RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is the latest to toss his name in the ring as a 2021 gubernatorial hopeful.

He held the Commonwealth's highest office from 2014 to 2018, but he was unable to run for consecutive terms under Virginia law. 

"Virginia's the only state with one term, and I was very happy, we got a lot done in that first term," McAuliffe said.

Now, he is tackling different issues, focusing on increasing pay for teachers, rebuilding the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and bringing jobs to Virginia.

"I want to see Virginia be taken to the next level, but none of that can happen if we don't take care of our education system," McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe, who was governor during the Unite the Right rally in 2017, says the events were extremely tough.

"The worst day clearly was Charlottesville, when 1,000 neo-Nazis and white supremacists came in from 35 states and spewed their hatred," he said. "They came in,  they hurt a lot of people, but we as a Commonwealth came out and made us stronger."

McAuliffe was critical of how things were handled with the rally at the local level, saying it should have been held at a larger venue.

"The key to controlling these protests is the keeping the two sides separated, but there was no capacity at that park to keep the two sides separated," he said.

J. Miles Coleman, Associate Editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, says McAuliffe's ability to raise money as well as his name recognition could help him.

"He has that higher name recognition among the general electorate, that would probably boost him in a higher turnout situation like a primary," Coleman said.

In the Charlottesville area, Coleman says Jennifer Carroll-Foy, running as a progressive candidate, could do well.

"Someone like Foy could carry Charlottesville, while McAuliffe could win the rest of Albemarle County," he said.

There are currently seven people running for governor, four Democrats, one independent, and two Republicans.