- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect William T. Bolling says he will fight for conservative social values and low taxes and hold Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine accountable to his own election promises.

Mr. Bolling, a Republican state senator from Hanover, said he will “play the part of loyal opposition” when working with Mr. Kaine, a Democrat who is the current lieutenant governor. He said he will resist tax increases but thinks that the state must invest in its transportation and higher education systems.

“When Mr. Kaine governs consistent with the principles and values we believe in, and consistent with his campaign promises, we will stand with him in that effort for the good of Virginia,” Mr. Bolling said. “However, should Mr. Kaine depart from these principles, values and promises, we will hold him accountable for his actions.”

Delacey Skinner, a spokeswoman for the governor-elect, said Mr. Kaine will meet with Mr. Bolling during the transition period to discuss the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 11.

“He looks forward to working with the lieutenant governor-elect to hammer out some bipartisan paths for Virginia to move forward,” she said.

Mr. Bolling, 48, captured 979,226 votes in last week’s election, beating Democratic opponent Leslie L. Byrne by about 23,000 votes.

Political observers are examining his victory, particularly since he was the top Republican vote-getter, receiving more total votes than Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore and winning eight of the state’s 11 congressional districts.

The attorney general’s race is being recounted, with about 350 votes currently separating Republican Robert F. McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds.

Mr. Bolling said he won because he spoke the language voters wanted to hear during the campaign.

“When Republicans stand up and speak out in support of the conservative principles we believe in, people will trust us and they will give us the opportunity to lead,” he said. “The vast majority of Republicans believe in the same principles and values and are not always willing to talk about them as clearly as we should.”

During the campaign, Mr. Bolling reminded voters of his opposition to the $1.38 billion tax increase package passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in May 2004. He said low taxes must continue to be the “fundamental principle” of state Republicans.

“We believe in keeping government small and focused on its core responsibilities, and we believe in keeping taxes low,” Mr. Bolling said.

The package, which also cut taxes, created more funding for education, health care and public safety. The state’s rosy economic picture has contributed to a more than $2 billion budget surplus since the tax package was approved.

Mr. Bolling said his legislative priorities include tackling the big challenges in Virginia’s future, namely building a transportation system for the 21st century.

“It’s going to take money to do that,” he said. “I want to take advantage of this tremendous economic growth and I think we can do it without raising taxes.”

Some Republicans are already talking about a Bolling gubernatorial bid in 2009, even though he will not be sworn in until Jan. 14 to the No. 2 post in state government.

Many governors have moved up out of the largely ceremonial No. 2 post in Virginia, where chief executives are limited by the state constitution to a one four-year term.

Virginia lieutenant governors serve as president of the Senate and succeed the governor in case of emergency or resignation. The part-time position pays $36,321 a year.

Mr. Bolling, a state senator since 1996, considered a bid for the position in 2001, but withdrew from consideration for the nomination.

Mr. Bolling, who is an executive in the insurance industry, also served five years on the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, with two years as chairman.

Mr. Bolling will resign from his Senate seat, and a special election will be held to fill the vacancy.

Delegate Ryan T. McDougle, Mechanicsville Republican, is interested in the seat and has Mr. Bolling’s support. The election cannot take place until the recount in the attorney general’s race is complete. It will likely be held next year before the legislative session begins.

Mr. Bolling was raised in the coal fields of West Virginia and was the first in his family to graduate from college.

U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican and former Virginia governor, nicknamed Mr. Bolling “fireball” for his spirit during the campaign.

Mr. Allen said he expects Mr. Bolling to bring “common-sense conservative principles” to Virginia as an “inspired, energetic” leader.

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