- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006

Virginia Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine last week announced two more appointments to his Cabinet.

The Democrat, who takes office Jan. 14 after serving four years as lieutenant governor, named former Delegate Viola O. Baskerville to be secretary of administration, and labor leader Daniel G. LeBlanc secretary of the commonwealth.

Mr. Kaine also reappointed Robert Bloxom as secretary of agriculture and forestry.

Mrs. Baskerville, 54, is a close associate and friend of Mr. Kaine’s, with whom she was elected to the Richmond City Council in 1994, and served as vice mayor. She represented Richmond in the House of Delegates from 1998 until this year, when she resigned to campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, eventually losing to former congresswoman Leslie L. Byrne.

The secretary of administration oversees general state government operations in nine agencies, including elections, veterans services, the Department of Human Resources and the state’s procurement agency.

“The state work force needs to have a good ally and advocate, and Viola will be that,” Mr. Kaine said at a press conference Thursday. “Everything we do as a state legislature sort of depends on its being carried out by our wonderful state employees.”

Mr. Kaine also said Virginia must continue to improve its procurement practices — specifically, hiring more small firms as well as minority- and women-owned businesses for state contracts, a push that began under Gov. Mark Warner.

Mrs. Baskerville, the second black appointed to the Cabinet, pledged to improve Virginia’s track record of hiring minority businesses, saying she plans to take “an even more aggressive role in making sure that Virginia’s record for the future is certainly not as gloomy as the record in the past.”

Mr. Kaine said Mr. LeBlanc, 61, president of the Virginia AFL-CIO and a longtime friend, has been a powerful voice “for working people, for the single mom with two or three jobs and no health insurance, for folks who are unemployed.”

“We want to make sure we are doing what we need to do in the unemployment-insurance area so they’re treated fairly,” Mr. Kaine said.

Mr. Bloxom, 68, will stay on in a Cabinet position Mr. Warner created this year to address the needs of agriculture and forestry, the largest sector of Virginia’s economy. Before taking the post, the Republican represented the Eastern Shore in the House of Delegates for 25 years. “There are huge challenges, and the challenge that I think is the exciting and difficult one is how to save family farms, small farms that are family-owned,” Mr. Kaine said.

Mr. Kaine has made nine Cabinet appointments. He said the remaining three will be made this week.

• Changing places

State Sen. William C. Mims will leave the Virginia General Assembly to take the No. 2 post in the attorney general’s office of Robert. F. McDonnell.

Mr. Mims, a Republican, will resign this month to become the lawyer in charge of daily operations for Mr. McDonnell, a Republican who represented Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates. Mr. Mims, who has been in the Senate since 1998, will be Mr. McDonnell’s deputy attorney general.

On the day of Mr. Mims’ announcement, Loudoun Democrats said that they have chosen lawyer and former county supervisor Mark Herring as their candidate to fill the seat in the 33rd District, which includes Leesburg, eastern Loudoun and part of western Fairfax County.

In his one term on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors, Mr. Herring was one of the architects of a “slow-growth” plan.

Loudoun County Supervisor Mick Staton, a political consultant, and the county’s Republican committee chairman, land-use lawyer J. Randall Minchew, are seeking the Republican nomination.

Because of the timing of Mr. Mims’ announcement, Sen. John H. Chichester, a Republican, will set the date for the special election rather than Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat.

• Supervisor charged

The chairman of the Chesterfield County, Va., Board of Supervisors was arrested late Thursday night and charged with sex crimes involving a minor.

Edward B. Barber, 49, was charged with one count each of aggravated sexual battery and object sexual penetration.

Maj. Warner W. Williams, commander of the Chesterfield County Police Department Investigations Bureau, said the charges are not connected to Mr. Barber’s employment in the county public school system. Mr. Barber is a physical-education teacher at Crenshaw Elementary School in addition to serving on the county board.

In October 2004, Mr. Barber was placed on administrative leave for two weeks after parents said he inappropriately allowed kindergarten students to massage his shoulders. No charges were filed, and Mr. Barber called it was a misunderstanding.

But now that he faces a felony charge, he likely will be suspended until the case is resolved, as is standard practice, Chesterfield Schools spokeswoman Debra Marlow said.

• This column is based in part on wire service reports.

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