Virginia lawmakers, officials react to the passing of former U.S. Sen. John Warner

Warner represented Virginia in the Senate from 1979-2009

A man who was once a powerful figure in the U.S. Senate is being remembered tonight.

Former Sen. John Warner of Virginia, a former Navy secretary who was once married to Elizabeth Taylor, has died at the age of 94 in his Alexandria home.

Warner represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate starting in 1979 before he retired in 2009, and state officials have shared words to honor Warner’s life and career in politics.

We’ve compiled a list of statements and reactions from officials across the Commonwealth:

Sen. Mark Warner

“John Warner was a consummate statesman and a public servant who always put Virginia before politics; who put the nation’s security before partisanship; who put the country’s needs above his own.

“In Virginia, we expect a lot of our elected officials. We expect them to lead, yet remain humble. We expect them to serve, but with dignity. We expect them to fight for what they believe in, but without making it personal. John Warner was the embodiment of all that and more. I firmly believe that we could use more role models like him today. There’s little I’m prouder of than the fact that he twice endorsed me for re-election.

“I will dearly miss having John’s counsel and wisdom to call upon in the years ahead. But more than that, I will miss his friendship, because I loved him. My deepest condolences go out to his children and his entire family, especially his devoted wife of many years, Jeanne.”

He also shared a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday about Warner’s passing alongside Sen. Tim Kaine:

Sen. Tim Kaine

Sen, Republican Leader Thomas Norment Jr.

“John Warner served the people of Virginia and the nation in the United States Senate with distinction for thirty years. During his tenure, the men and women of our armed services had a forceful and dedicated champion in Senator Warner.

“A Navy veteran and former Secretary of the Navy, Senator Warner understood the importance of American military strength. Ever mindful of Virginia’s key role in ensuring a strong national defense, he worked to ensure Virginia remained pre-eminent in providing for our national security.

“It is extraordinary for one person to be so prominent for so long in Virginia politics. Senator Warner endured because the people of Virginia knew he put their interests first.

“On behalf of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, I extend our sincerest sympathies to Senator Warner’s family on his passing. His mission completed, he has left a legacy of service as an example for future generations.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

Rep. Rob Wittman

Rep. Ben Cline

“Today Virginians mourn the loss of John Warner, a man whose life’s work was dedicated to serving others and the Commonwealth. He will be remembered as a staple of Virginia politics who was unrelenting in his efforts to bolster our Nation’s military to ensure the safety and security of the United States. John fought tirelessly for the people of Virginia, and his life and legacy will not soon be forgotten. Elizabeth and I offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and to all of those who were fortunate enough to know him.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger

Rep. Morgan Griffith

“John Warner was an old friend. More importantly for the country and the Commonwealth, he was a giant of Virginia politics. For five terms he represented Virginia with distinction in the United States Senate, and among his achievements, he helped drive the military expansion that won the Cold War.

“I was his campaign’s Emory & Henry College coordinator during his first fight for the Republican nomination for Senate. I fondly remember putting signs together in the modest hotel suite of the future senator and his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor. I was honored when he repaid the favor by assisting me in my first race for the House of Delegates. A true gentleman and patriot, John Warner will be missed but not forgotten

Rep. Elaine Luria

About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.