Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has just six weeks left in his term, but he is staying very busy with the upcoming final state budget.
His twin goals of creating new businesses and new roads were his targets when he took office four years ago. He hoped he would be remembered for transforming transportation, adding dozens of miles of express lanes in Northern Virginia.
“It's not that I want to be known for the tolls,” McAuliffe said. “I want to be known that I've opened up and finally came up with a solution to move more people, increase capacity.”
He was also proud of the expansion of economic development in Virginia with the growth of craft breweries to luring corporate giants, like Nestle.
“Today, Virginia is open and welcoming,” the governor said. “A record amount of investment of $19.5 billion, $6 billion more than any governor of state.”
McAuliffe said his best and most memorable day was April 22, 2016, when he signed an executive order restoring voting rights to tens of thousands of felons who'd serve their time.
“Three people already today have stopped me, (saying) thank you, governor. You restored my rights on Election Day,” McAuliffe said. “On Facebook and Twitter, grown men crying, saying, first time I've voted.”
He said his darkest day as governor came in August in Charlottesville when a white supremacists rally lead to violence and death. He remembered learning just before speaking on that day that two state troopers there had died in a chopper crash.
“My pilot and former member security gone down.I knew I had to go out and do what I had to do, but no question, that hour was the hardest hours,” McAuliffe said. “One of the hardest hours I've ever experience in my life.”
His term will end on a high note as he helped Democrats sweep statewide office and flip 15 House of Delegates seats. Governing magazine recognized his work at the chief executive, making McAuliffe the Public Official of the Year.