Gov. McAuliffe delivers final State of the Commonwealth address

Gov. McAuliffe delivers final State of the Commonwealth address

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe delivered his final State of the Commonwealth on Wednesday night.

In his final State of the Commonwealth, McAuliffe described how far Virginia's economy has come - from suffering from sequestration and the recession, to growing what he calls the New Virginia Economy.

"Our initial unemployment claims are at a 43-year low. There are more than 200,000 more jobs today than in 2014," said McAuliffe.

He announced 58 new jobs coming to Prince George County.

"I am proud to announce that Service Center Metals will invest $45.2 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Prince George County," said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe touted making the largest investment in education in Virginia's history, ending veteran homelessness, and fighting for women's access to health care.

"When draconian regulations threatened to shutter nearly all of Virginia's women's health clinics, we stood as a brick wall to protect women's access to care," said McAuliffe.

He talked about his record 120 vetoes, saying most were to protect civil rights and equality. He talked about one of his proudest accomplishments, restoring civil rights for felons and giving them a second chance.

"My team has worked with all three branches of government to finalize a process that we have used to restore the rights of more than 173,000 Virginians, more than any governor in the history of the United States of America!" said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe thanked his cabinet members, staff, state police, and fellow legislators for their service. And he remembered the sacrifice of two troopers and protester Heather Heyer, killed during the Alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville.

"When Neo-Nazis and white supremacists invaded her community, she stood up and met their hatred with love," said McAuliffe.

Then the governor made one last push to expand Medicaid, and said his farewells.

"I want to say how truly grateful I am to the people of Virginia for the honor of serving as your governor," said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe will be leaving office on Saturday as Democrat Ralph Northam is sworn into office.

Northam said this week that his top priorities will be getting both parties to work together, job creation and economic opportunities for students. He and McAuliffe have also said as more Democrats have come into power, now is the chance to tackle Medicaid expansion and changes to gun laws.

Also Wednesday, the General Assembly's 60-day session kicked off with several new lawmakers taking office.

Kirk Cox was elected as the Speaker of the House on Wednesday.

Here is the complete transcript of the State of the Commonwealth Address as prepared for delivery:

Ladies and gentlemen – my fellow Virginians – good evening.

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