Bob McDonnell

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Robert Francis “Bob” McDonnell, 55, is the 71st and current Governor of Virginia and a former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. McDonnell is a Republican who served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992 to 2005 and as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006 to 2009. On November 3, 2009, McDonnell was elected as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia after defeating Democratic opponent Senator Creigh Deeds in the general election.

Education and early life

According to his campaign website, McDonnell was raised in Fairfax County, Virginia and graduated from Notre Dame in 1976 with a degree in management on an ROTC scholarship. In 1976, McDonnell went on active duty and was stationed in Grafenwohr, Germany. While stationed in Germany, he earned a Master’s Degree in business administration by taking night classes from Boston University.

After retiring from active duty in 1981, McDonnell moved to Atlanta to work for American Hospital Supply Corporation. In 1989, McDonnell graduated from Regent University, in Virginia Beach, with a Master’s Degree in public policy as well a law degree. During his time at Regent University, McDonnell did in internship on Capitol Hill with the House Republican Policy Committee; Senator Jerry Lewis was the Committee Chair.


In August 2009, the ''Washington Post'' uncovered a graduate thesis written by McDonnell in 1989 while attending Regent University. The 93-page thesis, titled The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade, showed the younger McDonnell as far more conservative on social issues than his positions indicated. Included in the thesis is a section in which McDonnell describes feminists and working women as “detrimental” to family values, and recommending that government policy favor married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.” [1] McDonnell defended his paper, saying the work was not reflective of his views today: “Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and Attorney General and the specific plans I have laid out for our future—not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven’t thought about in years.”

Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia

On January 16, 2010, McDonnell was inaugurated alongside Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, replacing Tim Kaine as the acting governor. [2]

One of McDonnell’s first actions as governor was re-opening 19 rest stops that had been closed during former Governor Tim Kaine’s term because of budget challenges facing the State Department of Transportation. [3]

On January 27, 2010, McDonnell spoke on behalf of the Republican Party in a formal rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address. The full text of Governor McDonnell’s prepared remarks can be found here

Membership & Affiliation

  • Holy Spirit Catholic Church
  • University of Notre Dame Alumni Association
  • Regent University (board of trustees)
  • Teen Challenge (board of directors)
  • Salvation Army (board of advisors)
  • Virginia Beach Student Leadership Forum (president)