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Famous Like Me > Director > W > Mark Warner

Profile of Mark Warner on Famous Like Me

Name: Mark Warner  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 14th September 1970
Place of Birth: Kalkara, Malta
Profession: Director
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Governor Warner

Mark Robert Warner (born December 15, 1954) is an American Democratic politician and the current Governor of Virginia. As he closes in on the final months of his Gubernatorial term in Fall 2005, Warner's poll ratings indicate that he is the most popular Virginia Governor in a generation. Significantly, his record approval ratings of nearly 75% come in a state that traditionally had voted for the opposite party.

Early life and career

Warner was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and was raised in Vernon, Connecticut where he graduated from Rockville High School. He attended George Washington University and in 1977 became the first person in his family to graduate from college. Warner went on to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1980.

In the early 1980s, Warner served as a Senate staff member. He used his knowledge of federal telecommunications policies as a broker of cellular phone franchise licenses, making a large fortune. As managing director of Columbia Capital Corporation he helped found or was an early investor in a number of technology companies. He co-founded Nextel as well as Capital Cellular Corporation.

Warner involved himself in innovative public efforts related to health care, telecommunications, information technology, and education. He managed Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder's successful 1989 gubernatorial campaign and made his own bid for public office, unsuccessfully running for the U.S. Senate in 1996 against Republican Senator John Warner (no relation) in a "Warner vs. Warner" election.

Governor of Virginia

Mark R. Warner, conversing with politicos.

In 2001, Warner campaigned for Governor as a fiscally conservative Democrat after years of slowly building up a power base in rural Virginia. He defeated the Republican candidate, then-state Attorney General Mark Earley, by a margin of almost 100,000 votes. In the same election, Republican Jerry Kilgore won election as Attorney General, and Democrat Tim Kaine won election as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Warner's term as Governor has been dominated by his struggle with Virginia's massive debt, inherited from the prior governor, Republican Jim Gilmore. Although Virginians rejected his bid to raise the sales tax in 2002, state revenue has increased significantly from $19 billion in FY99 to nearly $30 billion in FY05. Governor Warner worked hard with moderate Republican legislators to reform the tax code, lowering food and income taxes, and increasing the sales and cigarette taxes in 2004. He is a former chairman of the National Governors Association and the Southern Governors' Association.

Mark Warner giving a speech.

Warner's popularity paid off for the Democrats when in 2003 they made a net gain in the Virginia House of Delegates for the first time in generations (although the House remained under Republican control). He succeeded in passing a tax bill to improve the state's financial balance sheet. He won the support of several key Republican legislators and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for the proposal, though the effort also led to an attack ad campaign from conservative seniors who opposed raising taxes and may have also been taking advantage of the opportunity to tarnish his generally positive image in advance of possible future campaigns. Warner has also made a major push to reform high school to offer more college credit or technical training options. He has encountered some criticism for being too low-key and not leading on hot button issues but maintains he is trying to avoid unproductive posturing and partisanship.

In January 2005, after a two-year study, the Government Performance Project, in conjunction with Governing magazine and the Pew Charitable Trust, ranked the states in four management categories: money, people, infrastructure, and information. Virginia and Utah tied with an A- overall, but Virginia got A's across the board, prompting Warner to dub Virginia "the best managed state in the nation."

Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine and Attorney General Jerry Kilgore are both seeking to succeed Warner as Governor of Virginia. (The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia forbids any Governor from serving consecutive terms, so Warner cannot run for a second term in 2005.) Democrat Kaine is a former Mayor of Richmond; Republican Kilgore, who resigned as Attorney General in February 2005 to campaign full-time, is a former Virginia Secretary of Public Safety. Russ Potts, a Republican State Senator, is also running for Governor as an independent.

Future political career

2008 Presidential bid bumper sticker from DemStore

Warner's home-state popularity is high, polling in the final year of his term with a 74% approval rating from Mason-Dixon Political Media Research, published in newspapers statewide. Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker says that gives Warner the highest approval rating for an outgoing governor in the firm's two decade history.

Warner is considered to be a potential Presidential candidate in 2008, as Virginia limits its governors to a single consecutive term in office. After John Kerry's 2004 presidential election defeat, he has been regarded by some Democrats as a Bill Clinton-like figure around whom the party could rally in the 2008 presidential election. His business experience, Southern base, fundraising connections within high-tech and venture capital circles, and record of working with black leaders add up to what some see as an attractive political résumé.

However, having served only one term as an elected official, Warner may be considered by others as too inexperienced to move to the Presidency; the same point was raised about John Edwards' one Senate term. If he did run for president in 2008, his first test might be a comparison with several others, possibly including Evan Bayh, John Edwards, John Kerry, and/or Tom Vilsack, who would vie for support from moderate Democratic voters seeking a fresh voice.

DemStore, a website that manufactures official and unofficial campaign paraphernalia for Democratic office-seekers (including the 2004 presidential campaigns of Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, and Wesley Clark), has already begun manufacturing "Warner for President" buttons and bumper stickers. It is not clear, however, if their services have been retained by Warner, by his emissaries, or by some sort of "Draft Warner" movement similar to that which surrounded Wesley Clark.

On June 10, 2005, Warner hired Monica Dixon, a former top-political aide to 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore, and also formed a political action committee which has been dubbed "Forward Together." Both of these actions could be indicative of a run for the presidency in the election of 2008. On August 29, 2005, Warner announced that he would not challenge George Allen for his senate seat in 2006, even though a poll commissioned by the Roanoke Times and other papers across Virginia had recently shown that voters would prefer Warner in a head-to-head matchup with Allen. If not elected President, Virginia law would not bar Warner from running for Governor again in 2009 – the law only prevents consecutive terms. Warner would have been likely to pursue Virginia's second Senate seat in 2008 if John Warner had decided to retire (but the elder Warner has indicated he will stay on).

According to the Washington Post, "one of the Democratic Party's most experienced Internet specialists formally signed on" with Warner's Forward Together PAC. Jerome Armstrong, who "served as a key member of Howard Dean's Internet team in 2004, will be Warner's Internet Director." Internal sources have revealed to some outlets in early October 2005 that the official "Warner for President 2008" website is in the works and that an announcement is scheduled for November.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mark Warner