Current and former office holders , from U.S. senators to legislative leaders and former President Bill Clinton, released statements on Tuesday following the death of Gerald Baliles, Virginia's 65th governor, who served from 1986-90.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia:
“In his four years as governor, Gerald Baliles was a steady hand steering the commonwealth, making important investments in transportation that Virginians are still benefiting from today.
“He was also a good friend. I join all Virginians in celebrating his service to the commonwealth. We will miss him.”
Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights:
"Governor Baliles was a caring, conscientious and exceptional lifelong public servant.
"He was a distinguished member of the Virginia House of Delegates, as well as the attorney general of Virginia prior to becoming Virginia’s 65th governor.
"Like elected officials on both sides of the aisle, along with the citizens of all walks, I believe Governor Baliles tackled and tried in earnest to solve, head on, real problems affecting the people of Virginia. He focused on the practical needs of Virginians such as transportation improvements and economic development. He also championed higher education and led the charge in the commonwealth against illiteracy.
"He cared deeply about Virginia’s natural resources and was named Conservationist of the Year by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in 2005 after working tirelessly for years to help clean up the Bay and keep it healthy.
"During his time in office and in the years following, he contributed greatly to helping our commonwealth fulfill the richness of its potential.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the Baliles family during this difficult time."
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia
“Governor Baliles modernized our roads, pushed environmental policies that understood economic growth and conservation go hand-in-hand, and led unprecedented international missions that laid the groundwork for Virginia to become the global trade hub it is today.
"Given the decades of Virginia prosperity these initiatives have enabled, it would not be hyperbole to say Jerry was one of the commonwealth’s most accomplished governors of the 20th century.
"After leaving office, he continued to donate his intellect, vision, and work ethic for the public good. I’ll always remember the advice he gave me as head of the UVA Miller Center and the support he provided in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. My condolences go out to the Baliles family and all Virginians who, like me, are saddened by his passing.”
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City
“Governor Baliles was a truly transformational leader for the commonwealth.
“His tenure as governor was among the most eventful and consequential in history. His focus on modernizing the commonwealth’s approach to funding transportation brought about significant improvements. Those changes benefited Virginia’s economy then and add to our quality of life today.
“Governor Baliles had a deep and personal commitment to education and the environment, which he championed as governor and continued to promote as a former governor.
“On behalf of the entire Senate Republican Caucus, I extend my sincere and heartfelt sympathies to the Baliles family.”
Former President Bill Clinton:
"Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of Jerry Baliles. He was an extraordinary public servant with a fine mind, a quick wit, and a good heart. He used them all to expand educational opportunities, improve infrastructure, and modernize the economy for the people of Virginia. I’ll always be grateful for the chances we had to work together as governors, especially at the 1989 National Education Summit in Charlottesville and in the Democratic Leadership Council.
"Even after he left politics he never stopped serving, helping to revitalize the airline industry during my presidency, and leading the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.
"It’s easy to say that democracy works better when practiced with civility, honest debate, and good-faith compromise. Jerry Baliles lived it."
Our thoughts are with Robin, his family, and the many people whose lives he touched in Virginia and beyond."
Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker:
“Governor Baliles was a leader in the early fight to save the Chesapeake Bay. The partnership he forged with the other Bay states provided the foundation for Bay restoration efforts. That foundation, which continues today, is our best hope to leave a legacy of clean water for our children and grandchildren.
“We’re grateful for Governor Baliles’ many contributions to the Bay and saddened by his passing.”