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Visions from vying Virginians page 2
Tim Kaine's op-ed column about his goals if elected as U.S. senator from Virginia.

 Democratic candidate Tim Kaine (left) shakes hands with Republican candidate George Allen at a recent debate in the campaign for the U.S. Senate seat representing the commonwealth of Virginia.
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Date published: 10/28/2012


In the long term, our country should take some lessons from Virginia and embrace and invest in the talent of our workers to propel economic growth. In my lifetime, no state has moved as far and as fast as Virginia has in economic competitiveness. The reason? We decided to commit to training a skilled workforce that could out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world. As a result, companies continue to relocate to Virginia to be around workers who can fill the jobs of tomorrow.

Today our nation is slipping in educational attainment. To continue to lead the world, we need to reform education so our workers are getting the skills that will continue to attract new companies and industries to the commonwealth. We also must improve affordability so that all our kids can have access to the right education and training to compete in high-tech industries of the future. These are ideas that can attract support from both parties, and I look forward to working on them with other members of the Senate.

During my term as governor, I worked with both Republicans and Democrats to expand early childhood education by more than 40 percent, pass a record higher-education bond package that upgraded community-college and university facilities across Virginia, and directed millions in financial aid to students. I was proud when Education Week named Virginia the best state in which to raise a child.

Finally, we need a balanced approach to our budgets and our politics. The best ideas will not gain traction unless parties work together to solve the challenges of closing our deficit and reducing our debt. Currently, we face an immediate threat of sequestration cuts that were born out of Congress' runaway spending and then the parties' inability to work together. These across-the-board cuts of $1 trillion to both defense and domestic spending would have a devastating effect on defense contractors in Fredericksburg, including HDT Robotics, which I recently visited with Sen. Mark Warner.


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Tim Kaine served as the 70th governor of Virginia and is a candidate for U.S. Senate.