Team Coverage | Business Leaders for Deeds

The economy has to be the driving issue of the 2009 Virginia governor’s race. The Creigh Deeds campaign looks to get a leg up in the race with the announcement on Thursday of the formation of Business Leaders for Deeds.

My ear has been attuned to the misreading being done by Republicans on the June Democratic primary, which the GOP faithful has been interpreting as a referendum on Terry McAuliffe and the general disapproval of primary voters for the Macker’s D.C.-style politics.

The misread is that McAuliffe didn’t lose the primary; Creigh Deeds won it by beating McAuliffe at his own game. Remember that it was the campaign of McAuliffe’s good friend Bill Clinton that boiled the 1992 presidential election to being about “the economy, stupid.” McAuliffe toured Virginia promising “big ideas” to get Virginia’s economy moving, and had all the traction in the world on that until The Washington Post picked up on something that the voters did a little later on, namely, that Deeds had done T-Mac one better by focusing not on “big ideas” but on the basics.

Education and transportation are the two focal points for Deeds in the economic-development arena – quality education being essential to the development of the workforce of today and tomorrow, and attractive school systems being a linchpin to efforts to attract and retain business and industry; and improvements to our transportation infrastructure being fundamental to getting business and industry moving in all corners of the state, including the economic engines in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Deeds has been fighting the good fight with the likes of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to make investments in education and transportation a top priority in Richmond. Republicans, meanwhile, led by gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell, have led the massive resistance to the efforts to move Virginia forward, even as McDonnell has attempted through money and camera tricks to recast himself in a recent run of TV spots as being a business-focused leader.

McDonnell, unfortunately for him, cannot escape his record, and doesn’t appear to even buy into the mythmaking himself, recently talking up Bush-era tax cuts to delegates at the annual Boys State convention as being the indication to “the kind of governor that I’m going to be.”

I’m guessing McDonnell didn’t realize that in defining “the kind of governor” that he’s going to be by pointing to George W. Bush that he’s also tying himself to a president whose record of fiscal irresponsibility makes Ronald Reagan look like a miser. That, and unlike in Washington, where a Republican Congress and Republican president can cut taxes and spend like drunken sailors with no repercussions other than that they had to cast a few messy votes to raise the debt ceiling to allow the orgy to continue, Virginia’s budget by our State Constitution has to be balanced, meaning we have to make hard choices every budget year.

Education and transportation are foundational elements in our modern economy, and they don’t come cheap. Creigh Deeds gets that. Anybody with a day or two experience managing a business gets that, and gets the idea that being conservative doesn’t mean that you just don’t spend any money on anything, but rather that you make every effort to spend the money that you have to spend as wisely and efficiently as possible.

Business Leaders for Deeds? Yeah, I see it being significant. Not only because I’m confident as a small-business owner myself that Deeds will keep us on the track that Mark Warner put us on and Tim Kaine has kept us moving down, but also because I’m afraid that the “kind of governor” that Bob McDonnell would turn out to be is the one he’s told us he would be, or worse, that he’ll end up being Jim Gilmore and leave our state billions of dollars in debt and with schools and roads that will take us another generation to fix.

– Commentary by Chris Graham

Press Release: Business Leaders for Deeds debuts

Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds today announced the formation and leadership of “Business Leaders for Deeds,” a broad-based group of bipartisan, statewide business leaders who have agreed to advise and promote Deeds’ candidacy. “Business Leaders for Deeds” will be led by Ted Leonsis of McLean, the majority owner of the Washington Capitals and Washington Mystics. Leonsis also is a former AOL vice chairman, a venture capitalist and philanthropist.

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner joined Deeds and Leonsis at today’s announcement. Warner is a former telecom executive who’s pragmatic approach during his term as Virginia Governor (2002-06) resulted in Virginia’s designation as the nation’s “best managed state” and “best state for business.”

“I appreciate the support and the expertise these business executives will bring to our effort, because these men and women recognize that their businesses are only as strong as the people who power them,” Senator Deeds said. “Our administration will be working hard every day to create opportunity and jobs for Virginians, and these business leaders will be a key part of our bipartisan efforts to better position the Commonwealth to emerge stronger from our economic challenges.”

