Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 19, 2013

Va. gov-elect makes 2 more Cabinet appointments


Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Nine down, three to go.

Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe is filling out his Cabinet, announcing Thursday that Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore will serve another term and former Hampton Mayor Molly Joseph Ward will take over as secretary of natural resources.

“Growing our agriculture and forestry industries responsibly and protecting our natural and historic resources are critical to supporting our tourism industry and ensuring our economic sustainability, and I am confident that Todd and Molly are the best people to get that job done,” McAuliffe said.

Haymore is third holdover from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Cabinet, joining finance chief Ric Brown and health secretary Bill Hazel. The other six appointees have strong Democratic backgrounds.

Only three Cabinet positions remain to be filled: commerce and trade, veterans affairs and homeland security, and education.

Ward resigned last September after five years as Hampton’s mayor to take a job as President Barack Obama’s liaison with municipal leaders across the country. She previously served six years as Hampton treasurer.

McAuliffe credited Ward with leading the effort to preserve Fort Monroe as a national landmark and advocating creation of a conservation easement for Buckroe Beach.

“I have a lifelong passion for the natural and historic resources of Virginia, so this is a dream come true,” Ward said at a news conference.

The executive director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club said that as the former mayor of a coastal city, Ward is well aware of the effects of climate change on sea levels.

“Being from Hampton, she also understands the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to the economy and quality of life of Virginians,” the environmental organization’s Glen Besa said.

Haymore served as commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine. McAuliffe said McDonnell thought so highly of Haymore’s performance that he not only kept him, but promoted him to his current position.

“I didn’t have a promotion for Todd because the only bigger job would be my job,” McAuliffe said.

He said that as agriculture secretary, Haymore helped weave agriculture and forestry into McDonnell’s economic plan and helped create a special found that has boosted exports of Virginia farm products. McAuliffe said Haymore shares his goal of making Virginia “the East Coast capital of agricultural exports.”