Lastly, I conclude my RPV Advance coverage with the speech by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling during Saturday’s luncheon. I have to say that Bolling’s speech was unifying and helped to rally our base.
Additionally, Bolling’s remarks are listed below.
Well thank you all very much and good morning.
What a pleasure it is for me to be here with you all again this weekend at the 25th annual Donald W. Huffman Republican Advance. Thanks for coming, and thanks for everything you do to help make the work and the success of our Republican Party possible.
And speaking of Jean Ann, let me take just minute at the outset of my remarks to introduce you to my best friend and team mate for the past 30 years, the mother of our two sons, and the Second Lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia, my wife, Jean Ann.
Jean Ann and I have enjoyed so much traveling across Virginia for these past six years getting to know each of you…..first as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor and then as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. We’ve made so many dear friends through our travels, and it’s good to be able to spend another weekend with you here at the beautiful Homestead Resort.
Now let me take care of one bit of housekeeping. A few years ago Jean Ann and I started a tradition at the Advance…..we starting giving away our annual Christmas ornament. I think the first year it was a pewter outline of the Commonwealth, the second year it was an etching of the State Capitol, last year it was an ornament in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of America at Jamestown, and this year it is a pewter pineapple, which each of you should have received at your seat. We hope you’ll take this home with you, proudly display it, think of us every time you see it, and know that it’s given in appreciation of everything you have done to make our public service possible.
Well my friends, we come together here this weekend to reflect on elections past and prepare for elections to come, and I suspect that after the election we just went through some of you, like me, don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
The truth is that this was a very difficult election year for our party, here in Virginia and all across the country. But we knew it would be that way.
On the national level we were fighting some stiff head winds. The president’s approval rating at an all time low, the war in Iraq very unpopular, and the bottom falling out of the economy 30 days prior to the election. We knew it would be a difficult election year.
And here in Virginia we faced our challenges as well. The demographics of Virginia are changing, and many suburban voters are less inclined to vote Republican than they were just a few short years ago. There are a lot of reasons for that, but we have to recognize that fact.
On the national level and on the state level we have some work to do, and we’re ready to do that work. As I’ve often said, the great thing about Virginia is that there’s an election every year, and today we turn our attention to the future and the elections of 2009.
Now make no mistake about it, 2009 will be another challenging election year for us. But the good news is that we are better positioned for victory in 2009 than we have been in a very long time
While the Democrats are fighting with each other about who their nominees will be, Bob McDonnell and I are working together as a united team with a singular focus – to prepare ourselves and our party for the campaign that lies ahead and for victory next November.
For the past eight months Bob and I have been working together to rebuild the grassroots organization of our party, to unite our party behind our candidacies, to raise the money we’ll need to run effective campaigns, and to begin the process of putting together our vision for the future of Virginia.
In 2009 we will offer the people of Virginia the most experienced ticket to ever seek the top two statewide offices in our state. Bob McDonnell and I have served the people of Virginia in state and local government for the past 20 years and we have the experience to lead Virginia into the future.
We’ve stood strong for the conservative principles and values that have always been the foundation of our Republican Party and we’ll continue to do that. But we also have a record of reaching out, of working on a bipartisan basis to get things done in Richmond.
For example, during my service in the Senate and as Lieutenant Governor I’ve stood strong for conservative values.
- I’ve worked to keep government small and focused on its core responsibilities.
- I’ve worked to keep taxes low for families and businesses, and I might add, I’ve opposed every effort to raise taxes during my service in state government.
- I’ve worked to create a pro-business environment in our state, a fact that has been recognized by organizations like the National Federal Of Independent Businesses, who gave me their Guardian of Small Business Award.
- And I’ve worked to protect the values Virginians believe in, like the right to life, the sanctity of marriage and the Second Amendment.
But I’ve also been one of the General Assembly’s leading voices on issues like health care, protecting our environment and reforming government to make it work for the people of Virginia and not against them.
I sponsored legislation that created a children’s health insurance program in Virginia. As a result of that program we’re providing basic health care services to thousands of children who didn’t have access to those services just a few short years ago.
I’ve sponsored legislation to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay, without imposing costly regulatory requirements on businesses and families. I even led the effort to reduce the amount of garbage that was being imported to Virginia from other state.
And I’ve been a leading voice calling for government reforms like budgetary transparency, the protection of private property rights, gubernatorial succession and the bipartisan appointment of judges.
That’s a winning record. That’s a record of experience and accomplishment that stands strong for our conservative values and at the same time reaches out to independent voters and clear thinking Democrats who we need to win elections. And Bob McDonnell has a similar record.
