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Posted at 9:28 PM ET, 07/31/2009

Why I Endorsed Creigh Deeds

By Vince Rinehart

By Martin Williams
Newport News

With mounting transportation problems, a tough economic climate and a difficult budget situation, Virginia’s next governor has a challenge ahead of him.

Put simply, Virginia needs a leader for trying times, someone who can work across party lines to build consensus and make tough decisions. That’s why I’ve decided to endorse a Democrat for the first time in my life.

I served as a Republican senator, alongside both Bob McDonnell, now the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, and Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee. After working with both of these gentlemen, I can tell you without question that Sen. Deeds is better suited to lead the state through these difficult times.

In 2004, Virginia faced the worst budget crisis in its history. I was fortunate enough then to join a bipartisan effort with Gov. Mark Warner and Creigh Deeds that allowed us to come together to find a solution. Because of their efforts, we were able to pass a historic agreement that cut spending and invested money in Virginia’s schools and public safety.

This coalition of Democrats and Republicans recognized that serious problems called for real leadership, not talk. Together we created a fiscally responsible budget that not only secured Virginia’s Triple-A bond rating but also created a business-friendly climate that encouraged investment. Just one year later, Virginia was named the best state for business, a title it has been given again this year.

I have looked at the latest transportation proposal from Bob McDonnell, and I can tell you that it is not based on reality. Bob has proposed a transportation plan that depends on taking more than $5.4 billion out of the general fund in the next few years. These funds have been historically reserved for education, public safety and mental health. Virginia’s transportation problems will require an innovative and bipartisan agreement, but it cannot include taking resources away from those who need them most — Virginia’s children. These drastic funding shifts have no chance of passing in a bipartisan General Assembly. Where will Bob’s transportation solutions be when his funding sources are rejected by the General Assembly? Back to square one.

Today, Virginia faces pressing issues — a transportation system in disrepair, a national economic crisis that has led to high unemployment and an education system in need of innovation. These problems will require Democrats and Republicans to work together to reach consensus. We need someone who has a record of doing so.

I’ve endorsed Creigh Deeds because he has demonstrated that he has what it takes to lead when faced with complex problems. He not only has the backbone to stand up for what he thinks is right but also has the pragmatism to look past party lines to find common-sense solutions. Throughout his 18 years as a legislator, Creigh has formed the bipartisan relationships necessary to face the challenges that lie ahead.

The writer is a former state senator from Newport News and former chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

By Vince Rinehart  | July 31, 2009; 9:28 PM ET
Categories:  Va. Politics, economy, schools, traffic, transportation  
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Next: Why I Endorsed Bob McDonnell


Well, am I mistaken to think that a former Virginia Senator cannot oppose McDonnell or support Deeds as Governor?

If this former Virginia Senator wouldn't appropriate money from the general fund to pay for transportation (not Constitutionally prohibited), then what he really proposes is to impose additional taxes, although he would not honestly say so.

Posted by: DaTourist | August 1, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

The key word here is former. Marty is a former senator because of his support for the largest tax increase in Virginia's history. A tax increase brought about solely on the basis of Mark Warner's misrepresentation of the facts.

Posted by: altonfoley | August 2, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Its great to see people like Marty Williams who can look past party ID and focus on real problems. We need people like him back in Richmond.

Posted by: mikeva2 | August 2, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree that FORMER is the key word here, I live in Mr. Williams former district and I don't recall seeing him or hearing from him at all last year on any issue, let alone political ones, but suddenly his support is suppose to mean something? Mr. Williams lost in a PRIMARY, which means he could not even gain the support of his own party in 2007, so are you surprised that he is endorsing the more liberal of the two candidates? Also to be fair, Mr. McDonnell was never a state Senator which means that Mr. Williams never worked with him in the same way he did Mr. Deeds.

Posted by: jphedgehog80 | August 3, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

i completley agree with jphedgehog80, i mean he lost to freakin Tricia Stall for Christ sake, get over urself Marty (notice first name used bc he doesn't deserve respect) nobody cares what u think bc ur a HASBEEN

Posted by: mjthree45242 | August 5, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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