McDonnell Gives Farewell Speech in State of the Commonwealth Add - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

McDonnell Gives Farewell Speech in State of the Commonwealth Address

Posted: Updated:

To read the full speech, click here.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - In his farewell address to the General Assembly, outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell apologized Wednesday for a gift scandal and said he prayed it would not overshadow the good work he had done as governor.
    
McDonnell asserted that he broke no laws, but conceded this his actions left an "adverse public impression," according to his prepared comments.
    
The governor is currently under federal and state investigation for accepting thousands of dollars' worth of gifts from former CEO Jonnie Williams of Star Scientific Inc., a dietary supplement maker. McDonnell has not been charged with any crime.
    
Speaking to lawmakers on the first day of the 2014 session, McDonnell spoke mostly of what he says are his many achievements, including increased funding for new and improved roads and stronger trade ties abroad.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says a rare demonstration of election-year bipartisanship gave him one of the biggest legislative victories of his four-year term.
    
McDonnell noted that last year's transportation funding plan received the support of 44 Republicans and 43 Democrats. It was the first major overhaul of the state's highway and transit funding scheme since 1986.
    
McDonnell said the result should sustain Virginia for generations. He said the state is already seeing results, with a record $2.5 billion in road construction projects advertised last year and more than $6 billion in new funding coming over the next six years.
    
McDonnell said all this was possible because lawmakers worked across regional as well as partisan lines.

McDonnell touted his hotly debated public education reforms in his final State of the Commonwealth speech.
    
McDonnell said Wednesday night that he took a "tough love, zero tolerance" approach in creating a state board to take over chronically underperforming schools, which he said is the civil rights issue of our day. He also said his A-to-F grading system for schools will give parents an honest view of how their kids' schools are performing.
    
Education groups opposed both bills, and the one allowing the state to take over failing schools has been challenged in court.
    
McDonnell also said the percentage of education money going into the classroom increased from 61 percent to 64 percent over his four years. He said graduation rates are up and dropout rates are down.

McDonnell wants Virginia lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment automatically restoring felons' voting rights.
    
McDonnell said in his final State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday night that his streamlined process has resulted in more than 8,000 felons regaining their civil rights after serving their sentences. That's nearly twice as many as any previous administration. However, he said restoration of rights should not be left to the arbitrary judgment but should be a permanent part of the law.
    
In last year's State of the Commonwealth speech, the Republican surprised many lawmakers by asking them to support a felons' rights constitutional amendment. The proposal went nowhere.
    
McDonnell renewed his request Wednesday night, calling automatic restoration "an important step for justice."

Even though the state budget has grown substantially, Gov. Bob McDonnell says government is doing more with less as he leaves office.
    
In his final State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday night, McDonnell noted that the number of non-higher education state employees has been reduced by about 2,000 and 36 boards and nine agencies have been consolidated or eliminated.
    
The overall two-year budget has increased from $70 billion in 2010 to a proposed $96 billion for the next biennium. But McDonnell says that from 2007 to 2016, general fund spending will have grown an average of only 1.2 percent annually, which is less than the rate of inflation and population growth.
    
And he notes that the state's savings account has grown from $295 million to $1 billion during his term.

 

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • McDonnell Gives Farewell Speech in State of the Commonwealth AddressMore>>

  • Full Text: State of the Commonwealth Address

    Full Text: State of the Commonwealth Address

    Wednesday, January 8 2014 7:35 PM EST2014-01-09 00:35:27 GMT
    Mr. Speaker.  Mr. President. Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the State Corporation Commission, Ladies and Gentlemen of the General Assembly, now in your 395th year, My fellow Virginians, It isMore >>
    Mr. Speaker.  Mr. President. Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the State Corporation Commission, Ladies and Gentlemen of the General Assembly, now in your 395th year, My fellow Virginians, It isMore >>
Powered by WorldNow

301 Arboretum Place, Richmond
VA, 23236

Telephone: 804.330.8888
Fax: 804.330.8881
Email: news@wric.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.