Tim Kaine takes his smart growth credentials to a new position

During his time as Governor, Tim Kaine of Virginia has been one of the best in the country in leading their state towards a more sustainable future. He came along at a time when plenty of other Governors nationwide were creating smart growth offices in their administrations or looking for ways to replicate or build upon the statewide program that Gov. Glendening pioneered in Maryland. But Kaine’s commitment to the ideas of smarter growth were not just tangible in practice — he seemed to really understand and believe in what he was saying.

Obama and Kaine
AP Photo by Steve Helber

He was regularly speaking out — even in off-the-cuff radio and TV appearances — about the need for Virginia to better link transportation and land use decisions in the future. He pushed a huge open space funding bill ($100 million) through the legislature, and strongly favored the better tunnel option for the DC Metro rail extension to Tysons Corner, Virginia’s largest employment center.

He also invited the Governor’s Institute on Community Design — one of SGA’s projects — to his state for one of the Institute’s earliest closed-door planning and policy sessions with a Governor and his staff. (Learn more about the GICD here.)

You probably heard his name when President-elect Obama was considering running mates, making it deep into the selection process. Today, Obama named him to lead the Democratic National Committee, and interestingly, Obama made a point to note his strong smart growth credentials while introducing the new DNC chairman.

From a transcript in the Washington Post:

He understands that, while politics is tough and we need to fight hard for our ideals and our values, we also need to work together to solve our common problems. That’s how he built what has become a model of good and responsible government in the commonwealth of Virginia.

As governor, Tim’s promoted smart growth reforms to help traffic move better and improve the quality of life in our communities, ramped up the number of children getting health care and a pre-K education, and invested in schools while holding them more accountable.

It’s nice to see smart growth mentioned among Governor Kaine’s most important accomplishments.