- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine yesterday appointed a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors as secretary of the commonwealth.

Mr. Kaine nominated Katherine K. Hanley, a Democrat who served as county board chairman from 1995 to 2003.

Mrs. Hanley, 63, of Reston, will resign from the Commonwealth Transportation Board to take the job. She also has served on the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, one of the largest rail and bus systems in the United States, and as president of the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League.

Most recently, Mrs. Hanley has served as president and chief executive officer of the Greater Reston Arts Center.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said he chose Mrs. Hanley because of her proven leadership skills and expertise in local government and transportation.

“I have known and respected Kate Hanley since I first met her, when we served together in local government,” Mr. Kaine said yesterday. “She is remarkably talented and brings a wide variety of interests and experiences to her new role. I imagine I also will have opportunities to draw upon Kate’s experience serving on the Metro Board as our administration continues to work toward a transportation solution with leaders in the General Assembly.”

Mrs. Hanley said she was honored by the nomination.

“I share the governor’s commitment to selecting a diverse and talented pool of appointees for our boards and commissions, to make sure that Virginia’s government fully reflects the rich diversity of our commonwealth,” she said.

The secretary of the commonwealth researches candidates for more than 4,000 appointments to boards, agencies and commissions. The office also receives requests for pardons, clemency and restoration of rights, but is not responsible for setting policy.

Mr. Kaine initially nominated Daniel G. Le-Blanc, a past president of the Virginia AFL-CIO and a past member of the Democratic National Committee, for the position. Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates rejected his nomination.

House Republicans were worried about Mr. LeBlanc’s ties to unions and his opposition to Virginia’s 59-year-old right-to-work law, which bars compulsory union membership.

Mr. LeBlanc once compared the right-to-work law to segregation and plantation work.

House Democrats and Republicans said they were certain that the legislature would confirm Mrs. Hanley.

“I’m 99 percent sure she’ll be confirmed,” said Delegate David B. Albo, Fairfax County Republican.

“I think that her chances are excellent,” said Delegate Brian J. Moran, Alexandria Democrat. “She’s managed the largest county in the commonwealth.”

Mrs. Hanley’s confirmation might be added to the agenda when the legislature convenes for a special session Monday. If not, she will serve as secretary of the commonwealth until the General Assembly meets next year.

Mr. Kaine and Mrs. Hanley have common education backgrounds. Both attended the University of Missouri and Harvard University.

Mrs. Hanley worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in Falls Church public schools, then served on the Fairfax County School Board until she was elected to serve on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She represented the Providence District from 1986 to 1995.

In 1995, Mrs. Hanley was elected chairman of the county board, which oversaw a jurisdiction with more than 1 million residents and a $3 billion annual budget.

In 2003, she announced that she would not seek re-election as board chairman so that she could explore a run against U.S. Rep. James P. Moran in a Democratic primary in 2004.

She dropped out of the race, she said, to spend more time with her husband, Edward, who had undergone colon surgery.

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