Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA)

Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008, and serves on the Senate Banking, Budget, Commerce and Intelligence committees. Halfway through his first term, Senator Warner has established himself as a national leader in efforts to find bipartisan consensus to create balanced solutions to reduce the federal debt. He also has been a champion for military men and women, their families, and our military veterans. Senator Warner also is a leader in Congress in efforts to promote private-sector innovation and to help our nation's small businesses and start-up companies succeed.
Senator Warner organized the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six, which has worked since 2011 to produce a comprehensive plan to gradually cut at least $4 trillion from the $16 trillion national debt. The Gang ultimately expanded to include 45 Senators and 100 members of the House, and Senator Warner continues to lead this important bipartisan push for responsible deficit and debt reduction.

Senator Warner was chosen by his colleagues on the Budget Committee to lead a bipartisan task force that has successfully worked to eliminate unnecessary program overlap and wasteful duplication within the federal bureaucracy. Senator Warner has also intervened on behalf of military families to improve older, dilapidated military housing in Hampton Roads, and his efforts prompted the Veterans Administration to significantly improve its services to female military veterans. Senator Warner enlisted the help of several of Virginia's leading technology companies to produce a comprehensive blueprint, at no cost to the taxpayers, to correct  mistakes and mismanagement discovered at the Army's Arlington National Cemetery. After two Virginia Air National Guard pilots blew-the-whistle on chronic safety concerns with the new F-22 stealth fighter jet, Senator Warner intervened to protect the pilots from reprisals and prompted the Air Force to step-up its investigation into the cause of the F-22 safety issues.

Senator Warner also serves as co-chair of the Senate's bipartisan India Caucus, which works to increase economic and cultural ties with the world's fastest-growing democracy. He also is the honorary chairman of A Billion+Change, a philanthropic effort that has enlisted 200 U.S. companies to donate almost two billion dollars in volunteer service by willing employees in support of community and nonprofit organizations.

From 2002 to 2006, Senator Warner served as Governor of Virginia, where he worked in a bipartisan way to turn record budget deficits into a surplus. Governor Warner also focused on improving public education and expanding economic opportunity in every region of the state. He recruited 135,000 new jobs to Virginia during his four-year term. When Governor Warner left office in 2006, Virginia was consistently recognized as the nation’s “best-managed state," the “best state for business” and the state offering the best educational opportunities to its young people. Before entering public office, Senator Warner was an early investor in the cellular telephone business. He co-founded the company that became Nextel, and ultimately made early investments in hundreds of start-up technology companies that have created tens-of-thousands of private sector jobs.

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