Bob McDonnell

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Bob McDonnell
Bob McDonnell.JPG
Governor of Virginia
In office
January 16, 2010 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 5
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 3, 2009
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Virginia House of Delegates
High schoolBishop Ireton High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Notre Dame
Master'sBoston University
J.D.Regent University
Date of birthJune 15, 1954
Place of birthPhiladelphia, PA
Office website
Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell (born June 15, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is the 71st Governor of Virginia. McDonnell, a Republican and the former Attorney General of Virginia, assumed office on January 16, 2010 after winning election on November 3, 2009.

In mid-August, 2011, McDonnell was named chairman of the National Governors Association, replacing Texas Governor Rick Perry.[1] He has also served in the Virginia House of Delegates for the City of Virginia Beach from 1992 to 2005. He and his wife, Maureen Patricia Gardner, have five children.


Moving with his father's Air Force career, Bob McDonnell was born in Philadelphia, moved to Virginia a year later, and spent several years in Germany in his childhood. During his own time in the U.S. Army, McDonnell would again he stationed in Germany.

Bob McDonnell is a 1972 graduate from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He later received a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1976, which he attended on a ROTC scholarship. He went on to receive a M.B.A. from Boston University in 1980, and a M.A./J.D. from Regent University. McDonnell served in the U.S. Army for twenty-one years, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving active duty in 1981, he joined American Hospital Supply Corporation.

McDonnell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1992, and has held the positions of Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee. In addition, he served on the Committees on Health, Welfare and Institutions, and the Rules Committee.

He and his wife, Maureen Patricia O'Donnell, nee Gardner, have five children, three daughters and one son.


  • M.A./J.D., Regent University, 1989
  • MSBA, Boston University, 1981
  • B.B.A, Notre Dame, 1976
  • Bishop Ireton High School, 1972


2009 gubernatorial election

In 2009, McDonnell defeated state Sen. Creigh Deeds to win Virginia's gubernatorial election. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave McDonnell substantial support, giving $972,877 to his campaign. Four year prior, the Chamber had given $400,000 towards Republican Jerry Kilgore’s failed bid for governor.[2]

2005 attorney general election

In 2005, McDonnell ran for Attorney General of Virginia. The first result showed him with a victory of 323 votes, out of over 1.9 million votes cast, over opponent Creigh Deeds. Deeds went on to file for a recount, which began on December 20, 2005. After preliminary figures revealed 37 additional votes for McDonnell, Deeds conceded, giving McDonnell a 360 vote margin of victory.[3]

Gubernatorial inauguration

Bob McDonnell's swearing-in ceremony on January 16, 2010

McDonnell was inaugurated on January 16, 2010 in Williamsburg.

Along with the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, the Attorney General is seen as one of two candidates in contention to replace the sitting Governor. Virginia Republicans anticipate McDonnell being a candidate for Governor in 2009, which would be the sixth consecutive time an elected Attorney General has run. He has also been mentioned as a candidate for the U.S. Senate if John Warner (the incumbent) retires.


Virginia energy

Virginia was one of the states preparing to engage in offshore drilling and when President Obama put the moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill disaster in 2010, Gov. McDonnell was vocally upset.

“We didn't give up when we had the Challenger disaster in the space program or when we had nuclear meltdowns on Three Mile Island. We did what Americans always do in making progress — we found solutions and moved forward. But this is probably going to slow us down,” the governor said.

McDonnell will hold a conference October 12-14, 2010, "The Governor's Conference on Energy," to tout his message that Virginia will be the energy capital of the East.

The conference will host nearly 800 leaders from many sectors of the energy industry, including advocates for wind farms as well as the energy tycoon, T. Boone Pickens.

“I’ve been a very strong proponent of using all of Virginia’s resources — coal, natural gas, oil, wind, nuclear, offshore-gas, oil, wind alternatives – all of these are a part of our quest for independence,” McDonnell told WTOP radio spring 2010.

McDonnell has also indicated favor towards nuclear power; as of October 2010, Virginia has two nuclear power plants in Surry County and Louisa County. McDonnell says he wants to add more.

“Lynchburg, Va. can be the nuclear capital of America,” McDonnell told Virginia Statehouse News. “It’s clean — very few environmental concerns. Since the meltdown at Three-Mile Island, there have been tremendous technological advancements made. I think it’s a huge part of America’s future.”

The federal government does not support nuclear energy and neither does the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, which is also on the list of exhibitors for the conference. They released a report on Monday saying that the governor is not doing enough for renewable energy projects.

“Governor McDonnell’s ‘all of the above’ approach is more of an ‘all of the status quo’ approach,” the report says, criticizing the governor for supporting renewable energy like wind farms in name only.

McDonnell's office responded by saying that the Sierra Club’s report is one-sided.

“The Sierra Club has willfully chosen to ignore this administration's positive record of supporting alternatives as part of a comprehensive energy solution for Virginia, spokesperson Tucker Martin said.

He said McDonnell’s energy policy is about creating jobs as well as using all sectors of the energy industry.

