BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, the Louisiana Democratic Party announced that former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe will be the keynote speaker for the 2018 True Blue Gala. McAuliffe is set to speak at the annual fundraiser on Friday, May 18th in Baton Rouge.
“Gov. McAuliffe has been a great friend and took bold steps to move the State of Virginia forward,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. “He led Virginia to a thriving, competitive economy that afforded folks a better quality of life. His focus on growing the economy while improving public education, the criminal justice system and public health made his state stronger and represents the values I’m committed to securing right here in our great state.”
“We are excited to welcome the former DNC Chairman who has been a leader in organizing and building the party at every level,” said Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Governor McAuliffe knows the value of strong state parties and investing early having helped lead presidential campaigns, the DNC and most recently in helping elect Democrat Ralph Northam his successor in Virginia.”
“I look forward to sharing my ideas about the importance of ensuring equality and growing the economy in a way that benefits hardworking people and families,” said McAuliffe. “It’s a fact that Democrats are the party of responsible fiscal policies. Under John Bel Edwards’ administration we continue to see that Democrats have a holistic approach to improving our society that includes caring for those who have the least among us so they have every opportunity to succeed. Justice reform, access to affordable healthcare, and education are all important components in building a healthy and sustainable economy - and Democrats are delivering in those and other key areas.”
As Governor of Virginia, McAuliffe conducted a record 35 trade missions, to dozens of countries, personally delivering Virginia’s calling card to business leaders around the globe. As a result, hundreds of thousands of jobs were created and more than $20 billion in capital investment to communities across the Commonwealth, which is billions more than any previous governor. He oversaw the unemployment rate dropping from 5.4% to 3.6% and initial unemployment claims fall to a 44 year low. Personal income rose 12.3% during his term of office.
Protecting the rights of all Virginians was always a top priority for McAuliffe. He successfully vetoed a record 120 bills that would have taken Virginia backward. In doing so, McAuliffe protected women’s access to health care, Virginia’s world-class education system, the environment, and the integrity of our electoral system.
He made unprecedented progress on the restoration of civil rights to rehabilitated felons who have completed their sentences and paid their debt to society. During his tenure, McAuliffe restored the rights of more than 173,000 Virginians, more than any other governor in U.S. history.
Under the McAuliffe Administration, the Department of Juvenile Justice reduced its population in state-operated Juvenile Correctional Centers by nearly two-thirds. Virginia has boasted the lowest adult recidivism rate in the nation for the past two straight years.
McAuliffe won bipartisan support for a historic $1 billion investment in public education and higher education, the most in Virginia history. As a result of his actions, students saw the lowest tuition increase in 15 years. He also successfully secured passage of a law establishing a pay-for-performance workforce training program, the first of its kind in the Nation. Virginia became the first state in the nation to adopt computer science and computational thinking standards in its K-12 curriculum.
Virginia became the first state to be designated as employer of National Service.
He led the effort to make Virginia the first state in America to be certified to have functionally ended veteran homelessness. In addition, 30,000 veterans were hired through the Virginia Values Veterans program, a six-fold increase.