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McAuliffe addresses key issues during visit

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 05 2014 06:25:57 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 05 2014 11:31:20 AM CST
First of three inaugural balls in Abingdon
ABINGDON, Va. -

Virginia Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe was in Southwest Virginia on Saturday for the Commonwealth's Day of Service and the first of three inaugural balls.

McAuliffe and soon-to-be first lady Dorothy McAuliffe stopped by Feeding America Southwest Virginia's Abingdon Distribution Center.

It was the start of the inaugural week. The theme for the week is "Common Ground for Virginia."

"We want to set a real precedent that we want to make sure we're out helping people, encouraging folks to volunteer, become community organizers," said McAuliffe.

He told us they stopped by Feeding America to get the word out about hunger in Southwest Virginia. The future first lady said it's an issue they'll focus on once in Richmond. "If we're able to achieve what Governor-Elect has put out on his agenda in terms of Medicare expansion, how do we get vegetables and fruit as part of the prescription program?" she said. "I think that's a great idea."

Governor-Elect McAuliffe told us he also plans to bring new jobs to the coal industry by turning the carbon storage research at Virginia Tech into practice. "We should be the leader on all the latest 21st-century coal technology," he said.

Later, at the first of three inaugural balls at the Heartwood, Republican State Delegate Terry Kilgore told us innovations in the coal industry is an area they can work together on.

Democratic State Senator Phillip Puckett said another area of agreement will be McAuliffe's promise of expanding early education funding. "I think you'll have some good bipartisan support for that," said Puckett. "We all know education is really the key in making a difference in the lives of our young people."

Puckett has been a State Senator since 1999, and he told us he thinks McAuliffe's transition into office will go smoothly.

The other inaugural balls will take place in Richmond and in Norfolk. McAuliffe will be inaugurated next Saturday in Richmond.