RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following news of the death of former US Senator John Warner at the age of 94, messages remembering him from Virginia leaders started to pour in.
US Senator Tim Kaine called Warner an unmatched leader. Kaine also recalled Warner’s time in the Navy where he served alongside Linwood Holton, his father-in-law.
“John Warner and my father-in-law, Linwood Holton, interrupted their college studies to join the Navy during World War II. Each served in the Pacific theatre, and they met when they returned to Washington and Lee at the close of the war. Their fraternity brother days started a friendship that lasted 75 years. Lin and John worked together, built the Virginia Republican Party from irrelevance into a formidable force, competed against one another in the 1978 Virginia Senate race, and always found time for new projects and humorous reminiscence,” Kaine wrote.
Kaine added that Warner’s death will leave a big hole in his life.
Larry Sabato, director at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that when Warner visited his classes, students couldn’t get enough of him.
Mark Warner, a US Senator from Virginia, said he was devastated by the news of Warner’s death. The current US Senator said it was an honor to take over John Warner’s seat after he decided not to run for a sixth term. Mark and John Warner are not related.
“To me, he was the gold standard in Virginia,” Warner tweeted. “I’ll miss you, John.”
Mark Herring who is the 47th Attorney General of Virginia, said that Warner was an example of what it meant to be a statesman and a public servant.
“His commitment to our country and commonwealth has set a standard for generations to follow,” Herring tweeted.
Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria, said she got to know Warner in the past several years. She remembers him as a man who was committed to the military and our troops.
“He’s a towering figure in Virginian and American life. May his memory be a blessing,” Rep. Luria said.
Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, recalled a sweet story about Warner. She said at Sen. Mark Warner’s swearing-in in 2009, she asked Sen. John Warner to say hi to her mother on the phone.
Her mom told Sen. John Warner that she had voted for him four times. Roem said Warner smiled and responded, “I ran 5 times! What happened the 5th one?”
Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott remembered Warner for setting the tone in Virginia politics. In a statement, Scott said that Warner set the example of how Democrats and Republicans should work together for the betterment of all Virginians.
“In the Senate, John was always focused on what was best for the Commonwealth, and he could always be relied on to prioritize the people he served, not party or politics,” Scott said.
Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger said she cherishes Warner’s guidance and mentorship during her time in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Generations of Virginia public servants will live by his example,” Rep. Spanberger said.
Virginia Delegate Jason Miyares said America is mourning a political giant today.
“Our Nation lost a true Virginia Gentleman who served our Commonwealth and the US with honor and distinction,” Del. Miyares said.
Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam ordered the Virginia state flag be flown at half-staff over the Virginia Capitol on the day of his funeral.
“He used that voice in the Senate to forge bipartisan compromise, knowing how and when to reach across the aisle. And he always put Virginia first,” Gov. Northam said.
Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman said it was an honor serving alongside Warner early in his House of Representative career. He shared that Warner quickly became a friend and mentor who never hesitated to share knowledge or experience.
“In a time of such bitter partisan divide, we must continue to look to his example as a servant leader who challenged our Commonwealth and Nation to grow and change for the better with each passing day. The Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America will him dearly as Virginia’s leaders strive to carry on his legacy,” Rep. Wittman said.
Todd Gilbert, the Republican Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, said Warner always answered the call to service.
“Senator Warner was a true statesman who served diligently to better the lives of Virginians and Americans. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time,” said Del. Gilbert said.
Terry McAuliffe, the 72nd Governor of Virginia, shared Virginia lost a great man and that America needs more people like John Warner.
“Veteran of two wars. People over Party. Unparalleled public servant who delivered for Virginians and America. The Commonwealth lost a true hero today,” McAuliffe said.
Jennifer McClellan, a Virginia State Senator, said she was deeply saddened by the death of John Warner.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear of Sen. John Warner’s passing. He was a true gentleman and public servant, and always willing to put partisanship aside for the good of the Commonwealth and the country he proudly served,” Senator McClellan said.
This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.