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

Dogwood Dell: a massacre foiled or a tale too good to be true?

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

Unheeded lessons: Torpid U.S. and state monkeypox responses evoke dark early months of COVID

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

Appreciation: Del. Jack Reid

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

Anti-abortion zeal among rural GOP lawmakers may be toxic to Republicans running in suburbs

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

What happens when laws that suppress protests clash with our freedoms?

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY

If (when?) Virginia imposes new abortion restrictions, those with the least will suffer the most

By: - 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 […]

COMMENTARY
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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]