My native Virginia does extremely well in the latest Forbes rankings of the nation's wealthiest counties. As the Washington Examiner points out, 12 of Forbes's 25 most prosperous counties are in the Washington Metro area. Who says public service doesn't pay?
Joking aside, the transformation of the DC area over the last several decades is absolutely stunning. As recently as the beginning of the Reagan presidency, outer Fairfax County, where I grew up, was a relative backwater. Now the growth stretches west beyond Loudoun County (the wealthiest county in the nation) and south beyond Prince William County (fourteenth on the Forbes list) and even Stafford County (number twelve). Some people --they may be insane -- commute to work in D.C. from as far away as beautiful Charlottesville. And there's no end in sight. Some folks in Fairfax County want to incorporate the million-person entity as one big city. One day in the future, it will make little sense to distinguish between the Washington metro area and the Richmond metro area. They will have fused.
These changes are not only due to the expansion of government and government contracting. They also have to do with new, innovative industries like the tech and biotech sectors, and with business friendly tax and regulation policies, in Virginia especially. The growth has fueled immigration and development and kaleidoscopic diversity all while maintaining a high quality of life. It's truly something to behold.
The wealthy Virginia suburbs of Fairfax and Loudoun went Democratic in 2006 and 2008, but swung back for McDonnell in 2009. He won Fairfax 51-49 and Loudoun 61-39. He won Prince William, Stafford, and Fauquier Counties, as well. The national GOP better pay close attention to Virginia politics. McDonnell is the model for an optimistic, friendly, economic-centric conservatism that can succeed in a rapidly changing world.