Welcome to TerryMcAuliffe.com | En Español

Join Terry

McAuliffe On the Issues

A Business Plan for Virginia

All over Virginia, people are anxious. Like everyone else in America, Virginians are nervous about the economy. This is not a Democratic, Republican or Independent issue. This is a Virginia issue.

In every corner of the Commonwealth – in rural, suburban, and urban areas – unemployment rates are rising, homes are being foreclosed, and people’s life savings are diminishing. And all signs indicate that next year is going to be even worse – perhaps the worst year since the Great Depression. Virginians are worried.

But Virginians also know that the best days are ahead. They know that the next few years are going to be tough, but they are ready to get to work and build a better future for their children. They need a governor who can bring an energetic, fresh, creative approach to solving problems and building a stronger economy… a governor who comes to the job with the right kind of experience to take on some very tough challenges.

Governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have done a great job of leading Virginia through both good times and bad times. Thanks to them, Virginia has been named the Best Managed state in the country two times in a row. Virginia has been named the best state for business and the best state in which to raise a child. And, once again, Virginia has obtained a Triple A bond rating from every ratings agency.

Now, with what we’re facing in the next few years, people want a governor who, like Governors Warner and Kaine, brings the right kind of executive background to the job and who understands that not all good ideas come from Richmond. A governor who, like Governors Warner and Kaine, knows that it’s not about politics – it’s about RESULTS. That’s what it’s going to take to get our economy moving forward again and to build on the progress we’ve made over the past seven years.

Terry McAuliffe knows that in Virginia, just like in a business, there needs to be a plan, with clear long-term and short-term goals, to help us get back on track. We need to think about what Virginians need right now, but we also need to think about what we’re going to need down the road in 10, 20, or 30 years. Instead of thinking about short-term band-aids, we need to set goals for the future and then figure out what steps we need to take to get there. What we need is a Business Plan for Virginia. A plan that deals with all aspects of state government and helps all Virginians get back on track.

Terry McAuliffe has drawn from his experience as a businessman and from his conversations with Virginians to lay out a few thoughts here. To read the full Business Plan for Virginia, please click here.


We need to realize where the jobs of the future are and work towards making Virginia the leader in creating them. Terry believes those jobs are renewable energy jobs.

Terry believes that we have got to plan now for a green energy future. Virginia’s technology sector can make huge gains in the green economy over the next 10 years, and with agriculture and forestry as our #1 industry, we have tremendous potential to grow biofuels and create new markets for our farmers. Virginia needs to partner with the federal government, the private sector, and our colleges and universities to help make Virginia a leader in renewable energy.

We all realize that we need to fight global warming and compete in the emerging green sector – but realizing it isn’t enough. We need our next Governor to plan boldly and make things happen.

Terry believes that Virginia ought to have a strategy to increase use of renewable energy. We know that we can’t continue to rely on traditional sources of energy. We should be increasing state support for the development of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Not only will this reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it will also create thousands of new jobs across Virginia.

There are some initial steps we can take toward the long-term goal of increasing use of renewable energy and creating jobs. For example, right now Virginia has a voluntary standard for power companies to produce 12% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2022. Terry believes that there must be a mandatory standard. It creates renewable energy jobs; it’s good for our environment; and it helps the energy companies make money in the end.

Another step we can take is converting organic waste into energy. There’s no reason why poultry farmers, for example, should have to pay people to haul waste away. Too often it ends up in our waterways. Converting waste into energy would allow farmers to be paid for the waste instead of paying others to take it away. And, it would create a clean and affordable Virginia-based energy for consumers, while helping to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and other Virginia watersheds.

Terry believes that Virginia can become a leader in renewable energy, and these are just a couple of ways to get us there.

Growing our Economy

Governor Kaine has had the difficult task over the past two years of cutting Virginia’s budget in order to handle the effects of the national recession. He has already taken steps to trim the fat from state government. He has had to look beyond efficiencies and hiring freezes and start cutting deep into core government services in order to balance the budget. This is not an easy task, but he has done what is necessary to keep Virginia’s finances sound.

But the bottom line is that there is no more room to cut. The only way to continue to provide needed services like Medicaid and public education is by finding more revenue for the General Fund. But a down economy is no time to raise taxes.

In these difficult economic times, it is absolutely essential to look for ways to grow Virginia’s economy. Virginia has a lot to offer, and expanding our existing businesses and assets and attracting new ones is the only way we can move beyond this budget shortfall.

