“Tim” Kaine (born February 26, 1958) is an American attorney and politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Kaine was elected to the Senate in 2012 and is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election.
Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Kaine grew up in Missouri and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School before entering private practice and becoming a lecturer at the University of Richmond School of Law. He was first elected to public office in 1994, when he won a seat on the Richmond, Virginia City Council. He was then elected mayor of Richmond in 1998, serving in that position until being elected lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2001. Kaine was elected governor of Virginia in 2005, serving from 2006 to 2010. He served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.
On July 22, 2016, Hillary Clinton announced that she had selected Kaine as her vice presidential running mate in the 2016 presidential election.
Kaine was born at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is the eldest of three sons born to Mary Kathleen (née Burns), a home economics teacher, and Albert Alexander Kaine, Jr., a welder and the owner of a small iron-working shop. He was raised Catholic. Kaine’s father is of Scottish and Irish ancestry, and his mother is of Irish descent. Kaine’s family moved to Overland Park, Kansas, when Kaine was two years old, and he grew up in the Kansas City area. In 1976, he graduated from Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit all-boys preparatory school in Kansas City, Missouri. At Rockhurst, Kaine joined the debate team and was elected student body president.
Kaine received his B.A. in economics from the University of Missouri in 1979, completing his degree in three years and graduating summa cum laude.] He was a Coro Foundation fellow in Kansas City in 1978, 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. While running a vocational center that taught carpentry and welding, he also helped increase the school’s enrollment by recruiting local villagers. Kaine is fluent in Spanish as a result of his year in Honduras.
After returning from Honduras, Kaine met his future wife, first-year Harvard Law student Anne Holton. He graduated from Harvard Law School with a J.D. degree in 1983. Kaine and Holton moved to Holton’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia, after graduation, and Kaine was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1984.
Legal career and Richmond City Council
After graduating from law school, Kaine served as law clerk to Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Macon, Georgia.
Kaine then joined the Richmond law firm of Little, Parsley & Cluverius, P.C. In 1987, Kaine became a director with the law firm of Mezzullo & McCandlish, P.C. Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in fair housing law and representing clients discriminated against on the basis of race or disability.
He was a board member of the Virginia chapter of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, which he represented in a landmark discrimination lawsuit against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.’s practices in Richmond.
Kaine did regular pro bono work. In 1988, Kaine started teaching legal ethics as an adjunct professor at the University Of Richmond School Of Law.] Kaine taught at the University of Richmond for six years, and his students included future Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. He was a founding member of the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness.
Kaine had a largely apolitical childhood, but became interested in politics in part due to the influence of his wife’s family and his experience attending Richmond city council meetings. In May 1994, Kaine was elected to the city council of the independent city of Richmond, from the City’s 2nd District. He defeated incumbent city councilman Benjamin P.A. Warthen by fewer than one hundred votes. Kaine served four terms on the council, the latter two as mayor.
Mayor of Richmond (1998–2001)
In July 1998, Kaine was elected mayor of Richmond, succeeding Larry Chavis. He was chosen by a majority-black City Council, becoming the city’s first white mayor in more than ten years, which was viewed as a surprise. Previous mayors had treated the role as primarily ceremonial one, with the city manager effectively operating the city; Kaine treated the office as a full-time job, taking a more hands-on role.
As mayor, Kaine used a sale-leaseback arrangement to obtain funds to renovate the historic Maggie L. Walker High School and reopen it in 2000 as a magnet governor’s school, the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, which “now serves the top students in Central Virginia.” Three elementary schools and one middle school were also built in Richmond under Kaine.
Along with Commonwealth’s Attorney David Hicks, U.S. Attorney James Comey, and Police Chief Jerry Oliver, Kaine was a support of Project Exile, which a reporter described as a “controversial but effective program,” that shifted gun crimes to federal court, where armed defendants faced harsher sentences. The effort “won broad political support” and the city’s homicide rate fell by 55% over Kaine’s tenure in office. Kaine later touted Project Exile during his campaign for lieutenant governor in 2001.
On several occasions, Kaine voted in opposition to tax increases, and supported a tax abatement program for renovated buildings, which was credited for a housing-renovation boom in the city. Richmond was named one of “the 10 best cities in America to do business” by Forbes magazine during Kaine’s term.
