McDonnell legacy faces pivotal 2011 General Assembly session
The 2011 Virginia General Assembly begins Wednesday. This is a short year session. Lawmakers are only scheduled to convene for 46 days. That means all deliberations should be complete before the end of February.
Within that 46 days could be a torrid of activity on very important issues, many that have the potential to define Bob McDonnell‘s legacy as Virginia’s Governor. While much of what determines voter’s opinion of McDonnell in the short-term is his stewardship of the budget and the economy, his long-term place in the history of Virginia governors will depend on how successful he is at pushing through transformational changes to state government. Among his proposals: a plan to privatize state ABC stores, an unprecedented investment in the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure and significant changes to the administration of the Virginia Retirement System.
Just like every Virginia governor before him, McDonnell has the challenge of passing these landmark changes all in one term. He does not have the benefit of running for re-election, so if these things are going to happen, they have to happen now.
That is why his second General Assembly session is so important.
At this point in his term, McDonnell will still be the Chief Executive longer than he won’t be. By next year’s session, building momentum will be a difficult proposition. Not only will the presidential election begin in earnest, but the people lining up to replace him will actively start their quest to take over. (A process that really is already beginning behind the scenes)
2011 is a session that will be completely focused on McDonnell’s leadership. Can he work with his resistant colleagues in the democratic controlled Senate and convince enough of his old friends in the republican controlled House of Delegates to push his agenda through? These next 46 days may tell us quite a bit about the type of Governor McDonnell will be remembered as.
What do you think the General Assembly should be focused on in 2011? Give us your take, by weighing in on the NBC12 Facebook page or in the comments section below.
Here is what we have planned on NBC12 for the first day of session:
*Live coverage from the State Capitol– I’ll be live starting at Noon, 4, 5 & 6 today with what legislators are looking forward to in 2011.
*Coverage of Governor McDonnell’s “State of the Commonwealth”- The Governor delivers his annual address to a joint session of the legislature tonight at 7pm. NBC12 will stream the address live on NBC12.com. I will have a live recap of the speech on 12 News at 11.
*Expanded online coverage on NBC12.com- In addition to regular in-depth updates, here on Decision Virginia, we will organize all of the contributions from our NBC 12 team on a special General Assembly 2011 page on our main site.
Our coverage starts today at Noon..