Statement from Speaker of the House on the Administration of Governor Bob McDonnell

On Wednesday, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William J. Howell, wrote an op-ed in The Virginian-Pilot to talk about the gubernatorial administration of Governor Bob McDonnell. In his article, he describes McDonnell as one of Virginia’s most effective governors! I enjoyed the article and wanted to share. You can view the article below or on the website here.

One of Virginia’s most effective governors
By William J. Howell
October 2, 2013

Over the past four years, Gov. Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly have compiled an impressive record of results on the issues that matter most to Virginians.

On the economy, K-12 and higher education, transportation, government spending and reform, and many more issues, the leadership of the governor has made Virginia better off.

I have served in the legislature for more than 25 years. I have had the honor of serving as speaker of the House of Delegates for the past 11 legislative sessions.

I have worked with seven governors over the course of my tenure in the legislature, and I can say without a doubt that McDonnell has been one of Virginia’s most effective chief executives.

When McDonnell took over in January 2010, Virginia was reeling from the effects of the Great Recession. Virginia faced a $6 billion shortfall as a result of the economic slowdown. Unemployment was above 9 percent across the state and as high as 20 percent in some parts of the state.

Since then, we have turned things around in Virginia. We turned that $6 billion shortfall into four straight budget surpluses totaling nearly $2 billion. Unemployment has fallen from 9 percent to 5.7 percent, one of the lowest state unemployment rates in the country.

We did this by focusing on the core services of government, setting priorities and making tough decisions.

We made creating new jobs and opportunity our top priority. During McDonnell’s tenure, we have invested more than $175 million into economic development. We invested in higher education, adding 3,800 slots for undergraduate students. We passed the first major transportation reform initiative in 27 years – a plan that will invest $6 billion in our infrastructure and support or create over 13,000 new jobs.

The governor and the legislature did this without growing government.

Over the past four years, spending in Virginia, when you subtract rainy-day fund deposits, has only grown by 0.3 percent – far less than other states and far below the rate of inflation. We are currently spending at or below 2008 spending levels in many categories.

Over the past four years, McDonnell and the legislature have proven that elected leaders can work together to achieve good results.

Our record of results proves that Virginia is very different from Washington. McDonnell made a committed effort to seek input from and listen to legislative leaders. As a result, 87 percent of the legislative proposals he sent to us have passed the General Assembly.

For those who know the governor, this success should not come as a surprise. Throughout his entire career of public service, from his time in the U.S. Army Reserve to his service in the House of Delegates and eventually to his time as governor, he has worked hard and demonstrated the qualities of a leader.

The next governor will have big legislative and leadership shoes to fill. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished together during Bob McDonnell’s term as governor.

William J. Howell, a Republican from Stafford County, is speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

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