According to John Moeser, a professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at Virginia Commonwealth University and later a visiting fellow at the University of Richmond’s Center for Civic Engagement, during his time as mayor Kaine “was energetic, charismatic and, most important, spoke openly about his commitment to racial reconciliation in Richmond.” In the early part of his term, Kaine issued an apology for the city’s role in slavery, the apology was generally well received as “a genuine, heartfelt expression.” In the latter part of his term, a contentious debate took place in the city over the inclusion of a portrait of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in a set of historic murals to be placed on city floodwalls; Kaine came out in favor of Lee’s inclusion, arguing that placing Lee on the floodwall made sense in context.
During his tenure as mayor, Kaine drew criticism for spending $6,000 in public funds on buses to the Million Mom March, an anti-gun-violence rally in Washington, D.C.; after a backlash, Kaine raised the money privately and reimbursed the city.
Lieutenant governor of Virginia (2002–2005)
Kaine ran for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2001. Kaine joined the race after state senator Emily Couric dropped out due to pancreatic cancer and endorsed Kaine as her replacement. In the Democratic primary election, Kaine ran against state Delegate Alan A. Diamonstein of Newport News, and state Delegate Jerrauld C. Jones of Norfolk. Kaine won the nomination, garnering 39.7% of the vote to Diamonstein’s 31.4% and Jones’ 28.9%.
In the general election, Kaine won with 925,974 votes (50.35%), of the vote, edging out his Republican opponent, state Delegate Jay Katzen, who received 883,886 votes (48.06%). Libertarian Gary Reams received 28,783 votes (1.57%. Kaine was inaugurated on January 12, 2002, and was sworn in by his wife Anne Holton, a state judge.
2005 gubernatorial election
In 2005, Kaine ran for governor of Virginia against Republican candidate Jerry W. Kilgore, a former state attorney general. Kaine was considered an underdog for most of the race, trailing in polls for most of the election. Two polls released in September 2005 showed Kaine trailing Kilgore—by four percentage points in a Washington Post poll and by one percentage point in a Mason-Dixon/Roanoke Times poll. The final opinion polls of the race before the November election showed Kaine slightly edging ahead of Kilgore.
Kaine ultimately prevailed, winning 1,025,942 votes (51.7%) to Kilgore’s 912,327 (46.0%). (A third candidate—independent state Senator H. Russell Potts Jr., who ran as an “independent Republican”—received 43,953 votes (2.2%).
Kaine emphasized fiscal responsibility and a centrist message. He expressed support for controlling sprawl and tackling longstanding traffic issues, an issue that resonated in the exurbs of northern Virginia. He benefited from his association with the popular outgoing Democratic governor, Mark Warner, who had performed well in traditionally Republican areas of the state. On the campaign trail, Kaine referred to the “Warner-Kaine administration” in speeches and received the strong backing of Warner. Kilgore later attributed his defeat to Warner’s high popularity and the “plummeting popularity” of Republican President George W. Bush, who held one rally with Kilgore on the campaign’s final day.
The campaign turned sharply negative in its final weeks, with Kilgore running television attack ads that claimed, incorrectly, that Kaine believed that “Hitler doesn’t qualify for the death penalty.” The ads also attacked Kaine for his service ten years earlier as a court-appointed attorney for a death-row inmate. The Republican ad was denounced by the editorial boards of the Washington Post and a number of Virginia newspapers as a “smear” and “dishonest.” Kaine responded with an ad “in which he told voters that he opposes capital punishment but would take an oath and enforce the death penalty. In later polls, voters said they believed Kaine’s response and were angered by Kilgore’s negative ads.”
In the election, Kaine won by large margins in the Democratic strongholds such as Richmond and Northern Virginia’s inner suburbs (such as Alexandria and Arlington), as well as in the Democratic-trending Fairfax County. Kaine also won Republican-leaning areas in Northern Virginia’s outer suburbs, including Prince William County and Loudoun County, where George W. Bush had beat John Kerry in the previous year’s presidential election, and performed “surprisingly well in Republican strongholds like Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.” Kaine also defeated Kilgore in the burgeoning Richmond suburbs. Kilgore led in southwest Virginia and in the Shenandoah Valley.
Governor of Virginia (2006–2010)
Tim Kaine, 5th man from right, with Virginia Tech officials, receives East Carolina University donation to Virginia Tech memorial fund during Hokies’ 2007 football home opener
Kaine was sworn in as governor at the colonial Capitol at Williamsburg, on January 14, 2006, the first governor since Thomas Jefferson to be inaugurated there.
