What happens when you get a governor, two former governors and two wanna-be governors together for breakfast?
They pretend to like each other.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), former governors George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D), who are running for U.S. Senate this year, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who are running for governor next year, spoke at a business breakfast Tuesday morning.
“It shows how important you are,’’ Allen told the crowd.
About 200 people turned out for the National Federation of Independent Business, the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association and the Virginia Retail Merchants Association annual breakfast as the business community looks to lobby the General Assembly .
The men mostly spoke about the policies they have touted before. Kaine and Allen talked about their tenures as governor. (But Allen didn’t speak much or at all about his tenure as senator.)
Kaine didn’t shy away from mentioning tax increases. (“You have to find that right balance.’’) Allen said government needs to keep taxes low. (“We need to send the message that America is open for business.”)
Both men talked about the dysfunction of Congress and Washington.
Bolling talked about his gig as chief jobs creation officer. Cuccinelli about the amendment to the constitution on property rights that he is pushing legislators to pass so it can be put on the ballot. (“It will pass like a bond in Arlington.’’)
McDonnell — the only one to receive the official Virginia gubernatorial standing ovation — welcomed them to Richmond and talked about the $40 million he wants the General Assembly to approve for economic development this session.
Kaine and Allen didn’t mention each other. But Bolling and Cuccinelli did — the lieutenant governor even mentioned how they should compete on who could give the shortest speech. (Bolling won).
The day was billed as a way for small-business owners, retailers and tourism industry leaders to learn more about what’s happening in the General Assembly, speak out on the issues that concern them and network with other business owners from around the state. Tables were sponsored by big companies, including Wal-Mart, the Virginia Motorcycle Dealers Association and Walgreens.