Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell discusses Republican nominees on ‘Ask the Governor’

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2013, file photo, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, right, gestures as he and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, left, speak about education reform in Richmond, Va. Republican governors, often seen as innovative policy-makers and potential presidential candidates, are struggling in several states with political or ethical problems that might crimp their ambitions. Two governors eyeing possible White House bids, McDonnell and Jindal, suddenly find themselves fending off critics and trying to shore up legacies they hope will withstand national scrutiny. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

WASHINGTON – Days after Virginia’s Republican Party set its ticket for this fall’s election, Gov. Bob McDonnell reiterated his support for gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli and lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson.

“If we’re going to continue the progress we made on jobs, on economic development, on transportation, on education reform, on pension reform — the things that have Virginia now ranked on the top of virtually every list as a competitive, great place to do business with a strong private sector, I think we’re going to have to have a Republican ticket,” McDonnell said Tuesday on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program. “I think the Democrats have a very different idea.”

McDonnell stated that despite some differences, there is room for divergence in the party and he thinks Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, has done a “great job” in his position. Cuccinelli has appointed the Commonwealth’s Attorney of Richmond to look into gifts given to McDonnell’s family, as part of a probe related to allegations made by a former chef at the Virginia Executive Mansion.

McDonnell says the GOP candidates will focus on the “kitchen table issues” Virginians care about most, such as schools, better roads and balancing the state’s budget. The governor also discussed Jackson’s platform and the reaction from other state Republicans who believe that Jackson’s views will have a negative impact on the party.

“He’s obviously passionate about the right to life. I’m pro-life. I believe that’s the right position for Virginia, I think the majority of Virginians really believe that, too,” said McDonnell.

“I think once a candidate is nominated, you have to give them a chance to set forth a specific agenda on how they’re going to govern,” he said, adding that what people can expect to see from Jackson, Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain, the Republican nominee to replace Cuccinelli as attorney general, will be a renewed and united focus on improving jobs and the economy.

While on the show, McDonnell also discussed his campaign to help promote adoption of children in Virginia’s foster care system.

“Young people who get out of foster care and actually find a permanent, loving home do dramatically better than those who get bounced around in foster care, in terms of grades, in terms of potential crimes, in terms of health,” said McDonnell, who added that nearly 1,000 children out of 4,000 of the state’s foster children are ready to find homes.

The governor also clarified who is eligible to adopt in the state. In Virginia, married couples and individuals can adopt. However, unmarried couples living together are not permitted to adopt.

“I think it goes back to the general belief that if you have a married couple, that is the best institution in which to raise a child,” said McDonnell.

In Virginia, gay couples are not permitted to marry.

“Since only married couples are heterosexual couples, they’re the only ones currently that have the ability to adopt. I think gay people, as well as straight people — all of them can be good, loving parents,” he says.

For more information on the topics discussed in Tuesday’s “Ask the Governor,” listen to the audio or read the live blog, below.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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