Jody Wagner for Lt. Governor of Virginia

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There are many signs of positive change on the national horizon. Some, especially the Inauguration this January 20th, we can hardly wait for. One of the more hopeful signs that the change we seek may be enduring, even in Virginia, is the vibrant candidacy of Jody Wagner for Lieutenant Governor. Tonight, Montgomery County(VA) Democrats) received another visit from Jody. And again, they really liked what they heard. Wagner has the resume, experience, and vision Virginia needs in its Lt. Governor.

A Virginia Beach resident, Jody Wagner has lived in Virginia for 25 years. She comes to the statewide political stage with critically important experience, spanning two administrations: Mark Warner's and Tim Kaine's. During the Warner administration, she served as Sec. of the Treasury. Here's what her website reminds about her tenure there:

In 2002, newly-elected Governor Mark Warner appointed Jody as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia. When they took office, Virginia was mired in a fiscal crisis and faced record deficits. Partisan gridlock was crippling the state’s ability to get things done. But by making tough choices, tightening the state’s belt, and working across the aisle, they were able to put Virginia’s fiscal house back in order.

As the Secretary of Finance for Governor Tim Kaine's administration, Jody has brought integrity, fiscal discipline, and professionalism, which have helped translate into the Kaine team's twice winning the designation of best managed state. And in her tenure, Virginia has three times earned a "best state for business" designation. Wagner's experience dealing with the state budget and the financial management of the state is second to none. In these difficult financial times, it is reassuring to have Wagner helping to keep us headed in the right direction.

She'll bring strong advocacy for fiscal integrity, financial strength, infrastructure, transportation, education, and science. An experienced attorney, Wagner has also served as Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia. She is married and the mother of four children.

At tonight's event, hosted by Victoria Cochran, attendees got their enthusiasm for 2009 jump-started by Wagner, whose presentation was very enthusiastically received. From those I spoke with, one thing seems clear: Jody Wagner will not just be an outstanding Lt. Governor. She'll also be one of, if not the, best hopes for the top job in Virginia one day soon. For now, though, Jody Wagner's strong resume, critically important experience and vision for Virginia's future is just what the Commonwealth needs in the office of Lt. Governor. She'll have my vote and very likely the votes of most who heard her tonight.

Find her online at:


how can you endorse a candidate when you don't know where she stands on the issues? Her website states nothing on what she plans to do or what she wants to fight for... statewide democratic candidates can only ride on coatails for so many elections...


Why would you make assumptions about what I do or do not know? I will not defend what was intended as a general endorsement and a story about a personal appearance in our town. I will be writing plenty about Jody on the issues and relative merits of the candidates. But, thus far, I have tried (as have others here) not to start trashing the other candidates. I won't begin here. But I will respond to some of the implications in this and other replies to my blog and replies to Randy Klear's article over on the BC sidebar.

Why would you trivialize the accomplishments of an able and dedicated public servant? Is it because you have endorsed on your blog the newest "kid" on the block (in this race)? Where is your disclosure of that? You trivialize the resume (i.e. experience), which is one of the main indicators of a candidate's merit for the job. You use the term "coattails" to suggest that this candidate has no accomplishment in her own right, an assertion which is not only false, but is also really insulting to Ms. Wagner. As it is, she has the best record of the three announced candidates. From a statewide perspective, the others have only talk (and more webpages).

And yet the one you have endorsed a candidate who has served chiefly as a political consultant, one who has already engaged in negative push-polling, I might ad. And he hasn't been in the race more than a few days. What a good start we are off to! So far both Jon Bowerbank and Jody have run a respectful campaign. Their supporters have refrained from nasty swipes and trivializations of the opposite candidate because we know saying nasty stuff can come back to bite us.

In any state in the nation, except perhaps Alaska, one who had served ably in both Sec. of Treas. And Sec. of Finance would have far more resume respect than a political consultant and a businessperson who had served in local office. And yet here you (and your fellow supporter --the second reply) of the newest hat in the ring)are dissing a resume more stellar than most candidates for statewide office, and all the current LG opponents.

And then in a cavalier sweep, one individual here suggests that the Financial disaster that is the legacy of Bush administration is somehow Jody Wagner's fault. To that person, I ask, how can you argue that any state leader is to blame for not forecasting what we now know was massive deception of the public. What is unraveling isn't due to eight long years of fiscal mismanagement of our nation's economy? Indeed, though times are rough, and may get worse, we are in better shape than many states and have been highly rated, even in these difficult times.

