Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th) and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. February 11, 2017.
We gathered for a joyous party at Dan and Trixie Averill’s house with friend to all, Bob McDonnell. Everyone there had some part in his political life over the years. It was the first opportunity we all had been together at the same time since the governor, who never stopped maintaining his innocence, was vindicated when he was cleared of his legal case with the federal government.
I’ve got to admit, he had more faith and trust in the justice system than I did but he was, indeed, vindicated. On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court made a rare unanimous decision to vacate Governor McDonnell’s conviction. On September 8, 2016, the U.S. Government announced it was asking the court to dismiss the case.
It was a long ordeal and extremely wearing on the entire McDonnell family, and left them $10 million in debt for legal expenses. It is unbelievable that the federal government can come in and cause American citizens to incur that kind of debt, especially for charges that are proven to be false. Bob has walked through fire, but a weight has been lifted from his shoulders and his spirits and pep in his step have returned. He is returning to the Bob McDonnell we all knew throughout the years.
So it was a night to rejoice with friends, and relax, and say thank you. He and Trixie have worked together for 30 years as he worked his way from Delegate in the House to Attorney General to Governor, and he led us the entire way. She never lost faith in him. He was our leader to rally around, and many feel that may have something to do with the federal government going after him.
We drank Dan’s Hurricanes — a throwback to the New Orleans background for he and Trixie — and enjoyed his chili and other goodies. Congressman Goodlatte had just returned to Roanoke so he and Maryellen joined us as well as Delegate Chris Head. It was a night to celebrate in Roanoke.
Many thanks to Dan and Trixie for the hospitality, and to Bob for all his service to the citizens of Virginia and the nation from his years in the military and as a public servant. When he swept into office in 2009 with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli — an all-Republican ticket that won — Virginia Republicans were riding high. It was the last time.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell