under the bus on that one... The lesson that I've learned in all of this is I will never get involved in politics again." Here's what Grove wrote about Johnson and politics: Sheila Johnson has had a rougher time as a political activist. A major Democratic Party donor (who supported her good friend Barack Obama over her good friend Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest), she took a walk on the wild side last year and backed Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Creigh Deeds, Sheila Johnson, Virginia  
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McDonnell approves $500 million in bonds for transportation

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced today that he has approved borrowing nearly $500 million for statewide road and transportation projects that were part of a once-heralded 2007 package. McDonnell also directed the Department of Transportation to sell $293 million worth of bonds in fiscal year 2011 and another $300 million in each fiscal year from 2012 through 2016. The money will help fund projects across the state including two in Northern Virginia -- the Route 29 Gainesville Interchange on I-66 and the Dulles Metrorail project. "In these difficult economic times and with our mounting transportation needs in the Commonwealth, it is important to use every tool available to maximize funding options for our roads, bridges, rails, and public transportation,'' McDonnell said in a statement. The General Assembly passed the landmark transportation package in 2007 to pump $1.1 billion annually into transportation throughout Virginia with an emphasis on the state's two...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Virginia General Assembly  
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Moran asks Salazar to reconsider offshore drilling following Gulf oil well disaster

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, a Northern Virginia Democrat and chairman of the appropriations subcommittee for the interior and environment, is calling on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reconsider allowing offshore drilling after a fatal oil well accident off Louisiana's coast. "Regardless of ideology, this situation should give everyone pause regarding expansion of offshore drilling," Moran said in a statement. "It is becoming increasingly likely that the Gulf States are looking at an economic and environmental disaster not seen since the Exxon Valdez." President Obama announced last month that companies could start bidding on contracts to conduct exploratory drilling in Virginia's waters in late 2011 or early 2012. "Virginia's fishing and coastal tourism industries are vital to the Commonwealth's economy,'' Moran said. "Should exploration off Virginia's coast result in a similar disaster, the impact would be devastating to our economy and coastal communities' way of life." The April 20 exploratory well...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 9:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James P. Moran Jr.  
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Virginia's new abortion restrictions could save state more than $150,000, governor's office says

The state's new law restricting taxpayer-funded abortions could save Virginia more than $150,000 a year, according to the governor's office. The General Assembly last week approved an amendment to the state budget that would limit funding for abortions to those performed in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Nothing in state law had previously banned Medicaid-funded abortions in instances when the health of the mother was in jeopardy. Last year, 147 abortions at a cost of $174,000 were performed in cases where the health of the mother was at risk at clinics or hospitals, according to new data provided by the governor's office. Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Catholic who has long opposed abortion, proposed the amendment, arguing that the change would bring Virginia into line with federal law on the issue, recently restated by an executive order signed by President Obama....

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Post's local opinions blog adds Virginia voices

Want to know what a few of the commonwealths most plugged-in bloggers think about the latest political developments? Keep an eye on The Post's All Opinions Are Local blog. Some recent offerings: What will happen in Arizona? Look at Prince William and Worker rights probably did influence Northrop Grumman by Paige Winfield Cunningham of Old Dominion Watchdog Cuccinelli strikes again in JMU newspaper case by Peter Galuszka of Bacon's Rebellion...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  April 30, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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McDonnell signs veterans-related bills at the state Capitol

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) ceremonially signed 27 bills this afternoon on the South Portico of the Capitol that grant Virginia veterans more rights. McDonnell was joined by Paul Galanti, commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services, Maj. Gen. Bob Newman, commander of the Virginia National Guard, and several legislators. Bills include those that require the state to establish a database of veterans and their workforce skills; allow active-duty military personnel who are residents and on leave from having to obtain a basic fishing license; exempt veterans from paying a handling fee when opening a small business; allow active-duty military members in uniform to use HOV lanes in Hampton Roads; permit a member of the Virginia National Guard called to state active duty by the governor to continue his health or life insurance; add the Global War on Terror, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to the wars that are...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 29, 2010; 6:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Jewish groups call on McDonnell to change 'Jesus' prayer policy

