- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2006

Virginia Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine’s administration will look a lot like his predecessor’s.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat who takes office Jan. 14, campaigned as the logical replacement for Democratic Gov. Mark Warner, and he seems to be intent on delivering on that promise. Six of the 12 announced Cabinet appointments come from the Warner administration.

“Virginia is moving in the right direction, and we wanted to make sure it continued to move in the right direction, so he has made selections that will keep that continuity,” said Delacey Skinner, a Kaine spokeswoman.

Virginia is the only state in the union that bans consecutive gubernatorial terms, a law both Mr. Kaine and Mr. Warner oppose, saying it is difficult to reform government in four years.

The latest Warner administration holdover was announced yesterday — Pierce R. Homer will remain secretary of transportation.

Mr. Kaine also announced that Ralph Davis will stay on as deputy transportation secretary. E. Scott Kasprowicz, a founding board member of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, will hold the same deputy secretary position as part of a transportation leadership team, Mr. Kaine said. Mr. Kasprowicz also is a director of a private-public partnership he co-founded that works to improve air quality and traffic.

Fixing state roads is Mr. Kaine’s top priority and likely will dominate his four-year term. A key appointment expected in the next few weeks is that of commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Mr. Kaine, who served in the Warner Cabinet as lieutenant governor, said he is searching nationally and across party lines to find “somebody who can stayfor a while.”

Mr. Homer, who has been transportation secretary for nine months, has led public-private partnership efforts and has worked to improve the state’s air quality. He had been deputy secretary of transportation.

Mr. Kaine hailed his appointee for developing the first statewide rail fund and for eliminating more than $850 million in transportation deficits.

Mr. Kaine also hired William H. Leighty as chief of staff, the post Mr. Leighty held under Mr. Warner.

Wayne Turnage, who will serve as deputy chief of staff, has been Mr. Warner’s adviser for special projects.

In addition to retaining several Warner administration officials in Cabinet and other advisory positions, Mr. Kaine has gone to some of his legislative colleagues in assembling his team of confidants.

Delegate Viola Osborne Baskerville, Richmond Democrat, will be secretary of administration. She decided not to seek re-election to her seat as she pursued the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Mrs. Baskerville, who served with Mr. Kaine on the Richmond City Council, did not get the nomination.

Delegate L. Preston Bryant Jr., Lynchburg Republican, will serve as secretary of natural resources. Mr. Bryant, who resigned his seat in the House, is one of two Republicans in the Cabinet.

Miss Skinner said Mr. Kaine strives to keep a regional balance in his Cabinet, appointing officials from all over the state.

A number of staffers from the Warner press office also are likely to remain in Richmond.

Mr. Kaine is expected to announce his final Cabinet selection today — that of education secretary.

Appointments must be confirmed by both chambers of the Republican-controlled General Assembly; only one has been contentious.

Mr. Kaine’s appointment of Virginia AFL-CIO President Daniel G. LeBlanc as secretary of the commonwealth has angered some conservatives. Mr. LeBlanc, a longtime friend, will be responsible for helping Mr. Kaine fill spots on state boards and commissions.

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