Author

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]

COMMENTARY

Independent inquiry says Parole Board investigator was biased, but not whether she had reason to be

By: - June 21, 2021

A white-shoe law firm the Northam administration hired to examine the scandal surrounding disclosures of the state inspector general’s inquiry into controversial inmate releases last year — allegedly with little or insufficient notice by the state Parole Board — delivered its report last week. The firm of Nixon Peabody found that the lead investigator at […]

COMMENTARY

Trump has been a gift to Va. Democrats for years. Now can they win without him in the White House?

By: - June 14, 2021

Winning elections for the past five years has been low-hanging fruit for Democrats in Virginia, and the reason can be summed up in two words: Donald Trump. The divisive former president’s unpopularity in the commonwealth has had the net effect of turning Virginia – where no Republican has won a statewide race since 2009 – […]

COMMENTARY

Voting need not be a gauntlet. So why is the GOP doing all it can to make it that way?

By: - June 7, 2021

Voting shouldn’t be an obstacle course, but several states — all run by Republicans — want to make it that way. It’s not that there’s a national outcry from people upset at the convenience of casting ballots in the largest-turnout election in American history in November. In fact, sizable majorities favor ease-of-voting policies, a Pew […]

COMMENTARY

The death game: big corporations and tactics they use to drain money from the departed

By: - June 1, 2021

Should it take four months and dozens of phone calls that consumed more than 40 hours – a full workweek – on the phone, not to mention at least as much time online, to disconnect phone service for a deceased person? Likewise, should an equal expenditure of time, energy and treasure be necessary to liquidate, […]

COMMENTARY

Sen. John W. Warner: an appreciation

By: - May 27, 2021

One secret of successful celebrities is knowing when and how to walk away, the graceful exit to live life outside the limelight. The great ones do it instinctively: Paul Newman, Greta Garbo, Michael Jordan, Joe DiMaggio. Sen. John W. Warner had that gift. As he closed out his fifth consecutive U.S. Senate term, the movie-star […]

COMMENTARY

As America’s infrastructure crumbles, politicians treat the problem like a partisan board game

By: - May 24, 2021

No, America, this is not a drill. In Texas, supposedly the nation’s energy capital, more than 4.5 million homes and businesses were left without light and power for days on end as a freakish winter storm and cold wave caused the state’s insular power grid to fail under the demand. More than 150 deaths resulted […]

COMMENTARY

A federal lawsuit forces Virginia to own its duty to handle pandemic jobless claims promptly

By: - May 17, 2021

Amber Dimmerling is scared. She’s angry, too. And she has every right to be. Left jobless when the pandemic crushed the restaurant industry  14 months ago, the 40-year-old single mother did her best to make ends meet and care for her 12-year-old daughter with the weekly Virginia unemployment insurance benefits she initially received. Last September, […]

COMMENTARY

We did it to whip polio and smallpox. We can do the same to COVID with a simple shot in the arm.

By: - May 3, 2021

Self-interest partly motivated me to get my coronavirus vaccinations. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t want to get gravely ill and possibly die as too many friends and acquaintances have from this microbe from hell. I also want to go to California and meet my 6-month-old grandson. I traveled three hours each way […]

COMMENTARY

What to make of “cancel culture”

By: - April 26, 2021

One thing the 21st century has taught us is that Americans are losing the essential ability to disagree agreeably and that free speech can be expensive. Speak your mind and you might just pay with your job, your business, your sponsorship deals, your college admission, your friendships — you name it. Robust expression is as […]

COMMENTARY

Pushing broadband into rural Va. gives us a chance to act like a commonwealth

By: - April 19, 2021

Writing this column in a Richmond suburb, I expect instant responses to data inquiries from across the Internet. And, far more often than not, I get them. Fiber-optic digital access (which ain’t cheap) also allows me to stream movies, shop the virtual marketplace, conduct business videoconferences and correspond at light speed with anyone in the […]

COMMENTARY

Police are not monolithic – all good or all bad. They’re both. They’re human.

By: - April 15, 2021

Rarely does truth confront us in such dramatic, split-screen relief as it did Tuesday with diametrically opposed, real-time visions into American policing and what should be clear to all by now: Law enforcement is not monolithic. Those who wear badges are heroes and villains, goodness and evil in varying degrees — often in the same […]

COMMENTARY

Then and now: Protest songs remind us in times of tumult that we’ve yet to realize our aspirations

By: - April 12, 2021

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. You’re taking my life from me.  I can’t breathe. Will anyone fight for me?” — “I Can’t Breathe,” H.E.R., 2020 Music born of angry times of domestic disunity in American history leave indelible marks on us that speak loudly about who we are rather than who we propose to […]