The opening day ceremonies in the Virginia General Assembly don’t always come off as scripted.
The House of Delegates and state Senate convened today, and quickly approved procedural resolutions to start their 46-day legislative session. Then, delegations from both chambers walked up to governor’s ceremonial office on the third floor of the Capitol to tell Gov. Bob McDonnell they were ready for business.
But when the legislators arrived, the doors were locked and no one was there. Not even a few raps on the door got a response. McDonnell, it turns out, was still in his office in the Patrick Henry Building across Capitol Square.
After waiting for several minutes, legislators were ushered into the governor’s Capitol conference room to be greeted by McDonnell.
“I didn’t expect you to get organized so fast!” McDonnell said when he entered the room.
The governor exchanged pleasantries with legislators for a few minutes and reminded them they were invited to join him for Virginia crabs and oysters at the governor’s mansion after tonight’s State of the Commonwealth speech.
McDonnell briefly outlined his legislative priorities and told the assembled lawmakers: “I stand ready, just as I have for three years, to work with both caucuses and both houses to find a way to get things done for your constituents and your citizens.”
“I know it’s an election year,” McDonnell said. “I just ask, to the maximum degree possible, let’s continue to honor the Virginia way. Let’s be civil.”
– Michael Sluss