Former Governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner announced key endorsements Monday from both of the Republican chairmen of the General Assembly's powerful budget committees during his term as Virginia Governor from 2002 to 2006.
Delegate Vincent F. Callahan, Jr. and Senator John H. Chichester both endorsed Governor Warner's bipartisan approach to working with the General Assembly to responsibly address budget shortfalls that ultimately reached $6 billion.
"A Virginia governor has the privilege of four short years of service as the state's chief executive," says Warner. "Over time, the consistently hard work is done year after year by state lawmakers such as Delegate Callahan and Senator Chichester. Our administration worked in partnership with these two leaders, and I am proud of the honest and responsible way we worked together to keep Virginia moving forward. This is the same approach I intend to take if I have the privilege of serving in the U.S. Senate."
Callahan, of Fairfax, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1967. He became chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in 1998, and retired earlier this year after 40 years of legislative service. Callahan served in the Virginia House during the administrations of 11 Virginia governors.
"Our system of checks and balances creates a healthy 'tension' between the executive and legislative branches of government, especially when it comes to the budget," says Callahan. "As the chair of the Appropriations Committee, I appreciated Governor Warner's consistent efforts to work in a bipartisan and cooperative way. We were able to work together to preserve the Commonwealth's well-deserved reputation for responsible and conservative fiscal management."
Chichester, of Stafford County, served as the Virginia Senate president and chairman of its budget-writing Finance Committee until his retirement earlier this year after 30 years in the legislature. He served in the Virginia Senate during the administrations of nine Virginia governors.
"I respect the honest and results-oriented focus Mark Warner brought to Virginia's budget challenges, and I am proud of the work that Governor Warner and the Senate Finance Committee performed together during a very difficult time," says Chichester. "Mark was a 'hands-on' executive, and his door was always open as we worked in a bipartisan way to restore integrity to our budget process."
In 2005, Governing magazine designated Virginia as the nation's "best managed state," and Forbes.com named Virginia the "best state for business" in 2006 and 2007. TIME Magazine named Warner one of "America's Five Best Governors" in 2005.
Callahan and Chichester also worked cooperatively with the Warner Administration to reform the Virginia Department of Transportation and other key agencies, and led efforts to restructure the Commonwealth's relationship with leading public colleges and universities.
Callahan and Chichester also supported significant improvements launched by Warner to make Virginia's budget planning process more transparent and inclusive, incorporating changes that now allow budget planners to look beyond a traditional two-year time-frame to make smarter decisions on how to responsibly use taxpayer dollars.
"I appreciate the public endorsement of these two gentlemen, and the broad support our campaign has received from other Republicans and Independents across Virginia," says Warner. "This is a validation of the common-sense focus on results we worked hard to institute in state government, and the bipartisan approach I will take to Washington."