From the McAuliffe for Governor campaign:
Three former Republican legislators announced their support for Terry McAuliffe today. Delegate Panny Rhodes, Delegate Robert Bloxom, and Delegate Preston Bryant are the most recent Republicans to endorse McAuliffe for Governor because of his commitment to reaching across the aisle to grow and diversify Virginia’s economy. They join a growing coalition of Virginians for McAuliffe, which includes a number of other prominent Republicans such as former RNC Finance Chair Dwight Schar, and former tourism chair of Governor McDonnell’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission, Bruce Thompson.
Rhodes, who represented the 68th District from 1991 to 2001 and later served on the VCU Board of Visitors, said she is supporting McAuliffe because he “knows that the key to Virginia’s economic competitiveness lies with our researchers and innovators, and he will support those communities, not drive an extreme ideological agenda that will discourage entrepreneurs and scientists from locating in Virginia and pursuing their research.”
Bloxom, Virginia’s first Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and a former Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, cited McAuliffe’s commitment to working with “members of both parties to find commonsense solutions to the issues that all Virginians care about – growing our economy, improving our transportation systems, and creating jobs in the Commonwealth.”
Bryant also referenced McAuliffe’s efforts to work in a bipartisan fashion as a reason why he is endorsing the Democratic candidate for Governor, noting, “I thought it spoke volumes when Terry encouraged his fellow Democrats to support Virginia’s bipartisan transportation compromise earlier this year. Terry is focused on finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans so we can tackle the important challenges facing the Commonwealth.”
Biography of Panny Rhodes
Former Republican Delegate Panny Rhodes represented the 68th District in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1991 to 2001. She is a former member of the VCU Board of Visitors, which she was appointed to in 2003 by Governor Mark Warner. Prior to Rhodes’ election to the House of Delegates, she was an associate engineer in the Nuclear Division of the Martin Company and a research analyst for Resource Management Corporation. She also has taught high school math in both public and private schools.
Rhodes was named the 1998 Legislator of the Year by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and received a YWCA of Richmond Outstanding Women award in 1990. Rhodes was an Angier B. Duke Scholar at Duke University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a law degree at Washington and Lee.
Biography of Robert Bloxom
Republican Robert Bloxom became Virginia’s first Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in 2004 and prior to that had served 25 years in the Virginia House of Delegates. Bloxom attended elementary school in the town of Bloxom Virginia, which was named for his grandfather, who owned the general store at the crossroads. Bloxom carries on the family retailing tradition as president of Bloxom Auto Supply Co. He is married to Patricia, have two children and four grandchildren. During his time in the House of Delegates, Bloxom served on the Agriculture, Labor and Commerce Committee and the Chesapeake and its Tributaries Committee. He also chaired the multistate Chesapeake Bay Commission. As Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Bloxom oversaw the Department of Forestry, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Agricultural Council, and the Virginia Marine Products Board.
Biography of L.Preston Bryant, Jr.
Former Republican Delegate Preston Bryant is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, where he represented the City of Lynchburg and Amherst County for 10 years. Currently, Bryant is senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting where he works in the firm's Infrastructure and Economic Development group. His expertise lies in water, wastewater and energy generation projects, and he advises clients on project site selection and regulatory affairs. Bryant also served as Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources in the cabinet of Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Preston led the state's six environmental, recreational, wildlife and historic resources agencies, which included a staff of 2,200, and a $420 million annual budget. In 2009, Bryant was appointed to chair the National Capital Planning Commission, the central planning agency for all federal lands and buildings in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Statement from Panny Rhodes:
“I am supporting Terry McAuliffe because he is committed to improving and investing in our education systems, so we can ensure that the next generation of Virginians have economic opportunities and are prepared for good jobs of the future. He also knows that the key to Virginia’s economic competitiveness lies with our researchers and innovators, and he will support those communities, not drive an extreme ideological agenda that will discourage entrepreneurs and scientists from locating in Virginia and pursuing their research.”
Statement from Robert Bloxom:
“As a former Republican legislator here in Virginia, I am supporting Terry McAuliffe because I know he will work with members of both parties to find commonsense solutions to the issues that all Virginians care about – growing our economy, improving our transportation systems, and creating jobs in the Commonwealth. Having run my own family business, I am also supporting Terry because he knows firsthand the challenges entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their companies, and he will put in place policies that will make it easier for businesses to grow here in Virginia and create a stronger foundation for Virginia’s economic future.”
Statement from Preston Bryant:
“I am supporting Terry McAuliffe because he knows that investing in our infrastructure is key to ensuring that our communities remain strong and our economy remains competitive in the 21st Century. I thought it spoke volumes when Terry encouraged his fellow Democrats to support Virginia’s bipartisan transportation compromise earlier this year. Terry is focused on finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans so we can tackle the important challenges facing the Commonwealth and provide more opportunities for future generations of Virginians.”