Jody Wagner Takes Aim At Bill Bolling

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jody Wagner, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, spoke at the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee breakfast yesterday morning and did not hesitate to open up on (and lay into) her Republican opponent, Bill Bolling, accusing him essentially of being asleep on the job during his tenure. Wagner rhetorically asked the assembled "How many of you have seen Bill Bolling in Virginia Beach over the past three and a half years?" And no one could remember a single visit. “He hasn’t been anywhere…”
I am running because the Lieutenant Governor cannot just sit around. The Lieutenant Governor has got get things done. And for the past three and a half years, you’ve had a Lieutenant Governor who’s left the office vacant.
Bolling as Lieutenant Governor is assigned to five boards and commissions. Wagner argued that Bolling hasn’t paid much attention to them. A few of them, she pointed out, are really important to the Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia areas. The Virginia Military Advisory Council is made up of retired military, legislators, lobbyists, and citizens who want to maintain a strong relationship with the military. The legislature saw this council as so important that it assigned the Lieutenant Governor to that commission.
If there’s one industry in Virginia Beach that is absolutely essential to maintain so that we can have a thriving economy, it’s the military. In fact, without the military our unemployment rate would be much higher than it is right now in Virginia Beach. The Military Advisory council meets in order to enhance the relationship with the military and look for ways top move the Commonwealth forward. We compete, not only against other parts of Virginia for the military, we compete against Florida, as you know, we’re competing against North Carolina. So it’s important that we have a good relationship with the military…Guess what? Bill Bolling has never darkened the door of a Council meeting! He’s never gone! It gets worse!
The Lieutenant Governor also used to chair the Virginia Disabilities Commission. But, when Tim Kaine became Lieutenant Governor, Republicans in the General Assembly feared that this might give Kaine too much opportunity, so they changed his participation to simple membership. Evidently, being a member of the Disabilities Commission isn't important to Bill Bolling because he’s never shown up at those meetings either.

There are three other commissions that the Lieutenant Governor is on. Bolling has done better with one of those, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, attending a quarter of its meetings. Other than that, Bolling has been a no-show.
In fact, out of all of the meetings he was asked to go to by virtue of his role, he has gone to five percent (5%). Now, if my kids go to school 5% of the time, they’d probably flunk. If you show up for work 5% of the time, there’s a good chance you’re going to get fired. Bill Bolling shows up 5% of the time and he wants you to renew his contract.

Bob McDonnell has said that Bill Bolling is going to be the jobs czar, he’s going to be the one to create jobs. Well, if he does that 5% of the time, we are in real trouble in Virginia.
Wagner declared that she is running for Lieutenant Governor to make sure we pursue job creation in a very robust and creative way. Wagner points out that Virginia's dropout rate statewide is one in five, and that “that is not okay.” Wagner called for early childhood education and reminded the group that Bill Bolling used a legislative procedure to try and block Tim Kaine's expansion of early childhood education for at-risk kids. “He must really not like four year olds,” Wagner declared.

Wagner added that we have to deal with transportation, saying, "We can’t deal with it through tricks and words." Quoting Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11), Wagner said, “You can’t build roads with fairy dust.” “We have to have,” she said, “real resources, a real plan, we have to roll up our sleeves and get it done.”
We’d love to be in a robust economy where we don’t have to make any hard decisions on budget choices. Unfortunately, the failed policies of the Bush administration and lax regulation resulted in very bad decisions which all of us are paying for…But we need people who are leading that are going to help make the decisions to pull us out of it in a robust fashion. And, when we are going to have to make difficult decisions, are going to make decisions that are in the best interest of the people of Virginia, not just politics as usual.
To be fair, I acknowledge I have attended an event with Bolling in Newport News and remember seeing him at Shad Planking. Neither of those appearances, however, were remotely related to executing the duties of Lieutenant Governor.

Cross posted at VBDems