UPDATED with Audio! McDonnell officially kicks-off campaign

The complete audio from today’s rally at Virginia Beach, featuring Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and, of course, Bob McDonnell:


VIRGINIA BEACH (3/28/09) Republican gubernatorial candidate speaks at a campaign rally in Virginia Beach.
VIRGINIA BEACH (3/28/09) Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell speaks at a campaign rally in Virginia Beach. BearingDrift.com photo.

VIRGINIA BEACH (3/28/09) Lt. Governor Bill Bolling speaking at a campaign rally in Virginia Beach.  BearingDrift.com photo.
VIRGINIA BEACH (3/28/09) Lt. Governor Bill Bolling speaking at a campaign rally in Virginia Beach. BearingDrift.com photo.

Live blogging the event in Va Beach:

First stop: Annandale.

We will be live-blogging his stop here in Hampton Roads at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach at 5:30 p.m.

But sour grapes already abound.

“Bob McDonnell has a long record of standing against Governor Mark Warner and Governor Tim Kaine, and he has opposed many of the policies that have made Virginia the best managed state in the nation,” said Chairman McAuliffe’s campaign – of Global Crossing fame whose primary business credentials are fund-raising for the Clintons and apparently being an African-American barber. “While Terry McAuliffe has been laying out a comprehensive Business Plan to get Virginia’s economy back on track, Bob McDonnell has been deafeningly silent.”


Wasn’t it McDonnell who asked McAuliffe to sign a letter Secretary of Interior Salazar addressing Virginia’s energy needs and jobs – but McAuliffe refused?

Wasn’t it McAuliffe who marched with a union picketing Hilton, while Gov. Kaine was bringing Hilton jobs to Virginia?

While McAuliffe is trying to distract from McDonnell today, you can’t distract from the clarity of McDonnell’s message.

“The top priority for the next Governor is clear: Bring people together to solve problems, get our economy moving again and create new jobs and opportunity in our Commonwealth,” said McDonnell at his first campaign stop. “To every Virginian who has lost their job, to every small business owner trying to make payroll, to every retiree afraid to look at their retirement account, to every homeowner struggling to make the next mortgage payment, to every parent writing that next tuition check: This campaign is for you. This campaign is about you!”

Full text of McDonnell speech:

Today is an exciting day.

Today I formally announce my candidacy for Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia!

I’m ready to lead, if you are ready to win!

There are many ways you can get involved. Here’s one. Please take out your cell phone and text VA to 46262 – That’s VA to GOBOB or 46262. Now you’re on board with our campaign.

The top priority for the next Governor is clear: Bring people together to solve problems, get our economy moving again and create new jobs and opportunity in our Commonwealth.

Today, we face difficult challenges.

All of us have been impacted by this economic downturn.

Many Virginians are hurting and anxious about the future.

Life savings diminish, while our cost of living is going up.

Our home values are going down, while our property tax rates are going up.

It’s harder to get your children into Virginia’s great universities, and more expensive to pay their tuition and buy their textbooks when they get there.

Whether I’m in Leesburg or Lee County, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t see the pain and anxiety this economy is causing.

As your next Governor, I will make the top priority bringing jobs and opportunity to every region of Virginia.

To every Virginian who has lost their job

To every small business owner trying to make payroll

To every retiree afraid to look at their retirement account

To every homeowner struggling to make the next mortgage payment

To every parent writing that next tuition check

This campaign is for you. This campaign is about you!

To bring new jobs and greater opportunity to every region of Virginia we must first lay a firm foundation for economic recovery and for sustained economic growth.

I want my children and your children to live in a Virginia where there are boundless opportunities, great jobs, a clean environment and safe neighborhoods in which they can pursue the American dream.

A Virginia where the displaced Circuit City worker and all those seniors graduating from Virginia Tech, UVa, George Mason University, VCU and all our great colleges and universities in the spring are able to find that all-important job!

A Virginia that creates great stories like Vellie Dietrich-Hall who grew up in the Phillipinnes selling vegetables and firewood from a basket on her head. She immigrated here 28 years ago. And today she runs her own defense contracting business.