Kaine served as chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association from 2008 to 2009.
Democratic response to State of the Union address
On January 31, 2006, Kaine gave the Democratic response to President George W. Bush’s 2006 State of the Union address. In it, Kaine criticized the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act for “wreaking havoc on local school districts”; criticized congressional Republicans for cutting student loan programs; and condemned as “reckless” Bush’s spending increases and tax cuts. Kaine praised bipartisan initiatives in Virginia “to make record investments in education” and to improve veterans’ access to veterans’ benefits. Kaine criticized the Bush administration’s conduct of the Iraq War and treatment of U.S. soldiers; saying that “the American people were given inaccurate information about reasons for invading Iraq”; “our troops in Iraq were not given the best body armor or the best intelligence”; and “the administration wants to further reduce military and veterans’ benefits.”
Energy, the environment, and conservation
As governor, Kaine successfully protected 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) of Virginia land from development, fulfilling a promise that he made in 2005. Kaine’s conservation efforts focused on conservation easements (voluntary easements that preserve the private ownership of a piece of land while also permanently protecting it from development); a substantial Virginia land preservation tax credit encouraged easements. From 2004 to 2009, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (a quasi-governmental entity set up in 1966 to preserve open land in the state) protected more land than it had in the previous forty years, a fact touted by Kaine as his term drew to a close.
As governor, Kaine established the Climate Change Commission, a bipartisan panel to study climate change issues. The panel was shuttered under Kaine’s Republican successor, Governor Robert F. McDonnell, but was revived (as the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission) under his successor, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Kaine supported a coal-fired power plant project in Wise County, clashing with environmentalists who opposed the project.
In 2009, Kaine expressed support for tighter restrictions on mountaintop removal coal mining imposed by the Obama administration.
Civil War records
In October 2006, Kaine announced that Virginia would be the first state to index and digitize records from the Reconstruction-era Freedmen’s Bureau, facilitating research into post-Civil War African-American history.
In October 2006, Kaine signed an executive order banning smoking in all government buildings and state-owned cars as of January 1, 2007. He signed legislation banning smoking in restaurants and bars, with some exceptions, in March 2009, making Virginia the first Southern state to do so.
In 2007, the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly passed legislation, with “overwhelming bipartisan support,” to require girls to receive the HPV vaccine (which immunizes recipients against a virus that causes cervical cancer) before entering high school. Kaine expressed “some qualms” about the legislation and pushed for a strong opt-out provision, ultimately signing a bill that included a provision allowing parents to opt out of the requirement without citing a reason.
In 2007, Kaine secured increases in state funding for nursing in the Virginia General Assembly, announce a 10% salary increase for nursing faculty above the normal salary increase for state employees, plus additional funds for scholarships for nursing master’s programs. The initiatives were aimed at addressing a shortage of practicing nurses.
Virginia Tech shooting
Following the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed, Kaine appointed an eight-member Virginia Tech Review Panel, chaired by retired Virginia State Police superintendent W. Gerald Massengill to probe the event. The commission members included specialists in psychology, law, forensics and higher education as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. The commission first met in May 2007, and issued its findings and recommendations in August 2007.
Among other recommendations, the panel proposed many mental health reforms. Based on the panel’s recommendations, Kaine proposed $42 million of investment in mental health programs and reforms, included “boosting access to outpatient and emergency mental health services, increasing the number of case managers and improving monitoring of community-based providers.” In April 2007, Kaine signed an executive order instructing state agencies to step up efforts to block gun sales to people involuntarily committed to inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment centers. Kaine, who had been in Japan on a trade mission at the time of the shootings, received widespread praise for his quick return to the state and his handling of the issue.
Budget and economy
Among Kaine’s greatest challenges as governor came during the 2008-09 economic crisis, and some, like the Washington Post’s Laura Vozzella, strongly approve of his actions during the time, saying “perhaps his greatest success was keeping the state running despite [the crisis].” In the midst of the Great Recession, unemployment in Virginia remained lower than the national average. During Kaine’s tenure as governor, the unemployment rate in Virginia rose from 3.2% to 7.4%, a smaller increase than the national unemployment rate which rose from 4.7% to 9.9% during the same period.
