Response to the governor’s commonwealth speech

Published 3:59 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

I was honored to be asked to give the televised response to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s State of the Commonwealth speech. The Richmond Times-Dispatch printed his entire speech but none of our response; therefore, below you will find some of that response.

“In his address tonight, Governor McAuliffe detailed his agenda for this year’s legislative session. He established his priorities for the commonwealth’s two-year spending plan when he submitted his budget to the General Assembly last month.

Between now and March 12, the delegates and senators you elected to represent you will consider the governor’s proposals and more than 2,000 bills and resolutions submitted by legislators.

To better prepare our workforce for the demands of a rapidly changing economy, the budget we approve will include initiatives to encourage more Virginians to complete educational programs that lead to certification in high-demand fields.

One area where we will not be in agreement with McAuliffe is Obamacare.

While the governor’s budget again includes the federal program’s Medicaid expansion scheme, we believe this initiative threatens critically important funding priorities like education.”

Other opening day actions

New committee assignments were announced on Jan. 13. One of the responsibilities given me was to lead that effort. I was pleased that it was accepted unanimously.

I gave up my role on the Local Government Committee to better focus my efforts on the Finance Committee where I will chair the subcommittee that develops the Commerce and Trade portions of the budget.

That includes agriculture, forestry, natural resources and the economic development initiatives — all important to our region.

There was a “tempest in a teapot” issue when tables for the media were removed from the front of the Senate chambers.

This upset some in the media.

They seemed to not realize that the house of Delegates removed the media from the floor of the house decades ago with no adverse effect on House access.

Next week, action on legislative proposals will start being heard in committees.

If you hear of a proposal that you believe will seriously impact you or your family, please contact my office.

Frank Ruff, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the Virginia State Senate. His email address is