Tim Kaine: Missionary, Catholic, Lawyer, Elected Official and 2016 Democrat VP Running Mate

( [email protected] ) Jul 22, 2016 10:09 PM EDT
As one of only 20 people in American history to have served as a mayor, governor and U.S. senator, Tim Kaine now can add U.S vice president candidate to his list. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced Kaine as her 2016 running mate Friday evening.
Tim Kaine became the official 2016 Democratic vice president candidate on July 22, 2016. Facebook

As one of only 20 people in American history to have served as a mayor, governor and U.S. senator, Tim Kaine now can add U.S vice president candidate to his list. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced Kaine as her 2016 running mate Friday evening.

The 58-year-old was first elected to public office in 1994, when he won a seat on the Richmond, Va., City Council. He then was elected mayor of Richmond in 1998, serving in that position until being elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002.  Kaine served as governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010. He became the 51st Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, serving from 2009 to 2011. Kaine was sworn in for a six-year senate term on January 3, 2013.

Born in St. Paul, Minn., Kaine received his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Missouri in 1979, completing his degree in three years. Kaine was a Coro Foundation fellow in Kansas City in 1978. He then attended Harvard Law School, taking a break during law school to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras. Kaine worked in Honduras for nine months from 1980 to 1981, helping Jesuit missionaries who ran a Catholic school in El Progreso. Kaine is fluent in Spanish as a result of his year in Honduras.

Kaine is noted for his domestic and national security resume. He is the first Virginian to serve on a major party's national ticket since John Tyler ran on the Whig ticket in the 1840 election.

Kaine's political positions follow.

Reproductive rights

Kaine, a Roman Catholic, is personally against abortion, but is "largely inclined to keep the law out of women's reproductive decisions." Kaine has said: "I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn't intrude. I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them."

Kaine supports some legal restrictions on abortion, such as requiring parental consent and banning late-term abortions in cases where the woman's life is not at risk.

Kaine previously criticized the Obama administration for "not providing a 'broad enough religious employer exemption'" in the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but praised a 2012 amendment to the regulations that allowed insurers to provide birth control to employees when an employer was an objecting religious organizations.

In 2005, when running for governor, Kaine said he favored reducing abortions by: (1) "Enforcing the current Virginia restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother"; (2) "Fighting teen pregnancy through abstinence-focused education"; (3) "Ensuring women's access to health care (including legal contraception) and economic opportunity"; and (4) "Promoting adoption as an alternative for women facing unwanted pregnancies."

Afghanistan and ISIL

On the issue of the war in Afghanistan, Kaine's website states "The main mission in Afghanistan-destroying Al Qaeda-is nearly complete and we should bring our troops home as quickly as we can, consistent with the need to make sure that Afghanistan poses no danger in the broader region."

In November 2014, at the Halifax International Security Forum, Kaine, together with Senator John McCain, emphasized the necessity of congressional authorization for U.S. military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying: "You just can't have a war without Congress."

On December 11, 2014 after a five-month campaign by Kaine, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved by 10-8 (straight party lines) a measure authorizing military force against the ISIL, but barring the use of ground troops.


Kaine supported granting President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA or "fast track") to allow him to negotiate free trade agreements. Kaine stated that the goal should be to "negotiate deals that protect workers' rights, environmental standards and intellectual property, while knocking down tariffs and other barriers that some countries erect to keep American products out."

In July 2016, Kaine praised the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement as "an improvement of the status quo, but maintained that he had not yet decided how to vote on final approval of the agreement."

Capital Punishment

Despite his personal opposition to capital punishment, often cited during the 2005 campaign by both sides, Kaine oversaw 11 executions as governor, including the execution of John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper, on November 10, 2009. He has vetoed eight death-penalty expansion bills although some of the vetoes were overridden, and opposed the electric chair as an option. In June 2008, Kaine commuted the death sentence of Percy Levar Walton to life imprisonment without parole on grounds on mental incompetence, writing that "one cannot reasonably conclude that Walton is fully aware of the punishment he is about to suffer and why he is to suffer it" and thus executing him would be unconstitutional.

Kaine said: "I really struggled with [capital punishment] as governor. I have a moral position against the death penalty. But I took an oath of office to uphold it. Following an oath of office is also a moral obligation."

Energy and Climate Change

Kaine endorses a comprehensive energy plan. Kaine acknowledges the scientific consensus on climate change, and in a speech on the Senate floor in 2014 criticized both "science deniers" (who deny climate change) and what he termed "leadership deniers"-people who "may not deny the climate science, but they deny that the U.S. can or should be a leader in taking any steps" He has expressed concern about sea level rise, and in particular its effect on coastal Virginia. Kaine endorses an incremental approach toward moving to clean energy, saying that it is imperative " to convert coal to electricity with less pollution than we do today." He has criticized those who "frame the debate as a conflict between an economy and the environment," saying that "Protecting the environment is good for the economy."

Kaine supports oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic Coast, saying, "I have long believed that the moratorium on offshore drilling, based on a cost-benefit calculation performed decades ago, should be re-examined." He also supports the development solar energy and of offshore wind turbines.


Kaine supported passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, saying in 2012: "I was a supporter and remain a supporter of the Affordable Care Act. I felt like it was a statement that we were going to put some things in the rear-view mirror." In 2013, Kaine said that he agreed that changes to the ACA should be debated, but criticized Republicans for "wrapping them up with the threat" of a federal government shutdown.

LGBT Rights

In 2006, Kaine campaigned against an amendment to the Virginia State Constitution to bar same-sex marriage, and in March 2013, Kaine announced his support of same-sex marriage, saying "I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution."

In the Senate, Kaine has co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Kaine's position on LGBT adoption has changed over time. In 2005, Kaine said that "No couples in Virginia can adopt other than a married couple - that's the right policy." In 2011, however, Kaine shifted his position, saying "if a judge thinks adoption by an unmarried couple-gay or straight-meets that standard, then the couple should be allowed to complete the adoption." In 2012, he stated that "There should be a license that would entitle a committed couple to the same rights as a married couple."

Guns and Crime

Kaine is a gun owner. He has supported expanded background checks for weapons purchases as well as "restrictions on the sale of combat-style weapons and high-capacity magazine." As governor, Kaine oversaw the closing of loopholes in Virginia law that allowed some who had failed background checks to purchase guns. In the Senate, Kaine has supported the Manchin-Toomey legislation, which would require background checks to be performed for weapons sold at gun shows and via the internet. He also supports legislation to bar weapons sales to suspected terrorists on the No-fly List.


Kaine said he supports allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for those with high incomes.

In 2012, Kaine supported raising the cap on income subject for the FICA (Social Security) payroll tax "so that it covers a similar percentage of income as it did in the 1980s under President Reagan, which would greatly extend the solvency of the (Social Security) program."

In the Senate, Kaine has supported the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to require online retailers to collect the same sales taxes in the same manner as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers collect.

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