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New Jersey, Virginia Promote Political Veterans to Governorships

November 14, 2005

New Jersey and Virginia were the only two states to choose governors in November 2005, with both states having open races. Below is a description of each governor-elect's position on TBED.

New Jersey

New Jersey Gov.-elect Jon Corzine handily defeated Republican businessman Doug Forrester by winning more than 1.15 million votes (53 percent) to 956,795 votes (44 percent) in unofficial results. The governor-elect, who is currently a U.S. senator, will replace Democratic Acting Gov. Richard Codey, who will return to the state Senate as president of that chamber when Gov.-elect Corzine takes his oath of office. As the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, Senator Corzine put economic development at the top of his agenda during his campaign and said that he will streamline the state’s economic development apparatus and bring the New Jersey Economic Growth & Tourism Commission into the governor’s office.

The cornerstone of Senator Corzine’s economic development strategy is his proposal for the Edison Innovation Fund, which would build on the research and technology history of the state by continuing to support technology transfer, job creation and business opportunities through university partnerships with state government and the private sector. The proposal anticipates that results of the fund would be to improve competitiveness of existing companies; the attraction of new firms; the formation of new enterprises; and the generation of millions of dollars in state and local revenues. Corzine's proposal calls for the fund to be created initially through proceeds from a voter-approved bond initiative and the reallocation of economic development programs scattered throughout 16 state agencies. The fund also would leverage additional private sector investment and research funds from federal agencies that support R&D. Targets for investment of the fund would be:

  • stem cell research;
  • nanotechnology;
  • renewable energy and clean energy technologies;
  • advanced imaging technology; and
  • genomics

The governor-elect's economic development position includes strengthening opportunities in higher education that include providing more grants for low and moderate income students; creating a new "Serve New Jersey" program that would forgive $1,000 in student loans or provide tax credits for graduates who work in high-need sectors in the state; creating a similar tax credit for high school graduates who attend college in other states but return to New Jersey and work in high-need sectors; reducing the brain drain by creating 1,000 scholarships for outstanding high school graduates who attend the state's public colleges and universities; and continuing to support the NJ STARS program that offers free county college tuition to all high school students in the top 20 percent of their graduating class.

More information on Gov.-elect Corzine's economic development positions is available at http://www.corzineforgovernor.com/plans/smarter/

Gov.-elect Corzine's campaign website: http://www.corzineforgovernor.com/plans/

Virginia

Virginia Lieutenant Gov. Tim Kaine defeated his main opponent, former Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, with one million votes (52 percent) to 909,258 votes (46 percent) in unofficial results. The lieutenant governor will replace Democratic Gov. Mark Warner who was prevented by the state constitution from seeking a second term. During the campaign, the lieutenant governor said he would focus on keeping a stable financial environment, helping small business succeed and fostering competitive regional economies.

As part of the governor-elect's proposal on building competitive regional economies, he would restore the Regional Competitiveness Program. Prior to its termination, the program provided about $50 million to leverage $700 million from other sources in funding for such programs as workforce development, technology councils, regional transportation and infrastructure projects, regional marketing programs and industrial parks. The lieutenant governor also has proposed providing incentives in state funding formulas for local governments to collaborate on providing regional services. The proposal also touts the importance of the military presence to the state's economy and the role the state will play to mitigate the impact of base-closing decisions by helping in redevelopment efforts.

The proposal emphasizes the importance of small business as the economic engine of the state and the lieutenant governor said he would focus his efforts on helping existing businesses grow by:

  • making health insurance more affordable;
  • investing in cutting-edge technology;
  • supporting additional funding for the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and the Commonwealth Technology Research Fund; and
  • encouraging entrepreneurs through small business incubators.

The governor-elect's proposal highlights the need for targeting distressed areas by providing high-speed Internet access to small communities; supporting the creation of a four-year state college in Southside that is currently under discussion among legislators, local chambers of commerce and the State Council of Higher Education; the continued support of the use of Enterprise Zones in urban areas; and making permanent the Economic Strike Force that was previously created by executive order. The lieutenant governor will form a group of Governor's Economic Ambassadors made up of business leaders from every region of the state to leverage the private sector for business recruitment efforts. Additionally, the proposal indicates continued support of investments in workforce training through the Community College System.

More information on Gov.-elect Kaine's economic development positions is available at http://www.kaine2005.org/issues/economy.php

Gov.-elect Kaine's campaign website: http://www.kaine2005.org/issues/

New Jersey