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Terry McAuliffe to Bring High Energy to F.C. Talk Sunday

When former Democratic National Chair, Clinton family friend and unsuccessful 2009 Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe moves down from his nearby Tysons Corner offices to speak at the Falls Church Community Center this Sunday night, be prepared for a heavy barrage on a wide range of subjects from this high energy personality.

When former Democratic National Chair, Clinton family friend and unsuccessful 2009 Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe moves down from his nearby Tysons Corner offices to speak at the Falls Church Community Center this Sunday night, be prepared for a heavy barrage on a wide range of subjects from this high energy personality.

It is widely recognized that McAuliffe is preparing for another run at the Richmond statehouse in 2013, when he will most likely be warmly embraced by the state’s Democrats as their candidate of choice, and the kind of speaking schedule he’s keeping now certainly indicates that.

But he told the News-Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he’s really not yet made up his mind. He’s having too much fun with his start-up electric car business to be certain.

McAuliffe has a lot to say about the avoidable failure, in his view, of the Democrats in the midterm elections last year, saying their leaders failed to “message the party” to exhibit the clear choice that was before voters. “It was disgraceful,” he said.

The focus of his remarks at the annual Falls Church City Democratic Committee’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Sunday, however, may focus more on the needs of Virginia to become more competitive bringing new jobs to the state.

Or maybe not. As the CEO of his new “GreenTech Automotive” company, McAuliffe is hop-scotching around the globe cutting deals and anticipating the launch of his first manufacturing plant in Mississippi this summer that will turn out energy-saving, environmentally-friendly an efficient lithium ion battery-powered cars. He bought up a Chinese company to start his business, and has already cut a deal to sell the first batch of cars coming off his assembly line to the government of Denmark.

In fact, McAuliffe’s appearance here Sunday may be more like a blur than a baby-kissing, glad-handing politico. That’s because after hitting a string of events in Northern Virginia this week, he’ll be showing at the F.C. Community Center Sunday April 3 with plans to head to an event in Herndon after that, jump on a plane to Switzerland, fly over to London, pop in on Shanghai, China, and then be back to keynote a fundraiser for State Sen. Donald McEachin in Richmond on April 13.
That’s a lot of airline miles in 10 days, and it’s been par for the course for McAuliffe since he moved to start his new company after failing to get his party’s nomination to run for governor in 2009. “It’s an idea I had starting in 2006,” he said. “It’s clean energy, and it’s a job-creator. It’s the future.”
As for the pressures of his schedule, “Who needs sleep?,” he said. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

But still, McAuliffe loves to articulate his views on a wide range of subjects, including domestic Virginia politics, always with energy and passion. So, he’ll tarry in Falls Church Sunday, one suspects, as long as his audience exhibits and interest in what he has to say.

He’s been paying attention to what’s gone on in Richmond since Republican Bob McDonnell won the gubernatorial election in ’09, and he’s fundamentally critical of policies that “kick problems down the road” through bonding, and then cynically declaring a surplus, he said.

“They’re bonding for transportation without any plan for paying back the debt,” he said. “It’s a shell game of moving money around, and it’s net effect will be to cripple education when paying for it has to come out of the general fund. Shame on them all.”

He added that there is no “vision” in Virginia to compete effectively for new jobs. “We’re losing jobs to neighboring states. We’ve got the rail infrastructure and the deep port, but we’re not getting the new alternative energy plants that are going to North and South Carolina,” he said. New wind and blade industries are also locating in Arkansas and Pennsylvania, and his own company’s new plant located in Mississippi because there were no incentives to come to Virginia, and the governor of Mississippi made a very strong effort to get it to locate there.

Focusing on things like privatization of liquor stores “doesn’t move the ball forward. It’s a waste of time.”

Meanwhile, unemployment remains a terrible problem in especially the southwestern part of the state. “Nationally, after losing 17 million jobs in the recession, we need to create 1.8 million jobs a year just to keep up with population growth,” he said, and alternative energy is the key.

“We can’t rely on the same old energy grid,” he noted. “We can’t continue to take money from China, give them a big interest rate, then turn around and spend it for oil in the Middle East.”

With his new electric car company, McAuliffe is “walking the talk.” The first car coming off the new job-creating assembly line this summer is a “MyCar,” a “neighborhood” car that goes up to 35 miles per hour and up to 80 miles on a charge. It was named the “electric vehicle of the year” at the 2008 European Green Fleet Awards, and is one of five models that McAuliffe bought from a Chinese firm in a deal that was closed in May 2010.

The deal to sell a fleet to the government of Denmark includes the promise of favorable terms to locate a manufacturing plant there, too, McAuliffe noted.
Maybe in addition to Falls Church’s political leaders, representatives of its Economic Development efforts should be there this Sunday night, too.
The event at the Community Center begins at 5 p.m. with a reception prior to a dinner that starts at 6.