“I am impressed by Creigh’s focus on quality education, technology and innovation as the cornerstones of Virginia’s economic future,” Mr. Leonsis said. “’Business Leaders for Deeds’ will bring together leading executives from across the state to advise Creigh during the campaign – and, more importantly, after his election this fall.”

“I have known and worked closely with many of these community and business leaders, and I appreciate their willingness to step-up and support Creigh’s bipartisan focus on producing real results that move Virginia forward,” Senator Warner said. “We cannot leave any region of Virginia behind as we work together to strengthen our economy and position the Commonwealth to compete in this global economy.”

Other members of “Business Leaders for Deeds” so far include:

– Douglas M. Adams of Maiden, Retired President of The Country Vintner, Inc.;
– Jane Inskeep Barrell of Culpeper; Co-Owner of Culpeper Management, LLC;
– Robert M. Blue of Richmond, Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Corporate Communications for Dominion Corporation;
– The Honorable Sandra Bowen of Richmond, former Senior Vice President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, former Virginia Secretary of Administration and Commonwealth;
– William M. Camp, Jr. of Franklin, principal of Holliknoll Farm;
– James K. Candler of Lynchburg, Chairman of Candler Oil Company, Inc.;
– Judith P. Carter of Orange, Principal of Germanna Title Company;
– Laurie C. Crigler of Madison, Vice President of L&D Associates, Inc.;
– Edward C. Dalrymple of Mineral, Vice President of Chemung Contracting;
– Charlotte B. Dammann of McLean, Associate Broker of Faulconer Realtors Inc.;
– Joseph R. Daniel of Culpeper, President of Jefferson Homebuilders;
– Joshua P. Darden, Jr., of Norfolk, President of Darden Properties Inc.;
– Carlos Del Toro of Stafford, President & CEO of SBG Technology Solutions, Inc.;
– Susan Y. “Syd” Dorsey of Mechanicsville, Director of Sales & Marketing at Astyra Corporation;
– G.S. “Sandy” Fitz-Hugh, Jr., former President of the Bank of America – Virginia;
– David Goode of Norfolk, former Chairman, President and CEO of Norfolk Southern Corporation;
– Mark Goodwin of Richmond, former Senior Vice President of UPS Freight;
– William C. Hall, Jr. of Richmond, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Community Affairs for Dominion Corporation;
– Robert D. Hardie of Charlottesville, Managing Director of Level One Partners, LLC;
– Cabell S. Harris of Richmond, President of WORK Labs;
– Jimmy Hazel of Oakton, principal of Angler Environmental;
– John T. “Til” Hazel, Jr. of Broad Run, founder and former chairman of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council;
– William R. Hedrick of Bluefield, President of Fort Chiswell Construction Corporation;
– Ted Hontz of Stafford, Vice President of Basic Commerce and Industries, Inc.;
– Kenneth Jones of Richmond, Owner and President of Prestige Construction Company;
– James L. Keen of Vansant, CEO of Keen H.R. Services, Inc.;
– Austin Ligon of Richmond, co-founder and retired CEO of CarMax Inc.;
– Mark C. Lowham of McLean, Senior Vice President of WEST*GROUP;
– Charles H. Majors of Danville, President & CEO of American National Bank & Trust Company;
– John F. Malbon of Virginia Beach, CEO of Papco, Inc.;
– Mark R. Merhige of Richmond, President of Shockoe Properties;
– Bittle Porterfield, III of Roanoke, President of Rice Management Company;
– Richard S. “Major” Reynolds III of Richmond, Managing Director of Reynolds Trust;
– Gilbert “Gil” Rosenthal of Richmond, retired owner of Standard Drug Company;
– Tom Rosenthal of Richmond, CEO of Med Outcomes, Inc.;
– Walter Rugaber of Meadows of Dan, former President and Publisher of The Roanoke Times;
– The Honorable Elliot Schewel of Lynchburg, Former President of Schewel Furniture Company and former State Senator;
– Ranjit K. Sen of Richmond, President & CEO of CXI;
– R. Chris Walters of Abingdon, financial advisor;
– Naomi Weathers of Chester, Owner and President of Weathers Engineering Inc.;
– Blair K. Williamson of Charlottesville, President of S.L. Williamson Company, Inc.;
– Alan S. Witt of Newport News, CEO of Witt Mares, PLC;
– Linda Zecher of Charlottesville, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector of Microsoft Corporation.


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