U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine held a roundtable discussion with Virginia women about his strategies for creating jobs and strengthening the economy.
Over coffee at Osprey's Landing Restaurant in Woodbridge, Kaine outlined his Virginia-based strategies to encourage small business growth, develop a highly skilled workforce, and bring more balance to both the federal budget and the political system.
"On the economy, Virginia has some lessons for the nation," said Kaine. "When I was governor we were in the worst recession in 70 years, but we were still among the lowest ten unemployment rates and top ten median incomes. We were triple-A bond rated. Forbes ranked us the Best State for Business in America all four years I was governor, we were Governing magazine's Best Managed State, Education Week's best state for a child to be raised. Virginia has things that we're doing well here and if we do more of them at the national level the economy will be stronger."
Kaine and roundtable participants also addressed other issues important to women and families in Virginia, including a strong focus on education. He expressed his support for strong educational opportunities from pre-K through higher education, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, career and technical education, and workforce training.
Kaine drew a sharp contrast between himself and George Allen on fiscal issues. As a senator, Allen added trillions to the country's national debt and turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, while Kaine made more than $5 billion in cuts, including to his own salary, to keep Virginia's budget balanced during the national recession. Kaine rejected Allen's drastic all-cuts approach to the budget, highlighting the importance of a balanced approach that will make significant cuts in tough economic times, but also leave room for strategic investments.
"The lesson about cuts that I believe, and this is a very sharp distinction between my opponent and me, he wants to solve the deficit 100% through cuts. Now, he's never cut anything in his life. As governor the budget exploded. As senator he turned surpluses into deficits," said Kaine. "The right strategy is a balanced approach of cuts and new revenues. For example, we don't need to be giving tax subsidies to ExxonMobil. Why would we pay them at the pump then pay them again by giving them tax dollars?"
Since the year began, Kaine has hosted more than 55 economic roundtable discussions across the state, including many with women business and community leaders.