From the Terry McAuliffe for Governor campaign, it's fascinating how the old-school Virginia Republicans – mainstream, moderate, pragmatic – are throwing their support to Terry McAuliffe, not to Tea Partier Ken Cuccinelli. Personally, I expect this trend to continue…
“Virginians for McAuliffe,” a bipartisan coalition of Virginians committed to electing Terry McAuliffe for Governor launched in Richmond on Monday. Co-chaired by prominent Virginia Republicans Judy Ford Wason, Senator John Chichester, Senator Russ Potts, John Sherman, Delegate Katherine Waddell, Delegate Vince Callahan, and Delegate Jim Dillard the group announced their support for McAuliffe because he is focused on working across the aisle to find mainstream solutions to the issues Virginians care about.
“Terry will focus on issues that matter most to Virginians, like jobs and the economy, education, transportation, healthcare, and public safety,” the co-chairs commented. Former Virginia Senator John Chichester added in his endorsement for McAuliffe, “having served as a Republican member of the Virginia legislature for many years, I have seen the progress our great state can make if we have leaders in the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s offices who will reach out to both sides of the aisle in order to move forward on issues such as transportation, fiscal responsibility, and educating our workforce.”
Judy Ford Wason, a Virginia Republican who led Virginians for McDonnell in 2009, and a former member of the Reagan Administration, commented that she is supporting McAuliffe, only the second Democrat she has ever supported as Governor of Virginia, “because the stakes in this election are so high for the future of our economy and the future of our citizens and communities.” Wason added, “Terry will lead from the middle of the road focusing on the economy and jobs, education – K-12 and higher education, the environment, and public safety,” and referenced McAuliffe’s work rallying support for Governor McDonnell’s bipartisan transportation compromise as an example.
Senator Russ Potts, former Chair of the Health and Education Committee in the Senate of Virginia, contrasted McAuliffe’s agenda with that of GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli: “While Ken Cuccinelli has spent his time driving an extreme ideological agenda attacking women’s health, and tried to block the bipartisan transportation compromise at every turn, Terry knows that in order to have a thriving economy, we need to protect women’s reproductive rights, and make necessary investments in our infrastructure.”
McAuliffe stood beside Virginians for McAuliffe co-chairs Callahan, Chichester, Sherman, Waddell, and Wason during the launch, stating, “I am honored to have the support of these men and women who stand beside me, who represent almost 150 combined years as being leaders in the Republican Party in Virginia. As Governor, I am committed to working with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike to grow Virginia’s economy and will find mainstream solutions to the challenges our communities face.”
The launch of Virginians for McAuliffe follows a series of endorsements McAuliffe has received over the past few weeks by prominent Virginia Republicans, including former Governor of Virginia Linwood Holton, former tourism chair of Governor McDonnell’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission Bruce Thompson, former RNC Finance Chair Dwight Schar, and former candidate for the GOP nomination for Governor of Virginia Earle Williams, among others.
Statement from Judy Ford Wason:
“I am announcing my support for Terry McAuliffe, only the second time I have endorsed a Democrat candidate for Governor of Virginia. I am supporting Terry because the stakes in this election are so high for the future of our economy and the future of our citizens and communities. I believe Terry will lead from the middle of the road focusing on the economy and jobs, education – K-12 and higher education, the environment, and public safety. Terry has shown that he is committed to working across the aisle to tackle the difficult challenges Virginians face. We saw this earlier this year when he rallied support for Governor McDonnell’s bipartisan transportation compromise, and we continue to see this as Terry travels across the state meeting with business and community leaders regardless of political affiliation to discuss mainstream ways to grow our economy and create jobs in the Commonwealth. With six grandchildren I want to be sure that young Virginians will be able to look forward to exciting job opportunities and a great quality of life. I believe that as Governor Terry will work to ensure that Virginia is a leader in the global economy and that our citizens and communities prosper.”
Statement from Senator John Chichester:
“I am endorsing Terry McAuliffe today because I know that he will work with members of both parties in order to grow Virginia’s economy and strengthen our communities. Having served as a Republican member of the Virginia legislature for many years, I have seen the progress our great state can make if we have leaders in the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s offices who will reach out to both sides of the aisle in order to move forward on issues such as transportation, fiscal responsibility, and educating our workforce. I believe that with Terry McAuliffe as our Governor, Virginia can again be the “best state for business,” and the nation’s best-managed state, as it was when I served in the Senate of Virginia. Rather than having officials who will focus on ideological issues that divide Virginians, the Commonwealth needs leaders who will strive to tackle the real challenges our communities face, which is why I am supporting Terry McAuliffe to be our next Governor.”
Statement from Senator Russ Potts:
“Having served 16 years in the Senate of Virginia, and having lived in the Commonwealth for nearly my whole life, never have I seen a more important election for the future of our state. I am supporting Terry McAuliffe today because he is committed to finding mainstream compromises to the issues Virginians care about. Terry will work with Democrats and Republicans to strengthen workforce development programs so our students can be prepared for innovative jobs of the future, and will put in place policies that will attract and keep the best businesses here. While Ken Cuccinelli has spent his time driving an extreme ideological agenda attacking women’s health, and tried to block the bipartisan transportation compromise at every turn, Terry knows that in order to have a thriving economy, we need to protect women’s reproductive rights, and make necessary investments in our infrastructure. Terry McAuliffe will move Virginia in the right direction, and that’s why I urge all Virginians to join me in supporting him as our next Governor.”
