The Council of State Archivists (CoSA), a national organization representing the heads of the country’s 56 state and territorial archives, presented the Library of Virginia’s Governor Tim Kaine Email Project Team with its Rising Star award in recognition of being the first state government archives in the United States to make the emails of a previous administration freely available to the public online. The award, which recognizes outstanding contributions by individual staff members or teams to their state archives and constituencies, was made at the joint meeting of the Society of American Archivists/National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators/Council of State Archivists in Washington, DC, on 14 August.
The Kaine Email Project Team put Virginia’s state archives on the forefront of open government in the modern age. The Library received approximately 1.3 million email messages from the administration of Governor Kaine (2006-2010). To date, the Library has reviewed 667,000 emails, and placed 130,644 archival records online in an organized searchable database, Kaine Email Project @ LVA. Users can search and view email records from the Governor’s Office and his cabinet secretaries; learn about other public records from the Kaine Administration; go behind the scenes to see how the Library of Virginia made the email records available; and read what others are saying about the collection.
The lead project … read more »
This is the fifth in a series of blog 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 records (electronic and paper).
During his administration, Governor Kaine did two call-in radio shows (Ask the Governor) each month hosted by WRVA Richmond and Washington Post radio (WTOP). The governor would take questions from constituents and the shows’ hosts. For Kaine’s final Ask the Governor show on WTOP on 22 December 2009, Lynda Tran, communications director, arranged for a surprise caller: President Barack Obama. Her email shows how much work went into making the 90-second call happen.
On 17 December 2009, Tran emailed Patrick Gaspard, director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, with a personal request for Kaine’s final Ask the Governor program: “What are the chances we could have the President call in for 90 seconds that day?” Tran included a detailed event briefing form including message points for the president. Two hours before the start of the show, Gaspard agreed that President Obama would call in. Gaspard had one condition: “I just need an ironclad assurance that we aren’t going to get crazy qs (sic) from mark plotkin (one of the show’s hosts). It has to be a quick dial in and out.” … read more »
The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the release of an additional 44,534 emails from the administration of Governor Timothy M. Kaine (2006-2010). This second batch comprises emails from individuals in Kaine’s Policy and Communication/Press Offices. Since January 2014, the Library has made 110,956 of the approximately 1.3 million emails from the Kaine administration freely available to the public online.
The Kaine administration online collection is arranged alphabetically by administration staff member and is full-text searchable. The email messages reveal the real-time reactions of the governor’s policy and communication staff members to the issues facing the commonwealth. Whether tracking legislation, coordinating projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, implementing the governor’s education initiatives, or weighing in on drafts of the governor’s speeches to the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly, the emails reveal the behind-the-scenes strategizing and communication among the governor and his staff.
Included in the Policy Office release (23,004 emails) are the email files of Steven Gould, Suzette Denslow, Felix Sarfo-Kantanka, Gena Boyle, Jennie Moline, Maribel Ramos, Megan Root, and Barbara Reese. The Communication/Press Office release (21,530 emails) includes the email files of Lynda Tran, Jeff Kraus, Gordon Hickey, Michael Kelly, and Amanda Howe.
This release of electronic materials and the availability of the paper records of the Kaine administration in the Library of Virginia’s reading … read more »
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.
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.”
With the support of Delegate Lingamfelter, the administration consolidated his requests and treated them as one FOIA … read more »
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.
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
At the beginning of the Kaine administration in 2006, Virginia State Archivist Conley Edwards (now retired), did … read more »
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 »