Gov. McDonnell explains legacy as chapter closes

Posted on: 12:36 am, December 12, 2013, by and

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–His four years are nearly over, and in one month Governor Bob McDonnell leaves office for Democrat Terry McAuliffe to become the state’s 72nd chief executive.

The governor and his family are preparing for life away from Capitol Square, saying that there’s no question that “it’ll be hard.”

“I’ve thought about it a lot,” McDonnell says. “It’ll be hard to step back into the next phase of life, but, life has phases.”

The reality of that next phase is already building up around him as crews set the stage for governor-elect McAuliffe’s inauguration, set to take place January 11.

“I’m sure I’m gonna want to call Terry just about every week saying, ‘No man, don’t do that, do this.’”

That’s because there is still a lot more he wants to accomplish. He says his list already includes budget surpluses, transportation reform, bringing several movie production companies to the Commonwealth and toughening accountability in state schools–which he calls his biggest accomplishment.

“I think it’s the civil rights issue of our time; a great school with great teachers, regardless of zipcode,” he says. “That’s the goal–time for excuses is over.”

The governor’s political star was rising on the national stage as well, with speculation he’d be Mitt Romney’s running mate during the 2012 election.

That didn’t happen and shortly afterward he and his wife became the focus of a federal investigation, after claims were made that in exchange for favors they accepted lavish gifts from Star-Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams.

McDonnell says he is ready for closure, and that “there are things you can control and things you can’t control.”

That’s where his faith—“I have great faith in God”—comes in, along with “faith in our justice system.”

“I believe with all my heart and soul that I have not done anything wrong or violated any laws, but, there are some judgments I made that I’d do differently today.”

That investigation remains open today, and the governor isn’t expecting to be indicted. Instead, McDonnell is focusing on his next chapter.

“I’m just at a point in my life where a short break I think will be good for me.”

The governor won’t say what will follow that short break, but, if history’s any indication, he’ll be campaigning again.

In recent memory, all of Virginia’s past governors sought another political office after leaving the governor’s mansion. Mark Warner’s U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs in 2014.

“I’m concerned about the future of the country,” McDonnell says. “I think the federal government can learn a lot from Virginia–who balance budgets and get things accomplished.”

1 Comment

  • airjackie says:

    Wow just think when the Governor took office Republicans were already saying he looked Presidential. He gave the rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union Address an sound like he was the US President. But it went down hill from there so much even the lost of the Race to the Top education money, numerous disasters with no help from Rep. Cantor. He did do great deals with Star and even Donald Trump got a great deal. Well now the investigation of corruption and costing the taxpayers close to million in over charged legal fees. McConnell might have skipped this if FBI Director Bob Mueller were still in office. As the little information reported proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the Governor will likely make a plea agreement. Admitted you lied but gave back the gifts and then continuing to deny then admit other questions is not good. But he is doing big things now with the College funding and even for private colleges. The Sequester hit education hard and we will likely have another government shut down in 2014. So the taxpayers will be footing this increase. He can get back just like Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina did. Who know Bob McDonnell could be the next Virignia Senator or Congressmen.

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