Lawmakers respond to Gov. McAuliffe's State of the Commonwealth

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) Listening in the Chamber Wednesday night to Governor McAuliffe’s final State of the Commonwealth was the rest of the Virginia State Government, and reactions to what he said ran the gamut from support to calling some of the things he said lies.

These responses followed along party lines.

While the whole General Assembly stood and applauded the Governor’s entrance and acknowledgement of some leaders, you could tell Republican lawmakers began to stay seated and stopped applauding as the address went on. Meanwhile the Democrats in the room showed continuous support.

Delegate Charniele Herring represents the 46th District and is the House Democratic Caucus Chair.

She said, “I just thought he has a lot, and we all have a lot to be proud of. The accomplishments that have been made with job creation and growth in the Commonwealth, progress on civil rights, it has been more of a welcoming Commonwealth and I think it’s played off with our economic prosperity that we’ve had in this state.”

The Republicans saw things quite differently.

Republican Delegate Ben Cline who represents the 24th District said, “I’m thinking it was a lot of politics that makes me think he might have a future office in mind that he might be running for, trying to gloss over a lot of the shortcomings in his administration and pump up a lot of the things that were done by other people. The idea that he can take credit for the booming economy over the last 12 months and not credit our President at all, it’s fake news is what it is.”

Delegate Cline was pushed as to what office he felt Governor McAuliffe would go to next. All he said, was it’s an office he tried to help someone get to a year ago, and he believes the Governor will now want to try for it himself.

Both sides agreed on a few things, that the economy is up, and healthcare reform is needed.

But while democrats agreed the Medicaid needed expanding, Republicans said Obamacare needed to be repealed.

But, perhaps not surprisingly, both sides also agreed on excitement over the new Governor taking over for McAuliffe.

“I think you’re going to see more progressive policies get final passage. Some things have been held back,” Del. Herring said. “I’m hopeful for increasing the felony threshold, improvement in public schools, hopefully redistricting reform will happen.”

Republican Delegate Greg Habeeb from the 8th District said, “Governor-elect Northam has real relationships with members of the General Assembly that the current Governor didn’t have and he just knows the way this body works. I think that gives us a great opportunity to really work in a bipartisan, bicameral [way], both branches of government coming together.

Governor-elect Northam will be inaugurated on Saturday, a day many lawmakers were looking forward to Wednesday.

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