Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 after having served as Governor of Virginia, where he returned the Commonwealth to economic prosperity by bringing thousands of new jobs to Virginia while working across the political aisle to turn budget deficits into surpluses.
No stranger to hard work, Mark put himself through George Washington University through a combination of jobs and student loans to become the first in his family to graduate from college. He went on to Harvard Law School where he earned his J.D. in 1980. Mark decided to pursue a career in business rather than law. He started a small business, but like many entrepreneurs he failed in his first attempt. Six months later, he started a second business and failed again.
Undeterred, he successfully invested in the earliest days of the cell phone industry and eventually co-founded the company that became Nextel. His success allowed him to make early investments in hundreds of start-up technology companies that continue to create jobs and contribute to Virginia’s economy. He has channeled his strong business experience into his public service by focusing on policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and promote fiscal responsibility.
After working in business and politics, Mark’s first attempt at elected office was a 1996 challenge to Republican U.S. Sen. John Warner. As Mark tells the story, “I got the silver medal,” but the two Warners developed a mutual respect that resulted in a strong personal and political partnership that exists to this day.
In 2001, Mark was elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and he worked in a bipartisan way with a Republican-led General Assembly to cut spending and apply business principles to state government. Governor Warner worked with Republicans to turn a $6 billion budget shortfall into a $1 billion surplus. Governor Warner applied his extensive business experience to focus on creating nearly 130,000 new private-sector jobs during his four-year term, and he launched innovative programs to improve public schools and strengthen Virginia’s world-class colleges and universities. When he left office in 2006, Virginia was consistently recognized as the nation’s Best Managed State, the Best State for Business and the Best State for Educational Opportunities.
When Sen. John Warner announced his retirement in 2007, former Governor Warner launched his candidacy and was overwhelmingly elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008. Since day one, Mark Warner has worked across the aisle and built consensus in Congress to strengthen America’s struggling economy and solve problems for Virginia families.
He teamed up with Republican Sen. Bob Corker in 2010 to end taxpayer bailouts of “too big to fail” Wall Street banks. He partnered with Sen. Corker again in 2013 and produced a bipartisan plan to reform the housing finance system to protect taxpayers and preserve the availability of 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for Virginia’s middle class families. In 2010, Warner co-founded the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Six,” which worked for two years to design a responsible plan to reduce our country’s deficits and debt.
Building on his government reforms efforts as Virginia’s Governor, Sen. Warner has been a leader in Congress in bipartisan efforts to eliminate red tape, promote accountability and impose greater transparency in federal spending.
Sen. Warner continues to always put Virginia first. He helped secure $20 million in federal grants to built-out high-speed broadband in rural Southwest and Southside Virginia, and he has proposed bipartisan legislation to bring manufacturing jobs back to rural America. His business background has led him to advocate for innovative new funding tools to help small businesses attract investors. He also has been a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that secures America’s borders making it easier for foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities to remain in America to launch new companies.
Putting Virginia first means ensuring every constituent is treated fairly under the law. As Governor, Mark Warner championed a diverse and inclusive workforce, and he was the first Virginia governor to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the U.S. Senate, Warner has supported marriage equality, voted to end the military’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies, and co-sponsored the 2013 Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Understanding that we must serve those who have served our country, Sen. Warner has consistently fought for Virginia’s military men and women, their families and Virginia’s 800,000 military veterans. He successfully pushed the Veterans Administration to expand its PTSD services to include female veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He has championed an innovative pro-bono effort at the William & Mary Law School that has been designated a national model in helping veterans navigate the V-A claims system. Mark Warner went to bat for Navy families living in substandard housing in Hampton Roads. And when it was revealed that Arlington National Cemetery suffered from severe organizational and management problems, he recruited Virginia’s leading I-T companies in a pro bono initiative to help the Army fix the problems.
Sen. Warner has worked in a bipartisan way to promote an “all of the above” approach to American energy independence, including consistent efforts to allow development of energy resources off of Virginia’s coast while protecting the Commonwealth’s environment. He has worked to help Virginia manufacturers and coal producers comply with new EPA regulations by imposing reasonable provisions to ease the cost of implementation.
Senator Warner, his wife Lisa Collis, and their three daughters live in Alexandria, Virginia.