Current Position: US Senator since 2009
Mission Statement: N/A
Source: Government page
Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a second term in November 2014. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Vice Chairman. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country’s debt and deficit.
From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia. When he left office in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the best state for business, the best managed state, and the best state in which to receive a public education.
The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.
Senator Warner, his wife Lisa Collis, and their three daughters live in Alexandria, Virginia.
Prior to his congressional career, Warner was the 69th Governor of Virginia holding the office from 2002 to 2006, and is the honorary chairman of the Forward Together PAC. Warner delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Apart from politics, Warner is also known for his involvement in telecommunications-related venture capital during the 1980s; he founded the firm Columbia Capital.
In 2006, he was widely expected to pursue the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections; however, he announced in October 2006 that he would not run, citing a desire not to disrupt his family life. Warner was considered to be a potential vice presidential candidate, until he took himself out of consideration after winning the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Contested by his gubernatorial predecessor, Jim Gilmore, Warner won his first election to the Senate in 2008 with 65% of the vote. Warner won reelection to the seat in 2014, defeating Ed Gillespie, who had previously served as Counselor to the President underGeorge W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee. Warner’s margin of victory—only 17,000 votes—was much narrower than expected.
Early life, education, and business career
Warner was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Marjorie (née Johnston) and Robert F. Warner. He has a younger sister, Lisa. He grew up in Illinois, and later inVernon, Connecticut, where he graduated from Rockville High School, a public secondary school. He has credited his interest in politics to his eighth grade social studies teacher, Jim Tyler, who “inspired him to work for social and political change during the tumultuous year of 1968.” He was class president for three years at Rockville High School and hosted a weekly pick-up basketball game at his house, “a tradition that continues today.”
Warner graduated from George Washington University, (GW), earning his B.A. in 1977 with a 4.0 GPA and a minor in political science. He was valedictorian of his class at GW and the first in his family to graduate from college. At GW he worked on Capitol Hill to pay for his tuition, riding his bike early mornings to the office of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT). When his parents visited him at college, he obtained two tickets for them to tour the White House; when his father asked him why he didn’t get a ticket for himself, he replied, “I’ll see the White House when I’m president.”
Warner then graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor in 1980 and coached the law school’s first intramural women’s basketball team. Warner has never practiced law. In the early 1980s, he served as a staffer to U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). He later used his knowledge of federal telecommunication law and policies as a broker of mobile phone franchise licenses, making a significant fortune. As founder and managing director of Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm, he helped found or was an early investor in a number of technology companies, including Nextel. He co-founded Capital Cellular Corporation, and built up an estimated net worth of more than $200 million. As of 2012, he was the wealthiest U.S. Senator.
Warner involved himself in public efforts related to health care, telecommunications, information technology and education. He managed Douglas Wilder’s successful 1989 gubernatorial campaign and served as chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1993-95. He created four investment funds across Virginia and donated millions to charity, which he later touted in political campaigns.
- Founder and managing director of a venture capital firm.
Capital Cellular Corporation
George Washington University
George Washington University
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
180 West Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
101 W. Main Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
919 E. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
8000 Towers Crescent Drive
Vienna, Virginia 22182
1996 U.S. Senate election
He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996 against incumbent Republican John Warner (no relation) in a “Warner versus Warner” election. Mark Warner performed strongly in the state’s rural areas, making the contest much closer than many pundits expected.He lost to the incumbent, 52%-47%, losing most parts of the state including the north.
Governor of Virginia
In 2001 Warner campaigned for governor as a moderate Democrat after years of slowly building up a power base in rural Virginia, particularly Southwest Virginia. He defeated Republican candidate Mark Earley, the state attorney general, in a “Mark versus Mark” election, with 52.16 percent, a margin of 96,943 votes, and also Libertarian candidate William B. Redpath. Warner had a significant funding advantage, spending $20 million compared with Earley’s $10 million.
Warner also benefited from dissension in Republican ranks after a heated battle for the nomination between Earley, backed by religious conservatives, and then-lieutenant governorJohn H. Hager, some of whose supporters later openly backed Warner. In the same election, Republican Jerry Kilgore was elected attorney general, and Democrat Tim Kaine was elected lieutenant governor. In his campaign for governor in 2001, Warner said that he would not raise taxes.
After he was elected in 2002, Warner drew upon a $900 million “rainy day fund” left by his predecessor, James S. Gilmore, III.Warner campaigned in favor of two regional sales tax increases (Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads) to fund transportation. Virginians rejected both regional referendums to raise the sales tax.