Terry knows that in order to turn our economy around, there needs to be a better system for attracting big investments. Virginia is an appealing place for businesses in many respects. A great regulatory environment, a well-educated workforce, access to a major international airport and the port, as well as proximity to Washington, DC provide an attractive option for many companies. And yet, when companies look towards investing in a state with 1,000 or more jobs, Virginia isn’t even an option. Other states have more to offer when it comes to attracting major deals. Virginia’s incentive system must be restructured to align ourselves with other states. With a little work, there’s no doubt that we can make a case for why Virginia is the best state for big companies to locate.

In addition to attracting new businesses, Terry knows it’s important to support our existing small businesses and entrepreneurs. According to the most recent federal data, Virginia has over 150,000 small businesses that each has less than 100 employees. Terry believes that we need to continue the work that Governor Kaine has done to increase the number of government contracts held with small, women, and minority owned businesses. As a small business owner himself, Terry understands the needs that small organizations have and how vital of a role they play in Virginia’s economy.

Health Care and Economic Security

In the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the foundations of our quality of life — our homes, our health, our education, and our retirement — are under threat. As Gina Dixon from Gloucester told me online, “the health of our economy is a function of the mood of our people.” If we are going to create jobs and grow our economy, we need to make health insurance more affordable, help families save for and afford college, develop strategies to build assets through homeownership, and enable everyone to save for a decent retirement.

In Virginia, one million of our people go without health insurance because the cost is prohibitive. My plan will rein in health care costs, work to expand coverage, and continue the progress in mental health reform. At the same time, the rising cost of college tuition is putting college out of reach for too many Virginia families. My plan will create a “Scholars for Service” program that will offer four years of loan forgiveness up to the average cost of tuition at a public college in return for two years of public service, especially in high-need professions. My plan will also increase the transferability of college credit, better publicize financial aid opportunities to hard-working students, and require half of the money leveraged from the commercialization of university research to fund reductions in tuition costs.

Our current financial crisis was caused by a mortgage crisis, and we are now faced with a rising rate of foreclosures that threatens the dream of homeownership for too many Virginia families. My plan will assist first-time homebuyers by providing tax-free homeownership savings accounts, improving financial literacy, and creating a loan fund for qualified homebuyers. The plan will also protect against foreclosure by putting an end to bad practices and ensuring accountability. And finally, the security of our retirement is at risk, which is why my plan will enhance and facilitate portability through pension pooling programs, offer tax credits to encourage employers to offer pensions and defray start-up costs, and improve financial literacy to encourage workers to save for retirement.


Virginia is not going to be able to attract and sustain jobs of the future if we don’t have a workforce that is ready for those jobs. Right now, we know those jobs are in the energy field. But in 50 years, it could be something different. In this fast-paced, global economy, teaching to the test is not enough. Our students need to learn how to innovate and think critically. This will serve them well in five years and in fifty years.

In recent years, other countries have made advances in education while our system has remained essentially the same. In this global economy, it is not enough for our students to just be able to take a test. Terry McAuliffe believes that while it’s important for our students to have basic knowledge, we need to look beyond multiple-choice questions and teach them how to think.

There are some steps we can take to get there.

One of the most important things we can do to help our children live their lives to their fullest potential is get off to the right start. Governor Tim Kaine has made significant investments in early childhood education, and Terry believes we need to continue this progress and invest even more in pre-k. Ultimately, if a child is ready for school, he or she is far more likely to be successful upon entering kindergarten and less likely to get into trouble down the road.

Terry also knows that Virginia has to do more for our teachers. There needs to be a focus on attracting and retaining bright individuals to teaching. The federal and state government continue to place demands on teachers but with little to no incentive to stay and do a good job. It’s no wonder nearly half of teachers these days leave the profession within the first five years. Virginia must pay teachers at least the national average.

And finally, in the area of higher education, any student who wants to go to college should have that opportunity. Virginia’s colleges and universities have a lot to offer – many are doing innovative research that could lead to great economic development opportunities. Terry believes we need to help our institutions of higher education capitalize on research. Ultimately, the result will be more dollars for colleges and universities and more opportunities to keep tuition low and offer scholarships.


Terry McAuliffe understands that we need to start thinking long term on transportation. He knows there must be an honest discussion about transportation funding. But Terry also believes we need to figure out where we want to be ten, twenty, or thirty years down the line and start to lay the groundwork for that, even if we can’t do it all today. Governor Kaine has made record investments in rail and public transit and he has better connected land use and transportation planning – in twenty years, we’re going to look back at the changes he’s made and truly understand their importance.

We need to continue down this path, focusing on high-efficiency methods for moving people and goods. We need a high-speed rail line that would connect the major urban areas of Virginia with one another. And we need to start talking about it now. We can team up with Virginia corporations through public-private partnerships to get this done. It’s a smart investment for them, would create jobs, and get more people off the roads.

