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Man at the Top: The Kaine Administration Cabinet Week Reports Collection

Kaine Cabinet Weekly Reports, 2009-07-31, Secretary of Natural Resources (2009-07-30), page one, Timothy M. Kaine Administration (2006-2010) Cabinet Weekly Reports Digital Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce a new digital collection:  the Kaine Administration Cabinet Weekly Reports Collection (2006-2009). Accessible through Digitool (and linked to from the “Related Content” section of the Kaine Email Project @ LVA page), this collection consists of weekly reports submitted to Governor Tim Kaine by the governor’s cabinet members, advisors, policy, press, and constituent services offices, and the Virginia Liaison Office. Reports were submitted each Thursday and placed in a binder for the governor that he took with him at the end of the day on Friday. While the level of detail varies, each report contains information on legislation, Governor’s initiatives and special projects, agency matters and operations, events and agency visits, audits or investigations, stakeholder issues, and pending decisions. This collection, which is full-text searchable, provides a weekly account of the issues and policy decisions of the Kaine Administration.

The weekly reports address a wide variety of issues and topics including:  avian flu, state budgets, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC), renovations of the Capitol, creation of a Civil Rights Memorial, early childhood education, planning for the 2008 presidential election and the January 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, land conservation, minority procurement, transportation, federal recognition of Virginia’s Native American tribes, IT issues, and workforce development.

Kaine Cabinet Weekly Reports, 2009-08-07, Secretary of Natural Resources (2009-08-06), page one, Timothy M. Kaine Administration (2006-2010) Cabinet Weekly Reports Digital Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. Governor Kaine often wrote comments on the reports and made requests for additional information. For example, one of Governor Kaine’s signature issues was conserving 400,000 acres of land by the end of his term in 2010.Kaine often asked for updates on this goal. The dedication of the 59th Natural Area Preserve (NAP) at Wintergreen, contained in the 30 July 2009 Secretary of Natural Resources report,  prompted Kaine to ask “How many Natural Area Preserves have we added during my term?” The answer in the following week’s report (13 NAPs) triggered this note from Kaine to Bryant and Communications Director Lynda Tran:

“Take Note

  • 6 New state forests
  • 2 New state parks
  • 13 New Natural Area  Preserves and
  • Preserved all or parts of 23 Civil War Battlefields
  • all as part of our 400,000 acre goal”

Kaine Cabinet Weekly Reports, 2009-02-06, Secretary of Finance (2009-02-05), page 7, Timothy M. Kaine Administration (2006-2010) Cabinet Weekly Reports Digital Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. Kaine also used the reports to acknowledge good work done by his administration. On the 11 June 2009 Virginia Liaison Office report, Kaine wrote:  “You guys consistently do great reports!” A compliment from MSNBCs Chuck Todd about the Virginia State Board of Elections inspired Kaine to write: “Let’s do a thank you note to the board.” Kaine’s sense of humor occasionally shines through as well. Next to a report from the Department of Taxation about how the department used the 2009 Super Bowl (won by the Pittsburgh Steelers) to collect delinquent taxes from a Richmond business, Kaine wrote:  “Nice Tax v. Stealers.”  Another report listed items containing controlled substances confiscated at a Phish concert in Hampton:  “brownies, goo balls, chocolates, gummy bears, fruity pebble treats, along with a variety of pills, powders, suspected LSD,” and marijuana.  Kaine circled “fruity pebble treats” and wrote:  “Oh no – Not fruity pebble treats!” Kaine Cabinet Weekly Reports, 2009-03-20, Secretary of Public Safety (2009-03-19), page 2, Timothy M. Kaine Administration (2006-2010) Cabinet Weekly Reports Digital Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. (highlighting added by author).

Governor Mark Warner (2002-2006) was the first governor to use weekly reports.  All subsequent governors (Kaine and Bob McDonnell) have utilized them as well. Governor Warner’s reports have not been scanned but paper copies are available to researchers in the Library’s Archives Room which is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Governor Bob McDonnell’s weekly reports have not been processed and are closed to researchers.

-Roger Christman, LVA Senior State Records Archivist