McAuliffe Seeks Bipartisan Outreach During Transitional Period

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RICHMOND, Va. — Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday he is reaching out to former governors of both parties as he prepares to take office next month.

McAuliffe said he has spoken to former Democratic governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore in recent days to pick their brains about the office.

He said he is in daily contact with Gov. Bob McDonnell, and he praised McDonnell for going out of his way to help with the transition.

“Since Election Day, Gov. McDonnell has gone above and beyond — I believe it will be the smoothest transition we’ve ever seen in the commonwealth of Virginia,” he told reporters. McAuliffe was the featured speaker at the annual AP Day at the Capital event, held at the Richmond-Times Dispatch offices.

McAuliffe also said he expects Medicaid expansion to be a big issue in the upcoming legislative session and he is looking for ways to bring skeptics on board.

Throughout the campaign, McAuliffe touted Medicaid expansion as a key issue, saying it allows Virginia to provide health care for 400,000 Virginians using $21 billion in money provided by the federal government over a seven-year period. But many Republicans have been wary of expansion, worried that the federal government won’t live up to its funding promises and will leave states holding the bag. House Republicans have also insisted that the state implement cost-saving reforms of the Medicaid system before allowing an expansion.

McAuliffe said Wednesday that he is open to all ideas when it comes to Medicaid and is in the beginning of discussions with Republicans, business groups and others to find common ground.

“Hopefully at the end of the day we get to a point where it makes sense for everyone,” he said.

Del. John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, a member of a state commission looking at Medicaid reform and expansion, said he was heartened by the governor’s approach.

“I like the approach that the governor-elect mentioned, where it’s deliberative, we engage people and we see where there are places we can agree,” O’Bannon said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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