Delegate Roxann L. Robinson (R-Chesterfield) and Senator David R. Suetterlein (R-Roanoke County) tonight delivered the Republican perspective on the State of the Commonwealth. The prepared text of their remarks, which were broadcast following Governor Northam’s, are as follows:
“Good evening, I’m Senator David Suetterlein from Roanoke County.”
“And I’m Delegate Roxann Robinson from Chesterfield County.
“We’re here tonight to share the Republican perspective on the state of our Commonwealth, and to share our views on this year’s General Assembly session.
“Earlier today, Republicans and Democrats came together to officially begin the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly, with a day of historic firsts. For the first time in Virginia’s history, a woman was elected Speaker of the House of Delegates, and a woman will serve as Majority Leader of the House of Delegates.
“Regardless of party, today is a day all Virginians can be proud of.
“And while we Republicans are disappointed to see our two decades in the majority come to an end, we’re proud of the Commonwealth we leave to our Democratic successors. Starting today, they inherit a dynamic and growing economy, with unparalleled opportunity for Virginians of all walks of life.
“Thanks to more than two decades of Republican governance, our Commonwealth has collected accolade after accolade:
Virginia is the best state in the nation for business;
We have the fourth best schools in the nation;
The second safest schools in the nation;
The second lowest crime rate;
The lowest criminal recidivism rate;
Virginia has a Triple-A bond rating, one of only a handful in the nation; and
A Rainy-Day Fund of more than $1 billion, a hedge against economic uncertainty; and
Student tuition is frozen at all public universities in the Commonwealth for the first time in decades.
“For 20 years, General Assembly Republicans have governed with common-sense principles, focusing on the over 8 million hard-working people who make Virginia what it is. Just last year, Republicans not only managed to balance our budget without raising taxes, we did so while giving teachers a 5 percent raise, cutting taxes by more than one billion dollars, and making record investments in the priorities that Virginians care about.
“Our Commonwealth isn’t perfect, but thousands of people “vote with their feet” each year – they move here, start families here, and find careers here. We are blessed to live in a Commonwealth of opportunity.
“Truly, Virginia is the best place in our country to live, work, and raise a family. Republicans are rightly proud of this legacy, and we wish our Democratic colleagues the best and hope that they will build upon, rather than reverse, this hard-won success.
“While we are hopeful, we are deeply concerned at early signs that they may indeed reverse course. Bills have been filed that would undo more than 50 years of Virginia labor law. Others would add onerous burdens to Virginia businesses, imposing crippling government mandates on the small businesses that drive our economy.
“We will work with Democrats where we can to preserve and improve every facet of life in Virginia. It is our sincere hope that Democrats will continue the policies that have served Virginia well for the past two decades.”
“The voters of Virginia have given Democrats control of state government for the first time in over a quarter century. We respect that result.
“Republicans are committed to working in the best interests of those who entrusted us to stand up for Virginia values, to defend innocent human life, to protect the rights of all Virginians, and to ensure the continued prosperity of the Commonwealth.
“Some of the proposals being advanced by Governor Northam and the Democrat legislative majority will have a profoundly negative effect on Virginia’s working families. If implemented, the Democrats’ agenda will place a substantial burden on working Virginians.
“Specifically, the Democrats’ proposals will:
Raise electric bills, making it more expensive for you to live in your home;
Raise fuel prices, making your daily commute to work more expensive; and
Raise taxes, taking more of your hard-earned money.
“Disappointingly, the budget submitted by the Governor has substantial spending increases, yet doesn’t include a pay increase for our hard-working teachers this year.
“Even when the Governor does propose a cost-savings to Virginians, with his plan to have Virginia join the 36 states that do not require mandatory car inspections, the savings would be more than offset by his proposed substantial increase in fuel taxes. This will disproportionately hurt working Virginians.
“The Governor and Democrats’ sweeping proposals to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Virginians has led many localities to preemptively act to protect those rights. Republicans will continue to defend the Constitutional rights of all law-abiding Virginians.
“There are some areas where many Republicans concur with Governor Northam’s proposals. Republicans like me stand ready to work with the Governor on Criminal Justice reforms like ending the suspension of drivers’ licenses because of unpaid court fees – a practice that makes it difficult for people to go to work and more likely to be dependent on taxpayer-supported social services.
“But, Republicans will also stand with the victims of crimes and for truth-in-sentencing, ensuring that Virginia’s jury findings are upheld.
“Virginia has been blessed with both natural resources and natural beauty. From the Cumberland Gap to the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge, our commonwealth is an extraordinary place.
“Republicans stand ready to work to ensure all Virginians have a state government that puts their interests first.
“On behalf of Delegate Robinson and myself, thank you for watching.”