I probably won’t be watching the inauguration live today, as I’ve got other stuff to do, but if you want to see it, you can watch on CSPAN or on the Virginia General Assembly feed. Congratulations to Terry McAuliffe as he’s sworn in as the 72nd governor of Virginia. Also, congratulations to Ralph Northam and Mark Herring as they’re sworn in as Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, respectively.
A few of my top priorities (in no particular order) for Terry McAuliffe once he’s sworn in? These are ones that might theoretically happen; there would be many others if we had a reasonable, sane House of Delegates (which we most certainly don’t).
1. Medicaid expansion – absolutely crucial to hundreds of thousands of Virginians, no excuse not to do it other than Republicans’ Obama Derangement Syndrome.
2. Serious ethics reform, not the faux-reform (worse than nothing at all in many ways) we’ve seen so far.
3. Protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination on the job (it would be great to repeal the heinous anti-LGBT-marriage amendment, but good luck getting the culture warriors who control the House of Delegates to agree to that.)
4. Doing everything he can do to fight global warming and protect the environment, including [UPDATE repeal of the hybrid tax], opposition to anything that increases sprawl development or encourages dangerous fossil fuel extraction practices (e.g., “fracking” in the George Washington National Forest; offshore oil drilling, mountaintop removal coal mining). That means a focus on transit and smart growth, NOT on new roads. It also means a focus on promoting non-carbon-based energy sources, and absolutely NOT wasting our time and money on boondoggles like carbon capture and sequestration, or the Orwellian/nonsensical concept of “clean coal” (in fact, there’s absolutely nothing clean about this fuel, as the ongoing West Virginia disaster demonstrates to us yet again!).
5. Doing everything he can to expand the right to vote. That means restoring voting rights to any ex-felon who has done his/her time and paid his/her debt to society. It also means fighting to roll back voter suppression efforts we saw in the last administration.
6. Fighting hard to protect a woman’s right to choose, have access to essential health care services and contraception, etc.
7. Getting rid of wasteful, taxpayer-funded corporate welfare, particularly to companies that are actually harmful to our state (e.g., the coal companies).
8. Invest in Virginia’s future – education (including reform/scrapping “teach to the test” stupidity; also emphasize lifetime learning/job retraining, including for the long-term unemployed), smart infrastructure investments, etc.
Please jump in and list your priorities in the comments section! Thanks.
UPDATE 12:50 pm: Mark Herring, Ralph Northam, and Terry McAuliffe have now been sworn in. McAuliffe is delivering his address, praising the “Virginia way,” thanking Bob McDonnell and other predecessors for their efforts, and pledging to prove that divided government can work here in Virginia. Honor the sacrifice of our service members by ensuring they have access education, health care & career opportunities. Emphasizes importance of our community colleges as workforce development engines. Reduce unnecessary mandates, achieve adequate funding. Virginians expect transparency; will sign executive order imposing strict gift limit on members of his administration (including himself). Will ask the General Assembly to enect the strongest possible new ethics laws. We need to accept Medicaid funding to expand healthcare coverage, spur job creation, put Virginians’ own tax dollars to work, etc. Need to diversify and grow Virginia’s economy – in every part of the Commonwealth – in the face of federal budget cuts and heightened competition from abroad. Will work tirelessly to ensure that opportunities are equal for all of Virginia’s children, no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, where you come from, what part of the Commonwealth you live in, etc. Ensure that nobody can lose their job simply because they are gay. Ensure that women can make their own personal healthcare choices. An opening and welcoming state critical in a 21st century economy. We have an obligation to those less fortunate. The impediments to consensus are well known; the key is figuring out how to overcome them. Nobody looks back and wishes they had been more rigid, more ideological, or more partisan. Quotes Thomas Jefferson on importance of compromise. The next 4 years in Virginia can show what can be accomplished by mainstream leaders.
P.S. Photo of Terry McAuliffe delivering his inaugural address by Catherine S. Read.