McDonnell hoping more republicans will help push through his agenda

RICHMOND (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell laid out his agenda for 2012 tonight in his annual State of the Commonwealth. This will be the first session where the Republican Party has control of both houses of the General Assembly.

Control of the Senate is still doubt, but Governor McDonnell should have a lot more support in the G.A. this year. Wednesday night he said he will go after some controversial policy goals. They are goals that might be out of the question if democrats still held a senate majority.

The governor only mentioned the ongoing drama in the State Senate once.

"To the members in the majority I say: Don't be arrogant. Don't overreach. To the members in the minority: Don't be angry. Don't obstruct," he said.

After that he launched into a long list of priorities, ones that would be difficult with a divided General Assembly and may still be tough given the 20-20 senate split. A challenge he asked they approach as professionals.

"Let's be civil and productive," he requested.

Among his proposals: A major cash investment to spur job growth.

"I am asking you to put $38 million more into targeted programs that spur job creation," said McDonnell.

He will push to review educator's contracts on a yearly basis.

"I am asking that we remove the continuing contract status from teachers and principals," said the governor.

Plus he proposed moving as much as $110 million from the general fund and earmarking it for transportation. He'd also like to revamp the Virginia Retirement System.

All things he admits should be easier to accomplish with more republicans voting on the measures.

"I have more people on my team that share my ideas and my values and my view of limited government," he said.

That is exactly what concerns minority democrats like Richmond's Jennifer McCllellan, who wonders if any members of the governor's own party will challenge some of his controversial policies.

"I think this is the moderate republican's moment of truth," she said. "It will be interesting to see what they do."

And what concerns McClellan the most is what the governor didn't talk about today, bills on social issues, immigration and voter identification. Those are policies that republicans have pushed in the past, but have been killed in a democratic senate.

This year, everything is different.

All setting the stage for what could be a transformational 2012 session.

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