Saturday, January 16, 2010

Inauguration Day in Richmond

The Inauguration of Gov. Bob McDonnell took place in Richmond today. It was an interesting experience.

We had a joint session in the morning where most of Virginia's federal elected officials, former statewide office holders (including one constituent (George Allen)), the Supreme Court Justices, and some other dignitaries attended before we marched out on stage. I also got to finally meet one of my new constituents, Former U.S. Senator John Warner whose door I knocked during the campaign and we spoke for a while (he wasn't home when I knocked). He's a real class act.

The ceremony itself was fairly short and sweet. The new Governor discussed some of his priorities. I was disappointed he chose to attack the concept of federalism, but otherwise it was a fairly good speech.

I am very concerned that transportation does not seem to be a focus of this Governor for this session especially after "the twelve funding mechanisms" he trumpted in his campaign and the huge criticism that was levelled at his opponent. Transportation was mentioned in one sentence of the Inaugural Address. I've heard rumors that a special session may be brewing for August. We will see.

After a scrum of F-22's flew over and Virginia's Native American tribes celebrated the Inauguration with a ceremony at the base of the podium, the parade began and I ran down the hill to a few receptions.

I ran into former Governor Wilder and we had fun remembering my last visit to the Governor's Mansion back in 1993. I also tracked down new Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Hazel. I spoke to both of them out the priorities for my district.

Secretary Connaughton understands the importance of improving U.S. 1 especially since he used to live in Sequoyah Condomiums off Buckman Road and was the former Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Secretary Hazel is a orthopedic surgeon from Northern Virginia who also understand the importance of human services in the 44th. I am optimistic about working with them moving forward.

After the receptions, I went back to the office, Skyped with my wife and kids for 20 minutes, and hunkered down for six hours to catch up on my backed up law practice, cleaning up my desk and getting ready for the week. I'm looking forward to seeing some folks from home for my ceremonial swearing in tomorrow afternoon in the Capitol and then committee meetings start next week.

It's time to starting making sausage.

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