Guest Author - Linda Sue Grimes
Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell served in the United State Army for 21 years, both active duty and in the reserves. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel. He held the position of business manager of American Hospital Supply Corporation, a Fortune 500 company. McDonnell served as the delegate from Virginia Beach to the Virginia House of Delegates for 14 years, where he ascended to chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, as well as assistant majority leader.
On November 3, 2009, the Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, was elected to be the 71st governor of Virginia. He will be inaugurated on January 16, 2010. He ran on a platform of more new jobs and better opportunities for Virginians. While serving in the Virginia state congress, McDonnell was voted “Legislator of the Year,” and as Attorney General 92 of his legislative proposals passed with bipartisan support.
Born June 15, 1954, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Robert Francis McDonnell and his family relocated to Fairfax County, Virginia, when Bob was only one year old. His father, Lt. Colonel John McDonnell, was serving in the Air Force, and the family deployed to Germany when Bob was five years old. The McDonnells returned to Fairfax County after a three-year stint in Germany. The family remained in Fairfax for the rest of Bob’s childhood.
From third through fifth grade, Bob attended St. Louis Catholic School; in 6th grade, he went to Woodley Hills Elementary School. He attended Walt Whitman Junior High School and graduated from Bishop Ireton in Alexandria, where he played foot ball, attaining some fame as having scored a touchdown and two-point conversion against the T. C. Williams Titans.
College and Career
After high school, McDonnell began studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He attended Notre Dame on a full ROTC scholarship, graduating in 1976 with a degree in business management. He then went on active duty in October 1976, completing basic training in Texas and then deploying to Grafenwohr, Germany, where he served as platoon leader with the Second Armored Division. He returned to Virginia in December 1979 and completed an MSBA from Boston University.
McDonnell served as Medical Supply Officer at McDonald Army Hospital at Fort Eustis in Newport News. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 1997, after serving a total of 21 years of both active and reserve duty.
After a number of years in business management, McDonnell decided to attend law school while in the process of completing his master’s in business. The Regent University in Virginia Beach created a new law school, and McDonnell decided to apply. After graduating from law school in 1989, he became a prosecutor in the Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. It was here that his interest in serving in government took hold as he saw the necessity of creating policies to protect the innocent and punish to guilty.
McDonnell’s experience as a business manager, military man, and attorney general naturally led to his rise in politics. According to the Virginian-Pilot, “His fingerprints are all over major pieces of legislation from welfare reform, to judicial performance evaluations, to juvenile justice and parole reform, to tort revisions. Few legislators can duplicate his track record of involvement and success.” The same newspaper, which enjoys the largest circulation in the state, also remarked about McDonnell, his “conservative credentials paired with his streak of practicality have served him well over a long and productive public life.”
On November 3, 2009, Virginia voters showed their agreement with those sentiments when they elected McDonnell by a margin of 59% - 41% over Democrat Creigh Deeds, setting a record for the widest vote difference for a gubernatorial candidate since 1961.
Bob McDonnell for Governor
Project Vote Smart
Bob McDonnell elected as Virginia’s next governor