MARK R. WARNER was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, completing his degree at George Washington University in 1977 and graduating from Harvard Law School in 1980. He is a founding partner of Columbia Capital Corporation, and helped create more than 70 telecommunications and information technology companies. His regional venture capital funds have helped small business start-ups in underserved areas of Virginia, and his ongoing philanthropic endeavors help families find care for seniors, help minority college students find jobs in the tech industry, and help bridge the digital divide through computer instruction in houses of worship.
Warner was inaugurated as governor of Virginia in January of 2002. Since then, he has worked in a bipartisan way to eliminate a $6-billion revenue shortfall; launched comprehensive state government reforms; and implemented innovative, low-cost programs to increase student achievement and accountability in public schools through his Education for a Lifetime initiative. Warner also has worked to make Virginia government a leader in technology, consolidating IT services spread among 93 agencies into a single, enterprise-wide Virginia Information Technologies Agency. The state’s nationally recognized online procurement portal, eVa, has leveled the playing field for small businesses and those owned by women and minorities. Governor Warner assembled a bipartisan coalition to win approval from the 2004 Virginia General Assembly for one of the nation’s most ambitious tax reform proposals, allowing the Commonwealth to make historic investments in public education, higher education, law enforcement and healthcare, while preserving the state’s reputation for fiscal integrity. The plan lowers income taxes for every Virginian, cuts the sales tax on groceries, and closes corporate loopholes.
Warner served as chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association, states’ co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and chairman of the Education Commission of the States, a national nonpartisan policy organization. Warner is also a past chair of the National Governors Association. He is married to Lisa Collis and is the father of three daughters.