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]

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 […]


Decades, tragedies and heartaches later, Virginia’s mental health system still struggles

By: - April 25, 2022

It’s been decades — at least three of them — with a continuous litany of embarrassments, mismanagement, tragedy and even death that have dogged Virginia’s dysfunctional system of mental health services and hospitals. And the drumbeat continues. A little over a week ago, two felons broke out of the Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg where […]


When a student newspaper calls for banning campus speech, basic freedoms are threatened

By: - April 18, 2022

The last place where the free expression of ideas and robust debate about them should be inhibited is a college campus. And the last institution that should call for such a thing, particularly at a university founded by one of the nation’s earliest champions of unfettered speech, is a newspaper. But that’s what happened at […]


Frozen: Report on Va.’s response to I-95 hellscape on ice is fitting epilogue to Northam’s term

By: - April 11, 2022

The knock on former Gov. Ralph Northam was that he tended not to address problems until they bit him in his derriere, and even then only after considerable embarrassment. Now, three months after Dr. Northam resumed his pediatric neurology practice, an independent after-action assessment shows that a combination of problems left him poorly informed about […]


A tough choice ahead for the secretary of the commonwealth on the Mattaponi tribe’s future

By: - April 4, 2022

One thing any politician hates is a no-win situation, one in which he or she has to decide between two opposing groups and, no matter what you decide, somebody’s going to be pissed off. Virginia’s secretary of the commonwealth, Kay Coles James, seems to have such a decision in her future. Kay James has been […]

Virginia Employment Commission backlog eliminated, Younkgin administration says

By: - March 29, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration says that it has wiped out a backlog of nearly 250,000 jobless claims it inherited a little more than two months ago and has reduced the number of unpaid claims pending adjudication to a few thousand. The Virginia Employment Commission, an agency whose performance during the height of the pandemic in […]


In its arrogance, Virginia government continues walling off the public’s right to know

By: - March 28, 2022

It may sound almost laughable now – a cruel joke, to be sure – but there was a time when Virginia had a decent Freedom of Information law. Maybe not the strongest, but workable. The commonwealth first enacted laws to reasonably make government documents and meetings open to the public in 1968. It was a […]