Bob McDonnell Showcases Va. Economy as Romney Considers VP Choices
This report is part of our ongoing Divided by D.C. project, exploring two governors, two visions, one election year.
Gov. Bob McDonnell says Virginia can be a model for national economic success, a message he happens to be taking across his state just as Mitt Romney is considering his options for a running mate.
McDonnell, a Republican elected in 2009, is showcasing Virginia's 5.6 percent unemployment rate while highlighting his own efforts to bring new jobs to the state.
Politics Editor Christina Bellantoni and reporter-producer Cassie Chew recently joined McDonnell to cover his jobs tour in rural Southside Virginia. The governor told the NewsHour his efforts, rooted in conservative values, are the prescription for economic success.
"I would suggest that what we're trying to do with Virginia with taxes is keep regulations low, limit lawsuits, provide great universities and just be positive about entrepreneurs, about people who create jobs and then, provide a little incentive money in tax credits and get companies to come and existing businesses to grow," McDonnell said.
He pointed to two examples of companies growing their business to the former tobacco region -- consultant ICF International is expanding to a new site in Martinsville and manufacturing and engineering services firm EIT last fall opened a second plant in Danville.
McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, dubbed the state's "job creations officer," assured business owners and workers of his commitment to transforming the economically struggling region to be the ideal location for technology firms.
While promoting his own efforts, McDonnell also has become an ardent Romney supporter, saying that his experiences in the private sector show Romney's potential for creating jobs and reducing unemployment.
"That's what we need right now with this unemployment rate, somebody who understands the American dream because he's lived the American dream," McDonnell said at a Republican Party barbecue in Danville. The event was meant to drum up support both for Romney and for Bolling's expected 2013 gubernatorial bid.
Although their states lie adjacent, Virginia and Maryland and the two men in charge of governing them seem miles apart with respect to the ideals represented by their respective political parties. The NewsHour's Kwame Holman will be tracking both McDonnell and Maryland's Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, and the politics team will be talking with voters about which vision for government they think is the better prescription for economic recovery.
Cassie M. Chew shot the video of the jobs tour and produced this piece.
Special thanks to reporter/producers Terence Burlij and Crispin Lopez, desk assistants Alex Bruns and Ryan C. Brooks, Jackie Thompson on camera and editors Dan Knapp, Todd Holme, Susan Kersey, Mark Anderson and Bob Hartman, graphics by Mike Harry.