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]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Done right, legal pot could bring social equity and opportunity to Virginia

By: - April 5, 2021

Virginia owes much to a smokable weed. Look no farther than the ceiling of the state Capitol Rotunda to see painted representations of garlands of the golden-brown leaf that was essential to Virginia’s founding 400 years ago. The Virginia Company of London, chartered as a joint stock company, encountered lean times in the early years […]


As we vaccinate our way out of the pandemic, old horrors have returned as part of the ‘new normal’

By: - March 29, 2021

I got my second and final dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week, my ticket back to normal. I’d still be among the unprotected if not for a wonderful and computer-savvy wife who kept hitting “refresh” on the CVS website to connect me with the Moderna vaccine 2½-hours away from Richmond. The trip to get it […]


Cuomo: Resign or stay put? In Virginia, we’ve been there, done that.

By: - March 22, 2021

Andrew Cuomo should have known they’d come for him. New York’s Democratic governor — often scolding and demeaning; at times a bully — had made plenty of enemies over the years. He appeared almost daily on cable news, painting a picture of a decisive, effective leader in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. It […]


After 12 years in the wilderness, Virginia GOP’s miscues could torpedo a 2021 comeback

By: - March 15, 2021

Virginia’s Republicans could find opportunities in this year’s elections to end a dozen years in the wilderness if not for their own dysfunction. In Richmond, a Democratic administration is trying to extricate itself from the quicksand of a Parole Board scandal in which inmates serving life terms for murder were freed without proper notice or […]

State GOP to choose statewide slate in May 8 convention held from 37 locations

By: - March 12, 2021

The Republican Party of Virginia’s governing body voted Friday to choose its nominee for governor and two other statewide offices in a May 8 convention spread out at 37 sites across the commonwealth. RPV’s State Central Committee, meeting via videoconference, overwhelmingly adopted a convention call that apportions a different number of sites for each of […]