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House Republicans break Virginia tradition by rejecting governor's Cabinet choice.
Gov. Tim Kaine reacts to House Republicans' rejection of Daniel G. LeBlanc as secretary of the commonwealth.
BOB BROWN/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH
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Date published: 3/8/2006
This is the first time legislators have ever refused to confirm a governor's appointment.
Republicans voted 55 to 42, with one abstention, to remove Daniel LeBlanc from a Senate resolution confirming gubernatorial appointments. The vote came after a lengthy debate in which Democrats said the move was an affront to working-class Virginians and to decades of legislative protocol.
LeBlanc had been appointed as secretary of the commonwealth.
"This is a very, very bad day for the cause of good government and moving Virginia forward," Kaine told reporters. "Today what the Republicans have done they've taken a huge leap way past any partisanship that's ever been shown. What the House has done suggests a lack of respect for the governor, a lack of respect for the Senate, and a trashing of a good person. I view it as not just an affront to me I view it as spitting in the face of working people."
Republicans said they were rejecting LeBlanc because they're concerned about his opposition to Virginia's right-to-work law.
Del. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, said a pro-union appointee would send the wrong message to companies and businesses seeking to locate in Virginia.
Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania--who made the motion in a morning committee hearing to remove LeBlanc's name from consideration--said the state needs "someone who's going to be forthright and respect the right-to-work law."
Cole also accused Kaine of being partisan by nominating LeBlanc, but said it ultimately falls at former Gov. Mark Warner's feet, because Warner once told Republicans that if they wanted more control over the governor's appointive powers, they should use their power of confirmation.
Democrats condemned the rejection of LeBlanc.
In an emotional speech, Del. Bud Phillips, D-Dickenson, said his grandfather was a union organizer in Southwest Virginia's coal mines, and that a rejection of LeBlanc for his labor leadership was tantamount to telling any union member they're not qualified to serve in Virginia government.