Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine was back in Montgomery County (VA) this past Saturday for the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s (MCDC) Annual Picnic and Covered Dish Supper. At Nellies Cave Park in Blacksburg, the week’s miserable weather gave way to blue skies and balmy temperatures. The large set-up crew unloaded all the supply vehicles. We put up tents, tables, signs and banners, set tables, and arranged the food service. Some friends, including many former DFA members (sadly, our Blacksburg DFA has gone inactive, though many DFA-ers are active on the county committee) hugged. We finished set-up twenty minutes early, a good sign, we thought. Our mascot, Rollie the donkey (yes, he is real) happily munched chow and later posed for pictures with attendees. Delegate Jim Shuler summarized the recent year, regaled and charmed. He’s an excellent delegate and great neighbor. A relaxed, beaming and jovial US Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) also enumerated compelling reasons for us to support Tim: and why we should be political optimists this year and next. Then Tim Kaine spoke. Tim has visited schools in 118 of 134 Virginia cities and counties. Tim reminded that he and Mark Warner overcame the billion dollar state education funding shortfall and dramatically improved educational funding. He understands what drives the economy is a strong educational system and sound general infrastructure. If twelve years have taught us anything, it's the study in contrasts that marks the shameless and reckless managment of Virginia's finances prior to the administration of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. As Tim said, this is no time for a 180 degree turn. We want to stay on the path of accountability, good stewardship, bipartisan cooperation and other responsibilities of Virginia to its citizens. We'll remember Kilgore by his pledges to tax- cut, without regard for the cost to ordinary citizens. It’s the governor’s and assembly members’ jobs to make decisions to ordinary citizens' benefit. Kilgore's putting his finger in the wind via referenda is just just more GOP buck passing. Time and again, Democrats have shown themselves more responsible keepers of tax payers' money. Kilgore opposed bipartisan efforts by Mark Warner at every step of the way. He opposed the balanced budget agreement and restoring the state’s fiscal health and bond rating. We –-nearly all of us—will focus like “a laser beam” on the fact there’s virtually no program Kilgore would’t gut for the greater glory of the car tax cut. Kilgore fought Mark Warner every step of the way and now tries to act more “Warner-like” than Tim Kaine. To paraphrase a Lloyd Bentsen quip: I’ve met Mark Warner and you, Mr. Kilgore, are no Mark Warner. Though our State Senator, John Edwards, who represents Blacksburg and part of Roanoke County, didn’t speak last, he summed up the night best when he said: We Democrats don’t determine our worth by wealth, but by the “difference we make in the lives of people.” Tim Kaine models that in his personal and political life. And then Edwards said, “We don’t call Tim "Lt. Governor. We call him Mr. President." Go meet Tim Kaine. Talk with him. Hear him speak. You’ll agree something really important is happening here in Virginia. All eyes are on us and it's not just because we've got the only real race in the country this fall. It's because folks who've met Tim Kaine see it, that flicker that they may have met not only the best candidate for governor, but also most sincere, most gifted and and most charismatic leader to come along in a very long time. Tim Kaine, Rick Boucher, John Edwards, Jim Shuler and local Democratic officials stayed on talking with people who wished them well, thanked them, or had a concern to raise. The signs came down even as the spirit soared. And the 125 in attendance all went our ways knowing how important the next few months are for us, our state, and even the nation.