Moving Forward in Virginia with “No Speed Limit”
By C. Naseer Ahmad


Governor Kaine

Promoting the “Promise of Virginia,” as the inaugural theme, Democrat Timothy M. Kaine took the oath of office as the 70th Governor of Virginia with an evocative speech on a cold rainy day in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. This was a historic event; the first inauguration in Williamsburg since Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office as Governor of Virginia in 1779.
Speaking about early Virginians, Governor Kaine, 47, said: “...They stood here proclaiming the promise of Virginia, when the world around them doubted that the land of their vision would survive.” He then asked: “Could (Patrick) Henry or (Thomas) Jefferson have imagined the powerful success of their democratic experiment, their beloved Virginia, as it appears today?” “.., As a people, we have come through storm after storm, working out the meaning of our own destiny and coming closer and closer to the Virginia ideal of equality that Jefferson articulated in America’s Declaration of Independence,” Governor Kaine continued.
It rained on his inaugural parade but Governor Timothy showed that he can entertain crowds well by serenading the audience with some lyrics “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day” from Temptations song “My Girl.” California has had actors as governors but the real theater has been in Virginia. This is where it all began; the first state to declare liberty from tyranny and the first state with a written constitution and so many traditions. No wonder the “Beach Boys” were here to perform to the audience for the Inaugural Concert on Friday night. And, Tim Kaine took center stage with his harmonica to play with the Blue Grass band “No Speed Limit.”
Former Governor Linwood Holton, a Republican and father-in-law of Tim Kaine, postponed bladder cancer surgery to actively campaign for his election and participate in the inaugural festivities. While Holton faced a legislature controlled by Democrats, Tim Kaine faces the opposite.
But, Tim Kaine is his own man. He went into politics - against the advice of his father-in-law - beginning his career on the Richmond City Council and later serving as Mayor of Richmond and then as Lt. Governor of Virginia.
As Mayor of Richmond, Tim Kaine helped close down a bar called the “Mosque”, as it offended the Muslims citizens of Richmond. And, as Governor Tim Kaine’s first act was to sign an order banning discrimination of the disabled and others.
Governor Kaine faced a tough campaign and was sometimes criticized for his campaign style. However, he won a decisive victory – with a disciplined campaign - against an opponent who attempted to make the “capital punishment” a wedge issue – as Tim Kaine opposed the death penalty based on his religious beliefs.
By electing Tim Kaine as the 70th Governor, the electorate showed that Virginians could move forward by honestly debating and working towards finding solutions to modern problems. One of the last acts of hugely popular and possibly presidential contenders - Governor Mark Warner - Tim Kaine’s predecessor, was to order DNA testing of a man - who claimed innocence until his death and there are some real questions about his guilty convictions - executed on rape charges.
Promises made – during campaigns – in Virginia like anywhere else do need some delivery by politicians, if they are to be seriously or seek election to higher offices. Cognizant of this reality and of the transportation problems especially in Northern Virginia, where a large number of Pakistani Americans live, Tim Kaine held numerous Town Hall meetings immediately after his election in November 2005 to listen to citizens’ concerns. From a conversation after a Town Hall Meeting in Manassas on November 29, 2005, one finds Tim Kaine approachable and a sincere politician.
But, governors cannot deliver alone on promises made during election campaigns; they need an energetic and visionary team. To accomplish his goal to enable Virginia to meet 21st century challenges, Tim Kaine appointed Aneesh Chopra, 33, as Secretary Technology in charge of $2.4 billion state budget. A brief conversation with Secretary Chopra at the Williamsburg Visitor Center shows that Governor Kaine is moving Virginia forward with virtually no speed limit.
“The promise of Virginia is bright today because of their efforts, and it is up to us to carry the work forward for future generations,” said Governor Kaine in his inaugural address and these words should be some food for thought for the Pakistani American settlers of Virginia.



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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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