Within a complicated and polarized environment, Governor McAuliffe sought creative solutions to inherited problems and more recent crises facing the Commonwealth. Governor McAuliffe and Democrats in the General Assembly worked hard to find compromise in another historically successful year despite being thwarted by Republican obstructions at nearly every step.
Notable areas of progress include:
Record investment and modernization in education:
- $1 billion for all education levels in the next two years
- Expanded pre-k program
- Workforce training grant fund
- Pay increases for teachers
- Tech education developments
Governor McAuliffe brokered two historic agreements that have been considered impossible in the past:
Historic Gun Safety Agreement:
- Virginia has not passed meaningful gun reform legislation in over twenty years.
- Governor McAuliffe secured the passage of a bill that increases background checks and takes guns out of the hands of those who are under protective orders
- Both stipulations are tangible pieces of gun safety reform and will save lives.
Historic Transportation Agreement:
- Republicans have previously polarized congestion issues to the determent of millions of taxpayers in the Commonwealth - Governor McAuliffe was able to create an agreement that raises revenues AND eases congestion.
- The Governor’s plan, which was the first of its kind in 30 years, will both widen lanes on I-66 and add tolls for single drivers in high volume areas.
- Secretary Aubrey Lane called the plan a “comprehensive solution” and said “Taken as a whole, these are probably the most extensive changes to 66 since its inception.”
The Governor continued his work to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state with several legislative victories:
- Full funding of the new veteran care centers for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.
- Full funding to create a medics/corpsmen pilot program that will enable former military medics and corpsmen to use their skills in health care jobs while they earn civilian credentials.
- Funding to support the Virginia Values Veterans and Virginia Transition Assistance Program. The funds will assist with the hiring of 20,000 veterans in private-sector jobs.
- Funding for the Virginia War Memorial expansion
While there were a few areas of consensus, Republicans in the General Assembly continued their tradition of putting ideology ahead of Virginians:
- Subverting the judicial selection process by removing a universally-respected judge from the Supreme Court. Trying to replace her with an agenda-driven, partisan, crazy-person in Ken Cucinelli.
- Freshman Senator Glen Sturtevant compromising his integrity and ignoring the will of his constituents.
- Continuing their anti-women crusade by attempting to defund Planned Parenthood (which the Governor stopped), refusing to expand Medicaid, and attempting to pass a 20-week abortion ban.
- Tried to pass several measures to encourage discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
- Thwarted all of Democrats' efforts to mitigate barriers to voting.