Virginia to lose clout in Washington

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Virginians, particularly those of us in the Tidewater region, are losing an important voice in the Senate.

John Warner, he of five terms and terribly high visibility and durability, is retiring from office.

At 80 years old, Warner essentially said he had had enough of the grind that is public life.

There were hints that Warner would not seek a sixth term: Some key members of his staff were leaving for other jobs, and there was no concrete word from the senator himself that he would run.

Last week, he made it official.

He’s certainly earned a long and healthy retirement.

However, his absence will create a huge void for which Virginians ought to prepare.

And that’s bringing millions — perhaps billions — of dollars each year to the commonwealth.

A Navy veteran of World War II and a Marine in The Korean War, Warner’s public service began as under secretary of Navy. He later became Secretary of the Navy. Warner is the former chairman, and now the second-ranking Republican of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

With that distinguished background, Virginians benefitted greatly from Warner’s work in the Senate and his ability to funnel military contracts to the state’s bases, and through them, to Virginia’s citizens in the form of jobs.

That circle of funding extended from military-specific purposes to other services we enjoy today.

He’s on the record as supporting the Fort Pickett site for the outlying airfield. Don’t be surprised if he gets that done, too.