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McDonnell to scale back on Va. inauguration festivities

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By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Virginia Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell will scale back his inaugural festivities and weave community service events into the proceedings in a nod to the state's deep economic recession, he announced Tuesday.

McDonnell (R) said he plans to raise $1.5 million from private donors to spend on the events, about half as much as Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) did four years ago and almost $1 million less than Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) in 2002.

He also announced that the Salvation Army and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks will be honorary partners in the events and that he will spend the days leading up to his Jan. 16 swearing-in volunteering at food banks and a homeless shelter; holding a roundtable at the Richmond jail on successful inmate reentry programs; and meeting with military families.

"I believe in this time when the economy is tough . . . it's important while celebrating the election for many of my supporters and friends that we also take time to highlight those who are in need," he said as he unveiled the inauguration's theme, "A Commonwealth of Opportunity."

McDonnell will take office as Virginia's 71st governor in a traditional noontime ceremony in front of the Capitol in Richmond, where construction crews have begun to erect viewing stands. On the same day, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) will be sworn in for a second four-year term, and state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) will be sworn in as attorney general. The three Republicans were elected in landslide victories in November.

The ceremony marks a return of the inaugural proceedings to the capital. Four years ago, Kaine was inaugurated in historic Williamsburg because the Capitol was under renovation and covered in scaffolding.

McDonnell will begin a week of events Friday, when he will visit a food bank in Abingdon. He will also attend a concert at the Clarendon Ballroom in Arlington County on Saturday, a parade in the capital on the morning of the ceremony and three inaugural balls over the week: one in Southwest Virginia, one in Norfolk and one in Richmond during the evening of his inauguration.

Collection bins will be placed along the parade route and at the inaugural balls to collect coats and cans of food to be distributed to the needy.

Information about obtaining tickets to events can be found at http://www.mcdonnellinaugural.com.


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