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Mark R. Warner, Governor of Virginia

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Virginia rated Number One in nation

Official Portrait of Mark R. Warner, Virginia's 69th Governor.Governor Mark R. Warner

Governor Mark R. Warner has worked hard to restore Virginia's fiscal integrity and to build the foundation for a stronger economy, improved education, and a better quality of life for all Virginians. His administration has been marked by a commitment to bipartisanship, inclusiveness, and simple accountability.

Just the Facts
  • Birth Date: December 15, 1954
  • Birth Place: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Undergraduate Degree: George Washington University, 1977
  • Law School Degree: Harvard, 1980
  • Family: Married to Lisa Collis; three daughters - Madison, Gillian, and Eliza
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Party: Democrat

For a kid-friendly biography, check out the Kids Commonwealth Web site.

New Directions, New Accomplishments for Government

Since his inauguration in January 2002, Governor Mark R. Warner has taken a business-like approach to reforming government services and spending, navigating Virginia through a $6 billion revenue shortfall, streamlining state government while continuing to invest in public schools. From day one, Governor Warner has led the most diverse administration in history with an energetic commitment to accountability and “straight talk.”

In 2004, Governor Warner worked with bipartisan majorities in the General Assembly to win passage of what has been called the most comprehensive tax reform proposal considered by any state in the past decade. The plan makes the tax system more fair, keeps commitments in education, health, transportation, and tax relief, and helped Virginia retain its sterling Triple-A credit rating from Wall Street rating agencies.

The Governor’s success in enacting budget and tax reforms led Governing magazine to name him one of its “Public Officials of the Year” in 2004. In 2005, Virginia was the only state in the nation to earn straight A’s in fiscal management from teams of experts and academics assembled by the Pew Charitable Trust and Governing magazine (see report summary). The experts cited Governor Warner’s leadership in implementing long-range planning and other businesslike reforms enacted throughout state government.

Governor Warner serves in a leadership role in several national organizations. The Governor serves as Chairman of the National Governors Association, where he has begun a national discussion about redesigning the American high school. He recently concluded terms as Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association, States’ co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and Chairman of the Education Commission of the States, a national nonpartisan policy organization.

Education a Top Priority

In 2003, Governor Warner announced a series of affordable initiatives under the banner “Education for a Lifetime.” The ‘pre-school through grad school and beyond’ measures are designed to move students another rung up the ladder of educational achievement, demonstrating the linkage between degrees and other markers of academic achievement and economic prosperity.

Student performance on Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests continues to rise in schools across the Commonwealth – and accountability deadlines are looming for rising seniors and schools. The Governor’s nationally recognized Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools, or PASS program, leverages the most successful programs and personnel in Virginia schools to help make some real progress for the Commonwealth’s academically challenged schools. The PASS initiative was recognized as a model for improving student achievement and the quality of the workforce by the National Alliance of Business, which gave Virginia and Governor Warner a Distinguished Program Award for leadership in advancing the quality of education and training.

Governor Warner launched Project Graduation in 2003, to help high school seniors across the state who will not receive a diploma without meeting 2004 SOL testing standards. The project marked the Governor’s commitment to not retreat from the accountability component of the SOLs and to “walk the extra mile” with the first class of students to face the diploma deadline.

Focusing on Core Needs and Services

In 2003, the Governor and the General Assembly worked in a bipartisan way to enact his government reform agenda, which has been described as the most sweeping reform of Virginia state government in a generation. The plan brings long overdue changes in the way the state delivers mental health, workforce development, and veterans care services. It requires more discipline in state budgets and efficiency in service delivery, and it better prepares the Commonwealth against the threat of terrorism. Governor Warner has also brought common sense business principles to the way the state purchases goods and services, manages its vehicle fleet and real estate holdings, and maintains information technology functions, with an appropriate emphasis on including those who own small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

Governor Warner is working hard to build a foundation to bring economic prosperity to all corners of Virginia. Economic development and job creation are top priorities. Since January 2002, during difficult economic times, he has announced more than 100,448 new and saved jobs in the Commonwealth, representing $9.5 billion in additional investment.

In the fall of 2002, Governor Warner led a bipartisan, statewide campaign to secure more than $1 billion in bonds for long-overdue investments in higher education, cultural facilities, and state parks and recreation areas

A Virginia for All Virginians

Before he became governor, Governor Warner had a successful business career in venture capital, funding innovative ideas, and creating jobs and prosperity throughout Virginia and the nation. He helped found the Virginia Health Care Foundation, which has provided health care to more than 476,000 underserved Virginians in rural and urban areas.

Recognizing the crucial need to help bridge the digital divide, Governor Warner started TechRiders, an innovative program that teaches basic computer skills to those who were not exposed to them in their schools and homes. TechRiders has been hosted in more than 480 houses of worship and a dozen public libraries across Virginia reaching more than 16,000 participants. In 1997, he developed the Virginia High-Tech Partnership, which helps students from Virginia's five Historically Black Colleges and Universities pursue technology careers through a summer internship and job placement program.

Governor Warner is committed to giving everyone in the Commonwealth the tools and opportunity to compete and thrive in the new economy. His leadership will help ensure Virginia succeeds in an Information Age economy.

Governor Warner is married to Lisa Collis and is the father of three daughters -- Madison, Gillian, and Eliza.


Governor of Virginia - Mark R. Warner


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