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]

Flaw in Northam’s amendment foils bid to regulate state’s largest dog-breeding center

By: - April 22, 2020

A loophole in state law that exempts Virginia’s largest dog-breeding facility from state oversight will stand for another year after lawmakers rejected a flawed amendment intended to close the exemption. Gov. Ralph Northam offered the amendment that would have extended state inspections and regulation to the Covance Research Products facility in Cumberland County which breeds […]

COMMENTARY

Timely COVID-19 information is vital, but Va.’s state government is falling short

By: - April 20, 2020

They are simple questions and they deserve honest answers, especially when people’s lives are at stake. What nursing homes have reported COVID-19 outbreaks? Are there outbreaks at food processing plants in Virginia, and where are they? What do Virginia taxpayers have to show for their $27 million contract to buy personal protective equipment for health […]

COMMENTARY

Policymakers search for ways to safeguard the right to vote during COVID-19 social distancing

By: - April 13, 2020

Ohio bills itself as “the heart of it all.” And for good reason. It’s as much a crossroads of America as any state can be. It ranges from the distinctly southern folkways and accents at its southern tip near Ironton (ARN’ton to locals), to a distinctly upper Midwestern point of view in places like Toledo […]

COMMENTARY

COVID-19 is the story of this century, and many newspapers may not survive to cover it

By: - April 6, 2020

Every detail of the interview for my first full-time newspaper job editing a small Mississippi Delta weekly remains vivid and indelible in my memory. The paper’s owner asked me what the first duty of a newspaper was, and I was ready with a load of fresh journalism school rhetoric about being a good steward of […]

COMMENTARY

With classes done until at least September, kids in abusive households lose a safety net

By: - March 30, 2020

Out for summer, out till fall. We might not come back at all. School’s out forever. School’s out for summer. School’s out with fever. School’s out completely. ―Alice Cooper, “School’s Out,” 1973 When summers begin to fade into autumn, Andy Crawford knows it’s coming, just as sure as the first frost. They have a name […]

Shoppers stock up on distilled spirits amid fears Virginia ABC stores might close

By: - March 23, 2020

As confirmed COVID-19 cases rise rapidly, Virginians are hunkering down and stocking up on essentials should the government order a severe lockdown that shutters nearly all commerce. Meat? Check. Canned goods? Check. Toilet paper and disinfectants? Check. Liquor? Double-check. Across Virginia, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control stores are seeing a significant jump in business, likely […]

COMMENTARY

Urgent national call for sacrifice by seclusion is met with Generation Z battle cry: ‘Party On!’

By: - March 23, 2020

Eighty years ago, a virus dedicated to the evil notion that a “master race” should have dominion over the world was consuming Europe with beachheads in Asia and Africa. With this murderous tyranny forcing itself on one conquered nation after another, allied countries asked their people for sacrifices commensurate with the threat, up to and […]

COMMENTARY

Accountability, leadership become politics’ X factors in the time of coronavirus

By: - March 16, 2020

The second week of March crashed upon an unsuspecting America with a force that only a precious and dwindling handful of Americans can appreciate. In a twinkling, life as we knew it ended, swept away in a global tsunami of panic over COVID-19, a virus that science doesn’t fully understand and the United States can’t […]

COMMENTARY

Coronavirus spread will test the strength of Virginia’s health care infrastructure

By: - March 9, 2020

About 800 people have perished in the past year in Virginia from the flu. Other than the standard precautions (flu shots, wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick), influenza is regarded as it historically has been – a difficult fact of life. COVID-19, the precise name the medical community has given to a new, […]

COMMENTARY

How blue is Virginia? Bernie Sanders’ campaign is about to become a test case.

By: - March 2, 2020

Bernie Sanders stepped onstage in Richmond last week and thousands of people who had shivered in the cold for hours responded with an ear-splitting roar for what seemed like minutes. Overwhelmingly young and predominantly female, the racially diverse crowd was drawn there by Sanders’ populist and progressive promises (government-paid health care for all, wiping out […]

Packed house cheers Sanders as telltale Virginia Democratic primary looms

By: - February 27, 2020

Five days ahead of an important Virginia vote in next week’s Super Tuesday primary, Bernie Sanders appealed to a packed house of youthful voters in Richmond to spurn the Democratic status quo and back his campaign as the next step in the commonwealth’s progressive turn. Riding a crest of early caucus and primary victories and […]

COMMENTARY

Federal tax incentives for investment in economically disadvantaged areas find more traction in urban Virginia

By: - February 24, 2020

In December of 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress made good on freshman President Donald Trump’s pledge to overhaul the U.S. tax code. It gave wealthy people and their businesses generous tax breaks and put the nation’s growing debt on steroids. Drafters of the new tax overhaul sought to incentivize a major infusion of capital into designated […]