Statement from John Sherman:
“As a moderate Republican and a fiscally-oriented Virginia businessman, I am supporting Terry McAuliffe because he will make the necessary investments our state needs in order to compete in the 21st Century economy. Terry will strengthen our infrastructure and transportation systems and work to increase exports by connecting our ports and cities to more national and global markets. He will find bipartisan solutions to improving our education systems, so our students and children are trained for good jobs of tomorrow, and will work to attract the most innovative companies to the Commonwealth. Terry is committed to expanding economic opportunities for all Virginians, and as Governor, will make our state the best place for business.”
Statement from Delegate Vince Callahan:
“Virginia needs a Governor who will promote a mainstream agenda that focuses on the economy and making Virginia better for business. We need to get away from partisan bickering and ideological brinksmanship and come together to focus on doing what’s best for Virginia. That’s why I’m proud to support Terry McAuliffe for Governor.”
Statement from Delegate Jim Dillard:
“Terry has pledged that increased state support for education will be a top priority and is key to attracting business to Virginia. Seeing Terry work with Governor McDonnell to get a transportation deal done reinforced what I already knew. Terry will work across party lines to do what is best for Virginians.”
Statement from Delegate Katherine Waddell:
“Virginians want a Governor who believes that women are capable of making their own reproductive healthcare decisions without government interference, a Governor who will work with Republicans, Democrats and Independents to find effective policy solutions for women and for all Virginians, Terry McAuliffe is that person.”
Background on Judy Ford Wason:
Judy Ford Wason served in the Reagan administration’s Inter-Governmental Affairs Office where she worked with state legislatures on the President’s federalism initiative as well as with Governors to eliminate sex discrimination in state laws. Wason helped organize Virginians for Bob McDonnell for Governor and has served as Republican National Committee Woman and managed successful Senate Campaigns for Paul Trible and John Warner. She has been active in nonprofit fundraising and served as Vice President for University Advancement at Christopher Newport University. During her time in leadership positions in the Republican Party, she had the opportunity to mentor young Karl Rove as he got his start in Virginia politics in the 1970’s.
Background on Senator John Chichester:
Republican John Chichester served in the Senate of Virginia as President Pro Tempore and Chairman of its budget-writing Finance Committee until his retirement in 2008 after nearly 30 years in the legislature. The Stafford native chaired the Commission on the Future of Higher Education and was named Governing magazine’s 2004 “Public Official of the Year.” Under Chichester’s leadership and working in a bipartisan fashion with the House and the Governor, Virginia was designated as the nation’s best-managed state as well as the “best state for business” based on its low taxes, responsible fiscal management, and quality workforce.
Background on Senator Russ Potts:
Republican Russ Potts served 16 years in the Senate of Virginia, chairing the Health and Education Committee. He was named “Senator of the Year” by 13 different organizations, including the Virginia Sheriff’s Association and the Virginia Education Association. Potts began his professional career as a sports journalist with The Winchester Star and the Loudoun Times Mirror. He was the first Director of Sports Marketing in the history of collegiate athletics and later served as Vice President of the Chicago White Sox. In 1982 the Winchester native founded Russ Potts Productions, Inc., promoting college and professional sports events. Potts is a member of six Halls of Fame, including the National Sports Marketing Hall of Fame (2012) and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame (2004).
Background on John Sherman:
John Sherman, a leading Virginia businessman and a supporter of Governor Bob McDonnell, has close to 40 years in financial industries capped by serving as CEO of Scott and Stringfellow from 1996-2002 and Vice Chairman from 2002-2005. Active in the community, John has served on various boards in healthcare and education such as the VCU Health System, Trigon, and the board of Visitors of VCU. He has chaired various efforts such as The Community Foundation, The Management Roundtable, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Background on Delegate Vince Callahan:
Vince Callahan was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1967 and retired in 2008 after 40 years, becoming the longest serving Republican member of the General Assembly and the dean of the Northern Virginia delegation as well as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Having worked with eleven Governors during his tenure, Callahan co-chaired the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation during Virginia’s observance of the 400th anniversary of the founding of America’s first permanent English colony in Virginia in 1607.
Background on Delegate Jim Dillard:
Republican Jim Dillard served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 32 years with a distinguished record of support for education and natural resources. He chaired the House Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education. The U.S. Navy veteran previously had 30-year career in education as a teacher and principal in Fairfax County. Dillard also chaired the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and initiated the largest growth in parks and conservation activities in Virginia’s history, for which the Chesapeake Bay Foundation named him “Legislator of the Year.”
Background on Delegate Katherine Waddell:
Katherine Waddell, Member Board of Directors of Republican Majority for Choice, is a lifelong Virginia Republican who has worked within the party, worked for Republican candidates as well as for Republican officeholders for many years. She is a strong proponent of the Republican principles of limited government, individual freedom and the right to privacy and currently serves on the national board of the Republican Majority for Choice. In 2005, Waddell ran and won a seat in the House of Delegates as an Independent. She is married with 2 daughters, 2 granddaughters and one grandson. She is a moderate mainstream community leader who is committed to Terry McAuliffe for Governor of Virginia.