It’s a rare occurrence when two candidates locked in a heated Senate race like Timothy M. Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) agree on something, and it’s even more unusual when two rival campaigns actually decide to collaborate publicly.
But that’s just what happened Wednesday, when the two former Virginia governors issued a joint statement on a recent report by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity that found substandard conditions at schools on military bases across the country, including in Virginia.
Multiple senators, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), have written to the Pentagon urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to pay urgent attention to the issue. Kaine and Allen praised the senators for their action.
“Children deserve the opportunity to learn in schools that help them achieve their full potential and not be held back by failing facilities,” the rival candidates said.
“What’s even more troubling is when Virginia’s military families are the ones forced to contend with school buildings that are either sub-par, or failing. Don’t we as a country have a responsibility to these brave men and women – and their families – to ensure their children are provided for as their parents fight for our country?
“The simple answer is ‘Yes,’ and neither of us sees this as a partisan issue – or will allow it to become one.”
One potential solution, Kaine and Allen said, was the School Modernization and Revitalization Tax Credit, which provides tax breaks and encourages public- and private-sector partnerships to rehabilitate older schools. Allen has advocated for the SMART credits before, and Kaine used a financial arrangement to modernize a major high school when he was mayor of Richmond.
The brief outbreak of civility in the campaign doesn’t mean Kaine and Allen plan to stop attacking each other. On Friday, Allen went after Kaine for wanting to raise taxes, while the Kaine camp hit Allen Tuesday for supporting potentially dangerous spending cuts.