Special/Signature Issues » And One to Grow On

2 Mayor-Governors



Politicians do the darnedest things. Traditional logic would dictate an ascent through the ranks, achieving increasingly higher office before retiring to a sunset of corporate board appointments. Not so 'round these parts of late.

In Richmond an ex-mayor moves to the Executive Mansion even as an ex-governor moves into … well, into the Hip Shockoe Bottom Apartment, official residence (hear that, you State Board of Elections guys snooping around down in West Point?) of Richmond's at-large, strong mayor.

L. Douglas Wilder ascended to political heaven as the nation's first elected black governor, only to allow gravity to drag him back to this mud heap we call Richmond. Again, assuming the clumsy frame of a mortal man, Wilder has deigned to rule over us as lord mayor and chief, reminding us frequently that he's only here to save us from the mess left by his predecessors -- among them, Tim Kaine, who's governor.

For his part, Gov. Kaine gives off happy vibes wherever he lands. Whether it's as a simple councilman or later as mayor or now as governor, he's lived and walked among us for years, wide grin and crinkly Kris Kringle eyes all aglow even amid the turmoil of City Hall that existed before Wilder swooped in all herolike.

Now it's Kaine's turn to sleep on the big pillow of the state's chief executive that once cradled Wilder's restless noggin.

It's been a hard row to hoe for Kaine down at the Capitol, what with budget shortfalls and a looming transportation crisis once averted, but that again has his Republican rivals revving their political demolition derby engines.

So might Kaine follow in Wilder's boot-steps, coming full-circle back home to City Hall, campaigning on promises to clean up Wilder's mess?

Could be déjà vu all over again.

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