RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Before Governor Bob McDonnell even said a word at a town hall in Chester Thursday night, a leading democratic Senator said that his plan to privatize ABC stores wasn't going anywhere. But that didn't stop the Governor from making the case that it was time to get Virginia out of the booze business.
For more than an hour and half Gov McDonnell took questions on everything from energy to education, from agriculture to abortion. But while his pitch was subtle he made his opinion on ABC stores clear.
"Just because Its worked well for 20 or 30 or 50 years, doesn't mean in 2010 that its the best way to do things," said McDonnell to a room of about 350 at the Cultural Center of India on Ironbridge Parkway.
McDonnell's goal to privatize the state's liquor stores took a hit when Sen. Dick Saslaw, the Virginia Senate Majority Leader told reporters, the concept has no chance of passing his house.
"I would say right now it would not pass the senate, nor is it even close," Saslaw said. "There is no way you can make the numbers work without tripling the amount of booze that is consumed in the state of Virginia. That's great we are raising money to build roads by putting drunks out there in their cars."
McDonnell countered by saying it's tough to be opposed to something that hasn't been fully proposed.
"I don't have a plan announced yet, so it seems to be a little premature," said the Governor. "Secondly we've been talking to a lot of Senators and Delegates that are either open or supportive of the idea."
And he pledged to answer every concern his legislative colleagues have with the concept, before the bill is put to a vote.
McDonnell has said all along that the knows there is opposition to the idea of privatizing ABC stores. The goal of his town halls and the ones he's yet to hold is to convince Virginians that it is the right way to go.
*you can see more about the debate over ABC privatization on our political blog DecisionVirginia.com