McAuliffe renews campaign promises

Published 9:46 pm Monday, January 13, 2014

By James Galloway

Capital News Service

Tight security and steady rain Saturday did not dampen the spirit or the campaign promises of Democrat Terry McAuliffe as he became Virginia’s 72nd governor.

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McAuliffe, who has never held elected office, won this past November’s nationally watched election against Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe succeeds Republican Bob McDonnell as governor.

McAuliffe’s national supporters include President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, for whom McAuliffe raised funds. Clinton was in prominent attendance at the inauguration, as were his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

McAuliffe took the oath of office from Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser. The entire event took place in front of the historic Capitol building designed by Thomas Jefferson.

McAuliffe’s inaugural address echoed themes from his campaign, including expansion of Medicaid, women’s rights and gay rights.

“’The Virginia way’ is the national model for fiscal discipline,” McAuliffe said. “We are one of the best states to do business, because we have worked together to minimize regulations and to keep taxes low.”

He also called the commonwealth’s business model “a tradition we should be so proud of.”

McAuliffe thanked former Gov. McDonnell for his leadership, noting a smooth transition into his first day as governor.

McAuliffe also reminded the public that he was about to issue an executive order putting a $100 limit on gifts to himself and other politicians.

After the ceremony, McAuliffe signed Executive Order No. 1, prohibiting workplace discrimination, with new protections for transgender people.

The new governor is facing a 20-20 Republican-Democrat split in the Virginia Senate. He noted the value of bipartisan consensus, and again congratulated McDonnell on a job well done, referencing a major transportation bill passed with bipartisan support the previous year.

Representatives from Virginia’s 11 American Indian tribes performed a blessing march and stopped to play drums in front of the governor. Rabbi Jack Moline of the Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria gave McAuliffe his blessing in a speech.