An Evening with Bill Bolling

Monday, November 24th was a rainy day in Hampton Roads. The Republican Professionals Network hosted what was probably the first real political event in the area for the 2009 election cycle. It was well attended. 2008’s results held much in common with the day, foggy and rainy. But 2009 is around the corner, and today, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling gives us reason to be optimistic, a ray of sunshine popping through the clouds.

In his remarks to the RPN hosted fundraiser in his honor, the Lt. Governor emphasized that 2008 and 2009 are very different years and are going to have very different results. The Republican Professionals Network Chairman Bruce Meyer introduced the Lt. Governor and his remarks were very true to form. Noted political strategist and consultant, Chris Woodfin has long remarked that no one can deliver a red meat speech and fire up the conservative base like Bill Bolling can. He encouraged those there, something we truly needed in the aftermath of November 4th. “Republicans in Virginia have a special opportunity in 2009, one afforded to us because the Attorney General and I are working together in the spirit of unity, rather than competing against each other as the Democrats are doing in their Governor’s race at the moment.” He also made sure that those in attendance understood that both he and Bob McDonnell needed the help of the rank and file if they were to succeed.

I later sat down with Bill, a milestone for HamptonRoadsGOP.com; because it marks the first time we have interviewed a state-wide elected official.

One of the things I’ve always noticed about Bill Bolling is that he is a genuine and warm individual that people want to be around. The Norfolk Chair, Pam Brown, thinks his warm manner would make people want to be around him even if he didn’t hold elected office. I agree, There are elected officials that are venerated because of the office they hold and there are those that are venerated because of who they are as a person and the character they demonstrate. I think Bill Bolling is the latter.

Bill Bolling has long been steadfast for the cause of conservatism and a noted defender of the family. It is also well known that he a man of strong faith and values. We talked about the importance his faith has in his life. It may, but should not, surprise the average person to know that the Lt. Governor still takes the time to teach Sunday school, which he is able to do about three Sundays each month and has been doing so for over twenty years.

That is an impressive feat, considering how busy of a man the Lt. Governor is. In addition to his duties in the Commonwealth, he is prominent among his peers on the national stage. In 2007, he was elected Chairman of the Republican Lt. Governors Association. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the National Lt. Governors Association and will serve as Chairman next term.

We did get down to business, as I asked the million dollar question, “What happened in 2008 and what does that mean for Republicans in Virginia?” The Lt. Governor regards 2008 as somewhat of an oddity, because of the factors in play. “There was a large amount of anti-Republican sentiment among the populace, as well as increased voter turnout…”

“You also have to give Obama credit,” he said. “He ran a heck of a campaign and we can learn from it. In order to win Virginia back, we need to connect our issues with the voters. We need to reach out and reconnect with voters in places like Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudon. The other side did a great job of reaching out and they won.”

When asked about what effect Obama will have on the Virginia voters in 2009, the Lt. Governor is optimistic. He recognizes that the new President will spend more time in Virginia in 2009 than he did in 2008 along with probably every major Democrat in the nation as Democrats seek to prove that 2008 wasn’t a fluke.

I piped in, “Also, the only other state that has a race of consequence is New Jersey, which is unfortunately almost a foregone conclusion.” “All eyes will be on Virginia,” he said, “but I trust the people of the Commonwealth to make their own decisions. No one tells a Virginian how to vote. They choose for themselves. I’m confident in their choice for 2009.”

The Lt. Governor will be back in Hampton Roads in Norfolk for another event on December 18th. Details for that will be posted shortly on HamptonRoadsGOP.com.

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