But Bob and I will do more than offer the people of Virginia the most experienced and accomplished ticket to ever seek statewide office in Virginia, we’ll also offer the people of Virginia a positive, forward thinking vision – a blueprint for what we need to do to build a better Virginia, and our vision will focus on the issues that Virginia’s families and businesses care most about.
You know, I believe that voters are tired of negative campaigns and the candidates who run them. They want leaders who stand for election on the basis of their own experience, accomplishments and vision for the future; and they’ll reject candidates who think they can get elected by tearing someone else down.
Bob McDonnell and I understand that, and we will run a positive, issue oriented campaign that promotes new ideas for a better Virginia.
We know that Virginia is a great state, a great place to live, work and raise a family, but we also know that we face some serious challenges in our state today, and we are prepared to provide the leadership to find solutions to these challenges.
In April of 2007 I started a program called 100 Ideas For The Future Of Virginia. The purpose of this program was to reach out to business leaders, government leaders, civic leaders and everyday citizens and talk about the challenges facing our state. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Over a period of eight months we held 52 Town Hall Idearaisers in every part of our state and we put together a lot of good ideas on how to address the challenges facing Virginia. And right now, Bob McDonnell and I are working with our Policy Advisory Team and building on these ideas to offer bipartisan, realistic, workable solutions to the challenges we face, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this campaign.
In this campaign we we’ll offer a plan to get our economy moving again. By reducing taxes and unnecessary regulations, by aggressively promoting economic opportunity here at home and around the world, by increasing our investment in economic development and research, and by focusing more attention on strategies to provide economic opportunity in our rural communities, we will once again send the message that Virginia is open for business.
We’ll offer a plan to restore fiscal responsibility to Virginia state government. Unlike the Democrats, we’ll base our budgets on realistic revenue projections and we’ll reign in excessive government spending. We’ll produce budget surpluses, not budget deficits; and we’ll direct our limited state resources to the things that matter most and resist the temptation to try and be everything to everybody and make promises we can’t pay for.
We’ll offer a plan to improve the quality of the educational opportunities we provide to our children, not just by spending more money, but by requiring that our educational resources be used more wisely. By directing more of our educational dollars to the classroom and less to the central office, by providing more meaningful educational choice for parents and students, and by demanding more accountability from everyone involved in our education system, we will begin the process of moving students in American from 21st in the world to 1st in the world when it comes to the quality of education they receive.
We’ll make a higher education more available and more affordable for the sons of daughters of Virginia. You know that it’s getting harder and harder for Virginia’s best students to get into Virginia’s best schools and that has to change. And once they get there it’s getting harder and harder for them to afford being there. Since we lifted the freeze on tuition for in state students in 2002 in state tuition at our four year colleges and universities has increased by more than 90%, more than 100% at our community colleges. Tuition is out of control and that too must change.
And we’ll offer a plan to address the most important issue facing at least two critical regions of our state – transportation. The time has come for us to stop talking about building a transportation system for the 21st century and actually build a transportation system for the 21st century. For seven long years the Democrats have tried a singular approach to addressing our transportation challenges – massive tax increases – and they’ve failed to deliver a solution.
The time has come for real leadership on the issue of transportation, and we’ll provide the leadership that is required to build consensus around a real solution that gets traffic moving again in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads and addresses transportation challenges in other parts of our state as well, and we’ll do it the right way.
My friends, on these and many other issues Bob McDonnell and I will provide the leadership that is necessary to truly move Virginia forward, and we’ll provide the new ideas that are necessary to build a better and more prosperous Virginia, and we’ll do it consistent with our conservative principles and values.
Now don’t misunderstand me. This campaign will not be easy. It will be difficult. And we can’t win this victory on our own.
To be successful on Election Day, which is by the way just 333 days away, Bob and I are going to have to work as hard as we can, and we are going to need each of you standing with us and working with us in that effort.
We’re prepared to do our part, and I know that we can count on each of you to do your part.
In the past 30 days much has been written about the demise of the Republican Party in Virginia, but today is the day when we start showing the pundits that the news of our demise is greatly exaggerated.
Today is the day when we begin the long journey that will carry us back to victory.
Today is the day when we turn the page on the past and begin focusing on the future. A future we can be proud of.
A future that has Bob McDonnell in the Governor’s mansion and Bill Bolling working closely at his side as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
With your help, your prayers and your hard work we will offer the people of Virginia an opportunity to believe again in our party and our state.
We will provide the leadership that is necessary to find solutions to the challenges we face and secure a more prosperous future our children.
My friends, the future starts today!