Tonight at 7 p.m., on all Virginia Public Radio stations (of which WMRA is one), veteran political columnist and reporter Bob Gibson will sit down with Virginia's governor and ask him some difficult questions about these difficult times.
What's more, you'll have a chance to ask the governor a question as well, as VPR's Assembly Conversations is a live, state-wide, call-in show.
Which means that, thanks to Virginia Public Radio, for one hour, our governor is actually ours.
About Mr. Gibson. . .
It seems to me I met Bob when he was an undergraduate (Virginia 1972), although I'm not absolutely certain about that. I am absolutely certain I've known him for many years, always liked him, and always respected him as a journalist. Also, Bob Gibson writes well, and I'm very picky when it comes to writing.
Bob is also one of the three people I know who really understand Virginia politics in ways most of us just don't. (The other two are the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Jeff Shapiro, and WMRA's Tom Graham.) Bob Gibson not only keeps up with what's going on currently in the Commonwealth, he is, from his years of writing about state politics, able to put current events into their historical and political context.
My experience in radio began at student-run WUVA in the early 1970s. I worked full-time as news director at WCHV in Charlottesville from 1974 to 1976, and then went over to the Charlottesville Daily Progress. Worked there (as reporter, editor, and political columnist) from August of 1976 through March of 2008 when I left to become Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. I've hosted a weekly political call-in show with guests from around Virginia from 1993 to 2000 on WINA in Charlottesville, and the call-in show Evening Edition on WVTF almost monthly since 2001.
Bob Gibson, doing what he does so well ... talking!
In our e-mail back-and-forth yesterday, Bob said he expects redistricting to loom large in tonight's discussion. "Three weeks ago, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed an executive order creating an independent bipartisan redistricting commission. The 11-member commission is purely advisory in nature and has voted to hold its meetings in public. Some members of the Virginia General Assembly doubt the commission will have a significant impact on the usually quite partisan remapping of legislative and congressional districts across the state."
(If you're interested in some background on redistricting, I highly recommend Mr.Gibson's Charlottesville Daily Progress blog post "
Bob also expects there to be discussion of plans to fund transportation through borrowing money or by auctioning off ABC stores or licenses.
What else will the governor be asked? That could be up to you.
If you'll forgive a short Martha Harangue: Our state government only works responsively if you and I work it! Tonight is one of your best chances to ask Governor McDonnell a direct question and/or express your concern about decisions being made in Richmond. Of course, if you are too shy to ask questions, you could let Bob do it. He is many things, but shy is not one of them.
The call-in number for the Assembly Conversations is 866.611.6397.