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In Divided Virginia Administration, Kaine Learned To Work Across The Aisle


Hillary Clinton has made her choice for vice president - Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. One - one person who has worked closely with Senator Kaine is Bill Bolling. He was Virginia's lieutenant governor when Kaine was the state's Governor. Kaine, of course, is a Democrat. Bolling is a Republican. Bill Bolling, welcome to the show.

BILL BOLLING: Thanks, Kelly. Good to be with you.

MCEVERS: Virginia's one of the few states that elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately. But you actually knew Tim Kaine long before the two of you served at the top there. Tell us about when you two met and how you worked together previously.

BOLLING: Oh, wow, I guess Tim and I have probably worked together in state and local government for about 20 years now. We both are from the metro Richmond region and served in local government before we went to state government. When we worked together initially, he was a member of Richmond City Council. I was a member of the Board of Supervisors in Hanover County. Then he became mayor of the city of Richmond. I was elected to the State Senate. He was elected lieutenant governor. I served with him in that capacity as president of the Senate. And he was elected governor, and I was elected lieutenant governor, so our career paths have kind of followed each other. And through that time, we've obviously worked together politically but have also developed a good, strong personal friendship as well.

MCEVERS: When you got to the governor and lieutenant governor positions - again, from separate parties - in 2005, how did you come to work together on - and what issues did you work together on?

BOLLING: Well, we knew it would be a challenge when you have a Democratic governor and a Republican lieutenant governor. We decided early on we would disagree when we needed to disagree, but we would disagree without being disagreeable. And we also decided that we'd try to focus on the things that united us and not the things that divided us. So there were times over the four years that we worked together that we were on opposite sides of issues. We did that respectfully. But there were a number of issues - bipartisan redistricting, expansion of children's health care in Virginia, a number of important natural resource issues - that we actually were able to work on together.

MCEVERS: For people who don't know a lot about Senator Kaine, what do you think he brings to the Democratic ticket now? What do people need to know about him?

BOLLING: Well, I think he's a voice of moderation. I think it was a good pick for Mrs. Clinton (inaudible)...


BOLLING: ...He has experience at the federal level. And I think that's a plus, his experience serving on the Foreign Relations Committee and the National Security Committee is a plus. But above all, I mean, Tim's a - he's a good and decent guy. And again, you know, politically, we're not always on the same side of an issue, as you might expect with a Republican and a Democrat, but he's someone for whom I have great admiration and respect. And I would say all those folks that have worked with him in Virginia over the years, you would find people who have agreed with him or disagreed with him from time to time. You'd find very few people - if any - who (inaudible). He's one of the nice guys in the process of politics today. And goodness knows, we need more of them at every level of government.

MCEVERS: We - you're dropping out just a little bit. I hope we can keep you for just a few more seconds. Have to ask, would you vote for Clinton-Kaine in November?

BOLLING: Well, no, (laughter) I'm not - I like Tim on a personal level. I have a lot of respect for him. But politically, I'll not be voting for Clinton-Kaine. But certainly, this is a wonderful thing for Senator Kaine and for his family and frankly, I think, for Virginia. And on a personal level, I wish him well.

MCEVERS: Bill Bolling is the former lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Governor Bolling, thank you very much.

BOLLING: Thanks, Kelly. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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