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Two surprises in McDonnell appointments


Gov.-elect appoints former Bolling rival, Kaine holdover to Cabinet posts

Story by Chris Graham
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A former political rival to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and a holdover from the outgoing administration of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine highlight the Cabinet appointments announced today by Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell appointed Sean Connaughton, former chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and later administrator of the Maritime Administration in the United States Department of Transportation, as Secretary of Transportation. Connaughton challenged Bolling for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2005 and lost to Bolling in the hotly contested ’05 primary for the nomination.

McDonnell also announced the appointment of Todd Haymore, who currently serves as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to the position of Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in the incoming administration.

A third appointment today from McDonnell tapped Lisa Hicks-Thomas, Deputy Attorney General for the Technology, Real Estate, Environment and Transportation Division in the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, as the new Secretary of Administration.

“Improving transportation was a major focus of my campaign because it is a core responsibility of our state government, and a serious challenge that must be addressed. Sean shares my commitment to solving our transportation challenges, and his background has prepared him very well for this position,” said McDonnell of Connaughton, a political ally of outgoing 20th District GOP State Del. Chris Saxman, who is heading up McDonnell’s education transition.

“The building and maintaining of a 21st century transportation system that facilitates job creation and improves our citizens quality of life is imperative to the future prospects of our Commonwealth. I can think of no one better than Sean to lead in this endeavor,” McDonnell said.

On the appointment of Haymore, McDonnell cited the Pittsylvania County native’s public-sector experience including his work on the staff of former Democratic Congressman L.F. Payne to his current position at VDACS.

“Todd will be a great promoter of Virginia agriculture and forestry worldwide. I know his leadership as Secretary will lead to new jobs for Virginians and new markets for our products,” McDonnell said.




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