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The Governor is the chief executive officer for the Commonwealth. His/her duties include:

  • Reporting on the state of the Commonwealth annually to the General Assembly

  • Convening the legislature when 2/3 of each House of the General Assembly seeks a special section

  • Serving as commander-in-chief of the Virginia militia, which includes the National Guard, the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, and the Virginia State Defense Force

  • Ensuring that the statutes (laws) of the Commonwealth are executed.

The powers of the Virginia Governor include:

  • Submitting recommendations to the General Assembly and calling special sessions when he/she deems them necessary;

  • Veto power over all bills that come to the Governor from the General Assembly.

  • A line-item veto of all bills.

  • Fill vacancies in positions unless the position is one which the General Assembly has the power to fill.

  • Commuting fines or sentences and issuing pardons. The Governor may also restore voting rights.


The Governor’s cabinet includes the following Secretariats:

Secretary of Administration
Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Finance
Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Secretary of Natural Resources
Secretary of Public Safety
Secretary of Technology
Secretary of Transportation


Of the Secretariats of interest to ATs, two are most important: Education and Health and Human Resources.

Advocacy in the Executive Branch has many features similar to legislative advocacy, primarily because the Executive Branch agencies create regulations that specify how laws will be enforced. Regulations comprise the Virginia Administrative Code and have the same force of law as the Code of Virginia.

The process of developing regulations is specified in the Administrative Process Act, a review of which can be very daunting.

The Regulatory Town Hall site contains several charts of the regulatory process as well as a series of FAQs that attempt to simplify the arcane Code.

During the regulatory process, VATA advocates using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Holding sessions with selected members of the Executive Branch, including personnel in the appropriate Secretariat and the Secretary as the top official;

  • Seeking a request for rule-making (used when VATA wishes to change a regulation);

  • Working through the Advisory Board on Athletic Trainers; and

  • Responding to requests for public comments that are posted when applicable on the Regulatory Town Hall site.

Advocates can sign up on the Town Hall site to receive electronic notices of public hearings, requests for rule making, meeting dates for cabinet agencies, and requests for communication.

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