RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – By State of the Commonwealth standards the speech was short. But it was enough for Tim Kaine to tout his four years in office, while at the same time warning his soon to be former colleagues not undo much of what his administration has put in place.
As he made his way through the halls of the Capitol Governor Kaine was all smiles. It's a smile that he claims he has had during his entire time in office, despite the difficulty his administration has faced.
"Of course I'm smiling," said the Governor, in front of a joint session of the Legislature. "Even in the toughest of circumstances, there is no higher honor than to serve as the governor of this commonwealth."
Kaine is leaving behind a large budget gap, continued gridlock on Virginia highways and the looming threat of higher taxes. But he started by focusing on the positive.
"No state in America has enjoyed the success we have seen in recent years," Kaine said.
The governor argued that despite the recession, Virginia is well positioned. He believes the success is due to responsible fiscal practices. Work he hopes to continue.
"There is no reason why we cannot hold onto our position of economic dominance for many years to come," Kaine said.
And Kaine took the opportunity to warn the body that could mean raising taxes to maintain services and fix the transportation problem. He was blunt in his challenge. "Eventually, we need leadership in this collective body to find a path toward responsible advances in road investments."
A view that completely contrary to his successor Bob McDonnell and Republican legislators like John Watkins.
"There will come a time when we need to look for new revenue sources," said Senator Watkins. "This is not the time to do it."
But that fight, is no longer Tim Kaine's.