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]
Voting in pandemic times: casting a ballot in a most perilous election
By: Bob Lewis - September 14, 2020
Over the next 50 days, we have the chance to vote in arguably the most consequential election in American history at a time when doing so carries significant personal risk. As scary as the headlines surrounding this election have been, there’s no need to be afraid if you arm yourself with some reliable information. It’s […]
Absent a comprehensive national strategy, Virginia considers tightening data privacy and security laws
By: Bob Lewis - September 8, 2020
You’re sitting across the desk from a bank loan officer to refinance your home mortgage and take advantage of extraordinarily low interest rates when he reveals that your credit is hopelessly overextended. You’ve financed two new cars, secured a massive personal loan and opened (and become delinquent on) dozens of credit cards in the past […]
The haves and the have-nots: How the Wall St.-Main St. divide stokes political discord
By: Bob Lewis - August 31, 2020
Watching the Dow and the New York Stock Exchange take their deepest single-day dives ever back in March and April was terrifying. It continued day after day it seemed, and doing the math only freaked me out more when I saw what that came to in value lost to my 401(k) and other investments. My […]
Appreciation: John Henry Hager was ‘the hardest-working man in politics.’ He had to be.
By: Bob Lewis - August 25, 2020
It’s just after 3 a.m., and a navy blue Cadillac Coupe DeVille glides westward on an otherwise empty stretch of Interstate 64, slicing through ghostly pools of mid-April mist gathered just above the blacktop. At the wheel is John Henry Hager, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, and he’s hell-bent on making it to Bluefield, Virginia, about four […]
Free speech is not free of consequence. Never has been. Never will be.
By: Bob Lewis - August 24, 2020
For all the hand-wringing over the supposed demise of free speech in this most savage season of politics and social upheaval, expression has never been more uninhibited or robust. I just checked the vitals of the First Amendment and, while it’s getting a good workout, it’s just fine. Turns out, nobody is stopping anybody from […]
Legislative priorities, new and deferred, face cold reality of a wrecked state budget
By: Bob Lewis - August 17, 2020
Just six months ago, Gov. Ralph Northam and fellow Democrats who had just taken charge of the General Assembly were pondering how they’d spend a nearly $300 million windfall, fruits of an exuberant economy and gaudy state tax collections. The governor had enjoyed a verdant fiscal environment for the state since when he took office […]
Could Parole Board debacle cast a cloud over criminal justice reform?
By: Bob Lewis - August 7, 2020
Members of Virginia’s Parole Board repeatedly ignored state law and several of its own policies in its decision to grant parole to a man who had served 40 years of a life term, according to a report by the state Inspector General. In a scathing, six-page report released by Republican legislators on Thursday, the board, […]
Is opacity the legacy Northam’s regime hopes to leave on state government?
By: Bob Lewis - August 6, 2020
A few months ago, COVID-19 was turning nursing homes in Virginia into charnel houses, including one in Henrico that had one of the highest known death counts in America at the time. Virginians were frantic to know which extended care facilities were reporting outbreaks. Using a ridiculously contorted interpretation of state law, Gov. Ralph Northam’s […]
Without football season, what becomes of Virginia’s boys (and girls) of fall?
By: Bob Lewis - August 3, 2020
Considering the scope of a virus that has killed nearly 700,000 people, wrecked national economies and brought superpowers to their knees, a fall without high school football seems barely worth a footnote in the already voluminous tragedy that is 2020. This pathogen from hell has already deprived the world of the Summer Olympics, the magic […]
In a rare alignment with labor, Dr. Northam prescribes bitter medicine for business as part of his pandemic treatment
By: Bob Lewis - July 27, 2020
It’s not like Virginia to side with labor over business. So when the administration of Gov. Ralph Northam – fed up with federal inaction to protect workers and customers from the coronavirus pandemic – released new workplace safety mandates, it shook things up. Unions and advocates for low-income workers and immigrants were delighted, if not […]
Fair Maps Virginia campaign aims to get voters to embrace redistricting commission amendment
By: Bob Lewis - July 21, 2020
A nonprofit advocacy group is mounting a fall campaign on one of the most consequential matters on Virginia’s ballot: ending the General Assembly’s historic monopoly on drawing partisan legislative district lines. OneVirginia2021, a nonpartisan organization which has lobbied for years for redistricting reform, on Monday announced Fair Maps Virginia, a 501(c)4 that will direct an issue […]
Trump on the ropes is a dangerous place – for Democrats. How they could still blow this election.
By: Bob Lewis - July 20, 2020
“I’m not a member of any organized political party – I am a Democrat.” Will Rogers, 1930 By most every current measure, Donald Trump has his back against a wall. The coronavirus pandemic, which seemed to be in retreat six weeks ago, rages anew across the United States with public health officials questioning whether it’s […]