The Jewish Federation communities of the Commonwealth wrote a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell asking him to reconsider his decision yesterday that lifted a ban on Virginia State Police troopers referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers. "It leads us toward unnecessary religious clashes, demeans our Commonwealth's Jeffersonian principles and creates an unwelcoming environment for the Commonwealth's Jewish citizens and other religious minorities,'' six representatives of the groups wrote. "A final concern is the likelihood that revisiting this guidance would ultimately lead to litigation costly to our Commonwealth." Read the full letter. In September 2008, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the state police superintendent, told chaplains to offer nondenominational prayers at department-sanctioned public events in response to a recent federal appeals court ruling that a Fredericksburg City Council member may not pray "in Jesus's name" during council meetings because the opening invocation is government speech. McDonnell directed Flaherty to change that...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 29, 2010; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Coalition of 17 states, plus N.Y.C., asks that Cuccinelli's latest EPA argument be rejected

Has Virginia's lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency become the Civil War of civil litigation? Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli crowed in March when 12 states joined his suit against the EPA's attempts to regulate greenhouse gases as an endangerment to human health because they cause global warming. Since then, a couple other states have also joined Virginia, with at least 14 now facing down the EPA. But the battle lines are being drawn on this one. Seventeen states and the New York City have now joined the EPA in facing down Virginia. In fact, it's that coalition, led by Massachusetts, as well as New York City that that filed a motion with the court today asking that Cuccinelli's latest motion in the case--dealing with the EPA's new fuel standards for cars--be rejected....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 29, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell: Gulf oil well accident will not delay drilling in Virginia

Gov. Bob McDonnell said this morning that the fatal oil well accident off Louisiana's coast was a "catastrophic event," but it will not deter him from trying to make Virginia the first state on the East Coast to begin drilling for oil and natural gas. "This is certainly a setback, but I certainly continue to be dedicated to making us first to drill, 2012 at the latest, and over the next couple years these safety and environmental issues will be addressed,'' McDonnell said on his monthly radio show on WRVA. President Obama announced last month that companies could start bidding on contracts to conduct exploratory drilling in Virginia's waters in late 2011 or early 2012. "Obviously what happened in Louisiana is a setback,'' McDonnell said. "For most of the last 30 years, they have been able to do it in a safe and an environmentally friendly way and that's why...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 29, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Virginia  
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Cuccinelli: McDonnell policy allowing 'Jesus' prayer is constitutional

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says Gov. Bob McDonnell's decision to allow volunteer state police chaplains to offer sectarian prayers at public events is "constitutionally defensible," and he will "defend it accordingly" against threatened litigation. McDonnell yesterday told Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the state police superintendent, that he was reversing a 2008 policy that required chaplains to offer non-denominational prayers at officially-sanctioned police events. The policy change means the chaplains may now pray in Jesus's name. Flaherty had made the 2008 change in response to a federal court ruling prohibiting prayer that mentioned Jesus at Fredericksburg City Council meetings. Interestingly, Cuccinelli does not indicate that he believes the previous policy was unconstitutional--only that McDonnell's position is also constitutional and, as the state's top lawyer, he will defend it in court. "Both sectarian and nonsectarian prayers are constitutionally defensible in the case of public sector chaplains. The government can respect all faiths...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 29, 2010; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell 'concerned' about Arizona immigration law

The Washington Post's David Weigel reports in his Right Now blog that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) engaged in some off-message musing on Arizona's immigration law In a Tuesday appearance on WTOP. After some prodding from a caller and his interviewer, McDonnell admitted that parts of the bill were worrying to him. Here's what McDonnell said: "I'm concerned about the whole idea of carrying papers and always having to be able to prove your citizenship. That brings up some shades of some other regimes that weren't necessarily helpful to democracy. "There's a divide, I'm finding, between Republicans who are ready to accept Rasmussen poll results as validation that the bill is a winner for them, and Republicans who see long-term damage in Arizona."...

