Photo credit: Lottye Lockhart, Office of Student Media

Gov. McAuliffe meets with student journalists

At luncheon, McAuliffe speaks on immigration ban, education


BY FAREEHA REHMAN, ONLINE EDITOR

On Feb. 1, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) welcomed a select few Virginia college reporters into the Executive Mansion.

Over an intimate three-course luncheon, Gov. McAuliffe expressed his disapproval of the recent executive order from President Trump that called for a halt on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

“Immigrants built this country,” McAuliffe said in response to George Mason students affected by the ban. “Discriminatory tactics is not who we are as a nation.”

The executive order “is just plain unconstitutional,” he added.

The ban is also a cause for concern for Americans overseas, and makes him nervous for his son in the Marine Corps, the governor said. The order had “put a target on U.S. citizens travelling” abroad.

Just five days prior, McAuliffe held his own press conference in Dulles International Airport and was heartened at the sight of hundreds of protesters.

McAuliffe repeated throughout the luncheon the necessity of young people’s involvement in democracy.

“Young people got to get in on the game on these issues,” said McAuliffe, speaking on the low number of young voter turnout in the election. “I don’t get it.”

The governor then turned to issues specific to Virginia.

McAuliffe mentioned that the Virginia General Assembly has “had good, bipartisan agreement” on plans for Virginia’s economy, education and transportation.

Education reform is high on McAuliffe’s list or priorities. “Getting credit for seats isn’t getting prepared for the 21st century,” he said. From K-12 to higher education, students need to learn “the skills to match the jobs open today.”

Affordable higher education was on the governor’s mind as well, saying that it makes no sense that student loans are not re-financeable like mortgages and car payments. (For the 2016-2017 school year, George Mason University tuition increased by 2.7 percent.)

The luncheon ended with a brief tour, the mansion walls honoring figures such as Virginian Barbara Rose Johns, a 16-year-old who protested segregation in 1951, which paved way for Brown vs. Board of Education.