I'm just saying

I've met Jody Wagner and she is a very nice person, however all I am saying is that she hasn't done much to convince me or alot of others i've spoken too about what she wants to do for Virginia. I don't buy the whole "lets continue the warner-kaine etc " jargon... I want to hear some fresh new plans and ideas by democrats, and neither Wagner or Bowerbank have said anything worthwhile. In my opinion.

I believe it takes more than taking credit for magazine endorsements to get me to support a candidate for any office.

I want to hear what Jody Wagner wants to do for Virginia, as you said these two candidates have been campaigning for months already... how can you not have an issues page??? how can you not have a platform???

And as for your criticism of Rich Savage, I ask you why would you trivialize the accomplishments of an able and dedicated citizen? one doesn't need to look very far to see what he has done for various communities in the commonwealth just look at his charitable educational foundation ( he is far more than a mere political consultant.

Wagner runs on her experience as an appointee

Wagner really isn't an issues candidate. If you approve of how the commonwealth has been managed the last seven years, Wagner is able to form a connection to the good that has been accomplished. If you're grumbling about the missteps and budget woes, she'll extol the good while saying that the budget issues were unable to be foreseen. I get the sense that it's all about continuing her activity and expanding. She's worked hard and has had some great success, but I can't really say that she's bringing anything to the race that is going to excite voters...except for those little bags of popcorn she gave out when I heard her speak.


please refer to my reply above.

Not putting Wagner down...

I didn't mean to come across as if she wasn't an excellent candidate, she is. I like her, I admire her work, and I'll likely vote for her. Unfortunately, the LTG race is a bit buried right now, and no candidate seems to be able to clear stand out.

Wagner In '09

Wagner seems like a very bright individual. I must admit, she is not the greatest of political 'candidates' due to her overly long responses to questions and lack of a true biographically-based stump speech. However, when you look past those things that most in the public cannot, you can really begin to tell that she knows what she is talking about, especially when it comes to economic issues. I wouldn't mind having an LG that is primarily concerned about our economic problems. It sounds like a nice problem to have, a candidate that is most experienced in, and worried about, the biggest issue facing our country today. All I can say is that after meeting with her personally last week, she has my vote.

Wagner's Budget Nightmare

I am not decided in the LG's race yet. I like Jody personally, and I like Jon Bowerbank as well (not so sure about the new guy. but I think this post is way off on Jody's experience. This next legislative session will be all about VA's multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, a problem which has to be in part attributed to inaccurate revenue projections, projections made by Finance Secretary Jody Wagner. republicans are already seizing on this and attacking Jody for the problem. Jody may still earn my vote in other ways, but I think as Dems we need to be wary of nominating someone with such obvious baggage about a timely issue.

re changeiscoming

I am a Wagner supporter, so take that as full disclosure. But the fact that Republicans are seizing on an issue does not mean that it involves "obvious baggage" -- it means they are already very concerned about the candidate they are attacking (and they should be). Your lack of faith in the electorate to smell the bull in trying to tie the revenue shortfall to the person who happened to author the state's revenue projections before the bottom dropped out of the economy is belied by your screen name -- change IS coming (indeed, has come) in Virginia precisely because we stopped worrying about what the mean republicans might say, and started talking to the people about who was better prepared to lead. So if you think Jody messed up -- that is, if there is a legitimate issue -- by all means, let's discuss it. But if you agree this is bogus guilt by association, which it appears you do, then the lesson of 2008 is that a candidate who runs without fear of Rovian tactics can overcome them (in our state, at least). What we should be wary of is nominating someone who the Republicans claim to approve of.

I never said the charges were bogus

It is true, revenue projections were off. way off. we now face a budget crunch. I don't think all the blame can be placed on Jody Wagner's shoulders, but it is inconsistent to say "Virginia is the best managed state" and "i can't be held responsible for my incorrect revenue projections." part of what it means to be a good manager is to anticipate and prevent problems. That has not happened in this case. and now one of our LG candidates has a liability that must be addressed.

Stop Carrying the GOP's Water For Them

A large part of the reason that budget and revenue projections were off is that nobody - and I mean nobody - I'm talking everybody from Fred Bernanke to top economists - could have predicted the meltdown in the financial markets, the fiscal crisis, the mortgage crisis, and the collapse of the manufacturing and retail sectors. What does all this have to do with Virginia?

