Who is Tim Kaine?
Tim Kaine is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Virginia since January 2013. Elected to the Senate in 2012, he is the nominee of the Democratic Party for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election. A lawyer by profession, he graduated from the University of Missouri, and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School. The son of an ironworker and a home economics teacher, he was not raised in a political household but grew interested in politics as a young man. While studying law the staunch Catholic worked with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras and witnessed the devastating effects of poverty. This ignited in him a commitment to social justice, a value that would be reflected in his future career. He ventured into a successful legal career and devoted much of his time to pro-bono work, often representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability. His political career began in the 1990s when he was elected to the Richmond City Council. He rose to higher political ranks over the ensuing years and was elected governor of Virginia in 2005. He proceeded to serve as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee before being elected to the Senate.
Childhood & Early Life
Timothy Michael "Tim" Kaine was born on February 26, 1958, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His mother, Mary Kathleen (née Burns), was a home economics teacher, and his father Albert Alexander Kaine, Jr. was a welder and the owner of a small iron-working shop. He has two younger brothers.
Raised a Catholic, he went to Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit all-boys preparatory school in Kansas City, Missouri, graduating in 1976. He was a part of his high school debate team and was elected student body president.
He joined the University of Missouri and received his BA in economics in 1979, graduating summa cum laude.
Aspiring to be a lawyer he entered Harvard Law School in 1979. He interrupted his studies for several months to work with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. There he witnessed rampant poverty and was deeply moved by the plight of the underprivileged. His experience in Honduras motivated him to contribute towards social justice. He graduated with a J.D. degree in 1983.
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Tim Kaine was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1984. He began his career as a law clerk to Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Macon, Georgia, before joining the Richmond law firm of Little, Parsley & Cluverius.
He had a successful legal career and became a director with the law firm of Mezzullo & McCandlish in 1987. He specialized in fair housing law and often represented clients discriminated against on the basis of race or disability. He devoted much of his time to pro-bono work and helped found the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness.
In addition to practicing law he also taught legal ethics as an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond School of Law for six years starting from 1988.
Even though he hailed from an apolitical family, his wife’s family had political interests which in turn influenced him. He ventured into politics in the 1990s and was elected to the city council of the independent city of Richmond in 1994.
His stature as a politician grew steadily over the years and he held such positions as the Mayor of Richmond (1998–2001) and lieutenant governor of Virginia (2002–2005). As the mayor he implemented the law known as Project Exile to reduce gun-related violence while as the lieutenant governor he also served as president of the Virginia Senate.
Kaine set his ambitions higher and in 2005, ran for governor of Virginia against Republican candidate Jerry W. Kilgore, a former state attorney general. Initially considered an underdog, he emphasized fiscal responsibility and a centrist message during the election campaign. He went on to win the election and was inaugurated as the state's 70th governor on January 14, 2006.
His stint as the governor was largely successful though he faced considerable challenges during the 2008–09 economic crisis. Still during his tenure, the unemployment in Virginia remained lower than the national average even in the midst of the Great Recession.
He proved to be quite popular as the governor and the state thrived under his governorship. In a 2007 report by ‘Education Week’ and the Pew Center on the States, Virginia was rated as the best state to raise a child.
He became the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in January 2009, at the request of President Obama. In this position he oversaw a significant expansion of the party's grassroots focus through Organizing for America, the political operation for the White House.
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His term as governor came to an end in January 2010 following which he taught part-time at the University of Richmond. In 2012 he was elected to the Senate and was sworn in as the junior United States Senator from Virginia on January 3, 2013.
Tim Kaine endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2016 and campaigned actively for her. In July 2016, Clinton named him as her vice presidential running mate in the 2016 presidential election.
When he was the Mayor of Richmond, Kaine, along with Commonwealth's Attorney David Hicks, U.S. Attorney James Comey, and Police Chief Jerry Oliver supported Project Exile, a project which though controversial was an effective program. During his tenure, the homicide rate fell by 55%.
As the Governor of Virginia, he established the Climate Change Commission, a bipartisan panel to study climate change issues, and successfully protected 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) of Virginia land from development.
Awards & Achievements
Tim Kaine is the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, then the Virginia Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice (2000).
The University of Richmond School of Law honored him with the William Green Award for Professional Excellence in 2012.
He received the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Congressional Award in 2015 and the Center for the National Interest's Distinguished Service Award in 2016.
Personal Life & Legacy
He met Anne Bright Holton, the daughter of former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr., when they were both in law school. The couple got married in 1984 and has three children.
This politician is one of 30 people in American history to have served as a mayor, governor and United States senator.