by Matt Kelly
his guest lecture, Gov. Mark Warner urged U.Va. students to
stay involved in politics.
He also announced his plans for a higher education summit
Politics 101: Gov. Warner
By Matt Kelly
Mark Warner figures he has already faced four of the seven plagues
in his first 102 days in office, in addition to the $3.8 billion
budget shortfall he inherited from his predecessor, he told politics
professor Larry Sabatos Introduction to American Politics
class April 24.
recalled that he declared states of emergency for a drought and
a flood in the same week, and has had to deal with a flu epidemic
racking the states turkey industry, a stubborn tire-dump
fire and a redistricting court case.
dont know what else God has in store for me, he said
to the students who packed the room.
who directs the Center
for Governmental Studies, is recognized nationwide as a political
pundit. His classes often lure high-profile guest lecturers from
the world of politics, including members of Congress and presidential
his analysis of the state budget, Warner said former Gov. Jim
Gilmore and the legislature took advantage of extraordinary economic
times to cut taxes by $1.5 billion. While the car tax cut got
all the publicity, he said, there were 50 other tax breaks created
many of which he supported. But taken all together, they
were too big a hit on the states revenues. At the same time,
the legislature increased spending by $1 billion, as if the good
times of a go-go economy would last forever.
economic recovery has a better chance in Virginia, but thats
not going to put us back to the go-go days,
addition, he called for an overall tax restructuring and six-year
projections on the impact of any financial legislation. The state
is very dependent on an income tax, which brought in revenues
when there was a flush of high tech and dot-com millionaires.
But this bubble has now burst.
stressed his business background in dealing with financial problems
and said he has been criticized from both sides of the aisle while
coming up with a budget that he described as sharing the sacrifices.
trumpeted his support for the states colleges and universities,
which he said should be idea labs, generating intellectual capital.
He cited his support for a construction bond referendum that will
be benefit many campus building projects, lifting the states
tuition freeze and increasing student aid. Even with the tuition
increase, he said students will pay less than four years ago in
said he plans to hold a higher education summit in the fall to
address several issues, including the issue of satellite campuses
in Northern Virginia, how universities are using technology, better
use of research facilities and how schools can partner with each
other. He said in many ways the universities are the slowest to
adapt to change.
information age is changing lives, work and health care, but most
politicians dont understand its full impact, he said. Through
technology, young people with new ideas can start businesses in
economically disadvantaged towns like Martinsville, reaching larger
markets through the Internet. As a businessman, Warner created
venture capital funds to promote investment in rural areas, and
since being governor he took credit for creating 2,000 jobs in
the state, including 1,400 in southside and western Virginia.
used to be if you had an idea you went where the money was,
Warner said. Now they can build it anywhere.
expressed support for the states Standards of Learning initiative
as providing critical measures of school success. Students would
be the losers if their schools did not perform, said Warner, who
suggested that more emphasis needs to be placed on vocational
and technical education, saying plumbers and electricians are
also valuable to society.
to federal legislation, the state can intervene with failing school
districts, he said, threatening to withhold some of their federal
funds if the district does not take steps to correct its problems.
security since the September terror attacks, the state has been
trying to coordinate all first responders, which Warner said aided
the response to a recent tire fire in Roanoke County. He also
warned of possible cyber attacks, noting that half of all Internet
traffic passes through Northern Virginia.
his own political success, Warner said he generated grassroots
support, courted rural Virginia and also motivated his own Democratic
Party base of voters, including blacks, who voted about 90 percent
for him. His business background also appealed to some Republicans,
he said. He reminded students that even with a good organization,
tremendous personal energy and getting out the vote, he only won
by 5 percent.
encouraged Sabatos students Democrats and Republicans
to stay involved with politics. More frightening to him,
he said, are young people who do not get involved because they
believe all politicians are bad.
chided Warner for not attending U.Va., but noted that the governors
wife was a graduate and assumed that his daughters would be attending