As governor, Kaine approved about $3.31 billion in general fund spending cuts, and after the end of Kaine’s term in office, the Virginia General Assembly adopted about $1.33 billion in additional budget cuts that Kaine had recommended, for a total of $4.64 billion in cuts. The Washington Post noted: “Unable to raise taxes and required by law to balance the budget, he was forced to make unpopular cuts that led to such things as shuttered highway rest stops and higher public university tuition.” Virginia was one of three states to earn the highest grade in terms of management in a report by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States. Virginia took first place each year from 2006 to 2009 in the “Best States For Business” rankings published by Forbes magazine.
Kaine proposed $4 billion in tax increases while governor, which were not passed by the state legislature.
Infrastructure and transportation
In July 2007, during the debate on the Silver Line of the Washington Metro through Tysons Corner, Kaine supported an elevated track solution in preference to a tunnel, citing costs and potential delays that would put federal funding at risk.
In 2006, Kaine pressed the General Assembly to support a legislative package to ease severe traffic congestion by spending $1.1 billion in repairs for aging roads and other transportation projects. The Democratic-controlled House supported the plan, but the Republican-controlled House was ultimately unwilling to approve the taxes necessary to carry out the project, however, and the effort failed even after a special session of the Legislature was called over the transportation-funding stalemate.
In 2007, Republicans in the General Assembly passed their own transportation-funding bill. Rather than a statewide tax increase to finance the transportation improvements, as Kaine and most legislative Democrats favored, the Republican bill called for transportation funding “to come from borrowing $2.5 billion and paying the debt costs out of the general fund”; authorized local tax increase in Northern Virginia; increased fees and taxes on rental cars, commercial real estate, and hotels; and increased traffic infraction fines and driver’s licenses fees.
Kaine and most legislative Democrats opposed the Republican legislation, stating that it was inadequate to address traffic congestion and that the withdrawal of funds from the general fund would affect core services such as health care, law enforcement, and education. Kaine ultimately signing a bill with amendments reflected “concerns by local government officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers who were concerned that the plan took too much money from the state’s general fund.
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. Virginia was rated as the best state to raise a child in a 2007 report by Education Week and the Pew Center on the States.
About 145,000 emails from Kaine and his staff during his term as governor are publicly accessible from the Library of Virginia. Politico conducted an analysis of the correspondence and wrote that the messages show Kaine to be a “media-savvy” and detail-oriented “micro-manager” who is also a policy “wonk”.
Cabinet and appointments
Kaine announced his support for Senator Obama’s presidential bid in February 2007. It was maintained that Kaine’s endorsement was the first from a statewide elected official outside of Illinois. Because Kaine was a relatively popular governor of a Southern state, there was media speculation that he was a potential nominee for vice president.
Obama had supported Kaine in his campaign for governor and had said about him: “Tim Kaine has a message of fiscal responsibility and generosity of spirit. That kind of message can sell anywhere.” On July 28, 2008, Politico reported that Kaine was “very, very high” on Obama’s shortlist for vice president, a list which also included then Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. Obama ultimately selected Biden to become the vice-presidential nominee.
Democratic National Committee chair (2009–2011)
In January 2009, Kaine became the Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Kaine turned down the position the first time it was offered to him, expressing misgivings about accepting a partisan position, but nonetheless took the job at the request of President Obama. During his tenure, he oversaw a significant expansion of the party’s grassroots focus through Organizing for America.
In February 2011, it was reported that President Obama had joined Wisconsin’s budget battle and would oppose the Republican anti-union bill. The Washington Post reported that Organizing for America, the political operation for the White House, got involved after Kaine spoke to union leaders in Madison. They made phone calls, sent emails, and distributed messages via Facebook and Twitter to work on building crowds for the rallies.
After completing his term as governor in January 2010, Kaine taught part-time at the University of Richmond, teaching a course in spring 2010 at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and another in fall 2010 at the University of Richmond School of Law. Kaine explained that he had chosen to teach at a private university, rather than public university, “because it would not have been right for a sitting governor to be seeking employment at an institution when he writes the budget and appoints the board of the institution.”
United States Senate 2012 election
After Senator Jim Webb’s decision not to seek reelection, Kaine announced on April 5, 2011, that he would run for Webb’s seat. He was initially reluctant to return to public office, but Webb, Senator Mark Warner, and other Virginia Democrats saw Kaine as the strongest potential Democratic candidate and convinced him to run. Mike Henry was chosen as Kaine’s campaign manager. Kaine filmed announcement videos in English and Spanish and was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He defeated former Senator and Governor George Allen in the general election.