In 2004, Warner worked with Democratic and moderate Republican legislators and the business community to reform the tax code, lowering food and some income taxes while increasing the sales and cigarette taxes. His tax package effected a net tax increase of approximately $1.5 billion annually. Warner credited the additional revenues with saving the state’s AAA bond rating, held at the time by only five other states, and allowing the single largest investment in K-12 education in Virginia history. Warner also entered into an agreement with Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Virginia Senate to cap state car tax reimbursements to local governments.
During his tenure as governor, Warner influenced the world of college athletics. “Warner used his power as Virginia’s governor in 2003 to pressure the Atlantic Coast Conference into revoking an invitation it had already extended to Syracuse University. Warner wanted the conference, which already included the University of Virginia, to add Virginia Tech instead — and he got his way.”
Warner’s popularity may have helped Democrats gain seats in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2003 and again in 2005, reducing the majorities built up by Republicans in the 1990s. Warner chaired theNational Governors Association in 2004-05 and led a national high school reform movement. He chaired the Southern Governors’ Association and was a member of the Democratic Governors Association. In January 2005, a two-year study, the Government Performance Project, in conjunction with Governingmagazine and the Pew Charitable Trust graded each state in four management categories: money, people, infrastructure and information. Virginia and Utah received the highest ratings average with both states receiving an A- rating overall, prompting Warner to dub Virginia “the best managed state in the nation.”
Kaine and Kilgore both sought to succeed Warner as governor of Virginia. (The Virginia Constitution forbids any governor from serving consecutive terms; so Warner could not have run for a second term in 2005.) On November 8, 2005, Kaine, the former mayor of Richmond, won with 52% of the vote. Kilgore, who had resigned as attorney general in February 2005 to campaign full-time and who had previously served as Virginia secretary of public safety, received 46% of the vote. Russ Potts, a Republican state senator, also ran for governor as an independent, receiving 2% of the vote. Warner had supported and campaigned for Kaine, and many national pundits considered Kaine’s victory to be further evidence of Warner’s political clout in Virginia.
On November 29, 2005, Warner commuted the death sentence of Robin Lovitt to life imprisonmentwithout the possibility of parole. Lovitt was convicted of murdering Clayton Dicks at an Arlington pool hall in 1999. After his trial in 2001, Lovitt’s lawyers stated that a court clerk illegally destroyedevidence that was used against Lovitt during his trial, but that could have possibly exonerated him upon further DNA testing. Lovitt’s death sentence would have been the 1,000th carried out in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment as permissible under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in 1976. In a statement, Warner said, “The actions of an agent of the commonwealth, in a manner contrary to the express direction of the law, comes at the expense of a defendant facing society’s most severe and final sanction.” Warner denied clemency in 11 other death penalty cases that came before him as governor.
Warner also arranged for DNA tests of evidence left from the case of Roger Keith Coleman, who was put to death by the state in 1992. Coleman was convicted in the 1981 rape and stabbing death of his 19-year-old sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy. Coleman drew national attention, even making the cover of Time, by repeatedly claiming innocence and protesting the unfairness of the death penalty. DNA results announced on January 12, 2006 confirmed Coleman’s guilt.
In July 2005, his approval ratings were at 74% and in some polls reached 80%. Warner left office with a 71% approval rating in one poll.
Warner was believed to be preparing to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, and had “done everything but announce his candidacy” before suddenly stating in October 2006 he would not run for president, citing family reasons. Warner declared on September 13, 2007 that he would run for the U.S. Senate being vacated by the retiring John Warner (no relation) in 2008.
Warner immediately gained the endorsement of most national Democrats. He held a wide lead over his Republican opponent, fellow former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, for virtually the entire campaign. Warner delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
In a Washington Post/ABC News Poll dated September 24, 2008, Warner held a 30-point lead over Gilmore.
In the November election, Warner defeated Gilmore, taking 65 percent of the vote to Gilmore’s 34 percent. Warner carried all but four counties in the state—Rockingham,Augusta, Powhatan and Hanover. In many cases, he ran up huge margins in areas of the state that have traditionally voted Republican. This was the most lopsided margin for a contested Senate race in Virginia since Chuck Robb took 72 percent of the vote in 1988. As a result of Warner’s victory, Virginia had two Democratic U.S. Senators for the first time sinceHarry Byrd, Jr. left the Democrats to become an independent (while still caucusing with the Democrats) in 1970.
