Democrats respond to McDonnell's State of the Commonwealth Address
House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong provided the official response to Gov. Bob McDonnell's speech for Virginia Democrats.
"While he talks a pretty good game about small government and cutting spending, his legislative agenda suggests that he has not gotten the point made in the last election when it comes to deficit spending," Armstrong said in taped remarks.
Armstrong touted Democratic priorities of job creation and education improvements and transportation, which happen to be McDonnell's priorities too.
"We have a lot of differences but we also agree on a lot as well,'' he said. "Democrats have some serious concerns about the agenda that the governor put forward tonight. And while we'll continue to make those concerns known...that doesn't mean we aren't open to working with Bob McDonnell and Republicans to find common ground and get things done."
Sen. R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania), a leading budget writer, called McDonnell's speech "conciliatory."
"It really was not strident, not hard edged," he said. "He made a conscious effort to talk about bipartisanship and working together, which is refreshing."
But that doesn't mean he convinced Democrats of his policy positions. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said afterward that McDonnell's campaign promises to fix state roads are evaporating, as revenues from promised oil drilling and liquor store privatization have disappeared. "There are no magic bullets," he said.
Brian Moran, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said McDonnell did not cover any new ground in his speech, but did restate his "commitment to billions of dollars in debt and new spending without any explanation of how he plans to pay that money back."
"Billions of dollars in debt should not be the biggest legacy of Bob McDonnell's administration,'' he said.
Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman
| January 12, 2011; 8:11 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate
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