INTERVIEW: Senator Mark Warner

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Things will be much different in Washington when Senator Mark Warner gets back to work. Warner and his fellow democrats are still reeling for historic losses in this year's elections. Senator Warner joins us live from Washington to talk about this election and what it could mean going forward.

Ryan Nobles: Senator Warner, welcome back to First at 4:00.

Mark Warner: Ryan. Thanks for having me back on.

Ryan Nobles: First question for you, senator. There's obviously there's a lot of concern that the election results are going to lead to some gridlock in Washington. You've been critical about the ideological extremes permeating politics; you said both the tea party on the left and the crowd on the right hurting the process. Are they one and the same and why is that a problem?

Mark Warner: Well, Ryan, I think what I stated, even a little bit in-artfully, is if we're going to get things done in the United States Senate where I work, we're going to need to form kind of the, let's get stuff done caucus, and that's going to be willingness on both democrats and republicans to step up and find common solutions to our deficit. That's going to mean having hard conversations about entitlement programs; it's going to mean probably looking at telling truth to those folks who are 25 years old today, the chances are they're not going to get social security at 65. We have to look at slowly raising the retirement age. We're going to have to make hard choices and as a matter of fact, today the president's commission on deficit came out with a draft and it really pointed out some of the stark choices, and some of the kind of campaign rhetoric, for example, around deficit is now going to be confronted with the reality of some of the choices we have to make and I think the only way we make those choices is if we can find democrats and republicans who are willing to put aside partisanship and find that common ground, kind of what I tried to do as governor.

Ryan Nobles: So you wouldn't equivocate the and people that support that movement to folks in the tea party? You think those are two different…

Mark Warner: I think they're different organizations. I think in both organizations who are activists who care deeply and are passionate and my personal belief is neither political party has all the answers and that the best place, particularly when you're trying to make major policy changes, is if you can find some common ground and take some good ideas from both sides. Again, I come back to a little bit of a track record with that kind of approach as governor in Virginia, got named the best managed state in the country and best state for business.

Ryan Nobles: You have to work with republicans; one in particular is local congressman Eric Cantor. I know you don't necessarily agree with him on all points, but do you think it is good for Virginia if he become the next majority leader?

Mark Warner: I think it's always good when Virginia has elected officials in positions of leadership. I think it's also incumbent upon all of us, particularly the Virginia delegation and I've had a long-standing relationship with representative Cantor as governor and now as senator, that particularly when it comes to issues affecting Virginia, whether it's the question around the joint forces closing that has been proposed, uniformly bipartisan wise, we oppose Secretary Gates' approach. When it's about trying to bring jobs to southwest Virginia, which we've worked on, for example, with the Congressmen Goodlatte and former Congressman Boucher, politics in terms of particularly Virginia interests ends at our border.

Ryan Nobles: Senator Mark Warner, thank you so much for joining us and good luck in the upcoming new session.

Mark Warner: Thank you, Ryan.

See the video at right for the full interview.

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