Upon arriving in the U.S. Senate in 2009, Warner was appointed to the Senate’s Banking, Budget, and Commerce committees. Warner was later named to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2011.
In 2009, Warner voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus bill. As a member of the Budget Committee, he submitted an amendment designed to help the government track how the stimulus dollars were being spent.
When offered the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in preparation for the 2012 election cycle, Warner declined because he wanted to keep a distance from the partisanship of the role.
In the fall of 2012, Warner was approached by supporters about possibly leaving the Senate to seek a second four-year term as Virginia’s governor. After considering the prospect, Warner announced shortly after the November 2012 elections that he had chosen to remain in the Senate because he was “all in” on finding a bipartisan solution to the country’s fiscal challenges.
Warner became the senior senator on January 3, 2013 when Jim Webb left the Senate and was replaced by Tim Kaine, who was lieutenant governor while Warner was governor.[
In 2014, Ed Gillespie criticized him for using tax payer money to fly in a luxury airplane.
Warner was ranked as the 10th most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate during the 114th United States Congress (and the third most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate from theAmerican South after West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member’s bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member’s co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party). Likewise, Warner has been identified as a radical centrist, working to foster compromise in the Senate.
2014 US Senator
|Mark Warner (D)||1,073,667||49.1%|
|Edward Walter Gillespie (R)||1,055,940||48.3%|
|Robert Christopher Sarvis (L)||53,102||2.4%|
|Write In ()||1,811||.1%|
2008 US Senator
|Mark Warner (D)||2,369,327||65.0%|
|James Jim S. Gilmore, III (R)||1,228,830||33.7%|
|Glenda Gail Parker ()||21,690||0.6%|
|William B. Redpath (L)||20,269||0.6%|
|Mark Warner (D)||984,177||52.2%|
|M. L. Earley (R)||887,234||47.0%|
|William B. Redpath (L)||14,497||0.8%|
Source: Virginia Department of Elections
WARNER, MARK ROBERT has run in 2 races for public office, winning 2 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $36,488,482. (note: seems to include only two senate races and not previous Governor or Senate races).
Source: Follow the Money
See: Vote Smart
Source: Government Page
Start ups, Saudi Arabia
Warner was the original Democratic sponsor of the Startup Act legislation and has partnered with the bill’s original author Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) to introduce three iterations of the bill: Startup Act in 2011, Startup Act 2.0 in 2012 and Startup Act 3.0 in early 2013. Warner describes the legislation as the ‘logical next step’ following enactment of the bipartisan JOBS Act.”
In 2015, Warner criticized the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, saying: “I’m concerned in particular with some of the indiscriminate bombing in Yemen … [Gulf states] need to step up and they need to step up with more focus than the kind of indiscriminate bombing.”
In June 2017, Warner voted to support Trump’s $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
In May 2018, Warner voted for Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director.
In 2016, American foreign policy scholar Stefan Halper served as an FBI operative and contacted members of the Donald Trump Presidential campaign. In May 2018, Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned Republican lawmakers that it would be “potentially illegal” to reveal the identity of Stefan Halper.
- July 30, 2018 – 20 Ways to Tame Social Media
Senator Warner on Face the Nation
Published on May 20, 2018
Sen. Warner on NBC’s Meet the Press
Published on March 25, 2018
Discussing Senate Intel election security recommendations, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and the Trump White House.
Warner on the Cyber Threat
Published on July 24, 2019
The Beat with Ari Melber
A Conversation with U.S. Senator Mark Warner
Published on April 2, 2018
By Becker Friedman Institute at UChicago – BFI
The U.S. economy is in the midst of rapid structural and technological change. The past decade has been marked by a continued decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs and a more recent increase in the number of Americans engaged in the “on demand” or “gig economy.” With the labor market tightening and higher skilled workers in increasing demand, too many workers are still left behind. Many lack the skills or experience to be job-ready, or do not have access to jobs with the potential for advancement, raising a host of issues about the roles of government and the private sector in workforce training.
On April 2, the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University Of Chicago (BFI) welcomed U.S. Senator Mark Warner for a conversation about these and other challenges facing American workers and the U.S. economy more broadly. BFI Director Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and the College, and the Harris School, moderated the discussion.
The lead curator for this Mark Warner post is Tim O'Shea.
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