January 11, 2006
A reflective Mark Warner joined the state delegates in Richmond for one last look at the past while also looking forward to the future. Tonight's speech touched on many of Mark Warner's highlights, including budget accomplishments and transportation ideas, but the speech was as much about the state of the Commonwealth as it was about Warner's future.
For the final time, Governor Mark Warner entered the halls of the State House to give his final address to the general assembly.
"So I come before you tonight to say the state of the Commonwealth is strong," he said.
Warner highlighted many of his accomplishments throughout his tenure as governor, including balancing a budget that was almost $6 billion in debt.
"We stopped the red ink and began the hard work of restoring our economy and confidence in this government," he said.
This address also marked several present day battles that are left to fight. Most poignantly, a $72 billion budget that must go before the General Assembly.
"The budget I proposed I believe meets our core obligations, but it also includes four significant new funding initiatives," Warner said.
One of those initiatives is a $500 million program that focuses on research and development in Virginia universities.
"This is one of the most exciting opportunities we have for economic development in Virginia and we need to stay competitive with our surrounding states," said Republican Senator Ken Stolle.
At the end, Warner took a few minutes to just remember his experience.
"I have been flooded with a whole lot of memories. Memories of the time that Lisa and I and the girls have spent...in Richmond," he said.
While Warner made no direct mention of a Presidential run in 2008, much of the address highlighted his goals as a middle-of-the-road democrat, a position that he hopes will make him an attractive candidate down the road.