Virginia’s Gubernatorial Transition

Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell’s (R) November election with 59% of the vote comes on the heels of eight years of Democratic Administrations and his transition is in full swing in anticipation of his inauguration January 16, 2010.

Governor-Elect McDonnell appointed his Transition Leadership Team soon after his election and the team includes:

  • Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R)
  • Attorney General William C. Mims (R)
  • Thomas F. Farrell, Chairman, President and CEO of Dominion Power
  • Bobbie Kilberg, President of the Northern Virginia Technology Council
  • Kay Coles James, President and Founder of the Gloucester Institute

Earlier this month Governor-Elect McDonnell began announcing his appointees, a number of them coming from the Attorney General’s Office. They include:

Martin Kent, Chief of Staff

  • Formerly served as Chief Counsel for then-Attorney General McDonnell, coordinating the Office’s representation of state boards and commissions and interaction with the Governor’s Office and the Virginia General Assembly.

 Marla Decker, Secretary of Public Safety

  • Formerly served as Deputy Attorney General in the Public Safety and Enforcement Division for then-Attorney General McDonnell.

 Ric Brown, Secretary of Finance

  • Formerly appointed Secretary of Finance by Governor Tim Kaine in August 2008. Previously, he was appointed by Governor Jim Gilmore (R), Governor Mark Warner (D) and Governor Tim Kaine (D) to serve as Acting Director of the Department of Planning and Budget.

 Eric Finkbeiner, Senior Advisor for Policy (a cabinet level position in the McDonnell Administration)

  • Formerly served as a policy advisor to Governor George Allen (R) on public safety and transportation issues. Formerly served as Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Criminal Justice Services for Governor L. Douglas Wilder (D).

Tucker Martin, Director of Communications

  • Formerly served as Director of Communications during McDonnell’s term as Attorney General.

Robert C. Sledd, Secretary of Commerce and Trade

  • Former chairman and CEO of Performance Food Group Company.

Janet Polarek, Secretary of the Commonwealth

  • Formerly served as Governor-Elect McDonnell’s campaign manager.

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R), New Jobs Czar (a cabinet level position in the McDonnell Administration)

In addition, the number of people advising Governor-Elect McDonnell in 13 different policy areas stood at 300 as of December 10, with additions still coming. Governor-Elect McDonnell’s appointments to his advisory committees have been bipartisan.

Governor-Elect McDonnell’s priorities once he takes office include: balancing the budget through spending cuts, increasing transportation funding and offering incentives for economic development and job growth. However, Virginia is facing a projected $3.5 billion budget gap and with a General Assembly where Democrats maintain a one-seat majority in the Senate, Governor-Elect McDonnell’s agenda may get sidelined.

Governor Tim Kaine (D) will deliver his budget proposal to lawmakers December 18. It is expected that he will utilize tax increases and reduction of tax credits to balance the budget. Governor-Elect McDonnell is allowed to propose changes to Governor Kaine’s budget after he takes office and he says that he will prevent any efforts by Governor Kaine to increase taxes to balance the budget and will instead rely on spending cuts to bridge the projected $3.5 billion budget gap. Governor-Elect McDonnell has requested all agencies report on their inventory of projects, possible cost savings and potential problems as a way to save money and streamline his administration.

Governor Kaine is delivering his final State of the Commonwealth Address January 13, 2010. According to staff, Governor-Elect McDonnell has no plans to address the General Assembly with his agenda…yet.

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