Why I Endorsed Creigh Deeds
By Martin Williams
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.
| July 31, 2009; 9:28 PM ET
Categories: Va. Politics, economy, schools, traffic, transportation
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