We need new policies to create those new jobs and produce those new success stories.

The days when we could rest on our laurels and just point to our rankings are past.

Our Vision for Virginia must be bold and big.

In the words of business writers James Collins and Jerry Porras we must set “Big Hairy Audacious Goals”.

A Virginia economic revival starts with one simple question: Do our policies make starting or relocating a business and creating jobs easier, or harder?

My first goal will be to make Virginia the best state in America to start and grow a small business.

So we will cut out red tape to ensure Virginians can start a business in 48 hours.

Virginia should be the top state in America for tourism and film production.

We will set a goal of developing the top commercial space port in the country at Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore.

We have the unprecedented opportunity to be the leading energy producing state on the East Coast and I will spend four years making that happen.

I support drilling for oil and gas 50 miles off our coast. Virginia has the opportunity to become the first state on the eastern seaboard to allow for offshore exploration and drilling. It is environmentally safe and will create thousands of jobs and tens of billions in investment, and hundreds of millions in tax revenues.

Let’s put ideology aside, and be comprehensive when it comes to our energy future – Yes, we must develop new technologies for wind, solar, biomass, and other renewables. But we also need oil and natural gas, and to speed up the approval and permitting process for nuclear and clean-coal plants. I will be a Governor who develops all of Virginia’s energy resources to make life better for all of our citizens.

We will make it easier for entrepreneurs to protect our environment, while creating good jobs. We will establish “Green JOBZ” tax free zones to incentivize renewable energy technologies.

To ensure that new jobs continue to come to Virginia we must defend our pro-free enterprise, Right to Work Law, the cornerstone of our economic prosperity. But Right to Work is under attack in Congress with the job-killing Card Check legislation pushed by big national unions.

The job of the Governor is to put the people of Virginia and their job opportunities first. All three of my opponents recently stood in union picket lines in Northern Virginia and now will not oppose the job killing card check bill!

I will defend our Right to Work law; oppose Card Check and fight to keep Virginia the best place in America to do business! We can’t let big national unions turn Virginia into southern Michigan!

Our transportation challenges are clear. To attract business and jobs to Virginia, we need to make it easier for citizens to get to work, and for goods to get to the market.

In Northern Virginia, we need to complete rail to Dulles and widen 66 inside the beltway!

In Hampton Roads we need to upgrade Route 460 to interstate quality to improve our great port and hurricane evacuation, and support our military. To ensure our port is the best on the east coast, I will strongly support the expansion of Craney Island.

In the Valley and Southwest, we need a wider, safer Interstate 81.

I want to lay the foundations to get high speed passenger rail from Northern Virginia to Richmond to Hampton Roads.

There’s another important component. When I was growing up the TV slogan was “to get a good job, you need a good education.” It’s even truer today.

I want Virginia to have the most innovative incentives to create the best school system in America.

President Obama was right when he called for real merit pay to retain and reward teachers, and more Charter Schools in our communities.

We will create an incentive program for principals and teacherswho increase student achievement. And I’ll put more of the money we spend on education into the one place it does the most good: the classroom. We will not tolerate failing schools that do a disservice to our most vulnerable young people in struggling communities. I will strongly defend the rights of parents to home school their children.

Virginia has some of the best universities and community colleges in the country.

We will forge new regional partnerships for workforce training and economic development, expand the role of our community colleges, create new opportunities for vocational and technical training, and support job-creating research and development in green technology at our universities.

I will ask every principal and college president to create new opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, nursing and medicine, and other crucial job shortage areas in Virginia.

We must inspire confidence in the honesty, openness, frugality and efficiency of our government.

Right now we have nearly 1000 people dedicated to collecting your taxes. We have one person dedicated to making sure you don’t get overcharged……that’s a ratio that will change when I’m governor! It’s your government, and it’s time we made it act like it!

It’s also time to conduct a thorough audit of how your tax dollars are spent. The Virginia budget has doubled over the last 10 years, growing 30% faster than the rate of growth in population and inflation. We need select independent audits of major state agencies, and a greater level of budget transparency throughout state government. The state budget is nearly 80 billion dollars and you need to know exactly what you are getting for that.

