Kaine makes campaign stop here

Published 1:59 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is running for the U.S. Senate, stopped by The Tidewater News on Wednesday to talk about his plan to boost the economy. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Making sure the farming and forestry industries remain strong and providing improved Internet service is how former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine believes rural America can survive.

A candidate for the U.S. Senate, Kaine also believes his ability to cut Virginia’s general fund by more than $5 billion during the worst recession in 70 years while keeping the state’s economy at the nation’s forefront would benefit the federal government if he is elected on Nov. 6.

On a two-week tour of Virginia, the Democrat stopped by The Tidewater News on Wednesday to share his plan to create jobs. Kaine is running for the seat held by retiring U.S. Sen. James Webb, also a Democrat.

Kaine’s chief rival is former Republican Gov. George Allen, who in the June 12 primary faces Tea Party activist, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, Jamie Radtke and Bishop E.W. Jackson of Chesapeake.

Kaine’s jobs plan in Virginia is a central focus of his campaign for the Senate. The plan includes reforming education, investing in infrastructure, and a combination of cuts and spending to reduce federal deficit.

Serving as Virginia’s governor from 2006 to 2010, Kaine believes the nation could benefit from Virginia’s lessons in creating jobs and boosting the economy.

“The federal government has been doing patchwork with jobs,” the 54-year-old said.

In talking about locating a Naval outlying landing field in rural Virginia — one week after a jet crashed in a populated area of Virginia Beach — Kaine recommends consideration of NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore south of Chincoteague.

The Navy in January 2011 suspended plans to develop an outlying landing field until at least 2014. The Navy four years ago proposed five possible sites for a new OLF, which would be used by fighter pilots stationed at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. The sites were in Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties and Gates and Camden counties in North Carolina.

“Finding locations has been tough,” Kaine said, “The Navy only wants to go where wanted. The most intriguing solution is Wallops Island. The field is sizeable. They shoot rockets off there. They’re sort of accustomed to it. It’s a community that doesn’t react negatively to it.”