When Hillary Clinton selected Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Thursday evening, it marked the first time since Woodrow Wilson that a Virginian is on the national ticket.
Virginia may be the mother of presidents — it’s had eight, more than any other state — just not in 100 years or so. And the last vice president from Virginia was John Tyler, who served for 30 days and then was vaulted to president upon the death of William Henry Harrison.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 23, 2016
Kaine, 58, has represented Virginia in the U.S Senate since 2012. Prior to that he served as Virginia governor (2006-10) and Mayor of Richmond. He has a law degree from Harvard and spent a year as a Catholic missionary in Honduras (where he learned to speak fluent Spanish). He is also a former Democratic National Committee Chairman.
Kaine’s early legal career was spent in Richmond, representing clients in fair housing and racial discrimination cases. His attention to civil rights is one factor that makes him “a Reston kind of guy,” says Virginia Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston).
“Tim Kaine is a Reston kind of guy,” said Plum. “He made his mark early on in civil rights litigation. The kind of things our community stands for are the kind of things Tim Kaine stands for.”
Kaine and Clinton spoke together last week at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale.
Kaine has made many appearances in Reston in recent years. He sat next to Reston founder Bob Simon at Simon’s 100th birthday celebration in April of 2014. He praised Simon as a visionary in creating an integrated new town in a divided south.
“In 1964, when Reston opened, discrimination was rampant and legal,” Kaine said that day at Lake Anne Plaza. “It wasn’t until 1968 that the federal Fair Housing Act was passed. It wasn’t until 1971 that the Virginia General Assembly passed the South’s first fair housing law. Bob [Simon] was a real visionary.
“When we look at Virginia history since World War II, Bob should be one of the five or six individuals [we talk about]. Bob took a state that was facing backward and turned it facing forward.”
Kaine also spoke at Simon’s celebration of life last April.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va. 11th) called Clinton’s pick of Kaine “a wise choice.”
“The choice for Vice President should not be symbolic,” Connolly said in a statement. “It is about qualifications. It is a position of great responsibility. Secretary Clinton has made a wise choice in selecting my friend, our Senator, Tim Kaine as her running mate.
“Tim has served honorably as Mayor of Richmond, Lieutenant Governor, Governor and Senator for all Virginians,” Connolly said. “He’s a deliberate and thoughtful legislator, a serious and substantive policy wonk, and a bridge builder. If you are looking for moral authenticity in politics look no further than Tim Kaine. I think the world of him.”
Kaine has received some criticism from the more liberal wing of the Democratic party, who are concerned with Kaine’s positions on global trade deals and Wall Street regulation. He has been an advocate of free trade and has defended the North American Free Trade Agreement, which some citizens blame for the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico.
Kaine is married to Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton. While governor in 2008, Kaine backed a $22 million proposal in the Virginia General Assembly to make pre-kindergarten education more accessible to at-risk four-year-olds.
Kaine is Catholic, and has said while he is personally against abortion, he supports a woman’s right to choose. He has also said he is against the death penalty.
Kaine is one of 35 senators given an “F” rating by the NRA.
On the Senate Armed Services committee, Kaine has maintained that Congressional approval is necessary for the commitment of U.S. troops, particularly in response to the Civil War in Syria and strikes against ISIS.
“Tim Kaine is the genuine article,” said Plum. “He is right on the issues, sincere in his approach to leadership, and credible. He will be a sharp contrast to the other side of the ticket. I think that will strengthen the ticket.”
Said Virginia’s senior senator Mark Warner:
“I enthusiastically applaud Secretary Clinton’s choice. Without reservation, I can say there is no one of higher integrity and trustworthiness. … “He always finds reasons for hope and optimism in every situation, and he is centered by his faith and his family. Our country, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, will be very well-served by electing Tim Kaine as Vice President.”
Kaine and Clinton will make their first appearance together Saturday in Miami.