Wednesday, January 12, Democratic Governor Mark Warner addressed Virginians in the last state of the commonwealth address of his governorship. Republicans also weighed in with their response.
In his 2005 state of the commonwealth speech, Warner reminded law makers that the state of the commonwealth is strong, but there is still much to do to keep Virginia competitive.
“By almost any measure the steps we have taken together over the past three years in education on the budget and on government reform have put the commonwealth back on the right track particularly economically,” said Warner.
His agenda was three–fold. Governor Warner asked lawmakers to use some of the big state budget surplus to speed up the cut in the food tax. He also wants some of the nearly $1 billion surplus put in the state's “rainy day” fund. And he asked for support for the $824 million transportation plan.
“We also proposed $23 million to propose greater use of rail development throughout the commonwealth and this will be the first dedicated source of funding for rail in Virginia history,” said Warner.
While the political parties differ on policy, they do see eye to eye when it comes to putting Virginians first.
“We stand ready to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the governor and our colleagues in the House. We are not prepared to compromise on issues of principle, but we are prepared to conduct the people's business with civility and respect for the governor, the Democrat minority and the people of Virginia we all serve,” said Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Augusta, in the Senate GOP response to Warner.
“It was a very conservative speech. It was a speech to reach out to Republicans who dominate this General Assembly,” said Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, a Republican who also is running this year to succeed Warner.