Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Tracking McDonnell's campaign promises

Gov. Bob McDonnell, shown here at his Janaury 2010 inauguration, made 48 campaign promises that we've been tracking.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, shown here at his Janaury 2010 inauguration, made 48 campaign promises that we've been tracking.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has one legislative session remaining to fulfill a wide range of promises he made to Virginia voters in 2009.

So before the session begins, let’s take a look at where McDonnell stands on our Bob-O-Meter, which tracks his progress on those campaign vows.

The meter tracks 48 promises that McDonnell made during his gubernatorial campaign. Of those, 10 have not been rated. Of the 38 that have been rated, PolitiFact Virginia found that nearly half -- 17 -- have been fulfilled and earned a Promise Kept, and seven more were rated as compromises. Three were judged to be a Promise Broken.

In addition, seven were judged to In the Works and four have been rated as Stalled. Each of those 11 promises will be considered again before the governor leaves office in January 2014. And he could make progress on some of them during the session.

For example, McDonnell could address some of the Stalled promises to expand incentives for rural health care professionals, introduce legislation to have video streaming of major executive branch boards and commissions, increase the penalty for sexual battery of children and to publish a list of employers with health savings accounts.

Other moves from the In the Works to Promise Kept rulings are possible to conserve 400,000 acres, increase the tax credit for long-term health insurance and give assistance to two schools to train more doctors to practice in rural areas.

Promises that are, as yet, unrated include McDonnell’s pledge to appoint a public school turnaround leader, his vow to fund programs based on effectiveness and his promises to increase funding for the Virginia Teaching Scholarship Program and free clinics and community health centers.

McDonnell’s performance to date

The governor has fared better in certain categories.

The former prosecutor and state attorney general has performed well in public safety promises. He earned a Promise Kept rating for six of the eight criminal justice vows measured on the meter so far. It is worth noting that many of them were promises to propose certain legislation, a low bar.

Transportation and education have been other strong categories for the governor. He garnered a Promise Kept rating on four of the seven transportation promises, all of which have been checked. And he’s gotten the same high rating on three of the six promises in education -- there are four left to run by the meter.

Among the three promises related to taxes, McDonnell has received a Promise Kept, an In the Works and a Compromise.

Government reform and health care have been more challenging categories for the governor, partially due to trouble with General Assembly support and time needed to accomplish those promises. External actions have also complicated completing pledged actions, like the federal government’s approval of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In government reform, which includes transparency, government efficiency, ethics and redistricting, McDonnell earned four Compromises among the seven promises and only one Promise Kept -- to establish an inspector general. Three of these promises remain unchecked.

On promises involving care, McDonnell has one Promise Kept -- to provide incentives for electronic medical records – while three other promises are In the Works, two are Stalled and three are unrated.