Loudounlady’s Blog

February 4, 2009

AG McDonnell’s Resignation Speech

Filed under: Bob McDonnell — loudounlady @ 6:58 pm

Here is Bob McDonnell’s entire resignation speech:

Thank you

I have asked you all to be here because, as I told you this morning, I have announced that on February 20th I will resign as Attorney General. It means giving up the best job I’ve ever had, working with you great public servants whom I have grown to know and love.

This is about the hardest decision I have ever had to make. And that is why I asked you to gather here today. Because I want you all to know how much it has meant to me to serve our clients and our citizens with you.

You – we— are the Commonwealth’s law firm.  The people’s law firm.  And from my perspective, the best law firm in Virginia.

Few appreciate the diversity, the complexity, and the immediacy of the issues that you handle on a daily basis. You do it with intelligence, poise, and a great desire to get results.

A little over three years ago I showed up here for my first day. I took my office and Bill Mims took his. We were the new guys, and you taught us the ropes. You taught us to get Christopher’s Chicken Salad, to get blue sheets, now gold sheets, done promptly, to always give a thumbs up to Linda and Nanora, and to do everything Connie Newcomb told us to do!

Bill and I pledged that we would continue the ongoing effort to make this the best law firm in the Commonwealth. I believe we have achieved that goal.

And we pledged to put this office to work enacting major reforms for the people of Virginia. Thanks to you we have achieved that goal, many times over.

Running for this office I pledged, if elected, I would enact some of the toughest laws in the nation when it came to combating dangerous sexual predators who prey on women and children. 

It was the first major effort we launched upon taking office. 

That effort meant extremely long hours for many of you.  But you all joined in right away. It was a collective effort from the first moment. We got our legislative package passed and we dramatically toughened Virginia’s laws on sexually violent predators.

We created a 25 year mandatory minimum for certain sexually violent offenses against children 

We initiated GPS tracking for certain offenders

We dramatically improved Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry

Virginia’s children are safer because of what you did. As the father of 5 it felt really good to be successful in making them safer. And I hope all the parents in this room feel the same.

We accomplished that success by working together, and that set the tone for the next three years.

I have been told, by unnamed persons, that I can be somewhat aggressive in my goals! But you know I blame all of you! You have been my enablers. Because every time I gave you a project you did it better and quicker than before! So I just decided I’d keep increasing our goals! With the talent in this office anything has been possible. 

Look at what we’ve done.  Together:

We took our work to protect Virginia’s children into the cyber-world and made Internet safety a top priority. Lisa Hicks-Thomas, Gene Fishel, Jan Myer and the rest of the team led the way on our Youth Internet Safety Task Force to keep children safer on the Internet. The Task Force was called “a template for the nation.”

We used the revamped Sex Offender Registry to identify and deport criminal alien sex offenders from this country.  Marla Decker your division was invaluable in this effort.

We protected our environment by shutting down a major polluter of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. John Butcher, Al Albiston, David Grandis, and Roger Chaffe thank you for all that you did to end SIL’s pollution of our waterways.

In April 2006 we learned of an effort to take the Boy Scout Jamboree out of Fort A.P. Hill. Bill Thro and Steve McCullough swung into action in court, and kept the Jamboree here.

We knew that gang violence was a growing problem in many parts of Virginia. So we took it head on, here in Richmond through our GRIP program, and all over the state through coordination with law enforcement. Esther Anderson, Mike Favale, Shannon Dion, Amy Wight, Phil Figura, Charles Quagliato, Patrick Dorgan and the rest of the anti-gang gang, thank you for helping us fight this scourge. And I want to specifically note:  Richmond’s violent crime rate has fallen from 5th to 49th in the nation. Our Office has been honored to be a part of a number of local, state and federal initiatives that have helped to achieve this. This success has saved lives and heartache.

Last year our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit obtained one of the largest Fraud verdicts ever, $635 million, from the OxyContin makers whose product ravaged Southwest Virginia. As a result of this work and other actions our office was named best in the nation in 2008 in combating Medicaid Fraud. That’s a testament to the diligent and tireless work of Randy Clouse, Steve Buck, Mike Judge, Paul Anderson, Erika Bailey, Eric Atkinson, Harrell Erwin, and Joey Rusek and our entire MFCU unit.

Last Friday I flew out to Abingdon to award over $650,000 in funds from the successful OxyContin settlement in 2007 to be used for prevention and treatment efforts in the region. Thank you Rich Schweiker, Dave Irvin, Judy Jesse and the entire consumer section for seeing this through. 

In 2007 we all learned that animal fighting was a major problem in Virginia. So Michelle Welch and Frank Ferguson helped to lead our work to give the Commonwealth some of the nation’s toughest animal fighting laws.

It was our Office’s duty to help facilitate the negotiations on legislation concerning the re-regulation of electricity in Virginia after the failed experiment with deregulation. A lot of groups had competing visions for how the process should unfold. Thanks to Maureen Matsen, Meade Browder, Kim Steinhoff and Bill Mims this process was handled professionally and correctly.

We have ensured that Virginia navigated the pitfalls of electric re-regulation safely, to incentivize new generating capacity while protecting consumers.

