Bob Lewis

Bob Lewis

Bob Lewis covered Virginia government and politics for 20 years for The Associated Press. Now retired from a public relations career at McGuireWoods, he is a columnist for the Virginia Mercury. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow on Mastodon: @[email protected]


Appreciation: ‘Sin lobbyist’ Charlie Davis

By: - September 26, 2023

It’s hard to imagine the ecosystem of Virginia’s General Assembly in the late decades of the 1900s and the first couple of the 21st century without Charlie Davis, known and universally celebrated as “the sin lobbyist.” He animated the place. Charlie, a smooth urbanite who never strayed too far from his Rocky Mount, Virginia roots, […]


Violence benights another shared treasure of our communities: Friday night’s lights

By: - September 12, 2023

Remember the thrill of getting ready for Friday night’s football game against your archrival? The pep rallies. A bonfire. Players wear their jerseys to school on game day. Storefronts in small towns are festooned in school colors. Occasionally, even a parade! Then it’s almost game time. As the setting sun bathes the field in a […]


Using the Dems’ own law, Youngkin could unlock GOP power in pivotal 2023 races

By: - August 28, 2023

After years of watching Democrats earn tens of thousands of ballots cast early in Virginia elections, Gov. Glenn Youngkin this year did something logical and refreshing if not, by some measures, brazen: He urged his fellow Republicans to vote early. Think about that a second. Why should stating obvious common sense and a laudable civic […]


In defense of teachers: A back-to-school benediction

By: - August 14, 2023

Early on an August morning, in air heavy with the lifting late-summer dew, tiny fingers clasp the toughened hands that raised them at a neighborhood corner or rural crossroads waiting for a lumbering, yellow school bus to screech to a halt. Its doors will swing open. The driver will greet the small people and beckon […]


Willful neglect of Virginia’s second-year budgets must not become our new normal

By: - July 31, 2023

They had one job. The 15 state legislators responsible for revising the state’s budget for the next year (now just 11 months) were supposed to resolve their few differences over the state’s master spending blueprint and write it into state law by July 1. Tomorrow’s Aug. 1, and still there’s no agreement, even though there’s […]


Va.’s disparities reflect why Aldean’s menacing ‘Small Town’ song flies in rural America

By: - July 25, 2023

Country singer Jason Aldean has reaped a whirlwind of big-media scorn for his intemperate new hit titled “Try That in a Small Town.” As he should. The seething tone of the lyrics alone are an unvarnished and bellicose call for vigilantism by “good ol’ boys, raised up right” in towns and crossroads outside America’s cities […]


A common lament of governors: ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time’

By: - July 18, 2023

Who could begrudge giving grants to families of children whose schooling was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to help those students catch up on learning lost in those dark days of shuttered classrooms and instruction via Zoom? Gov. Glenn Youngkin sensed the need and he ultimately put $60 million that was allocated […]


Can a suit tied to an 1870 law finally end Va.’s feudal felon rights restoration regimen?

By: - June 28, 2023

The American Civil Liberties Union sued in federal court this week to void a provision in Virginia law that strips those convicted of felonies of their voting rights for life unless the governor intercedes to restore them. It’s the most recent attempt to end Virginia’s archaic, inequitable and monarchical system by which those who were […]


Now, if it’s no trouble, might we bother you for a budget?

By: - June 26, 2023

When Virginia finished its party primary elections last Tuesday night and locked in full slates of Democratic and Republican nominees for November’s pivotal legislative elections, just nine days and a wakeup remained to pass a budget until a new fiscal year begins. The procrastination and related dysfunctions the belated budget causes, particularly for local school […]


Youngkin tweet undermining the rule of law over Trump indictment betrayed his own winning formula

By: - June 13, 2023

Is Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin so obsessed with pandering to his party’s Trumpist core — one he is careful not to romance too openly — that he feels the need to undermine the rule of law in defense of the first ex-president ever to be charged with federal felonies? A tweet from Youngkin’s gubernatorial account […]


Youngkin gets it right in stripping degree preferences from most state job postings

By: - June 12, 2023

Mama would approve. So would millions of others who are among the smartest, most experienced, best-qualified people who never got the job of their dreams because they never got a college degree. Gov. Glenn Youngkin did the good and right thing recently when he waived the requirement for — or at least a prevailing bias […]


Virginia has a lot at stake if the debt ceiling isn’t resolved

By: - May 15, 2023

I didn’t have to hear it from Moody’s Analytics last week to know that Virginia could be hit hard if Congress fails to raise the federal government’s borrowing limit and the United States defaults on its debts for the first time. I met with my financial planner over that very concern last week. Economists from […]