Kaine was sworn in for a six-year term on January 3, 2013, reuniting him with Mark Warner, the senior senator. Kaine was lieutenant governor when Warner was governor of Virginia.
On June 11, 2013, Kaine delivered a speech on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. The speech was entirely in Spanish, marking the first time a senator had ever made a speech on the Senate floor in a language other than English.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kaine pushed for a new Congressional authorization of military force for the American operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Kaine supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, though he also helped Republican Senator Bob Corker hold a vote on a resolution of disapproval on the deal. Kaine undertook several trips throughout the Middle East, meeting with the leaders of states such as Turkey and Israel.
While in the Senate, Kaine has continued to teach part-time at the University of Richmond, receiving a salary of $16,000 per year.
Kaine voted with his party more than 90% of the time. According to the Washington Post, Kaine has “crafted a largely progressive record as a senator.” He reportedly has good relations with both Democratic and Republican senators.
Committee assignments and caucuses
In the 113th Congress (2013–15), Kaine served on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Foreign Relations. In the current (114th) Congress, Kaine serves on the same three committees, plus the Special Committee on Aging. In July 2013, Kaine was named chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
Within the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kaine serves on the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support (for which he is the ranking member), and the Subcommittee on Seapower.
Within the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Kaine serves on the Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development (for which he is the ranking member), the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, and the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues.
In January 2014, Kaine, with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, established the bipartisan Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus (CTE Caucus), which focuses on vocational education and technical education. Kaine and Portman co-chair the caucus. In 2014, Kaine and Portman introduced the CTE Excellence and Equity Act to the Senate; the legislation would provide $500 million in federal funding, distributed by competitive grants, to high schools to further CTE programs. The legislation, introduced as an amendment to the omnibus Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, would promote apprenticeships and similar initiatives.
2016 vice presidential campaign
Kaine endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2016, and campaigned actively for Clinton in seven states during the primaries. He had been the subject of considerable speculation as a possible running mate for Clinton, with several news reports indicating that he was at or near the top of Clinton’s list of people under consideration, alongside figures such as Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro.
On July 22, 2016, he was picked to be Clinton’s running mate for the election. Kaine was formally introduced as such by Clinton in a joint appearance at a rally at Florida International University in Miami the following day. The New York Times had previously reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, privately backed Kaine as his wife’s vice-presidential selection, noting his domestic and national security résumé.
Kaine is the first Virginian since Woodrow Wilson to be on a major party’s ticket, and is the first Virginian to run for vice president on a major party’s ticket since John Tyler in 1840.
In terms of political ideology, FiveThirtyEight gives Kaine an average score of -37 (-100 is the most liberal, and 100 is the most conservative). FiveThirtyEight characterizes him as a “mainstream Democrat” and notes that his ideology score is very similar to that of Vice President Joe Biden. Three conservative groups—the American Conservative Union, the Club for Growth, and Heritage Action—gave Kaine zero percent ratings in the last few years, while the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action gave Kaine a 90% rating in 2014.
Environment, energy, and climate change
Kaine acknowledges the scientific consensus on climate change, and in a 2014 Senate speech criticized climate change deniers, as well as those who “may not deny the climate science, but … deny that the U.S. can or should be a leader in taking any steps” to address the issue. He has expressed concern about sea level rise, and in particular its effect on coastal Virginia.
Kaine endorses making coal energy production cleaner 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 co-sponsored the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation (ACCTION) Act, legislation to increase investment in clean coal technologies. However, he voted against passage of legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Kaine supports the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to harvest natural gas from shale formations. He believes this will reduce carbon pollution. Kaine voted against an amendment, introduced by Sen. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), that would have repealed a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that exempts hydraulic fracturing from the underground injection control provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result, regulation of hydraulic fracturing remains in the hands of state agencies; the U.S. EPA cannot regulate hydraulic fracturing nor require a federal permit. Kaine supports exporting liquid natural gas (LNG) to other countries.
Like his fellow senator from Virginia, Mark Warner, Kaine applauded the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to close most, but not all, of the George Washington National Forest to hydraulic fracturing and other horizontal drilling activities.
Kaine supports oil and gas exploration off the coast of Virginia, 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 of solar energy and offshore wind turbines.
Based on his votes on environmental issues in the Senate, the League of Conservation Voters has given Kaine a 88% score for 2015, and a 91% lifetime score.
