Category Archives: Kaine Email Project

- Kaine Email Project@LVA – Sunshine Week Edition

This is the fourth in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper).

Sunshine Week “is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.” In honor of Sunshine Week, 16-22 March 2014, this week’s post focuses on how a 2008 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by a state delegate led to a Kaine administration prohibition on printing by state agencies.


Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-31st District.  Photo from Virginia House of Delegates web page.

In November 2008, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31) submitted a FOIA request to all state agencies asking for a copy of each publication with a print run exceeding 100 copies.  He also wanted to know the printing costs for each publication and the name of the printer.  Upon receipt of Lingamfelter’s letters, agencies contacted Kaine administration staffers for further guidance.  Gena Boyle, special assistant to the governor for policy, forwarded one such email to Chief of Staff Wayne Turnage on 1 December 2008.  Turnage replied that “I’m sure he [Lingamfelter] expects to find millions in printing costs.  With the advent of web to hold reports he will be disappointed – I hope.”

Wayne Turnage, Chief of Staff to Governor Tim Kaine (2007-2010); Deputy Chief of Staff (2006-2007).

With the support of Delegate Lingamfelter, the administration consolidated his requests and treated them as one FOIA … read more »

- Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Human Touch Edition



Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall, Governor Tim Kaine, and Chief of Staff Bill Leighty, 9/11 Fifth Anniversary Ceremony, Bell Tower, Capitol Square, 11 September 2006, Press Office, Office of Governor Tim Kaine.

This is the third in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper).

Much of the Kaine email deals with public policy, legislation, and governing.  Issues such as the state budget, transportation legislation, and the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address garner wide media attention.  But there other messages that focus on less publicized aspects of a governor’s administration:  life and death decisions, grief, and remembrance.    This week’s post focuses on, for me, some of the most powerful and moving email in the Kaine collection.

Tim Kaine opposes capital punishment.  But when he ran for governor in 2005, he promised, if elected, he would uphold the law.  Eleven executions took place during Kaine’s administration.  The decision to proceed with an execution was not easy for Kaine.  John Yancey Schmitt was executed on 9 November 2006.  This brief exchange that night between Sherrie Harrington, Kaine’s confidential assistant, and Larry Roberts, Counselor to the Governor, that evening conveys this. 


Voice Mail, 2006-06-05 22:58, LRoberts3.pst, Email Records from the Office of the Governor (Kaine: 2006-2010), Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

Capital cases also took a toll on Larry Roberts.  A few days before the 10 June 2006 scheduled execution of Percy Lavar Walton, Marilyn Tavenner, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, reached out to Roberts.  There was some question … read more »

- Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Transportation Edition


Governor Tim Kaine, Press Conference, Patrick Henry Building, 2007 April 4, Office of the Governor.

This is the second in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper). 

Transportation was one of the issues that dominated the Kaine administration.  In 2007,  Kaine reached an agreement with the Republican General Assembly on a compromise transportation package that would have been the largest transportation funding increase since 1986.  This week’s post focuses on this legislation, HB 3202, and the controversial abusive driver fees it contained.  The legislative process is messy and complicated.  John Godfrey Saxe’s quote, “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made,” applies to this blog post.  Consider yourself warned.

House Bill 3202, Chapter 896 of the 2007 Acts of Assembly, was enacted on 4 April 2007.  Through a mixture of bonds, new taxes and fees, the law was designed to generate more than $500 million in new dedicated funding for highway construction and transit capital projects as well as highway maintenance and transit operating costs.  Passing this package required compromises from both Republicans and Democrats.  In this series of emails from February 2007, Governor Kaine informs his senior staff of conversations he’s had with members of the General Assembly and his thoughts … read more »

- Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Budget Edition


Governor Tim Kaine budget signing, 30 June 2006, Office of the Governor.

This is the first in a series of posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration (2006-2010).  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine administration records (electronic and paper).

Governor Kaine took office shortly before the beginning of the “Great Recession,” the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. From 2007 to the end of his administration in January 2010, Kaine cut nearly $5 billion in state spending in order to balance the budget without raising taxes.  This week’s post focuses on the budget development process, budget cuts, and what might have happened if Virginia did not have a budget by 1 July 2006.

The Virginia Department of Planning and Budget website provides an excellent overview of the Commonwealth’s budgetary process.  Virginia has a biennial budget system, which means it adopts a two-year budget. The biennial budget is enacted into law in even-numbered years, and amendments to it are enacted in odd-numbered years.  This process takes months and has five distinct phases:  agency budget preparation, budget development, legislative action, governor’s review, and execution.

Budget Process

The governor has vast authority in shaping a budget that reflects the administration’s priorities.  A great example from the collection is a 15 October 2007 email from Governor Kaine to his leadership team with the subject line:  … read more »

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- Adam Raised a Kaine: Archiving the Records of a Governor


Governor Tim Kaine, Roger Christman and Amber Amato, Governor's Cabinet Room, 14 January 2010.  Photo courtesy of the Library of Virginia.

Today, the Library of Virginia made the first batch of email from Governor Timothy M. Kaine’s administration (2006-2010) available online.  The initial release consists of 66,422 of the approximately 1.3 million emails the Kaine administration transferred to the Library four years ago.  It has taken a small but dedicated staff of Library archivists and IT professionals nearly three years to bring this project to fruition.  Access to the collection, information on related content and the nuts and bolts of processing this collection are available at http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/kaine/.

“We are proud to be the first state government archives in the United States to make the emails of a previous administration freely available to the public online,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway.  The Library can’t take all the credit.  We could not have achieved this distinction without the assistance of the Kaine administration records officers.  Records don’t magically appear at the Library at the end of a gubernatorial administration.  During those four years, the Library partners with the Office of the Governor to ensure that the official state records that document the activities of a governor’s administration are preserved and transferred to the Library.  The work of the Kaine records officers make today’s email release possible.


Electronic Data Archive Policy, 2007-12-07/15:07:35, kparis.pst, Email Records from the Office of the Governor (Kaine: 2006-2010), Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

At the beginning of the Kaine administration in 2006, Virginia State Archivist Conley Edwards (now retired), did … read more »

- We Remember: Virginia Tech Five Years Later


vt_ribbon_gray

Five years ago, Seung Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured at least 17 others before turning the gun on himself.  The 16 April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history.  In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, I created a web archive collection, Tragedy at Virginia Tech, in order to capture the Commonwealth’s “on-line” response.  Included in the collection are the websites of Virginia Tech, the Office of the Governor, and the Virginia Tech Review Panel.  I remember creating the collection because of the “historic” nature of the shooting.  I confess that I initially viewed that day’s events with the emotional detachment of an archivist/historian.  But what made it “historic?” The number of people killed?  The 32 people who died that day are not numbers – they had names, families, hopes and dreams – a future.  The biographies captured in the Tragedy at Virginia Tech collection quickly shattered my impassiveness.  What I saw as “historic” in 2007 is an ever present tragedy for the families who lost their loved ones.  It is a wound that time cannot heal.

I was reminded of this when I began processing the e-mail records of Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  The Kaine administration transferred to the Library of Virginia approximately 1.3 million e-mail messages from 215 … read more »