McAuliffe: 'We Can Spend Their Money Effectively and Efficiently'

By Susan Jones | November 6, 2013 | 9:05 AM EST

With his son Jack, 20, looking on, Democratic Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe addresses supporters during his election victory party in Tysons Corner, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

( - Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe says he wants to make the Commonwealth a "model for pragmatic leadership" that is "friendly" to job creation, strong schools, innovation, and transportation.

He views spending (or "investing") as the solution to problems such as traffic gridlock: "Over the next four years, we have to prove to the taxpayers that we can spend their money effectively and efficiently to reduce (traffic) congestion and create economic activity," McAuliffe said.

His first priority is workforce training: "We need to make sure we are investing in our education system," including community colleges. He noted that Virginia has reduced education funding by over 40 percent in the last four years. "We need to work together to pay our teachers what they deserve in the Commonwealth of Virginia," he added.

McAuliffe also called for investments in early childhood development, and he said he wants to expand Virginia's Medicaid program, a key element of Obamacare that will consume more and more Virginia taxpayer money in future years.

"Throughout this campaign, I have listened to the concerns of Republican friends. That's why I'm committed to finding consensus on how to reform and expand Medicaid, and whether it's education, transportation or health care, it is absolutely critical that we move forward in a way that is fiscally rersponsible. Viginia has a national reputation for strong fiscal management, and that is something that I am deeply committed to susptaining."

At one point in his speech, McAuliffe noted that under Republican Gov. Bob McConnell, Virginia has one of the lowest unemployment rates of the East Coast states. Nevertheless, he said he wants to make Virginia "friendly to job creation."

McAuliffe's spending plans must first make it through the Virginia General Assembly, which looks set to remain in Republican control.