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Va. Gov: Coke lauding China 'is not surprising'

Tuesday - 9/27/2011, 12:16pm  ET

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Governor

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks to WTOP's Mark Segraves


WASHINGTON -- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was a guest on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" program on Tuesday.

McDonnell is "staggered" by the recent announcement that the CEO of Coca Cola -- and the jobs it creates -- would rather invest in China or Russia than the United States, he said, though it makes business sense.

It's not surprising that China is more business-friendly right now, he said. "We're not providing the regulatory certainty to allow businesses to grow."

This should be a "wakeup call" to the federal government, said McDonnell, and is what Virginia is trying to achieve now.

The governor, who heads the National Governors Association, recently returned from a trip to political battleground state New Hampshire for a Republican fundraiser. He told WTOP he believes the GOP presidential candidate pool is "set," despite buzz that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could throw their hats in the ring.

McDonnell also touted his state's new Strengthening Families Initiative to search for ways the government and the private sector can help keep families together and forestall deadbeat dads, which he said will improve the general quality of life.

"As the family goes, so goes the nation," he said.

The governor would not comment on whether a "two-parent family" includes same-sex couples, though he said there is room for "different arrangements," such as single-parent families.

In case you missed it, listen to the full program at right and check out this live blog:

10:55 a.m., speaking about state university funding:

Our goal is 100,000 new degrees over the next 15 years. Tuition has doubled in the last 10 years, and that's unacceptable. I invested about $100 million in state colleges last year. I want to see more classes in STEM, and colleges run more like a business.

10:52 a.m., speaking about recent severe weather and Va. state recovery:

People are still hurting. We're unfortunately denied federal disaster relief for the tornadoes, but we've had some quick relief for municipal damage. We did not apply for the hurricane, because we had limited damage compared to other states, and most of it was insured, so we didn't think we were qualified for federal relief.

We've started our own fund, and already raised a "couple million dollars." I'm exceptionally pleased with our local government leadership, along with leaders in the religious community.

FEMA is there to get the money out according to the law. Let's take care of the people, and THEN let's have a discussion about solving the fiscal health of America.

10:47 a.m., speaking about his recent trip to New Hampshire:

You don't run for vice president, that's up to the presidential nominee. I'm not thinking about it, I have the best job in America. Now I'm chairman of the American Governors Association, I'm focused on getting Republicans elected governor.

There's buzz about Sarah Palin or Chris Christie, my sense is the candidate pool is set.

I like the president personally, I want him to succeed, but his policies are wrong.

10:46 a.m., speaking about managing his success:

I've tried to tone down the rhetoric so we can focus on the things people care about. That's what we, with Democrats, have all done working together for the last two years.

10:44 a.m., speaking about increasing the gas tax versus tolls on I-95:

I think tolls are the right way to go on that road. It's a user fee.

10:42 a.m., speaking about traffic cameras through a Va. Government website:

We have traffic cameras all up along the interstates to post alerts for traffic and public safety.

I'm not aware of selling ad space on those sites. I will look into it. We operate vending machines at rest stops, we operate ABC stores, there is some leeway for private industry at government sites.

10:37 a.m., speaking about unfunded mandates to the county:

I would love to remove some of those mandates and have a massive repeal bill. We used to have a requirement that for a college to put up a tent of more than 900 square feet, they had to pay a fee and get a permit. That's the kind of petty thing the state has had on the books for a while, and we need to review.

The same is true for unfunded mandate from Washington, including Obamacare.

10:35 a.m., speaking about tax breaks for businesses:

We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. That is not something that incentivizes large businesses to stay in America. We don't punish, or tax, the income coming back into America. Those are the policies I think a lot of people realize we need to fix.

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