We need to see the Dulles rail project through – and then we need to think about what other communities we can connect to Metro. We need to improve transit in Hampton Roads, including transit that moves people across the water. We need passenger rail that connects more parts of Virginia together, and we need to get more freight off the highways and onto the rail system.

Terry knows that this can’t be done in four years, but as long as we have leadership that thinks big and doesn’t let the size of the challenge put the solution out of reach, we don’t have to wait to set goals and take the first steps toward these solutions.

There are also some things we can do right now to help our transportation problems. These are things we can fix right now, that don’t require a lot of money, to make everyone’s lives just a little bit easier.

For example, those warning signs all along I-95 and I-64 would be far more useful if the lights weren’t out half the time. Terry wants to get those fixed. Or, if you’ve ever driven on I-81, you’ve probably found yourself stuck behind two trucks driving side-by-side, backing up traffic for miles. Terry wants to make all trucks drive in the right hand lane so people can actually get around them. These are some ways to help ease the pain in the short-term, while we plan for a longer-term solution to our transportation problem.

A Total Ban on Predatory Lending

Payday lenders prey on the most vulnerable in our state. It is time to end their practices that devastate communities and wreak havoc on our financial system. As Governor, Terry will establish a total ban on payday lending that siphons off the hard-earned wages of too many working Virginians. The efforts in the 2008 and 2009 sessions by the General Assembly are steps in the right direction, and as Governor, Terry will continue this progress by banning all types of predatory lending, like open-end loans and car-title loans.

With payday lending institutions removed from communities, alternatives must be offered that do not prey on consumers. Virginia must incentivize and support efforts to fill the need. We must identify incentives for banks and credit unions to locate in needed areas. As Governor, Terry will appoint a task force made up of representatives from the Department of Treasury, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, credit unions, banks, community non-profits, the Governor’s Office, charged with identifying financial incentives to encourage banks and credit unions to develop small consumer loan initiatives and locate in areas where payday lending institutions are rampant. The Task Force will examine best practices from around the country and come up with recommendations for executive and/or legislative action. As well, we need to initiate outreach and provide technical support to community organizations. Virginia must support efforts to offer very small loans at low interest rates to individuals or groups of individuals.

And to protect community-based organizations from certain losses and liabilities during the early years of a micro-lending initiative, we must enact legislation that will cover those losses. We should consolidate funding sources and make microloan funding available to low income entrepreneurs through various federal, state and private funding streams. Finally, we should provide consumer education. As we are increasing the availability of alternative lending options, we have to let people know about them. As Governor, Terry will establish a “Money School” that will provide financial literacy and planning information for Virginians. These new loan options would be included in the information provided. Additionally, we need to advertise these new initiatives in communities that will be impacted.

Do you have a question or an idea to share? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Ask Terry Your Question

Join thousands of volunteers across the Commonwealth in 14 field offices with over 40 organizers.

Find your nearest office and join us!

Virginians across the Commonwealth are joining Terry's grassroots campaign to put people back to work.

Read More
  • “At meet-and-greets from small-town Leesburg to exurban Manassas to far-south Martinsville, he douses voters in an ebullient rain of proposals… McAuliffe’s ideas may be hard to beat.”

    – The New Republic, 2/4/09

  • “In the midst of a daunting travel schedule and after releasing truly ambitious business and energy plans for the Commonwealth, he still maintains an energy level that those of us ten years younger would be hard pressed to match.”

    – The Loudoun Independent, 4/1/09

  • “McAuliffe is rolling out a series of position papers on energy and business that go well beyond the typical two-page brochure full of bromides…his substantive pitches have raised expectations and pointed the way toward a different, more high-toned campaign.”

    – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/25/09

  • “Although many State House insiders were initially skeptical of McAuliffe, he has been running a nearly flawless campaign. Democrats and Republicans are taking him seriously.”

    – The Washington Post, 1/22/09

  • “Terry McAuliffe can get through to the (rural) culture. Like I said, he’s got a positive attitude. Terry’s also got high name recognition amongst Democrats who will vote in the primary. And McAuliffe is a good name to have out here where I live.”

    – Dave “Mudcat” Saunders
    Political strategist for Mark Warner and Jim Webb, 3/25/09

  • “Terry McAuliffe continues to impress – rolling out a detailed plan to revive the Virginia economy and picking up labor endorsements, the latest of which came from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.”

    – The Washington Post, 4/3/09

  • “He brings a kind of energy and visibility and presence that’s just extraordinary.”

    – Bob Holsworth, professor at VCU, 2/4/09

More Quotes