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 9:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Tags: Arizona, Bob McDonnell, Immigration, Immigration law  
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McDonnell reappoints Flaherty, Wright to top positions

Gov. Bob McDonnell reappointed Col. Steven Flaherty as State Police superintendent and Patricia Wright as superintendent of public instruction at the department of education. In addition, McDonnell appointed former attorney general Mark Earley's son, Mark Earley Jr., policy analyst and reentry specialist in the Department of Correctional Education. Richard F. Sliwoski was reappointed director of the Department of General Services, and Daniel S. Timberlake was appointed director of the department of planning and budget. Matthew A. Conrad, a former assistant attorney general, was appointed assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, and former prosecutor Helivi L. Holland was appointed director of the department of juvenile justice....

By Anita Kumar  |  April 28, 2010; 6:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Northrop Grumman buys ads to thank region

The first industry to benefit from Northrop Grumman's decision to move its headquarters to Virginia? Journalism! The defense contracting giant took out full page ads about the move in the Washington Post, the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Baltimore Sun and the L.A. Times to explain the move. Here are the ads that ran in the Post and the RTD. As you can see here, the Post ad features a photo of the Washington monument, playing up the company's move to the D.C. region. "Proud to call this area home," it says in big letters. The ad in the Richmond Times Dispatch has a map of Virginia instead. "A new corporate office in the Old Dominion," says their ad. In the Post's version, Northrop Grumman thanks Virginia, Maryland and D.c. for "their tremendous assistance throughout the site selection process." Meanwhile, in Richmond, its Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Virginia congressional delegation and...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 28, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: McDonnell lifts ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers

After months of lobbying by conservative activist, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has quietly reversed a policy banning Virginia State Police troopers from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 28, 2010; 2:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Anita Kumar  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Tim Kaine, Virginia State Police  
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Battery-operated cigarettes don't violate smoking ban, Cuccinelli says

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has ruled that battery-operated cigarettes known as e-cigarettes do not violate the state's smoking ban. Yes, battery-operated cigarettes. The devices have apparently been around for the last few years, marketed as a nicotine delivery system that doesn't cause second-hand smoke. They work by simulating the feeling of smoking providing inhaled doses of nicotine in a vaporized solution. In his opinion, Cuccinelli writes that the heated vapor produced by e-cigarettes does not constitute "smoke" as the word is "commonly understood" and therefore the devices don't violate Virginia's ban on smoking in restaurants or other public places. (The smoking ban prohibits "the carrying or holding of any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind, or any other lighted smoking equipment, or the lighting, inhaling, or exhaling of smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind.") "An e-cigarette does not function in manner of a...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 28, 2010; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: American Cancer Society  
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McDonnell to hold a fundraiser at mansion for Healing Place

Gov. Bob McDonnell will hold his second fundraiser at the Executive Mansion tonight -- this time, for the Healing Place, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter for the homeless and recovery for people with chemical dependencies. About 60 people are expected to attend. The event, which is expected to raise $16,000, is being held at the request of McDonnell's senior economic adviser Bob Sledd, who is an active supporter and formerly served as the finance chair for the organization. Earlier this month, McDonnell hosted a reception for about 40 people who pledged $1,000 or more to Richmond's soon-to-be-opened charter school. The Healing Placing will pick up the tab -- just as the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts did at the first fundraiser. The event starts at 6 p.m. McDonnell has a long history with the Healing Place. In 2007, he toured the facility with former governor Doug Wilder....

By Anita Kumar  |  April 28, 2010; 1:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Virginia  
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McDonnell directs formulation of policy to expand affordable housing

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced this morning that his administration will develop a comprehensive policy to promote affordable housing. He said it would be the first time an effort to develop a wide-reaching strategy to address the issue has been centered in the governor's office. McDonnell said he would soon name members of a workgroup to develop the policy, to be headed by Senior Economic Adviser Bob Sledd. The committee will meet with an eye to putting forward final policy recommendations in the fall. McDonnell will also sign an executive order this week outlining the policy aims for addressing homelessness and expanding housing. "As you look at what does it take for everybody to have equal opportunity and access to the American dream, it really to me starts with a new job, to feel that sense of dignity in work. And right with that is the ability to have sustainable,...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 28, 2010; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Fairfax board approves annual budget

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved its annual budget for fiscal year 2011 on Tuesday, including a 5-cent increase in the property tax rate and a reinstituted $33 vehicle license registration fee.

