Divided by D.C.: 2 Governors, 2 Visions, 1 Election Year

BY Christina Bellantoni and Samina Uddin Engel  March 20, 2012 at 5:38 PM EST

The state budget showdowns unfolding in Virginia and Maryland are reminiscent of the national debate over the role of government as the economy recovers. Should government spend to create jobs? Or focus on fiscal restraint? Which Americans should be burdened with tax hikes? And which agencies should suffer cuts?

Though Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are backed by legislatures controlled by their own parties, they too are struggling to find the best way forward in these tough economic times.

Add to that, social agendas generating national headlines for each governor. And their duties as heads of their respective governors’ associations — as they prepare to work against each other in this fall’s state races.

McDonnell and O’Malley are gaining attention on the national stage as top surrogates for their candidates in this year’s presidential contest, and are each eyeing higher office down the line.

As we see each party’s fiscal vision play out in Virginia and Maryland this election year, the NewsHour will be with them every step of the way. Correspondent Kwame Holman will be tracking each governor and the politics team will be talking with residents about which vision for government seems to be working better.

And we’ll ask you what you think.

Start by sending comments to cbellantoni – at – newshour.org or comment on Twitter using the hashtag #dividedbydc

Produced and edited by Samina Engel. Desk assistant Alex Bruns contributed reporting and research.

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