Terry McAuliffe took notes as students-in-training at Rappahannock Community College in Kilmarnock worked to save the life of Simon the dummy with advanced resuscitative equipment.
Although the Kilmarnock campus has only been open for a year, McAuliffe, an aspiring democratic candidate for the 2013 election of state governor, was impressed with the progress of their work force training program.
“What I’ve learned is you folks [in the Northern Neck] know how to do it right,” said McAuliffe. “We could really do so much for our job development, and what you’re doing here with the [college] is spectacular.”
The gubernatorial candidate stopped by the campus as it celebrated its one-year anniversary on Jan. 31. Earlier that day, McAuliffe had visited the Northern Neck Food Bank in White Stone.
“In looking at what’s going on at the food bank, what [CEO Lance Barton] and his team are doing is incredible,” said the candidate.
“They’re bringing in the hundreds of students who come in working the fields and picking the crops in the summer and they really have that system down,” he added.
In addition, McAuliffe said the programs offered by the college included the training he emphasized as being necessary for developing a work force for the community.
“We’ve watched the simulation today with Simon, and that was impressive because the health care is probably the fastest-growing job sector in the country,” he said.
“I’ve learned that you’ve done your part,” McAuliffe said of the Northern Neck. “Now we need to do our part to help you, and the governor needs to be very focused like a laser in helping you get new jobs, new businesses and new manufacturing facilities in the [region].”
McAuliffe added that community colleges were a main part of his plan to increase the number of jobs throughout the state as governor.
“That’s where we should be putting a lot of our time and resources, and what I’ve learned here is you’re already doing it,” McAuliffe said of the Kilmarnock center.
“We need to help you to build this even beyond what you’ve done now to take it to the next level,” he added.
Although a native of Syracuse, New York, McAuliffe noted that he and his wife, Dorothy had lived in the same house in Northern Virginia “for the past 21 years,” and mentioned his hopes that his five children will work and live in Virginia when they’re adults.
“But in order for that to happen, you got to have a job here,” he said. “That’s why we’ve got to be thinking about diversifying our economy.”
The governor-hopeful’s political career dates back to 1980 when McAuliffe served as Deputy Treasurer and Director of Finance to the Democratic National Committee.
McAuliffe would become the DNC’s Chairman 21 years later, and served in the office’s capacity until February 2005.
According to an article in the Washington Post co-written by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts and published on Oct. 21, 2005, McAuliffe helped the Democratic Party move out of debt for the first time in the political party’s history.
“The man who once wrestled an alligator for a $15,000 contribution raised a record $578 million as DNC chairman and more than $1 billion total for his party,” wrote Argetsinger and Roberts.
McAuliffe also served as national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore re-election committee during the 1996 election cycle.
In addition to his political work, McAuliffe’s business career includes the acquisition and revitalization of American Heritage Homes, which was then sold to KB Homes in 2001, as well as his work in founding GreenTech Automotive.
In 2009, McAuliffe vied for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, but lost the nomination to Creigh Deeds by 23 points.
The 2013 election cycle marks McAuliffe’s second consecutive campaign for governor of Virginia.