McDonnell needs last session to shape legacy

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Wednesday marks the start of the Virginia General Assembly session. There are showdowns expected on transportation, uranium mining and texting while driving. While some of those bills will draw some attention the overriding story is Governor Bob McDonnell's last opportunity to shape his legacy.

Governors in Virginia are in a unique position. The only chief executives in America constitutionally prohibited from running for back to back terms.

"Where are all of you at my normal press conferences?" the governor joked this morning to a packed house.

With only four years McDonnell is running out time to shape a legacy and he is pushing to make his last year count.

Tuesday he unveiled an ambitious plan to fund transportation that eliminates the gas tax and bumps up the state sales tax. It was a promise he made when he ran for governor.

"If this was easy it would've been done 26 years ago," he said.

That was the last time a long term transportation funding plan was put into place. Creating a new one would help McDonnell's legacy to stand out.

To this point it's something he has been unable to do.

McDonnell has stumbled at transformational reforms like attempting to privatize state ABC stores. He plans to use 2013 as his chance to finish things off.

In addition to transportation, McDonnell has already proposed a plan to increase pay to teachers, along with a system to fire those who aren't performing.  He could expand his effort to increase college degrees and he still needs to figure out how to handle President Obama's health care reform act.

All in all, the 2013 session could be a busy one for the governor, and in terms of his legacy that could be a good thing.

It should be easier for the governor to reach his goals because he once again has the benefit of his party in control of both houses. We should learn more about his priorities at tomorrow night's State of the Commonwealth.

You can see the governor's speech streamed live on at 7pm.

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