January 20, 2006
Fresh off of a big win in a largely conservative state, Governor Tim Kaine will deliver the democratic response to the State of the Union address. In an honor usually bestowed upon a more experienced Washington insider, Governor Kaine will give the rebuttal. This speech has the potential to put Virginia politics into the national spotlight.
Just 17 days after taking the oath of office, Governor Tim Kaine will deliver an address that will be seen by millions.
"It's a great opportunity for Tim Kaine to introduce himself and his priorities here as the Governor of Virginia to a national audience," said Joshua Scott from the Center for Politics.
But why Kaine? And why now? In a statement released by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, he said, "Americans will get to hear a different point-of-view from a Governor who is working to solve problems people care about."
Scott believes the Democrats were looking for some new blood.
"Given the recent corruption scandals in Washington, D.C., Kaine is a fresh face. The scandals have not only tarnished Republicans but the whole image of D.C," he said.
Kaine's response will be given from the Executive Mansion in Richmond and will highlight several key issues such as education and healthcare. But as important, Scott says, his message will thrust Virginia politics into the national spotlight.
"It's a great opportunity for the rest of the nation to get a sense of what's going on here in Virginia and to introduce our political leaders to a broader national audience," Scott said.
Scott said that Kaine's speech will be a little different than the norm. Because of Kaine's position in the Democratic party, as well as his style, he believes the speech will be more issue-oriented, and less about partisan politics.
The State of the Union address will air live on ABC 16 on Tuesday, January 31.