- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Economy numbers counter McAuliffe claims of harm from conservative measures
Question of the Day
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has said throughout the campaign for Virginia governor that his Republican opponent’s views on divisive ideological and social issues threaten to cost the commonwealth jobs, business and tourism dollars.
But the state that passed a ban on gay marriage in 2006 and has drawn national headlines for controversial bills and regulations related to contraception and abortion in the past two years set an all-time record for tourism last year and has seen its unemployment rate, already well below the national average, drop nearly two full points since the throes of the recession.
Both at candidate forums and on the stump, Mr. McAuliffe has made a point of Republican Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II’s support of measures like “personhood” that some say could outlaw common forms of birth control. The Democrat has also characterized the attorney general’s comments about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as “extreme” and inimical to economic growth in the state.
“We cannot be putting walls up around Virginia, we cannot be attacking members of the LGBT community,” Mr. McAuliffe said at a forum several months ago. “I was in Virginia Beach We were with 20 tourism folks. They’re losing business because of the rhetoric.”
Mr. Cuccinelli was quoted in 2008 as describing the “homosexual agenda” as something that he believes brings “nothing but self-destruction.” He tried last month to clarify that he does not believe government legislation should address contraception, but he has defended his positions on abortion and gay marriage.
Asked for other examples of how social positions have affected Virginia’s economy, Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign provided testimonials from several GOP business leaders who said they were worried and from a political scientist who said much of the state’s business community would probably like to see social issues put on the back burner.
Regardless, visitors generated $21.2 billion for Virginia’s economy last year, a 4 percent increase over the previous year and a new high for the state, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday. Tourism revenues have increased every year since Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, was sworn into office in 2010, growing by a total of 12.3 percent.
Information on tourism for localities was not immediately available for last year, but local tax receipts generated by domestic travel in Virginia Beach have increased 3.8 percent since 2008 and employment has increased 2.3 percent, according to state data.
The McAuliffe campaign also has consistently pointed to a letter Mr. Cuccinelli sent to state colleges and universities in March 2010 advising that they could not include protections for LGBT employees in their anti-discrimination policies.
At the time, the state was involved in an intense regional battle with the District and Maryland to lure the corporate headquarters of defense giant Northrop Grumman Corp. away from California.
Mr. McAuliffe, citing a 2010 article in The New York Times, has argued on the campaign trail that the letter jeopardized the potential deal.
But a Northrop Grumman spokesman Wednesday said the three primary criteria the company used to select the corporate office site were proximity to its customer base, the availability of local real estate and economic incentives offered by local jurisdictions. Virginia offered some $12 million to $14 million.
The company ultimately ended up in Falls Church.
In fact, it chose Virginia despite urging from Maryland state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., Montgomery Democrat, who pitched his state’s gay-friendly environment as a reason for the defense giant to relocate on the north side of the Potomac.
“Here in Maryland, we value our gay and lesbian citizens as part of a diverse population that makes the state strong,” Mr. Madaleno wrote the company’s CEO in February 2010, shortly after Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced the state would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Virginia residents approved a ballot measure in 2006 constitutionally barring same-sex marriages from being performed or recognized. The District legalized gay marriage in 2009 and Maryland legalized it last year.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Williams: First lady didn't discuss her relationship with husband
- Williams: Maureen McDonnell's high-dollar requests seemed excessive
- Trips, loans for McDonnell family detailed at trial
- Star witness in Bob McDonnell corruption trial refutes 'crush' defense
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors