FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James Lewis
Virginia– April 25, 2012 – News Release – A newly released video by Governor Bob McDonnell’s Opportunity Virginia PAC shouts ‘pick me’ at former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney while skipping less glorifying moments and upsetting truths of Governor McDonnell’s term.
Education– Bob McDonnell’s video claims “education reform” and “increased funding.” Much of the increase funding the Governor speaks of was the result of a bipartisan legislative package providing $230 million to higher education.
The Truth: McDonnell is positioning himself as a supporter of education but in his first two months as Governor called for $731 million in cuts to K-12 funding. In the end, a total of $645 million was cut during the first two years of the McDonnell administration.
In this year’s budget, he touted $438 million and another $58 million in new K-12 public education spending; but whathe fails to acknowledge is that it isn’t new spending if you were the forcebehind the cuts. In total, McDonnellwould have decreased K-12 public education spending $242 million. DemocraticSenators prevented a further $86 million from McDonnell’s axe his first yearand fought for an additionally $212 million infusion this year. Virginia Democratsare responsible for the $63 million increase in K-12 public education funding,not McDonnell.
Higher Education -- This week, in a letter to college presidents and board members, McDonnell wrote: “Both the General Assembly and I proposed this new state funding for higher education with the clear understanding that institutions will temper the need to raise in-state tuition and fees this coming year.”
The Truth: The average state-wide tuition increased 9.7 percent in 2010-2011. McDonnell is highlighting educationaccomplishments which aren’t his own now that he is a “short-lister” for VicePresident, while glossing over the fact that under his watch, college is less affordable for Virginia’s students.
The foundation of McDonnell’s reforms is a requirement that higher education institutions show “value” to students, but Virginia’s public institutions routinely ranked amongst the best in thecountry. Such an unnecessary mandate merely contributes to the administrativecosts of universities.
Jobs– McDonnell’s commercial claims Virginia is growing business and jobs. At the end of thecommercial, McDonnell says, “Virginia’s growing strong and so is our future.”
The Truth: Local newspaper saround the Commonwealth are reporting significant job losses, including aSmithfield meat packaging plant that moved to North Carolina cutting 425 jobs. UnderBob McDonnell, Virginia is a less welcoming state for business and people.
His policy proposals during the last legislative session attacked Virginia’s teachers, prompting a Williamsburg kindergarten teacher and daughter of Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment to write “Don’t stick it to the teachers” in an email to her father on the day of the vote. Our highly educated workforce is essential to economic growth, and Bob McDonnell’s education policies hurt our economic competiveness.
“Best Place” – BobMcDonnell’s commercial claims Virginia is the “best place to make a living”.
The Truth: Under Governor McDonnell, the state has been precisely the opposite by waging a war on therights of women and LGBT Virginians and making the state less friendly tofamilies by enacting dangerous firearms policies.
Women’s Rights: On Bob McDonnell’s watch, the Commonwealth of Virginia was in the national spotlight for legislation that would force women to receive a state-mandated “probing.” When confronted with this embarrassing truth, Bob McDonnell returned the legislation to the General Assembly, this time with a medically unnecessary and ineffective trans-abdominal ultrasound amendment.
LGBT Rights: This past session the legislature passed a “conscience clause” for adoptions which McDonnell signed into law. The clause allows institutions to reject a good home for a child, simply because the couple that wishes to adopt are homosexual. That’s discrimination, and it’s wrong. McDonnell promoted further discrimination by replacing Governor Kaine’s Executive Order against discrimination based on sexual orientation for state employees with a far weaker order and rolled back state benefits for same-sex partners.
Firearms: McDonnell ended Virginia’s longstanding one-handgun-a-month policy, ensuring that handguns sold in Virginia will return as a major source of violent crimes. Before the one-handgun-a-month law was passed, Virginia was the “number one source for crime guns in New York and elsewhere,” according to State Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax/Arlington) in the Washington Post. The Governor also ended a ban on open-carry of firearms in state parks. Now, families that vacation in one of Virginia’s beautiful state parks do so with the fear that their campground neighbors have a dangerous and deadly weapon nearby.
McDonnell’s video glosses over the bad policies he has enacted in Virginia. We know the real Bob McDonnell, and he makes a poor candidate to represent the United States of America as Vice President.
The Virginia Young Democrats is a membership organization representing young people under the age of 35 who identify as Democrats or support the tenets of the Democratic Party and reside in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Young Democrats furthers the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party, thereby improving our society through peaceful reform and effective government that serves those in need.