The Washington Post

Democrats want longer terms for Va. governors

Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington)

Virginia House Democrats would like to see the governor stick around a while longer. Maybe not Gov. Bob McDonnell, since he’s a Republican. But Virginia governors in general.

The commonwealth’s chief executive cannot serve two consecutive terms, something governors can do anywhere else in the country. (Virginia governors may serve a second term, but not two in a row.)

That makes the governor “a lame duck the minute he takes his hand off the bible,” said Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington). That also leads governors to “kick the can down the road” on tough problems that require long-term planning, such as transportation, Brink said.

So Brink is calling for a change to the state Constitution to allow two consecutive terms. He appeared at a news conference in Richmond on Monday along with other members of the House Democratic Caucus, including House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) and Caucus Chairman Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax).

The proposed constitutional change was part of a broader package of government reform measures that Democrats intend to push in the coming General Assembly session. Many of the other measures are aimed at improving government transparency.

They included proposals to: record all subcommittee votes; require a hearing and favorable committee vote before a bill comes to a floor vote; and conduct all governor’s commission meetings in public.

The Democrats had several other proposals aimed specifically at the budget process. Those include reexamining all tax credits and requiring that the budget conference report be made public at least 24 hours before it comes up for a vote.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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