BY OLYMPIA MEOLA
Gov. Bob McDonnell leaves Richmond tonight for a whirlwind trip of official and political business, from an air show in Paris to a Koch seminar in Vail, that keeps him off of Capitol Square for more than a week.
He boards a red-eye flight to Paris today and arrives on Wednesday to attend the Paris Air Show and promote the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Prince George County.
Traveling with him are Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, two Virginia Economic Development Partnership officials and the director of international investment for the state’s European office, Matthias Duys.
McDonnell has private meetings with business prospects tomorrow and he’ll visit Virginia companies exhibiting at the air show, including Defense Technology Equipment, Inc. and Communications Group, Inc.
He has lunch with Rolls-Royce executives and then will host a Rolls-Royce supplier and advanced manufacturing center reception and dinner.
The trip will cost the state about $42,454, according to the governor’s office.
McDonnell leaves Paris on Thursday morning for The Homestead, where his political action committee is hosting its annual retreat for donors who gave or raised $25,000 for its coffers.
Some bold names in the political world, including Ed Gillespie, are expected to make an appearance at the posh Hot Springs resort for a series of panel discussions. The governor’s Cabinet will attend — taking personal vacation days to do so – as will some candidates in targeted House and Senate races.
The retreat ends on Saturday but McDonnell will stay until he leaves on Sunday for Vail, where he’ll attend the Koch brothers’ summer seminar.
Koch Industries is a Kansas-based energy conglomerate owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the backers of Libertarian and conservative causes including Americans for Prosperity. The Koch brothers hold conferences twice a year, keeping the guest lists and details largely under wraps.
The last one was held in Palm Springs, California in January. McDonnell has attended at least seven of the seminars.
While he skipped the Palm Springs affair, he made a previous event at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen. He has said in the past that “The main goal of the seminars appeared to me to be education on the challenges that face the American system of free enterprise and democracy, and what people can do about them.”
Tucker Martin, the governor’s spokesman, described the seminar as a way for McDonnell to hear from job creators, entrepreneurs and business and policy leaders on policies they believe would best facilitate and support private sector job creation in Virginia.
“He’s looking forward to the meeting, and to bringing back innovative ideas and solutions that will help Virginians gain access to the good-paying jobs and opportunities they need and deserve,” Martin said.
McDonnell leaves Monday night for Northern Virginia, where he will hold events on Tuesday before returning to Richmond on Wednesday.
BY OLYMPIA MEOLA