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Gillespie Tours Mechanicsville Businesses

The Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Ed Gillespie, was in the Richmond area this week speaking to local business owners about their challenges and what they want to see from their elected leaders.  Paul Dorn, owner of Colonial Body and Paint Shop and Colonial Mobile Glass Shop, employs 18 people in Mechanicsville. He told Gillespie his biggest need from the government is a sense of stability. He feels that the President and Congress are paying for too many benefits. Gillespie says he hears many business owners don’t have confidence in the economy and are worried about regulations.

McAuliffe Cuts Fundraising Short to Survey Storm Damage

Governor Terry McAuliffe is cutting short a west coast fund raising trip to survey the damage from yesterday’s Tornado at the Cherrystone Campground in the eastern shore town of Cheriton. Officials remain on site this morning having worked through the night to clean up the damage from the EF-1 tornado. McAuliffe will meet with those affected and thank first responders before a media briefing. The storm downed numerous trees and power lines and overturned several campers Thursday morning.

Statewide Board Considers Appeal to Court Decision

The Opportunity Educational Institution, the statewide school board tasked with taking over failing schools, is considering an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court, after a Norfolk Circuit Court ruling this summer that found the board is unconstitutional. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that he will not challenge the Norfolk court’s ruling.

The Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI) nine-member board will meet early next week to determine whether it has the authority to file its own challenge.

McAuliffe Will Not Challenge OEI Ruling

Governor Terry McAuliffe will not challenge a ruling by Norfolk Circuit Court that the Opportunity Educational Institution or OEI, a statewide school board with the authority to take over failing schools, is unconstitutional. Governor McAuliffe says the OEI took responsibility away from local communities and school boards.

The Opportunity Educational Institution was a top priority of former Governor Bob McDonnell during his last year in office. Six schools denied state accreditation, including several in Petersburg, would have been taken over in the upcoming school year.

McAuliffe Sets 42 Percent SWAM Requirement for State Contracts

Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed Executive Order Number 20 which will require state agencies to award over 42 percent of their contracts to small businesses or women and minority owned (SWAM) businesses. The executive order requires state contractors certify they are in compliance with the contract’s SWAM procurement plan before they can receive payment for services rendered. The Governor will also require state agencies to review contractors records of SWAM compliance before a contract is written or renewed.

Cox Seeks $57 Million for Veterans Care Centers

House of Delegates Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) has pre-filed two of the first bills for the 2015 General Assembly session. They would prioritize state funding for veterans' care centers in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

The proposed legislation dedicates $28.5 million for each center from funds previously reserved for the construction of a new General Assembly building. Virginia currently only has two veterans' care centers, the Sitter and Barfoot Center in Richmond which Cox helped create in 2003 and another in Salem.

Budget Cuts Likely as Virginia Ends FY2014 With Revenue Gap

Virginia ended the 2014 fiscal year with $89 million less than projected last month, which will likely lead to cuts in the newly adopted budget.

Aside from new investments in a handful of programs such as mental health services and domestic violence prevention, the two-year spending plan adopted by the General Assembly and signed by Governor McAuliffe last month was essentially flat over the previous budget.

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