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 27, 2010; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Fairfax County , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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Groups ask McDonnell to drop letter requirement, revamp rights restoration process for felons

A trio of national groups has sent a letter to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to express "serious concerns" about proposed alterations to the state's process to allow felons to get their voting rights restored and to ask him to implement changes to the process. McDonnell may require nonviolent offenders to submit a letter to him outlining their contributions to society since their release as part of their application. He has pledged to process every application within 90 days, considerably faster than any other administration in recent history. The letter, written by the ACLU, the Sentencing Project and the Brennan Center for Justice, asks McDonnell to abandon the letter requirement, allow people to apply to have their rights restored immediately upon completing their sentences (currently they have to wait three to five years), not to force applicants to pay fees, fines and restitution and process all applicants within 90 days. "As...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 27, 2010; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell gets praise from both sides of the aisle over Northrop deal

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) came to Rosslyn this afternoon to formally announce that Northrop Grumman has chosen Virginia for the location of its new headquarters. We'll be bringing you a full report on the afternoon news conference later. But one thing is clear: McDonnell is reveling in the big economic development win. During a morning appearance on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" program, he cited Northrop Grumman's decision as a sign that the late-night comedian version of Virginia doesn't match reality. McDonnell said the comedians' goal is to entertain not offer a truthful version of the state. Former Virginia Commonwealth University professor Bob Holsworth said the Northrop decision might be "an opportunity for a reset" for McDonnell. "Virginia was always the more logical choice for Northrop Grumman, but the stakes got raised tremendously by the events of the last month. This is the best news McDonnell has had, really, since he...

By Rosalind S/ Helderman  |  April 27, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Northrop Grumman, WTOP  
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On role of federal lawsuits to AG's term, Cuccinelli and Democrats agree

Here's a bit of rare agreement -- Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and the Democratic Party of Virginia agree on two of Cuccinelli's top five accomplishments since taking office. In a release this morning marking 100 days since Cuccinelli took office, the attorney general cited two pending lawsuits against the federal government over health care reform and the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gases as his top two initiatives since taking office. "The attorney general stands to defend the laws of Virginia and the interests of Virginia citizens against potentially unconstitutional actions by the federal government," Cuccinelli's office indicates in his release. And, in fact, the suits against the federal government also top the Democrats' list of accomplishments for Cuccinelli, though they've got a bit of a different spin on the litigation....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 27, 2010; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Virginia gives Northrop Grumman up to $14 million to move headquarters

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said Tuesday morning that the state is giving Northrop Grumman $12 million to $14 million in grants and cash incentives to lure the defense giant's headquarters to Northern Virginia. McDonnell said on his montly call-in show on WTOP that Northrop Grumman's move to Virginia will bring $30 million in taxes to the state over the next decade. About 300 workers, who McDonnell said earn an average of about $200,000 a year, will move from Los Angeles to Virginia when the company relocates in either Fairfax or Arlington counties. Northop Grumman will announce that it has chosen Northern Virginia as the new home for its global headquarters at 2 p.m., officially ending a heated competition among Virginia, Maryland and the District for the prestige of playing host to the defense contracting giant. "It's another ratification of our pro-job, economic policy that I've pushed heavily through the...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 27, 2010; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Northrop Grumman, Virginia  
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McDonnell, Northrop confirm company has chosen Virginia for headquarters

Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell is officially confirming that Northrop Grumman has chosen Virginia as the new location of its global headquarters. "The foremost priority of our administration is creating new jobs and getting our economy back on track. Today's announcement that Northrop Grumman, a Fortune 100 company, is moving to Virginia is a major step forward in this effort. Northrop Grumman and the Commonwealth of Virginia have long shared a close and positive working relationship," McDonnell said in a joint statement with Northrop CEO and President Wes Bush this evening. McDonnell has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference at the company's Rosslyn offices Tuesday to discuss the move. The company's decision is a major victory for a governor who has promised to make job creation his first priority. In the statement, Bush indicated that Maryland and the District, which also had been competing for the headquarters, had put forward "compelling,...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 26, 2010; 8:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: O'Malley, Fenty concedes on Northrop Grumman, congratulates Virginia

