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Kaine takes reader questions on transition, shooting lawsuit, more

Earlier today, Tim Kaine, Democratic governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee answered questions from Post readers and discussed his political legacy. Excerpts follow; read the full discussion transcript.

Reston, Va.: Governor, thank you for your service! Will a final part of your legacy include restoring the voting rights of felons who have paid their debt to society and seek to regain their full place in the community?

Gov. Tim Kaine: I have used the executive clemency powers tor restore voting rights for more than 4,400 Virginians. That is by far the most rights restorations that any Virginia governor has done. Some have asked me to issue a blanket order restoring voting rights for an unknown number of unnamed individuals who have not applied to have their voting rights restored. While I am still wrestling with this request, I have some concerns whether it would be a use of the governor's powers in accord with the Constitution or not.

Richmond, Va.: How's the transition going with Governor-Elect McDonnell?

Gov. Tim Kaine: I think the transition is going very smoothly. I am very well acquainted with members of Bob McDonnell's senior leadership team and I've instructed my chief of staff and leadership team to work closely with them. My wife Anne has spent significant time with Maureen McDonnell to help the family make the transition to living in the executive mansion.

Richmond, Va.: What's your opinion of the judges ruling yesterday allowing the lawsuit related to the Virginia Tech shootings to proceed?

Gov. Tim Kaine: I have not read the court's ruling, but Virginia state law generally makes it difficult to have cases dismissed before trial.

Vienna, Va.: Dear Gov. Kaine:

As a supporter of yours, I wanted to thank you for the good work that you have done for the Commonwealth. You provided sound, honest, and realistic leadership in trying times, and succeeded more often than not, in spite of opposition that seems to view doing nothing as an accomplishment.

Having said that, I do think your taking the position of DNC chair before your term as governor expired was a mistake. I understand that President Obama really wanted you for the job, and perhaps in better times it might have made more sense, but this wasn't the time to try to ride two horses at once.

Can you tell us why you decided to do that? Thanks very much.

Gov. Tim Kaine: During 2009, when I have served as governor and DNC chair, Virginia has been named the best state for business by all three business publications that publish annual rankings. We have been accorded a Triple A bond rating for financial management by every rating agency. We have attracted two Fortune 500 companies to move their headquarters from other states to Virginia. We also achieved a significant victory in convincing the legislature to bar smoking in bars and restaurants. We did all this while managing Virginia through the toughest economy since the 1930s, maintaining our position as a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and one of the highest median incomes.

I only took the DNC job on the condition that I would be able to focus energies on governing Virginia well in a very difficult time and I think the track record of results has shown I have done that.

I have also been able to build relationships in the White House that have been beneficial for Virginia in a variety of areas including the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, decisions about military installations in Virginia and other important matters.

Read the full discussion transcript.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  January 13, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Timothy M. Kaine  
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