Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's a special place....

...recounted Lt. Governor Bill Bolling about the Commonwealth at today's Dulles South Business Alliance meeting, with delegates Caputo, Marshall, Rust and Supervisor Snow plus 50 or so Dulles South businesses (including Dulles South Online) in attendance. Noted as the "most pro-business" General Assembly member by Snow, Bolling delivered an overview of Virginia issues he's battling, from education to healthcare and natural resources.

Treading the line between "wanting Tim Kaine to be the best Governor ever, meeting Virginia's challenges" and "would not have done it that way, were I Governor (setting the stage?)", Bolling summarized the recent transportation bill this way; "something is better than nothing". Leaning a bit more partisan, he went on to explain that the problem isn't lack of money in Richmond, but lack of fiscal discipline, plus Kaine made a bad communications decision in immediately threatening to veto. Altogether, "at least something got passed", though there's a "fragility to the existing compromise" that may not survive extensive amendments by the Governor.

His most urgent message concerned education, noting that public education in Virginia is "pretty good", but the rest of the world is kicking our tails in critical areas like math and science. Kids simply aren't challenged to high enough academic standards. Furthermore, Virginia colleges and universities need to be fully funded in order to provide enough opportunity to in-state students, vs. attracting more out-of-state students they need to boost tuition income. Gangs are everywhere, Medicaid is broken, and the Bay will only be cleaned through extensive public education, incentives and public/private cooperation (vs. taxes).

Altogether a fairly typical middle-of-the-tenure speech to a non-partisan interest group. He did note a new initiative, his "100 ideas for the future of Virginia" request of constituents, to be rolled out on April 1st. No foolin' around, here, it's all business.

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