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]
Dogwood Dell: a massacre foiled or a tale too good to be true?
By: Bob Lewis - August 8, 2022
If you don’t live near Richmond and get your news from its regional media market, the last time you probably heard of a place called Dogwood Dell was a little over a month ago when Virginia’s capital city made national news for boldly claiming to have foiled a mass shooting. The claim by Richmond’s police […]
Unheeded lessons: Torpid U.S. and state monkeypox responses evoke dark early months of COVID
By: Bob Lewis - July 25, 2022
Why is it that when a new transmissible pathogen arrives in Virginia, it seems as though governmental agencies responsible for coordinating the response are mired knee-deep in wet cement? Did COVID-19 teach us nothing? Last week, the Mercury’s Kate Masters revealed that Virginia was behind the curve in responding to monkeypox, a viral infection growing […]
Appreciation: Del. Jack Reid
By: Bob Lewis - July 22, 2022
I knew Del. John S. “Jack” Reid was in the building just by his unique booming voice and Foghorn Leghorn dialect. It echoed through the marble-floored corridors of Virginia’s Capitol and even pierced the chaotic din of the press filing room. When I heard it, I knew it was almost showtime. The House of Delegates […]
Anti-abortion zeal among rural GOP lawmakers may be toxic to Republicans running in suburbs
By: Bob Lewis - July 18, 2022
You can bite off more than is good for you. That’s true whether you’re ordering a full slab of pork ribs at a Danville barbecue joint or pandering to your base in politics. Stridently anti-abortion Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly would do well to keep that in mind as they trip over one another […]
What happens when laws that suppress protests clash with our freedoms?
By: Bob Lewis - July 11, 2022
Americans have always held, as a matter of faith, that if they don’t like something, at least they have the freedom to raise hell about it. At a minimum, it makes them feel better – like they’ve done something. There’s even the possibility that it might lead to change. When it became clear that the […]
If (when?) Virginia imposes new abortion restrictions, those with the least will suffer the most
By: Bob Lewis - July 6, 2022
Bob Marshall got what he wanted. For a generation as a Republican member of the House of Delegates from Prince William, Marshall was the foremost anti-abortion voice in Virginia government until he lost his seat in 2017 to Democratic Del. Danica Roem. Every legislative session during Marshall’s tenure saw a flurry of bills from his […]
2022 exposed the dysfunctions of Virginia’s agrarian, part-time legislative model. Again.
By: Bob Lewis - 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: Bob Lewis - 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: Bob Lewis - 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: Bob Lewis - 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: Bob Lewis - 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: Bob Lewis - 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 […]