March 30, 2018 Posts

Why I’m Running in 2018

Like anyone in my position, there is one question I have to answer: Why are you running?

And the answer I keep coming back to is that I have some unfinished business to settle.

When I finished my term as Governor in 2010, I had no intention of running for another office. 16 years of service at the state and local level was a real honor but there were other challenges out there for me. Then a Senate seat surprisingly opened up in 2011. And I asked myself – do I have any unfinished business?

And I did. Despite my efforts campaigning against it, voters passed an anti-LGBT amendment to the Virginia Constitution in 2006. That was a real disappointment. And I had been working with Virginia Indian tribes for years to get them the federal recognition they deserved. I had testified on their behalf and helped our bipartisan Congressional delegation advocate for them. But we kept falling short.

So when I declared for Senate in 2011, I wanted to help make progress in these areas beyond what I could do in local or state office. And we have.

I signed on to a Senate amicus brief advocating marriage equality for all and celebrated when it became law of the land in 2013. And I stood on the floor of the Senate with my colleague Mark Warner in January of this year when our tribal recognition bill finally passed.

While there is still much work to do on both these issues, on an elemental level I have been able to see two things that were important to Virginians completed. But as my first term closes out and I ask myself again if I have any unfinished business left in my political service, the answer is: yes, now there’s even more.

I want to make meaningful progress to protect our kids and communities from gun violence. I want to finally do comprehensive reform of our immigration laws so that we can continue to attract talented people from around the globe. I want to make sure that we offer students affordable college but also meaningful technical and apprenticeship opportunities. I want to keep reducing unemployment among veterans and military spouses. I want to drive prescription drug costs down and give folks more options for health coverage. And there’s so much more.

You have taught me an important lesson. If you want to help people and you take the time to listen to them, there will ALWAYS be unfinished business on your “To Do” list. I have more to do and I would be honored to have your support as I keep at the work.