Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe's Acceptance Speech

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MCAULIFFE: Over the past months, I’ve started speeches thanking a lot of political figures.

But I’m so glad that tonight the person introducing me is my best friend and my wife, Dorothy. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

When we decided to do this campaign, we decided together because we understood that it was a journey we’d be taking together.

And Dorothy, I could not be happier to have you at my side.

And our five kids have been involved in this campaign from Day 1: Dori, Jack, Mary, Sally, and Peter.

All seven of us are so incredibly grateful to the most amazing volunteers and team leaders ever assembled on a Governor’s race. During this campaign, you knocked on over 2 million doors ­ a number that you still have to pause for a second just to comprehend.

The truth is that I got a lot of my energy from seeing you all work so hard. When I came to a canvass kickoff or phone bank and saw so many of you, it fired me up.  It kept me going 100% during 16 hour days.

I know you all gave up time with family because you believed this election was that important. Thank you so much and please give yourselves and enormous round of applause.

And thank you to my extraordinary campaign staff ­ particularly the field team who consistently set new records for Virginia politics.

And I want to thank the historic number of Republicans who crossed party lines to support me. You were powerful voices for our mainstream campaign.


Most importantly, I want to thank the voters of Virginia for your support – from Lee County to Virginia Beach to Winchester. Thank you!

Look, I know this has been a very hard fought race. Part of that was the nature of politics and part of it was that the Attorney General and I had very big differences on a lot of issues.


I think every single person in Virginia is glad the TV ads are over.

And I know passions are high but I think its important to recognize that while the Attorney General and I had a lot of differences, he is a principled man who has sacrificed an enormous amount during this campaign especially time with his family. I thank Ken Cuccinelli for his service and his dedication.

Virginia and America have seen contentious races before ­ and every time, we end up coming together to pursue the common good.

One particularly famous Virginian confronted a bitterly divided electorate after the Presidential election of 1800.

But instead of relishing his victory or governing only for his supporters, Thomas Jefferson devoted much of his first inaugural address to bridging partisan divides.

He said: “But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle.” 

Two hundred and thirteen years later, the truth is that our differences of opinion are still often not a difference of principle or goal.

Over the next four years, most Democrats and Republicans want to make Virginia:


·      A model for pragmatic leadership that is friendly to job creation.

·      A model for strong schools that prepare students for jobs of tomorrow.

·      A model for welcoming the best and the brightest scientists and innovators no matter your race, gender, religion or whom you love.

·      And a model for an efficient transportation system that reduces gridlock for families and business.


But all of that is only possible if Virginia is also the model for bipartisan cooperation.  That’s a view that I share with the next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam. And the next Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring!

While there are a lot of proud Democrats here, we’re all particularly proud to welcome the Republicans who joined us tonight.

The truth is that this election was never a choice between Democrats and Republicans ­ it was a choice about whether Virginia would continue the mainstream, bipartisan tradition that has served us so well over the past decade.

At a time when Washington was often broken, just think about what Virginia has accomplished by working together:

Under Governor Mark Warner, we preserved our Triple-A bond rating and made the single largest investment in K-12 education in Virginia history.

Under Governor Tim Kaine, we were honored as the “Best Managed State” and “the Best State to Do Business” as he prudently guided Virginia through the Great Recession.

Under Governor Bob McDonnell, our unemployment is one of the lowest on the East Coast and we passed the first transportation funding compromise in 27 years with bipartisan support­ an accomplishment that simply cannot be overstated.

Now, during the next four years, it will be my obligation and honor to continue that tradition.  And to get started, over the next three months, I am going to work hard to reach out to every Republican in the General Assembly. I want to listen and work with them to advance our shared goals.

The economic challenges facing Virginia are daunting: Sequestration for another year and even more federal budget cuts on the horizon.

But for those of you who know me well, I believe that a daunting challenge is always a great opportunity.

Working together, we will protect the jobs we have but also diversify our economy.

First, is workforce training. For me, the best part of this campaign was visiting all 23 community colleges. You meet people of all ages who are gaining new skills for a new economy ­ and finding opportunity that simply wouldn’t exist otherwise.  


They are our true engines of workforce development but we’ve reduced funding and created unnecessary red tape for local colleges.

