McAuliffe Addresses State Legislature for First Time as Governor - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

McAuliffe Addresses State Legislature for First Time as Governor

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Democrats are excited and Republicans, cautiously optimistic after Governor Terry McAuliffe's first speech to the state legislature Monday evening.

McAuliffe used it as a chance to make some big announcements and bold statements about where he wants to take the commonwealth. Speaking before a joint session of the General Assembly Monday, the new governor laid out his plan.

“The challenges that we face are considerable, but we are more than capable of solving them if we work together,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe repeated his desire to work together with Republican lawmakers on issues like ethics reform, and mental health.

“There are a lot issues that he highlighted that we can work together on, and people want us to,” said 66th District Delegate Kirk Cox (R).

On the economic front, McAuliffe announced 160 new jobs coming to Loudoun County, and that Carnival cruise lines will return to Virginia ports next year. But not everything was met with excitement.

“I mean the big downer was Medicaid expansion because he really threw down a gauntlet I think on an issue right now, you know, that is just not working,” Cox said.

McAuliffe upped the ante on his plan for Medicaid expansion Monday, saying he wants lawmakers to vote on expansion this session.

“We have waited long enough. It is time to act. It is time to help these 400,000 Virginians who need access to care,” McAuliffe said.

“I don't think you're going to have a lot of compromise when someone is saying you've got to vote on it now,” Cox said.

House Republicans are wary of the plan, and say more reforms are needed before any compromise can be made.

“We haven't even seen the reforms go in place, so I would say that this session I do not see Medicaid expansion happening,” Cox said.

Lawmakers will also have to work together this session to pass a new, two-year budget. In the official response, Republicans said they look forward to working with McAuliffe to find bipartisan consensus.

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