McAuliffe puts the focus on bi-partisanship as he takes office - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

McAuliffe puts the focus on bi-partisanship as he takes office

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Terry McAuliffe has big plans, a major reform of the state's ethics laws, serious changes to the mental health system and a re-vamped S.O.L. testing system, but his biggest challenge may be his biggest campaign promise, expanding the state's Medicaid program.

It is a part of the controversial Affordable Care Act, a move house republicans have vowed to stand in the way of, but McAullife believes the expansion of Medicaid is a necessity and something he plans to fight for.

"The goal should be how do you cover the 400,000 Virginians?" McAuliffe asked. "How do we bring back Virginia's money?"

He believes the expansion will create 30,000 jobs in the Commonwealth, and despite the strong Republican opposition, he believes he can get it pushed through by setting a bi-partisan tone. A tone he set during the campaign.

"Folks wanna us to work together, they have had enough of the partisan bickering, they want results they want to get the show on the road," McAuliffe said.

That means attempting to avoid bickering over controversial social issues. McAuliffe has vowed to stop any further expansion of restrictions on abortion but also won't work to undo some of the restrictions put in place during the McDonnell administration.

"I would veto any legislation that would restrict women's rights. I think we are in a very good place, so let's move forward on economic issues and what voters want us to focus on," said the Governor-Elect.

Jobs and the economy are his top priority, above all else, including politics. McAuliffe is done campaigning. Even if it means one of his closest friends, Hillary Clinton, decides to run for president.

"At this stage no, I've done that," he said. "It's been a great part of my life, but to be honest with you, I'm past the politics, I'm now into governing."

Governing that begins as soon as he takes the oath of office.

And the idea that McAuliffe might be on the sidelines when it comes to another presidential bid for Hillary Clinton seems surprising. McAuliffe and the Clintons remain close. Both the former president and secretary of state plan to be in attendance at Saturday's inauguration.

We have more on McAuliffe's decision to avoid campaigning in the future on DecisionVirginia.com.

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