The Washington Post

Mark Warner tries to cultivate new Virginia leaders

Sen. Mark Warner is planning for the future.

( Carolyn Martin/University of Richmond)

Warner (D) joined forces with former governor Gerald Baliles (D) and former congressman Tom Davis (R) to begin training those new leaders at a summit at the University of Richmond over the weekend.

Organizers expected a couple hundred people. They got more than 500 from across the state.

It was the first event of its kind, though Warner’s office has hosted similar events for women and young leaders as he looks to help people find ways to work together — and not become another Washington.

Many of those in the audience are graduates from leader training programs around the state.

Warner said he was pleased with the turnout — diverse in age and race — and hopes that even a third could start to tackle issues in the state, such as transportation, roads and culture.

“We’re going to keep at it,’’ Warner said. “The measure of whether this works is whether 30 or 40 percent say they want to be involved and take ownership of it.’’

Okay, we know what you all want to know: Is Warner running for governor? Is Baliles going to take the helm of the troubled University of Virginia?

Neither provided us an answer, but Warner came the closest he has said to not running.

“I hope I can add the most value is working through the national debt crisis and that’s where I’m focusing my efforts,’’ he said.



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