Northam, McAuliffe talk future of Va. governorship

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor-Elect Ralph Northam returned to Richmond a winner.

On Wednesday, the Democrat held a news conference to discuss his plans for the commonwealth. His new transition team stood behind him.

“I look forward to bringing people from both sides of the aisle together to move Virginia forward,” Northam said.

The governor-elect said the economy, health care and diversity are among his top priorities.

“That means that we continue to work as hard as we can to fight against discrimination, to level the playing field in Virginia and make sure everybody has the same opportunity in this great commonwealth,” he said.

Northam added the opioid crisis will be the biggest challenge to face.

He also shared some words about his predecessor, Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

“As I describe Terry, he has been the right person at the right time for the commonwealth of Virginia,” Northam said.

After the news conference, Northam joined McAuliffe at his soon-to-be home, the Executive Mansion.

“For Pam and I to be able to live in this wonderful home for the next four years, it’s a tremendous honor,” Northam said.

McAuliffe put Virginia’s Democratic sweep into context.

“Nationally, the Democrats, they needed a lift,” he said. “This was a rocket boost lift. This was a turbo charge.”

As the future governor prepares to move in and the current governor prepares to move out, both are making plans.

McAuliffe danced around questions about a possible presidential run in 2020, but said after finishing his term, he’ll focus on three things — charitable work, redistricting and taking the lead in the 36 upcoming governor’s races all across the country.

“I’ll be out there,” he said.

Until then, McAuliffe said the main mission is to bring as many jobs as possible to the commonwealth.

“I hope to be announcing jobs right up to noon on January 13,” he said.

Following Wednesday’s news conference, McAuliffe flew to Europe for a trade and marketing mission.

According to the governor’s office, the goal of the trip is to encourage new investment, trade and tourism opportunities as well as promote clean energy industries.

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