It looks like Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is conceding the Northrop Grumman headquarters battle to Virginia. We just received the following statement from O'Malley: "Northrop Grumman's decision today is a win for the entire Greater Washington region, and I want to congratulate the State of Virginia. Maryland has one the most highly-skilled workforces in the country, and already employs more than 20,000 skilled Northop Grumman and Lockheed Martin employees. With today's announcement the region will not only gain new corporate-level jobs, but a number of the company's key subcontractors and suppliers. I want to thank the members of our Congressional Delegation, business leaders and legislative and county partners, who played an integral role in our efforts to attract this company to Maryland." Maryland's loss is already becoming a campaign issue, with Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich chiding O'Malley for losing out to Virginia. Updated, 8;30 p.m.: D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 26, 2010; 6:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Martin O'Malley, Maryland, Northrop Grumman  
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Northrop Grumman chooses Virginia over Maryland, sources say

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Northrop Grumman will announce Tuesday that the defense giant has selected Virginia over Maryland for its corporate headquarters, two sources familar with the deal said late Monday afternoon. The company is still considering sites in Fairfax and Arlington counties for its headquarters, but has ruled out Rockville, Md, the sources say. Executives at Northrop Grumman wouldn't confirm Monday where they plan to move but said they expect to announce their decision by the end the week. McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson refused to comment. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, the state's chief jobs creation officer, said he could not comment because any announcement needs to come from the governor and the company. Late Monday afternoon, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's communications director, Rick Abbruzzese, said state officials had not heard one way or the other yet. Since they announced their intention to move, officials from various local jurisdictions...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 26, 2010; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bill Bolling, Bob McDonnell, Northrop Grumman, Virginia  
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McDonnell asked to lift a ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers

Activists across the state are asking Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to reverse a policy that bans Virginia State Police troopers from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers. Donald Blake, president of Virginia Christian Alliance, said he spoke to McDonnell about the change at a recent fundraiser at the governor's mansion and at a private meeting with McDonnell's chief of staff Martin Kent. "It is important to a lot of people of faith in Virginia,'' Blake said. "When you change tradition it bothers a lot of people." Other groups, including the Family Foundation of Virginia, also support a change and have been lobbying for one. The governor's office has received a handful of letters, faxes and emails in support of a reversal. In September 2008, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the State Police superintendent, told chaplains to offer nondenominational prayers at department-sanctioned public events in response to a recent federal appeals...

By Anita Kumar  |  April 26, 2010; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Jesus, Virginia State Police  
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Cuccinelli headlines Rubio fundraiser in Florida

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has now become a national leader for conservative causes--and you don't have to take just our word for it. Cuccinelli is a "nationwide leader in fighting the unconstitutional excesses of the federal government." That's according to Marco Rubio, a candidate in the GOP primary for senator in Florida and himself a conservative favorite, in a statement accepting Cuccinelli's endorsement of his candidacy this weekend. Cuccinelli has joined a variety of Republicans taking sides in the Florida primary battle between Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist. Last week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also chose the more conservative Rubio over Crist....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 26, 2010; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Charlie Crist, Ken Cuccinelli, Marco Rubio  
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Once and maybe future candidate McAuliffe hires former DPVA chief

To all the many signs that former gubernatorial candidate and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe is planning to run for governor again in 2013--or, at least, wants to do everything necessary to position himself for a strong run if he chooses to give it another try, add this tidbit: McAuliffe has hired former Democratic Party of Virginia executive director Levar Stoney. Stoney's job isn't technically a political one for McAuliffe. Instead, he'll be act more like a special assistant to McAuliffe, as he travels Virginia and the world exploring business ventures. But McAuliffe said Stoney's close connections around the state, honed from a political career that included a stint as Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Sen. Creigh Deeds' political director, was part of what recommended him. "He knows everybody," McAuliffe said....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 26, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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