71st Governor of Virginia
Robert F. McDonnell - Short Bio
Bob McDonnell was sworn in as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia on January 16, 2010. In his campaign for the office he received nearly 59 percent of the vote, and the most votes of any candidate for governor in Virginia history.
As Virginia’s chief executive, he has built a record of results.
Governor McDonnell inherited an unprecedented $6 billion in budget shortfalls. He defeated a proposed $2 billion increase in the state income tax, kept existing car tax relief in place and brought Democrats and Republicans together to close the shortfall without a single tax increase, producing a $400 million surplus. During that same time 80 percent of Governor McDonnell’s legislative proposals passed Virginia’s bi-partisan General Assembly.
In 2011, McDonnell saw 92 percent of his legislative proposals pass the bi-partisan General Assembly, including his plan that made the largest investment in transportation in Virginia in a generation and advanced 900 projects toward construction, and legislation to make college more affordable and accessible for Virginia students.
In 2012, 88 percent of Governor McDonnell’s legislative agenda was approved by the Virginia General Assembly, including measures to make significant investments in K-12 education and higher education and a reform package that put the most state funding in history into Virginia’s pension system. Under McDonnell’s leadership Virginia finished the fiscal year with a more than $400 million surplus, the Commonwealth’s third consecutive budget surplus. Since taking office, Governor McDonnell has overseen $1.4 billion in budget surpluses, all without raising taxes.
Job creation and economic development remain the governor’s top priority. The unemployment rate in Virginia has fallen from 7.2 percent when McDonnell took office to 5.5 percent today, Virginia was named in 2011 by CNBC as “The Top State for Business” in the country, with the highest total score in the history of the survey.
Governor McDonnell represents Virginia in other leadership roles outside of the Commonwealth as well. He served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board, Chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, and in numerous leadership roles for the National Governors Association.
The governor has dedicated his life to public service. He served 21 years in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserve, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997.
Upon graduating from law school in 1989 he served as a Virginia Beach prosecutor. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991 and served 14 years representing Virginia Beach. He was elected as the 44th attorney general of Virginia in 2005. As attorney general, McDonnell kept all seven of his campaign promises and successfully passed 92 of his 105 legislative proposals, with strong bipartisan support.
McDonnell was raised in Fairfax County. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame (BBA), Boston University (MSBA) and Regent University (JD and MA). In addition, he has received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the College of William and Mary, and an honorary doctor of humane letters from Virginia Commonwealth University. He and his wife Maureen have been married for 36 years. They have five children, ages 21-31. Their oldest daughter, Jeanine, served in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005-2006.
Key Bio Points
- Received the most votes of any candidate for governor in Virginia history
- Closed two budget shortfalls of $1.8 billion and $4.2 billion without raising taxes
- Reduced state spending to 2007 levels
- Finished all three fiscal years in office with budget surpluses totaling $1.4 billion
- McDonnell’s transportation package will put the most new funding into Virginia roads, rail and transit in a generation
- Married 36 years to Maureen McDonnell
- Father of five children
- Oldest daughter, Jeanine, was Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and is an Iraq War veteran
- McDonnell served 21 years in the U.S. Army, both on active duty and reserves
- Retired as a Lt. Colonel
- Has a master’s degree in business administration and public policy, as well as a law degree
- Served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association
- Served as Chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board
- Served as Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board