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]


How sports (and the Baptists) pushed the Confederate banner off Mississippi’s state flag

By: - July 6, 2020

If there’s anything more intertwined with the complicated and mysterious soul of Mississippi than the Confederate flag, it is college sports. When the two found themselves in conflict last month, the flag lost and sports made Mississippi a better place. The rebel army’s battle banner had occupied the upper left field of Mississippi’s flag for […]


This moment for lasting reform on racial inequities didn’t come cheap. Don’t waste it.

By: - June 26, 2020

There’s never been a moment like this for significant change in the way our nation deals with fundamental inequities in its treatment of people of color – certainly not in my more than six decades on this planet. The righteous wrath unleashed by the fresh police killings of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd […]


With Juneteenth holiday, Northam turns his greatest liability into a redemptive moment

By: - June 22, 2020

Give Gov. Ralph Northam this: He recognized a transformative moment when he saw it, and he seized it to improve Virginia and possibly the way history will regard him.   Fourteen months ago, Northam became a national pariah one moonwalk away from being hounded from office over a photo of one man in blackface and another […]


A monumental question: Which memorials stand, which disappear and where is the line drawn?

By: - June 15, 2020

Is this the last battle of the Civil War or is it the newest skirmish in our continuing culture clash? The question of which dead white guys are memorialized by statues, streets and highways, schools, parks or military bases is one that has discomfited society for years, particularly the first two decades of the 21st […]


The whole world is watching the brutal police response to protests

By: - June 8, 2020

It’s time for the police to clean up their act. Past time, actually. The curbside killing of George Floyd in broad daylight by a white Minneapolis cop who was on patrol despite a lengthy record of abuse complaints (18 in all) was a game-changer because the whole ghastly thing was recorded on video and seen […]


Removing monuments can open the dialogue, but coping with our painful history is necessary for reconciliation

By: - June 5, 2020

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” –William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun, 1951 Finally – after 401 years of bondage, bloodshed, a Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, lynchings and institutionalized discrimination – Virginia has begun to deal with America’s original sin. Thursday’s announcements that Richmond’s Confederate monuments are coming down are significant […]


Businesses, trying to jump-start after lockdown, are reluctant first-enforcers of Virginia’s new mask mandate

By: - June 1, 2020

Businesses despise uncertainty. They’ll take an adverse certainty over the unknown any day because at least you can plan around adversity. That’s why Gov. Ralph Northam’s decree that people shall wear masks in certain public venues is creating angst among businesses over potential confrontations arising from their staff effectively being made the first line of […]


A good doctor might understand the disease, but it takes a good project manager to wrangle a pandemic

By: - May 26, 2020

When is a good doctor not necessarily the best person to put in charge of the response on behalf of 8.5 million people to the worst viral pandemic in 102 years? When that governor isn’t also a great project manager. A dozen weeks into the extended nightmare that the novel coronavirus has been for the […]

Latino, immigrant workers, hit hardest by COVID-19, see little aid from government, leaders say

By: - May 18, 2020

With Latino Virginians among those with the highest infection rates of the new coronavirus and afflicted by the severe disease it causes – COVID-19 – Latino leaders are asking why government outreach and aid to their sizable community has been negligible. Despite assurances of aggressive assistance by Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of […]


Virginia is for lovers? As pandemic dashes nuptial plans, state lags in providing online options for couples

By: - May 11, 2020

Ah spring, when wedding bells peal, couples say “I do,” rice and bridal bouquets fly, toasts are raised and jubilant friends and family drink, dance, dine … and drink. Like life’s other joyful moments, this spring’s long-planned weddings have either been postponed or drastically scaled back by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some couples press ahead using […]

Risking it all: Small business, the backbone of the Va. economy, fights to survive COVID-19

By: - May 4, 2020

None of this was Pat Elliott’s fault. He’d done everything right: never late paying his taxes, his vendors, the bank or his $3,000-a-week payroll to employees of the Campus Drive-In, for generations a social hub in Gate City, near the Tennessee line.  Then one day in March, the world flipped upside down because of a […]


As campaign 2020 shifts into high gear, Trump’s defamation suits pose a chilling prospect for the press

By: - April 27, 2020

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough. The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snippets of Trump dismissing the seriousness of the nascent but fast-growing […]