I will work to make life simpler for Virginians by making government more efficient and user friendly.

Ronald Reagan reminded us that often government can be part of the problem. We need to make government work better and act less like monopoly to make life easier for the hard-working families of Virginia. We have good state employees but our systems can be more user-friendly with better customer service.

We have 23 different programs, across 9 different agencies that are supposed to provide workforce development. We need to make this simpler and more effective. I will provide a clear and focused mission for our workforce development programs – create jobs, not hassle and bureaucracy.

To all the mothers with us today: I understand some of what you face, because I see what my wife Maureen goes through every day! You balance children, home, work and everything else in a daily race against the clock. You need a Governor who understands this, and who looks for solutions to make your life easier.

Do we really need so many permits, licenses, stickers, decals, registrations, and certificates with each requiring you to go somewhere to wait in line, fill out a form, and pay a fee? Every mom is a working mom and we need a working mom government simplicity task force!

I want Virginia to be the friendliest state for veterans and retirees to live in. I want your wisdom, your talent and your money to stay right here in Virginia!

We have come a long way in fighting crime in Virginia to make our communities safer. But I want to make Virginia the worst state in the United States for gang members and drug dealers to operate, and the best place in the United States to transition prisoners back to society so they won’t create new victims.

We need greater partnerships and coordination between government and civic and faith-based organizations. I will bring the private and public sectors together to improve the lives of Virginia’s citizens, like we did at the Attorney General’s office with our Legal Food Frenzy.

We have to remember always that the measure of the character of any society is how it cares for the least of its citizens. I will encourage private citizens and companies to renew a spirit of generosity and compassion to care for others especially in this tough time.

In his first inaugural address, Washington told our young nation, “The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Values matter.

Jefferson wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe this great truth applies to every American – born and unborn, and as Governor I will defend innocent human life.

In forming our Constitution the founders expressly protected the rights of Americans to own firearms, and as Governor I will protect the 2nd Amendment.

Our founders understood that the “pursuit of happiness” meant the right to own property, and as Governor I will continue to strengthen the private property rights of Virginians.

My personal faith in God has provided the foundation for my life. My faith gives strong purpose, hope for the future, and an optimism for what tomorrow holds. I know we can make Virginia better. I know that because throughout my life I have seen the amazing results that can be achieved when people come together for the common good.

I was raised in Fairfax County by a dad who was a World War II veteran and a mom who balanced family and work. Growing up in Northern Virginia, I learned from them the values that have lasted a lifetime. My dad told me as a kid, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” And he was right.

I learned that playing football, studying, and running track at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria. That hard work paid off.

During 21 years in the Army, active and reserve, I learned the value of sacrifice and teamwork and the satisfaction that comes from being part of an enterprise that’s far bigger than oneself.

While serving in Germany in the shadow of the Iron Curtain, I learned the value of freedom.

Going to school at night for three years while in the Army to get a Masters degree, I learned the value of education.

As a manager for a Fortune 500 company, I saw the productive power that is unleashed when we empower hard working people to work and save, to invest and create, to compete vigorously and to give generously.

As a prosecutor in Virginia Beach, I saw victims who were not being treated fairly and criminals who were getting out of jail too early. And I decided to do something about it.

I ran for the House of Delegates, and won.

Four years ago you gave me the honor of serving as your Attorney General.

Working together we established a 25-year minimum sentence for sex offenders who commit violent crimes against children, and cracked down on drug dealers and gang violence.

We became a national leader fighting Internet Crimes Against Children and identity theft.

Each of these accomplishments represented not only a promise made at election-time, but a promise kept at governing-time.

92 of our 105 legislative proposals became law with broad bipartisan support.

It is with this record, and because of these experiences, that I launch my campaign for Governor!

We must dream big, act nobly, and get results.

I believe in Virginia anything is possible. This is a state full of opportunities, not guarantees.

I grew up in a middle-class family in a middle-class neighborhood in Fairfax County. Thanks to the United States Army I got the education that has taken me farther than I ever imagined.

And now, I stand before you, a candidate for Governor of the greatest state in the greatest country the world has ever known.

Thank you and God Bless Virginia!

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