We helped promote free enterprise by cutting hundreds of unnecessary government regulations through our Government and Regulatory Reform Task Force. Martin Kent has a few more gray hairs from this effort, and so do Eric Gregory, Pam Watts, Elizabeth Andrews, Jasen Eige, Cathie Hutchins, Matt Cobb, Usha Koduru, Clay Garett, Todd LePage, Cindy Norwood and others! It is critically important to me that government help where it can, and get out the way where it cannot.  Thank you. 

In July 2006 David Johnson walked into my office and told me about a young man named Abraham Cherrix. This young man, bravely fighting cancer, was not afforded the right to choose his medical treatment. And we were successful in getting Abraham his rights in court. Thank you David, Kim Piner, Matt Cobb, Noelle Shaw-Bell, and Beth MacDonald.

And David Johnson and his team provided the intellectual firepower that helped to pass the Marriage Amendment.

And speaking of best in the country, our child support enforcement section helped their client agency gain that designation also.  Well done, Craig Burshem.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the mental health reforms that we achieved together with the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Governor are benefiting thousands of our fellow Virginians. Jane Hickey and Allyson Tysinger and others in the health services section have gone above and beyond the call of duty. 

Much of our office’s work is behind the scenes.  The historic election last November went smoothly for many reasons, one of which was the exceptional legal work by Jim Hopper, Jasen Eige, Jim Ingold, Frank Ferguson, and others. 

We have completely revamped the special counsel appointment process, thanks to Courtney Malveaux and Ellen Gardner. 

Our last audit was perfect – Tom Gelozin and Robert Lewis and their finance team, and Aaron Mathis and his IT team get major credit for that. 

And we have consistently given solid advice to clients to resolve disputes through excellent written opinions, with special thanks to Lisa Seaborn and the Opinions Princess – Stephanie Hamlett and to every attorney here that is tasked with drafting an opinion.

Our criminal litigation and correctional litigation sections have litigated hundreds of cases during these three years, with an enviable success rate.  Alan Katz, Jerry Slonaker, and your dedicated teams have done so much to keep Virginians safe.

And capital cases have been a particular challenge. Thank you Katherine Baldwin-Burnett, Dick Vorhis and your colleagues for your great work.

I mentioned previously the tremendous legislative success regarding sexually violent predators.  That success has translated into intense work for our SVP section.  Pam Sargent, you and your hard-working team have done so much to protect Virginians from this scourge, and you all deserve our gratitude.

We worked diligently to recover the Commonwealth’s debts through the Division of Debt Collection, thank you for your service.

I could go on and on. Every one of you has done so much good for the Commonwealth.

83 of our 94 legislative proposals have been signed into law by the Governor, most with overwhelming bipartisan support. And that is because you all were there testifying in committee, talking to legislators, preparing documents and tracking bills. Thanks to you I can leave this office after four legislative sessions knowing that we kept each of the seven promises I made as a candidate. Thank you for making it happen.

Of course so much of what we have done in this Office isn’t really part of the job description. If people say one thing about our Office I hope they will say this: We were good neighbors, we were good Virginians, we cared for each other and the community.
In 2007 we joined with the Virginia Bar Association and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks to launch the Statewide Legal Food Frenzy. In just two years, this annual competition raised over 2 millions of pounds of food for Virginia’s Food Banks. But what has really made me proud has been watching this Office get involved.  Through Jeans Days, and bake sales, and volunteering the Office of the Attorney General has become a partner the Central Virginia Food Bank can rely on.

 

You have also mentored young people, given thousands of presents to less fortunate Richmond kids at Christmas, volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, and donated thousands of hours to local bar associations. That is just a wonderful testament to the generosity of this Office. 

As you came down here you passed by the Wall of Honor. That Wall, honoring the brave Virginians who have perished serving in the Global War on Terrorism, gives me pause every time I pass it.  The Wall has brought peace and strength to so many grieving families. Cindy Norwood, Cassidy Vestal, Hamilton Roye, Connie Newcomb and the entire team that made this possible: I thank you for honoring George Washington’s command to care for and always appreciate our veterans.

Again, I could keep doing this for hours, but I will conclude.

On February 20th I will leave this Office. I know I leave it strong, professional and in great hands.

Virginia faces many challenges ahead. We need new jobs, we need businesses to move here, we need more innovation and opportunity, and a more transparent and efficient government. I want to lead the way to make these things happen as Governor. And it is time for me to begin making my case to the people of Virginia as a full-time job applicant.

The taxpayers deserve a full-time Attorney General. You deserve a full-time Attorney General. This campaign now demands a full time candidate.

I have told the Governor and the leadership of the General Assembly that my choice to replace me is your Chief Deputy, Bill Mims. There is not a single person more qualified, or more prepared, to serve as Attorney General than Bill. I’ve known a lot of people in public life. I’ve known few as principled, decent and smart as Bill. I am confident that the General Assembly will approve his appointment, and I know this Office will be in the best of hands under his leadership.

As I close today I want to again say thank you. Thank you for welcoming me here three years ago. For always working that extra hour, and for always putting in that extra effort.

The accomplishments of this Office speak for themselves. But speaking for myself, I want to say that I have never worked with a more professional, caring and outstanding group of men and women in my life.

It has been an honor.

Thank you, and may God continue to bless this Office, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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