Kaine to sign college bill here

June 9, 2006

The Martinsville Bulletin

Gov. Tim Kaine is scheduled to sign the bill creating the New College Institute in Martinsville and Henry County on Wednesday.

The signing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Chatmoss Country Club, according to the governor's schedule released by his office.
Kaine signed the actual legislation creating the New College Institute in May. Bills sponsoring the college were introduced by state Sen. W. Roscoe Reynolds, D-Ridgeway, and Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Collinsville.
"This is a photo opportunity requested ... and is another opportunity to highlight in the community what the legislature did" in approving the New College Institute, said Kevin Hall, Kaine's press secretary.

But even if it had not been requested, Hall said Kaine would have come to the community for the ceremonial signing because the institute is "a pet project for the governor."
Kaine, who has supported the institute for the past two years, called its creation "an important step forward towards economic recovery in the region" during his State of the Commonwealth address in January.

The following month during a town hall meeting on transportation in Henry County, he vowed to "make sure the money is there" to start the institute. " ... I'm going to find dollars to make this thing go because I think it's very important," he said.

Despite the governor's signature on the bill creating the New College Institute, its funding remains in limbo along with the rest of the state budget. While that debate -- centering on transportation issues but holding up all state funds -- continues, New College Institute officials have pursued programs and alliances with other colleges and universities so the institute can begin a pilot program for as many as 50 students this fall.

New College Institute officials had scheduled a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Chatmoss to announce their progress on those plans.

Two hours earlier, the institute will hold an "appreciation luncheon to celebrate the creation of the New College Institute." Hall said Kaine will be unable to attend that event because of General Assembly meetings.


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