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]


Absent a comprehensive national strategy, Virginia considers tightening data privacy and security laws

By: - September 8, 2020

You’re sitting across the desk from a bank loan officer to refinance your home mortgage and take advantage of extraordinarily low interest rates when he reveals that your credit is hopelessly overextended. You’ve financed two new cars, secured a massive personal loan and opened (and become delinquent on) dozens of credit cards in the past […]


The haves and the have-nots: How the Wall St.-Main St. divide stokes political discord

By: - August 31, 2020

Watching the Dow and the New York Stock Exchange take their deepest single-day dives ever back in March and April was terrifying. It continued day after day it seemed, and doing the math only freaked me out more when I saw what that came to in value lost to my 401(k) and other investments. My […]


Appreciation: John Henry Hager was ‘the hardest-working man in politics.’ He had to be.

By: - August 25, 2020

It’s just after 3 a.m., and a navy blue Cadillac Coupe DeVille glides westward on an otherwise empty stretch of Interstate 64, slicing through ghostly pools of mid-April mist gathered just above the blacktop. At the wheel is John Henry Hager, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, and he’s hell-bent on making it to Bluefield, Virginia, about four […]


Free speech is not free of consequence. Never has been. Never will be.

By: - August 24, 2020

For all the hand-wringing over the supposed demise of free speech in this most savage season of politics and social upheaval, expression has never been more uninhibited or robust. I just checked the vitals of the First Amendment and, while it’s getting a good workout, it’s just fine. Turns out, nobody is stopping anybody from […]


Legislative priorities, new and deferred, face cold reality of a wrecked state budget

By: - August 17, 2020

Just six months ago, Gov. Ralph Northam and fellow Democrats who had just taken charge of the General Assembly were pondering how they’d spend a nearly $300 million windfall, fruits of an exuberant economy and gaudy state tax collections. The governor had enjoyed a verdant fiscal environment for the state since when he took office […]


Could Parole Board debacle cast a cloud over criminal justice reform?

By: - August 7, 2020

Members of Virginia’s Parole Board repeatedly ignored state law and several of its own policies in its decision to grant parole to a man who had served 40 years of a life term, according to a report by the state Inspector General. In a scathing, six-page report released by Republican legislators on Thursday, the board, […]


Is opacity the legacy Northam’s regime hopes to leave on state government?

By: - August 6, 2020

A few months ago, COVID-19 was turning nursing homes in Virginia into charnel houses, including one in Henrico that had one of the highest known death counts in America at the time. Virginians were frantic to know which extended care facilities were reporting outbreaks. Using a ridiculously contorted interpretation of state law, Gov. Ralph Northam’s […]


Without football season, what becomes of Virginia’s boys (and girls) of fall?

By: - August 3, 2020

Considering the scope of a virus that has killed nearly 700,000 people, wrecked national economies and brought superpowers to their knees, a fall without high school football seems barely worth a footnote in the already voluminous tragedy that is 2020. This pathogen from hell has already deprived the world of the Summer Olympics, the magic […]


In a rare alignment with labor, Dr. Northam prescribes bitter medicine for business as part of his pandemic treatment

By: - July 27, 2020

It’s not like Virginia to side with labor over business. So when the administration of Gov. Ralph Northam – fed up with federal inaction to protect workers and customers from the coronavirus pandemic – released new workplace safety mandates, it shook things up. Unions and advocates for low-income workers and immigrants were delighted, if not […]

OneVirginia2021 Executive Director Brian Cannon speaks at a news conference on Feb. 12 in support of a constitutional amendment on redistricting reform. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Fair Maps Virginia campaign aims to get voters to embrace redistricting commission amendment

By: - July 21, 2020

A nonprofit advocacy group is mounting a fall campaign on one of the most consequential matters on Virginia’s ballot: ending the General Assembly’s historic monopoly on drawing partisan legislative district lines. OneVirginia2021, a nonpartisan organization which has lobbied for years for redistricting reform, on Monday announced Fair Maps Virginia, a 501(c)4 that will direct an issue […]


Trump on the ropes is a dangerous place – for Democrats. How they could still blow this election.

By: - July 20, 2020

“I’m not a member of any organized political party – I am a Democrat.” Will Rogers, 1930 By most every current measure, Donald Trump has his back against a wall.  The coronavirus pandemic, which seemed to be in retreat six weeks ago, rages anew across the United States with public health officials questioning whether it’s […]


Amid political tug-of-war, teachers look ahead with fear, uncertainty as new school year rushes onward

By: - July 13, 2020

To understand the mind of a teacher, those of us who do other things for a living must attempt some mental gymnastics. Let’s imagine a professional passion so acute that when the coronavirus shuttered classrooms, they pivoted with little warning or rehearsal to digitally link dozens of children from home and continue daily instruction remotely. […]