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]


By trying to demolish DEI initiatives, Va. Republicans dig in on history’s wrong side

By: - May 8, 2023

It’s a drumbeat these days in the party of Big MAGA: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is something to be despised, defeated and destroyed. In the past couple of weeks, Virginia’s most powerful Republicans have joined the parade by pandering in a legislative election year to the GOP’s white, anti-DEI base. First, the state’s chief […]


There’s more to Senator Warner’s local press resolution than a commendation

By: - May 1, 2023

My eye was drawn to a short story in the Virginia Mercury last week about the commonwealth’s senior U.S. senator, Mark Warner, supporting a resolution that endorses the need for robust, independent local news organizations. The 338-word piece by Meghan McIntyre was rich with alarming statistics about brutal declines local news organizations have suffered from […]


A heartbreaking spectacle in my native Tennessee made me appreciate Virginia all the more

By: - April 17, 2023

It had been decades since I watched proceedings of the Tennessee Legislature as a cub reporter. What I saw in my native state this month saddened me but increased my appreciation for my state of choice, Virginia, where such embarrassments are less likely. On live television, I saw the Republican supermajority in Tennessee’s House of […]


GMU’s president is right to reject students’ call to cancel Youngkin’s commencement speech

By: - April 3, 2023

I don’t know Gregory Washington, the president of George Mason University. I am not an alumnus of his school. To the best of my recall, I have never been on GMU’s campus in Fairfax. But I applaud Mr. Washington. He did what many leaders in academia are unwilling to do these days: He stood up […]


It didn’t have to be this way, Wegmans

By: - March 28, 2023

A massive regional distribution center for the Wegmans supermarket chain aspires to open soon in the midst of a Hanover County community of special Black historical significance. Even though legal proceedings challenging the behemoth facility that will eventually encompass up to 1.7 million square feet are in the news, the facility is already largely built, […]


A meritorious bill to curb kids’ access to online porn has limitations, downsides

By: - March 13, 2023

It’s a good bet that an election-year bill to crack down on juvenile access to online pornography, which elected legislators of both parties passed overwhelmingly, will become law in Virginia. Penalizing smut purveyors plays well on campaign brochures, ads and websites. Political cynicism aside, however, there is meritorious intent behind Sen. Bill Stanley’s bill to […]


Farewell and adieu: Possible pitfalls and historical context of pending legislative retirements

By: - March 7, 2023

I was something of a young pup in the Virginia Capitol press corps, at least in terms of tenure on the beat if not age, in 2001 when an astonishing number of exits from the Senate and House of Delegates shook Capitol Square. Almost all of the 12 delegates who announced their exits ahead of […]


Another session with vital work left undone: Virginia outgrows its part-time legislature

By: - February 28, 2023

It’s been a long time since the biggest business in Virginia was tobacco. Or since people hunted rabbits where rail mass transit and office towers now stand in Tysons. And since a drive from Bristol to Winchester consumed a whole day on looping two-lane roads. One constant during that span is the amount of time […]


Why Sen. Chap Petersen is right: Va. shouldn’t build Dan Snyder a stadium

By: - February 21, 2023

Thirty years ago, Washington’s pro football team commanded unparalleled loyalty in the Old Dominion and commensurate deference from its elected officials, its mascot named for a slur against Native Americans notwithstanding. That was then. That was when the team was a perennial in the NFL postseason and won Super Bowls – something that hasn’t happened […]


In Virginia, people suffering mental health crises too often become felons when police intervene

By: - February 9, 2023

Life has never been easy for Johnny, but each May and June are an ordeal. It was in June two years ago when Johnny spiraled into a mental health crisis, this one requiring police intervention. Violence isn’t Johnny’s nature in spite of abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of his birth parents before he […]


Legislation forcing adults to keep guns out of kids’ hands is no threat to responsible gun owners

By: - February 3, 2023

Raised, as I was, in deeply rural America, I grew up around guns. I treasured them for the same reason I loved fishing poles: they meant time spent hunting or fishing with my dad, granddad or uncle. Guns didn’t scare me because I respected them. I was taught early that they are not toys and […]


The strange case of the pastor, the prosecutor, the police chief and the legislator

By: - January 25, 2023

Mixing politics, law enforcement and religion is a difficult high-wire act under the best of circumstances. Add in a sex sting operation and you’re toeing the wire over the Grand Canyon without a net or safety harness in the middle of a blizzard. Chesterfield County’s commonwealth’s attorney, Stacey Davenport, should know that. A lurid, real-life […]