Everything. The most common way for localities to raise revenue is through property taxes. Because of the mortgage crisis and the large number of mortgate defaults, property values are down and because of that tax revenue also is down. At the state level, funds are raised through sales taxes - and guess what? We just experienced the weakest Christmas season in years. People are not buying goods, going to restaurants, and spending. So, sales tax revenues are down. The unemployment rate is up, salaries are down so income tax revenue is down. And we now know that this recession actually began in 2007.

Most of our economic problems are being attributed to lack of oversight at the federal level. A so-called free market that devolved into anarchy is the cause not Jody Wagner or Tim Kaine's poor budget projections.

And for the record, I am still undecided in the LG race because I like both Jon Bowerbank and Jody Wagner. I'll have to hear more from both of them. But it's ridiculous for Democrats to start carrying the GOP's water by making baseless charges and pointing fingers at Democrats for the failures of Republican policy.

AIAW is right

It is pretty appalling that our own side of the aisle to carry water for the GOP on this.

The confluence of events and circumstances which resulted in the economic crisis includes but is not limited to the following:
--Repeal of Glass-Steigel;
--Breaking down the walls between investment, banking and insurance;
--Excessive deregulation;
--Excessive creativity in new investment "products;"
--Lax oversight, including the SEC's failing to properly respond to warnings of such things as the alleged Madoff fraud;
--(today we learn) that there may have even been conflict of interest involved in the fact that the SEC knew of problems with Madoff's investment schemes, but did nothing;
--Out-of-control speculation aided and abetted by everything from greed, inadequate monitoring speculator's credit histories (many should never have been given loans); even shows like "Flip this House;"
--Bad administration fiscal policy;
--Budget busting expenses, such as a needless war;
--unfettered professed belief of pols in "pure markets," which were really anything but pure or "free" and were rigged against ordinary Americans;
--a former Fed chairman who's policies contributed to this;
--a current fed chairman who wasn't up to the crisis;
--a Treas Secretary who (apparently) wasn't up to the job;
--an administration which whistled in the wind while the economy unraveled;
--a Republican Party, and some in the Democratic Party, who didn''t get it;
--the wasted time while one presidential candidate --and his supporters--kept insisting that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong."
--and there are many more issues all converging to cause and worsen this crisis.

Met them both

I have met both of the two serious candidates, Bowerbank and Wagner.

It is clear to me that Wagner CANNOT beat Bill Bolling. I mean, come on, Bolling and the GOP are going to hang this entire budget mess around her neck.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Bowerbank, that is not a Richmond-insider, has a business approach to government, and was not a part of the budget debacle. Not to mention, I think it is safe to say we will have a Northern Va resident on the top of the ticket (Moran or Terry Mac) and at AG (Steve Shannon). For crying out loud, let's put someone on there with some rural perspective!

I appreciate Wagner's service, but she should have tried to get Kaine to help her get a job with Obama because she loses either now in June (and we still win with Bowerbank) or she definitely loses in November and we have Bill Bolling again.

Blame Game

First, thanks for addressing my request that we talk about the merits of this issue instead of the points we fear the other side may score. You have definitely put the issue out there in a concise way. Second, here is my response: I think it is quite consitent with the reality that everyone has been living through for the last five months to say that, even the smartest people and the most well-managed businesses and governmental actors were uniformly unprepared for the severity of what we have seen. I don't think Wagner is saying she can't be held responsible for her work, but that projections are just that -- projections, not actual numbers. I am open to the idea that the projections were overly sunny to some minor degree, even based on what was known when they were made, but (A) I have seen no evidence that's true; and (B) the Republicans have absolutely no evidence that they objected to these projections in any way at the time. This is nothing more than opportunism in search of a target, and I think Virginia voters will see it as such. The reality is that we would, in fact, be much worse off if we hadn't been so well managed over the years (and in this I include the Chichester wing of the reasonable republicans). That doesn't provide much solace to those affected by the current troubled times, but it does mean that those responsible for the good financial management don't forfeit those credentials simply because they were part of the universal national dilema of failing to predict the severity of the economic downturn in late 2008.


Are you talking about the same voters who elected a Democrat in Virginia even though the Democratic majority Congress was completely ineffective. The blame nearly always goes to the executive and cabinet in public opinion. Ex-Secretary Wagner has already tied herself to that and will have to stand on her record, especially if she is unwilling to present any other reasons to vote for her.

