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]

Tulips are blooming at the Virginia Capitol, but a budget deal remained elusive Monday. (Photo by Graham Moomaw)

2022 exposed the dysfunctions of Virginia’s agrarian, part-time legislative model. Again.

By: - June 27, 2022

You hear it regularly on Capitol Square in Virginia: Ours is a “part-time” legislature. Not really. Not for years and years now, either in fact or by definition. But it sure evokes wistful nostalgia in presentations loaded with gauzy clichés about “the Virginia way.” Look no further than this year’s long-running session in which the […]


A full journalism life isn’t just a destination; it’s celebrating those you meet on the journey

By: - June 20, 2022

He was a gregarious lad fresh out of Hampden-Sydney with a sunny smile, speaking a mile-a-minute and full of curiosity. Jonathan would have blended into the diffuse background of the 2001 governor’s race as far as Virginia’s senior political correspondents at the time were concerned but for the fact that, at seemingly every stop, he […]


A micromanagement masterpiece: Where telework works, why mess with it?

By: - June 13, 2022

On some level, the notion is understandable and meritorious. Old-school management wants to see employees at their desks ready to go on time, bright-eyed, dressed for success and brimming with enthusiasm. So, perhaps thinking old school, Gov. Glenn Youngkin saw merit in his May 3 dictate that all state employees who’ve been working from home […]


Burrowing our way to security

By: - June 6, 2022

They’re digging a big trench through Capitol Square in Richmond where a steel-reinforced concrete tunnel will be constructed as a secure portal for legislators, staffers and the public between the handsome new General Assembly office tower and the Capitol – the temple to democracy designed by Thomas Jefferson. You can’t miss it. Construction fencing shrouds […]


Youngkin leveraged public education to beat Democrats once. Will they let him do it again?

By: - May 31, 2022

Sometimes in debates on public policy, it pays to slow down, think a minute and ask whether the other guy just might have a point. When Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued his report earlier this month that the status quo in Virginia’s public education has not held its own relative to achievement rankings of other states […]


Spare us your thoughts and prayers. Do your damn job.

By: - May 26, 2022

It’s an appallingly familiar plotline. Only the names and places change. Tuesday, it was Uvalde, Texas. Ten days earlier, it was Buffalo. Before that it was Boulder, or Sandy Hook, or Orlando, or Columbine. It was Virginia Beach and Virginia Tech. It goes this way: bloody mass murder is carried out by man (isn’t it […]

Newspapers on the press

As government becomes less responsive to the Fourth Estate, it’s the governed who suffer most

By: - May 23, 2022

I could tell something was bugging Bill when we sat down for lunch not long ago, and it didn’t take long to find out what it was. Bill Fitzgerald and I have been friends for years. He’s the evening and night anchor for the newscasts of WTVR-TV in Richmond, the CBS affiliate in Virginia’s capital […]

vehicle tax reminder letter

Two words for local governments considering keeping windfall car tax collections: Jim Gilmore

By: - May 20, 2022

You’ve got to hand it to Jim Gilmore: the Republican former governor knew a winning issue when he saw it. In 1997, Gilmore and his political team came up with the most potent three-word, perfect-for-bumper-stickers campaign mantra I’ve ever seen. “NO CAR TAX.” It was the rocket fuel that propelled him into the Executive Mansion. […]

Tulips are blooming at the Virginia Capitol, but a budget deal remained elusive Monday. (Photo by Graham Moomaw)

A farce in one act: imagining a job performance review for Virginia’s policymaking elite

By: - May 16, 2022

Setting: A large conference room somewhere in downtown Richmond. On one side of the table sits the representative from Human Resources who’s there to conduct the annual job performance review. On the other sit 140 members of the General Assembly and the head of the executive branch, his excellency Glenn Youngkin. (Curtain rises. Scene opens:) […]


Abortion debate turns up the heat on a nation boiling over

By: - May 12, 2022

America’s culture wars were already simmering over everything from COVID masking to school library book bans when POLITICO published the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would reverse abortion rights protections women have enjoyed for 49 years. That turned the burner up from simmer to a furious boil, and for good reason. The […]


Draft Supreme Court ruling makes Morrissey the wild card in deciding the future of abortion in Va.

By: - May 9, 2022

A draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that, as published by POLITICO a week ago, would end a federal guarantee of abortion rights granted under the 1973 “Roe v. Wade decision.” If the final opinion in a case challenging a strict Mississippi anti-abortion law is anything like the leaked draft, abortion rights will become a state-by-state […]


The one-person, one-vote principle can be a pain, but it’s essential to uphold

By: - May 2, 2022

Lord in heaven, I know I swore many years ago that I’d do all in my power to avoid getting pulled into a rabbit hole by Paul Goldman, so please don’t strike me dead for this. But here goes: Paul is right in suing to force House of Delegates elections this fall. In a long […]