Second, the passage of the funding bill is only the first step in addressing the critical transportation problems we face in Virginia. Over the next four years, we have to prove to taxpayers that we can spend their money effectively and efficiently to reduce congestion and create economic activity.

And, in the coming months we face a critical moment on Medicaid expansion.
It was perhaps the clearest issue that voters had a choice on during this election.


But, again it wasn’t really a partisan choice. Instead, a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business groups and hospitals have said that we need to accept the Medicaid expansion­ to bring Virginia’s taxpayer money back to Virginia.

Throughout this campaign, I have listened to the concerns of Republican friends; that’s why I am committed to finding consensus on how to both reform and expand Medicaid. 

And whether its education, transportation or healthcare, it is absolutely critical that we move forward in a way that is fiscally responsible. Virginia has a national reputation for strong fiscal management and that’s something I’m deeply committed to sustaining.

Finally, I wanted to say something specifically to the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who supported my opponents. And thousands of you didn’t just vote ­- you volunteered for Mr. Cuccinelli or Mr. Sarvis. I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns that didn’t succeed ­ including when I ran for Governor in 2009.

I understand emotions are raw. I’ve been there. I get it.

So while I promise you tonight that I will be Governor for all Virginians, the real test is my actions when I take office. I expect you to hold me to my pledge to work with both sides.

And I hope that once we have started to make bipartisan progress on critical issues like jobs and education, that I can earn your trust.

Virginia ­ thank you for the honor of electing me to serve as your 72nd governor.


Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Election of Terry McAuliffe as Virginia’s Next Governor

RICHMOND –Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement tonight regarding the election of Terry McAuliffe as the 72nd governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“I want to congratulate Terry McAuliffe on his election as the next governor of Virginia. There is no higher honor than serving in the same office once held by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. Virginia is a Commonwealth of tremendous history and opportunity; this is the place where America began. The privilege of serving as governor carries with it immense responsibility, and I know Terry McAuliffe will act in the best interests of the more than 8 million people who call Virginia home.

“Elections are long, tough, hard-fought affairs. But they have an end date. For the 2013 campaign, that date is today. Now, the signs, stickers and ads must be put away. In their place must come comity, cooperation and a commitment to working together, across party lines, to continue to improve the quality of life of all Virginians. That’s what we’ve tried to do over the last four years.

“Virginia has been named “America’s Best State for Business.” Our unemployment rate is the lowest in the Southeast, and the third-lowest east of the Mississippi River. Our colleges are more affordable and accessible. Our state pension system has been fixed. Our K-12 system is innovative and productive. Our transportation system finally has the long-term, sustainable funding and reforms it has long needed. We’ve posted four-straight budget surpluses, held the line on general fund spending and our Rainy Day Fund will soon grow to over $1 billion. This is the direct result of bipartisan cooperation in the service of making life better for the people of Virginia and getting results. I’m confident that Governor-elect McAuliffe will continue this great progress.

“Four years ago the people of Virginia honored me with their votes and this office. I can never thank my fellow Virginians enough for the trust they placed in me. Immediately after winning, then-Governor Tim Kaine reached out personally and offered the full assistance of his administration in our transition. The Kaine administration could not have been more helpful in the two months that followed. They made the transition as seamless and smooth as it possibly could have been. Now, we look forward to doing the same for Governor-elect McAuliffe and his team. I have already spoken to the Governor-elect and let him know that we are ready to assist with the transition and prepared to offer all the help his team will need as they prepare to lead our great Commonwealth forward for the next four years.

“Election nights are emotional times. For the winner there is the thrill of victory, combined with the recognition that the hard work preceding this moment is but a prelude to the tremendous effort yet to come. For those who fall short, there is the sadness of seeing such exertion, passion and time not produce the hoped-for result. With that in mind, I wish my friend Ken Cuccinelli the very best as he moves forward from tonight. I hope Ken will continue to stay involved in the public life of our state, and I thank him for serving our administration well as attorney general, and giving his all to public service and the campaign. I also congratulate Mr. Sarvis for running, with limited resources, a good and strong campaign.

“Again I congratulate Governor-elect McAuliffe, and I pledge to work in partnership over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition of power that is in keeping with the grand history of our beloved Commonwealth, and that best prepares the Governor-elect and his team for their public service over the next four years.”