I think that Jody might

I think that Jody might already be too tarnished by the budget problems and the circumstances around her resignation. You can be sure that the Republicans will hammer her over and over again on this subject if she wins the nomination. It's also true that her website seems to be rather short on substance and what she stands for (I actually like the new guy in this regard, as he seems to have a good education plan). I know I'm being nitpicky but I don’t like the campaign logo on her website. We just spent all this energy and time to finally turn Virginia blue and she goes and gets a logo that's all red?

Fear and Loathing

The only thing worse than genuine fear of the bogus charges the Republicans might try to sell is the transparent attack of a fellow democrat under the guise that it's really just out of concern over electability. Jody is "already too tarnished"? Give me a break -- nobody but us junkies is even paying the slightest attention now, and you're telling me people have already made up their minds that Virginia's budget problems are, in fact, not due to the historic national meltdown that everyone has witnessed first hand, but actually result from incorrect budget assumptions authored by a candidate (projections that, like everyone else's in the entire country, failed to account for said meltdown)? That is so absurd it can only be coming from someone who has another candidate for the nomination -- it doesn't pass the smell test. And that's without even addressing the ridiculous claim that Wagner didn't handle her resignation properly. (And I refuse to debate logos.)

However, in the name of keeping an open mind, I will say that the one theme in the criticism of Wagner that has some force is that her website needs more on policy. I think that reflects where we are in the campaign more than anything, but she does have good ideas to go with her obvious experience, so she should get those out there. I know candidates are hesitant to commit to anything specific in such volatile times, but there are ways to talk about policies while leaving open the need to do in 2010 what makes sense then. And to be fair, there are plenty of specifics she should get out there now. Hopefully, the positive reaction to Savage's focus on education policy will spur Wagner (and others) to push their ideas out front.

Not to mention

As I said above, the budget problems - rightfully or wrongly - are all Jody's. She will never be able to get around them.

But, on a more personal note, has anyone seen her in a room? She just sits around and never gets up to meet people. I have been to three events where she was at and on none of those occasions did she stop say hello and shake my hand.

On the other side, I have been at one event where Bowerbank was. During that event, he practically sit down with each person in the room and got to know us. Obviously it was a big event, so he may have not got to everyone, but at least he tried. He gave me a his card and personal cell phone and told me to call anytime I had a question.

No question, I am for business approach to government, in the same line as Mark Warner, and that means I am for Jon Bowerbank.

I might add...

I might add that saying that you are "for business approach to government" is just so much empty sloganeering. For thirty years we've heard nothing but that line or something like it. And it is really shorthand for letting the business side get away with whatever it wants. We've been told to run everything "like a business." And certainly, there may be a business side to every organization. But if we have learned anything from this past year it is to appreciate the need for some reasonable regulation and to understand the very different mission of state government vs. corporations. Running government like a business. I don't think so. It should be run like a public trust.

Furthermore, adding to that slogan "in the same line as Mark Warner" (your words) is a really distorted and oversimplified representation of Mark Warner's manner of governance. We need a state government which both fosters economic growth, but knows when to push back with necessary regulations when those who exploit citizens go too far. It's a complex balancing act which does not lend itself to pithy little oversimplifications.

Be for whomever you want, and for whatever reason you want. But if you think just hiring a businessman, even a successful one, will solve all our problems, you'll have a rude awakening. Mark Warner took the time to learn the political ropes. He worked a long time on honing his political skills. He didn't jump to the second-top of the line with no significant statewide experience. So do not oversimplify what Mark Warner did. You serve neither him, nor us, nor your 2009 LG candidate well in so doing.

Thanks for this diary

I've seen so many diaries promoting Bowerbank on RK and elsewhere, and yet I can't recall a single one giving me a compelling reason why I should vote for him. Yeah, he's a nice guy and a businessman, but that doesn't tell me what distinguishes him from thousands of other potentially viable candidates on planet Earth. I'm undecided on this race and may remain so, but after hearing so many empty posts about Bowerbank, it's nice to hear from the other side as well.

On Savage, by the way, I have also heard from people who said that they received push-poll calls from him. That is a big negative -- I won't even consider any candidate who's spreading dirt about other Democrats in such a deceptive, underhanded way.