"All the challenges of your term and you’re smiling?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Listen to the speech here.

Read the full speech here.

Tim Kaine, ever the optimist and ever smiling, concludes his State of the Commonwealth address earlier this evening to the General Assembly in Richmond.
As I conclude, I’ll just briefly mention a recent event that really sums up my feelings tonight. When we unveiled my official portrait last week, the audience reacted with a bit of surprise. In a departure from other Governors’ portraits before mine, I am not wearing a jacket in the image—just a shirt and tie. I am standing outdoors on the banks of the James River. But, the main reaction I heard was surprise that I am smiling in the portrait. One of the members of the press covering the event actually asked me with a sense of incredulity after the unveiling: “All the challenges of your term and you’re smiling?”

Of course I’m smiling. Even in the toughest of circumstances, there is no higher honor than to serve as the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I have had the full experience of serving in the best and worst of times and the memories are powerful—playing harmonica with bluegrass bands all over the Commonwealth, kayaking to the barrier islands off the Eastern Shore, visiting our Virginia Guard troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, welcoming Queen Elizabeth back to Virginia, comforting the families of law enforcement personnel slain in duty and the families of wonderful young people and faculty who lost their lives on one of the most tragic days in our state’s history in April 2007. I rejoiced on the great days and prayed for strength on the hard days, humbled and honored to play my small role in the grand sweep of Virginia history.

I’m smiling because, as I finish my time as Chief Executive, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and satisfied to place the reins of a successful state in the hands of a friend, Bob McDonnell.

With confidence in our success, I wish each of you the very best and look forward to working alongside all Virginians as we continue to lead this nation for years to come.

Thank you.
Now, Governor Kaine, you could put a smile on many peoples' faces if you would issue an executive order restoring voting rights to thousands of Virginia ex-felons. :)

P.S. For a very different tone (and content), see the Republican response here.