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Profile of Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia

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Profile of Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia

Photo of Gov. Mark Warner: Michael Springer/Getty Images

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia:

On November 4, 2008, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate. Gov. Warner was popular due to his exceptional record of bipartisan successes, centrist stances, and fiscal management skills. Warner is widely acknowledged as a gifted politician.

Warner was often mentioned as a contender for the '08 presidential race, but, in October 2006, he removed his name from contention. Warner was a keynote speaker at the '08 Democratic Convention.

Sen. Warner will reportedly be part of the 7th season of cable TV show Top Chef, which starts airing on June 16, 2010.

Bipartisan Successes as Governor of Virginia, 2002-06:

Campaigning as a moderate Democrat, Warner was elected Governor of Virginia in 2001. He proved adept both at fiscal matters and bridging bipartisan differences when he forged tax reform that turned a $6 billion budget deficit into a surplus by the end of his term. Virginia was rated "the best managed state in the nation" in January 2005 after a 2-year study by the Pew Charitable Trust.

Priorities as Governor:

As Governor, Warner touted a "progressive agenda for the information age." Among his priorities were:
  • Education - Greatly strengthened public education and ensured affordability of community colleges.
  • Technology - Started a $12 million fund that allowed broadband to stretch 700 miles through some of the most economically distressed areas of Virginia.
  • Work Force Development - Added 150,000 new jobs, mainly in technology, by reeducating many without high school diplomas

Senate Committees in 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

  • Budget Committee
  • Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee
  • Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee
  • Rules & Administration Committee
  • Joint Economic Committee
  • Select Committee on Intelligence

Early Political Career:

  • 1973-77 - Interned with Connecticut members of Congress, including Sen. Abe Ribicoff, Rep. Ella Grasso and Sen. Christopher Dodd.
  • 1980-82 - After Harvard Law, returned to DC to take a $350-a-week Democratic fundraising job.
  • 1989 - Managed the successful campaign of Democrat Douglas Wilder to be Governor of Virginia.
  • 1990 - Chair of Virginia's Democratic Party, to which he became a major donor.
  • 1996 - Unsuccessful US Senate run against Republican incumbent John Warner.

Mark Warner Makes Millions in Business Deals:

By 1983, Warner realized that he needed wealth to pursue public office. After 2 failures, he struck success with his 3rd venture. Using political contacts, he learned that the government would be giving away radio frequencies for wireless phones. Warner organized investor groups to apply for licenses, and took a slice of the profits. Regulators have since outlawed such insider arrangements.

Warner made a $100 million fortune from these deals, and then rededicated himself to politics.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - December 15, 1954 in Indianapolis, IN to a middle-class Republican family.
  • Education - Rockville High School in CT; BA, Political Science, George Washington Univ, 1977. JD, Harvard Law School, 1980.
  • Family - Married to Lisa Collis; 3 daughters, born in 1990 to 1994.
  • Faith - Presbyterian
  • Despite law degree, Warner never worked as a lawyer. Warner owns 15 acres of wine-producing vineyards in Virginia. His father remains a staunch Republican.
Sen. Warner will reportedly be part of the 7th season of cable TV show Top Chef, which starts airing on June 16, 2010.

Lisa Collis, Wife of Mark Warner:

The daughter of a Navy pilot and a nurse, Lisa Collis earned a BA in biology from University of Virginia and a Master's of Public Health from University of Texas. She studied nutrition in Guatemala, and from 1985-89, worked for the World Bank where she focused on AIDS in Africa.

As First Lady, she was active in child abuse and wellness programs. She now heads the Collis-Warner Foundation which supports health and child abuse initiatives. Lisa and Mark met in 1984 at a party in DC.

The Mark Warner Persona:

Warner is an engaging, self-confident politico and naturally brilliant strategist with a rumored prickly personality. He's widely known for his avid taste for campaigning.

Warner found his niche in politics in high school, where he was class president for 3 years. He has a fondness for basketball and a taste for luxury and great parties. He celebrated his 50th birthday with a lavish 1,000-person fundraiser bash that netted $2 million for his coffers.

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