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At Inauguration, McAuliffe Offers Olive Branch To Virginia Republicans

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe delivers his inaugural address on the steps of the South Portico of the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. McAuliffe was sworn in Saturday as the 72nd Governor of Virginia.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe delivers his inaugural address on the steps of the South Portico of the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. McAuliffe was sworn in Saturday as the 72nd Governor of Virginia.

At his inauguration in Richmond on Saturday, Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered an olive branch to his Republican counterparts.

Virginia governors are termed out of office after four years. That means that the clock is ticking for McAuliffe, a man who has been active in politics but who has never served in elected office before moving into Richmond's Executive Mansion on Saturday. He told the crowd that gathered in the pouring rain that job creation is at the top of his agenda.

"As we begin this new term together know that my top priority will be to lay the ground work for a diverse and growing economy in every single region of the commonwealth," he said.

Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran says there's a stark contrast between gridlocked Washington and Richmond.

"This is an era of good feelings here in Richmond. I've even talked to Republicans and they're excited," he said.

One of those Republicans McAuliffe needs help from is Speaker of the House of Delegates William Howell. After the ceremony, Howell said he's looking forward to working with the freshly minted governor on an array of issues.

"On everything from K-12 reform, transportation, workforce training, ethics reform. We've got about five or six. I've met with him and we talked about areas where we have agreement," he said.

McAuliffe is also asking the legislature to expand Medicaid, which is anathema to many in the GOP. Still, the governor says he wants to be judged on his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion.

"The test of my commitment to finding common ground in Virginia will not be a speech at an inauguration. It will be my actions in office," he said.

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