RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe prepares to be sworn into office on Saturday while Virginia's current Governor Bob McDonnell faces an uncertain future with a possible indictment coming.
On the south lawn of the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, temporary stands have been erected for the Inauguration ceremony.
"I'll be the 72nd governor. It's humbling. Inspirational. I'm excited. I'm ready to get to work," said McAuliffe as he reflected on the upcoming event in a one-on-one interview with WUSA9.
"Let's get the partisan rhetoric out of it. It's mainstream, that's how I look at it everyday," he said.
The Democrat says he's already started to find common ground by talking to every Republican lawmaker.
"The more rural conservative wants the same thing that I want, bring jobs to their community," said McAuliffe.
He'll use that strategy in trying to convince the legislature to approve expanding Medicaid.
"As of Jan. 1, Virginia is forfeiting $5 million everyday," because the state decided against expansion and "that's not what Virginians want," he said, adding that he was optimistic that lawmakers would come around to his side on the issue.
However, Speaker of the House William Howell (R) said he was surprised at McAuliffe's optimism on Medicaid expansions. Howell said he remains firmly opposed to expanding Medicaid because of its expense. Howell said he was surprised by McAuliffe's confidence on the issue.
McAuliffe has brought in a bi-partisan cabinet, but is taking some criticism for reappointing Secretary of Health Bill Hazel, who critics say did nothing to stop strict new regulations on abortion clinics.
"He had to do what the governor wanted," McAuliffe explained. He said that Hazel will follow his directives now that he'll be governor and he pledged to be a "brick wall" against any new regulations that would infringe upon reproductive rights or abortion.
The one goal McAuliffe says he is confident he will accomplish is ethics reform. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle now support ethics reform in the wake of the scandal surrounding Governor Bob McDonnell. He and his family received $165,000 in gifts and money from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. The the governor's actions may lead to a federal indictment in the near future.
McAuliffe has had nothing but praise for McDonnell and his staff for their open and thorough cooperation. McAuliffe said, "Clearly, if he broke the law, he should be indicted. But we don't know that facts. That's why we have a grand jury." He added that he hopes the Governor avoids and indictment.
Written by Peggy Fox