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McAuliffe names bipartisan transition team

November 7, 2013 / Jim Nolan / Richmond Times Dispatch

Less than 24 hours after winning the Virginia governorship in a bitterly contested campaign with Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe announced a transition team and reiterated his pledge to govern in a bipartisan manner over the next four years.

In keeping with his bipartisan message, McAuliffe announced a transition team that reflects members from both parties.

Addressing reporters at the Virginia Capitol, McAuliffe, accompanied by his wife, Dorothy, said his victory Tuesday was “about people from every corner of the commonwealth, affirming their desire in leadership from Richmond that is fair, inclusive, pragmatic and focused as never before on jobs and a better quality of life for our children and our grandchildren.”

“To those who did not support me — to those who voted for either of the two worthy opponents, let me just say that I will get up every single day working for you,” McAuliffe said. “I will do everything I can to earn your trust and respect during the next four years. I will do that by building an administration that is truly bipartisan.”

McAuliffe said he has begun reaching out to state lawmakers and pledged to “build friendship and mutual trust. The hand of friendship will be extended throughout my term as governor,’ he added.

McAuliffe will need a helping hand to accomplish many of his goals in a divided General Assembly, where Republicans control the House of Delegates and Democrats appear poised to regain control of an evenly divided Virginia Senate.

GOP leaders have signaled opposition to McAuliffe’s major policy initiative — to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Leaders have also warned against any tax increase proposals to bankroll McAuliffe’s priorities of increased teacher pay, and early childhood education.

Del. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, will chair McAuliffe’s transition team, along with former Republican Sen. John Chichester of Stafford.

“John knows that compromise is actually a good thing,” McAuliffe said.

Transition team co-chairs also include Nancy Rodrigues, the former head of the State Board of Elections who served as treasurer of McAuliffe’s campaign, and former delegate and Transportation Secretary Whitt Clement.

Paul Reagan, a former official in Gov. Mark R. Warner’s office who most recently served as chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., was named transition director.

McAuliffe also appointed Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Charlottesville-based bestselling author John Grisham and his wife, Renee, to chair his inaugural committee.