McAuliffe comes to town, wins primary

It’s full steam ahead in the race for Virginia Governor
Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), fields questions outside Community Solutions Center on Melrose Ave. NW on June 7, 2021. McAuliffe seeks to regain his seat in the race for governor. Mayor Sherman Lea looks on. – Photos by S. Hale

by S. Rotan Hale

Terry McAuliffe, as governor of Virginia (2014-2018), ushered in a level of economic prosperity statewide that research shows raised and maintained regional standards to beneficial levels that had not been seen in years.

With the Democratic Primary in the bag for McAuliffe, who rose victorious with 62% of the vote over a hefty slew of five other candidates, he now sets his sights on the big race with all focus on securing his old job as Virginia’s next governor. As a seasoned politician, McAuliffe is well on his way, not only touting his previous accomplishments but also pushing his vision for Virginia.

On a recent stop canvassing southwest Virginia, McAuliffe visited several area businesses–interacting with locals as he laid out future plans for the state.

“We need a Democratic legislature, we have a 5-seat majority. Donald Trump helped to drive the Democratic party back but he’s not here anymore. It’s up to us as Democrats to get the votes out. Don’t sit at home. If we want the change we’re talking about we’ve got to vote and keep the Democrats plugged in place. And when we do, this state is going to take off like a booster-rocket,” McAuliffe emphatically stated to reporters outside Feeding SWVA’s Community Solutions Center on Melrose Ave. NW.

The visit involved a very personal hands-on photo op where the seasoned politician joined in actually making sub sandwiches with the facility’s kitchen staff. An hour-long Q&A session followed with several facility heads and local officials with whom McAuliffe discussed various issues of concern as: basic food availability–especially childhood nutrition, education, etc.

“Childhood nutrition was one of the key marks of my administration as governor. When we came into office we were faced with all these children with no access to a healthy nutritious meal. Children are eager to learn but they can’t learn if they are hungry,” he said.

McAuliffe placed Dorothy, his wife of 32 years, in charge of launching a childhood nutrition program involving a coalition of anti-hunger advocates, hunger specialists, a host of school and community leaders all charged to combat child hunger. The effort resulted in “13 million more meals served in schools” by the end of his term.

McAuliffe went on to speak about conditions brought on by the administration prior to his term as governor.

“Think of where we were eight years ago when I took office with record deficits, “anti-women, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-environment and poor gun legislation across America. That was eight years ago,” he said. “We’re subject to go back if we don’t keep winning these elections, getting this governorship and the House of Delegates. That’s what’s going to carry Virginia in the next election.”

Former governor Terry McAulaffe (right) enjoys a moment in the Community Solution Center kitchen with center director Cheryl Cobbs (left) and Shaqueena Snyder one of several chefs at the facility.

Responding to one reporter’s question regarding Democrats’ grip on the General Assembly and his allegiance to the body, McAuliffe referred to his record.

“I’m always out for the General Assembly. No one campaigned harder in 2019 as I held 140 events in 60 days. That helped the party tremendously,” he boasted.

Speaking of his efforts to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans, McAuliffe reflected on his foiled attempts to do so.

“I had the pleasure of working with the Republicans, it’s no fun, they didn’t want to cooperate. As a result we forfeited $2.2 billion regarding health care, so I’m done with that,” he said emphatically.

After touring the facility McAuliffe, along with wife Dorothy and a small entourage, dropped in on The Roanoke Tribune (next door) for an enthusiastic meet-and-greet with 93-year-old editor Claudia Whitworth where the two spoke briefly about the newspaper’s history as he and his team met with other Tribune staff.

McAuliffe’s towering win positions him as the Democratic candidate in the general election, Nov. 2021, against Republican challenger and Trump supporter, Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia race for governor.