“Our interest is the economic well-being of the people of Virginia, not the narrow ideological demands of one special interest lobby," Martin said.

The Governor says the energy conference aims to find a solution to both Virginia's and America’s growing energy needs. Virginia imported 55 percent of the energy it used in 2008, the most recent year for which numbers are available. According to state reports, Virginia must grow its energy supply by 15 percent to keep up with demand through 2020.[4]

Ban on offshore drilling

On December 1, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar let it be known that new drilling leases for Virginia will be a long time coming.

McDonnell responded:

“Advances in technology continue to make offshore energy production more cost effective and safe. Instead of using that technology to produce more energy in a responsible manner here at home, this administration apparently prefers that we continue to depend more and more on oil from other nations and foreign cartels with far-less stringent environmental regulations and policies."

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling joined McDonnell in opposing the decision.

"I am very disappointed that the Obama administration has refused to move forward with the responsible development of our nation’s offshore energy resources," Bolling said.

Sen. Mark Warner also agreed with McDonnell. Warner said he was "disappointed" by the announcement.

"Senator Warner will continue to work with Governor McDonnell and other state and local officials, as well as the bipartisan Virginia delegation, to explore ways to re-examine this decision," said a statement from his office.[5]

Freezes and bonuses

McDonnell handed out a one-time bonus to state employees in 2010, but said they should not expect a permanent raise. State employees received a 3-percent bonus in late November 2010, their first pay boost of any kind in three years.

The day before the bonus distribution, McDonnell applauded President Obama’s two-year freeze of federal worker’s wages and said the tough economic times call for austerity.

“We got a $13.5 trillion national debt. Everybody understands now, federal spending is out of control. We’ve got to be able to rein things in,” McDonnel said on WTOP radio. "I think it’s a prudent step. It’s a good start, but they got to do a whole lot more than that if they want to get this budget deficit under control and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington.”

Virginia's employees are also in a wage freeze, but the governor announced state employees would get bonuses as part of the $400-million surplus in the Virginia budget for this fiscal year.

“This was an incentive to cut spending … They only earned it if we saved money at the fiscal year end,” McDonnell said. “What I want to do is create a system where we don’t have that massive spending at the end of the fiscal year.”[6]


One of Gov. McDonnell’s key issues has been Virginia transportation. In December 2010, McDonnell told the Governor’s Transportation Conference that he will spend $400 million on road construction immediately and ask to borrow nearly $3 billion more.

“The more we build today, the better deal we provide to our citizens,” he told the gathering of lawmakers and highway industry representatives.

McDonnell said he would take advantage of the low highway-construction costs in late 2010 to early 2011. He planned to ask the General Assembly to pour money into the state’s transportation funding.

The governor said the state has dropped the ball on transportation funding and indicated he intends to make that up with several measures. The transportation budget has been cut multiple times in the years before McDonnell was inaugurated, totaling $6 billion in cuts, McDonnell said.

“Over the past two decades, state support for transportation has not kept up with our growth as a Commonwealth. This has led to more congestion, longer commutes and missed economic opportunities, McDonnell said.

McDonnell intends to infuse a transportation infrastructure bank with cash, specifically $150 million from the budget surplus and $250 million from an audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation.[7]

Pension fund

McDonnell unveiled a plan in late December 2010 that would have all employees, new and current, contribute 5 percent of their pay to their retirement. At that time, McDonnell outlined that he would give them a 3 percent salary increase.

“This is a start for fixing the pension system that has been out of whack for years and years. I will not pass on a broken system to another governor,” McDonnell said.

The governor's plan could leave employees with a cut in take-home pay. At least one employee group voiced concern.

The Virginia Government Employees Association is pleased that McDonnell is making an effort to return the retirement system to sound financial footing, but it is not happy with what it perceives as a reduction in pay for members.

“We have deep concerns about his proposal to have current state employees begin contributing 5 percent of their salary to the retirement system," VGEA said in a statement release after the governor's announcement. "While the governor is attempting to keep employee salaries whole in the proposal, he relies on a potential pay bonus using year-end savings in the state budget to do so. The net effect is that without the bonus, state employees could face a pay cut amounting to a little over 2 percent."[8]

$3 billion proposal

As part of his budget amendments, McDonnell said he wants to help pay for $4 billion in new transportation spending by issuing $3 billion in bonds.

A majority of the new bonds McDonnell’s suggesting were already approved in 2007, but had yet to be sold. He’s hoping to raise $1.8 billion within three years by selling those bonds at twice the speed: $600 million per year instead of the original $300 million per year.

“I don’t think that selling bonds that are already authorized, and are already built into our existing debt capacity models, getting the best deals in modern Virginia history and putting thousands of Virginians to work while doing it, should be that controversial,” McDonnell said last Friday.

Most legislators seemed to agree, but they were confused about the governor's wish to raise $1.1 billion by issuing a type of bonds called GARVEE bonds that are paid by the federal government to help fund pre-approved transportation projects.[9]

See also

External links