The News & Advance lends its endorsement for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell for Virginia's next Governor. Here:
In the gubernatorial election, there is one candidate who has the temperament, the leadership abilities, the discipline and the vision to serve as Virginia’s next chief executive.
That candidate is Republican Bob McDonnell, and The News & Advance editorial board wholeheartedly endorses him for governor.
McDonnell is the only candidate who has confronted the critical issues facing the commonwealth of Virginia today: transportation, education and the economy and jobs creation. He is the only candidate who has laid out, in detail, his proposals for addressing these challenges.
And as importantly, he is the only candidate who has run a mostly positive campaign, trying to engage the electorate on his strengths, not his opponent’s weaknesses.
On the other hand, his opponent, Democrat Creigh Deeds, has run one of the most negative, issue-free gubernatorial campaigns Virginia has seen. From trying to portray McDonnell as a knuckle-dragging social conservative based solely on a 20-year-old grad school thesis to ads blaming him for higher electric rates, Deeds’ campaign has been one never-ending negative ad.
Bob McDonnell is a conservative Republican, a conservative Catholic Republican. No denying that at all. Does that disqualify him as governor? Absolutely not.
He knows the challenges Virginia and Virginians face, and he’s demonstrated an ability to think outside the box, to borrow a phrase, on any number of critical issues.
* Education reform. McDonnell recognizes there is much that public schools are doing right in Virginia, but also that there is room for improvement across the board. At the center of his reform proposals is a call for a more active embrace of charter schools in divisions across the commonwealth. As the state’s chief executive, he also recognizes the fact that the best educators in Virginia must be compensated for their talents; merit pay and other best practices common in the business world would receive serious consideration in a McDonnell administration.
* Transportation. Virginia has confronted a growing transportation crisis for most of this decade, and the failure of two governors and each and every member of the General Assembly to reach consensus on how to solve this massive problem will sully all their reputations.
The pragmatic McDonnell, who sees a problem that needs to be addressed, has put forward a series of revenue streams that he believes would meet the state’s maintenance needs and that would give planners the tools to address the longterm challenges of the two most desperate regions of the state, Northern Virginia and Tidewater.
While we have reservations about the viability of some of the proposals, McDonnell has at least laid out specific proposals. That’s more than his opponent has done.
* The economy and jobs creation. Virginia and the nation are in the grips of the worst recession in 70 years. Unemployment keeps inching up month by month. Tax revenues that fund critical government services keep failing to meet targets. Something must be done about the economy, and McDonnell is only candidate who seems to recognize that fact.
McDonnell, the former attorney general and a longtime legislator prior, knows the mechanisms of government available to spur growth and jobs creation. Tax incentives, tax credits, massive efforts to recruit new employers and retain current ones, preserving Virginia as a right-to-work state and efforts to reduce regulations and the cost of doing business in Virginia, whether for small or large businesses.
While McDonnell has talked specifics, his opponent has done little more than offer nice-sounding platitudes. But platitudes hire no one.
On these major issues and supported by the evidence of the quality of the campaign he oversaw, we can only reiterate our strongly held belief that there is only one candidate suited to lead Virginia for the next four years: Bob McDonnell.
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