Since all the candidates are virtual unknowns, it will be good to have similar opportunities with the others in the coming months as well.
We were impressed with Wagner. She has previously served as Virginia's Treasurer under Mark Warner, and then as the Commonwealth's Secretary of Finance in the Kaine administration. She is thus quite familiar with the intricacies of the commonwealth's budget and finances.
Wagner spoke to a small group--attendance no doubt dented by the day's snowstorm--for a few minutes about her issues. Her main focus appears to be education. Among other things, she wants to enhance science and engineering training to keep Virginia, and the nation, competitive.
She also showed interest in health care, especially for children.
What we didn't hear from Wagner was anything about energy or the environment. That's not to say she doesn't have positions on those vital issues, but evidently they aren't at the forefront of her campaign.
Wagner hails from Virginia Beach, but has done a great job sowing up endorsements from local politicos in Northern Virginia, practically sweeping Arlington and Alexandria.
What was most impressive to us was her detailed knowledge of the workings of Virginia's government. She clearly realizes there are limits--especially in this economic environment. And she also knows how to get things done.
Wagner also has a great personality. She doesn't seem to be all about herself, and comes across as a competent woman who wants to get things done.
It was a welcome contrast to SOME candidates for statewide office, who's lack of knowledge doesn't prevent them from promising pie-in-the-sky. Yes, we're thinking of Terry McAuliffe. Mr. T. has sunny optimism--who wouldn't with all the money he can raise for his campaign--enhanced by the bliss of ignorance.
Although Mark Warner had no experience in Virginia government, or elective office, before becoming governor--and was a darn good one at that--we're leaning to experience this time.
We can't say Jody Wagner is better than the other Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor since we haven't met the others and know little of them. We can say this: based on what we have seen, she should make a good Lt. Governor. We wish her well!