RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia's new governor addressed the joint assembly Monday night for the first time. In his 45-minute speech, Governor Terry McAuliffe laid out his priorities for the next four years.
Among those priorities is medicaid expansion.
"There must be no higher priority than health care coverage for more of our citizens," McAuliffe said. "Across Virginia, there are almost one million people who lack health insurance coverage. We can start by acting on the consensus of Virginia's business and health care communities to use Virginians' own federal tax dollars to provide access to health coverage to as many as 400,000 uninsured Virginians."
McAuliffe also expressed a need for SOL-testing reform.
"The SOLs have been a tremendous success for our state, but they are now a generation old and need to be modernized to fit the needs of today's families and today's economy."
The Governor also touched on expanding access to early childhood education and to four-year colleges. He is in support of the DREAM Act and wants it to pass in the Commonwealth.
"Expanding access to higher education not only benefits our students it benefits our economy," said McAuliffe. "That is why I support offering the children of immigrants who have been living, learning and paying taxes in this Commonwealth for years that opportunity to study at our colleges and universities."
McAuliffe also announced that starting next Spring, Carnival Cruises will set sail from Norfolk.
"I am pleased to announce that after ceasing operations in Virginia 18 months ago, Carnival, the world's largest cruise line, intends to resume sailing from Norfolk in the spring and fall of 2015. This renewed activity in Hampton Roads will not only generate important tourism dollars for the Commonwealth, but will also be a catalyst for job growth," said the Governor.
McAuliffe said, his goal is to make Carnival a mainstay in the commonwealth, which he says, will create jobs and generate tourism dollars.