Governor McAuliffe gives State of the Commonwealth Address

Governor McAuliffe gives State of the Commonwealth Address

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Battle lines were drawn on the first day of the General Assembly session. After Tuesday's special election, Republicans maintain control in the Senate and House, while Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is fired up for his last year in office.

McAuliffe presented his State of the Commonwealth address in the House Chamber Wednesday night.

NBC12 interviewed both the Governor and Republican House Majority Leader about what they're focused on this session - the $1 billion budget deficit, transportation, education funding and job creation.

"I'm fired up, but as you know, I'm always fired up," said McAuliffe.

He is fired up for his last year in office and his goals for this session. He wants to make sure students are being trained to fill high tech jobs.

"Our problem is we have high paying jobs, but we're not filling them. That is the worst of the worst, because these jobs will go to other states," said McAuliffe.

After meeting with companies in California, who he says asked about the controversial bathroom bill, he emphasized he'll veto it.

"Do not think for one second that these discriminatory bills on LGBT members...they are job killers. Companies have opportunities to go all over the globe.  And go to 50 states, they are not going to a state that is putting walls up around them," said McAuliffe.

"I think it's getting too much attention. It's ironic the governor talks about being open for business, then talks about social issues," said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox.

Cox says a top priority this session will be balancing the budget after a $1.26 billion deficit resulted in canceling pay raises for state workers. While Congress considers repealing the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion will again be a contentious topic for Virginia.

"If we don't repeal the Affordable Care Act, we have to immediately take Medicaid expansion," said Cox. "We'll pull that out of the budget, we don't agree with that."

This year, the House of Delegates will provide archive video of session debates. So in addition to watching the live stream, you can watch archived video on the General Assembly website.

Here is the full transcript of the Governor's State of the Commonwealth address:

Speaker Howell, Leader Norment, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Virginia General Assembly, thank you for inviting me to speak to you this evening. And to the people of Virginia who are with us tonight or watching from home, thank you for the honor of serving you as this Commonwealth's 72nd Governor.

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