Abortion, birth control, and sex education
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’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 for minors (with a judicial bypass procedure) 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 organization.
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.”
In 2007, as governor, Kaine cut off state funding for abstinence-only sex education programs, citing studies which showed that such programs were ineffective, while comprehensive sex education programs were more effective. Kaine believes that both abstinence and contraceptives must be taught, and that education should be evidence-based.
As a senator, he has received perfect scores from Planned Parenthood and the abortion-rights advocacy group NARAL. He has received a score of zero from the anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee.
LGBT and gender issues
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.
In the Senate, Kaine co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
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 reversed his position. In 2012, he stated that “there should be a license that would entitle a committed couple to the same rights as a married couple.”
Kaine supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expands the cases in which worker can sue against gender pay discrimination. Following his selection by Clinton as a running mate in 2016, Kaine was praised by the National Organization for Women.
Foreign and defense policy
In the Senate, Kaine has supported the normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations and has supported the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
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.”
Kaine and Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona introduced the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, which would replace the War Powers Act of 1973, bringing the Congress back into decisions on the deployment of U.S. military forces.
The bill would establish a Congressional Consultation Committee, with which the President would be required to consult regularly regarding significant foreign policy matters; before ordering the deployment of the Armed Forces into a significant armed conflict; and at least every two months for the duration of any significant armed conflict.
Kaine argued for the bill by citing his “frustration” over the sloppiness of “process and communication over decisions of war”, noting that “Presidents tend to overreach and Congress sometimes willingly ducks tough votes and decisions. We all have to do better.”Kaine has stated that “war powers questions” are a “personal obsession” of his.
Syria, Iraq, and ISIL
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 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying: “You just can’t have a war without Congress. You can’t ask people to risk their lives, risk getting killed, seeing other folks getting killed or injured if Congress isn’t willing to do the job to put their thumbprint on this and say, this is a national mission and worth it.”
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 ISIL, but barring the use of ground troops. In 2015, Kaine criticized Obama’s approach to the Syrian civil war, saying that the establishment of humanitarian no-fly zones would have alleviated the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Kaine personally opposes capital punishment, but allowed eleven executions while governor. 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.”
During his time in office he commuted one death sentence in June 2008, that of Percy Levar Walton to life imprisonment without parole on grounds of 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. He vetoed eight death-penalty expansion bills, although some of the vetoes were overridden.[not in citation given] Virginia remains second only to Texas in the number of executions since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
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 magazines.” 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 legislation which would require background checks to be performed for weapons sold via gun shows and via the internet. He also supports legislation to bar weapons sales to suspected terrorists on the No Fly List. Kaine has a 100% rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and an “F” rating from the NRA.
Kaine has said that he is “strongly for the regulation of the financial industry,” and he supports the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
In July 2016, Kaine signed a bipartisan letter that “urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ‘carefully tailor its rulemaking’ [under Dodd-Frank] regarding community banks and credit unions so as not to ‘unduly burden’ these institutions with regulations aimed at commercial banks.” The letter prompted criticism from progressives who viewed it as a anti-regulation.
Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, called the letter “a lobbyist-driven effort to help banks dodge consumer protection standards and regulations designed to prevent banks from destroying our economy.” Kaine responded to the criticism by saying, “it’s important you don’t treat every financial institution the same. It wasn’t credit unions that tanked the economy, it wasn’t local community banks that tanked the economy, generally wasn’t regional banks that did things that tanked the economy.” Kaine also signed a letter urging that a requirement that regional banks report liquidity levels on a daily basis be loosened.
Kaine says 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 sales taxes in the same manner as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
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 said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was “an improvement of the status quo” in terms of it being an “upgrade of labor standards… environmental standards… intellectual property protections”, but maintained that he had not yet decided how to vote on final approval of the agreement, citing “significant concerns” over TPP’s dispute resolution mechanism. Later that July, Kaine said that he could not support the TPP in its current form.
Kaine has been a proponent of NAFTA Immigration
Kaine supports President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs, which would allow up to five million undocumented immigrants to gain deferral of deportation and authorization to legally work in the United States. Alongside fellow Virginia senator Mark Warner and many other members of Congress, Kaine signed on to an amicus brief in support of the program in the Supreme Court case of United States v. Texas.
Kaine also supports comprehensive immigration reform, which would allow persons illegally present in the U.S. to earn legal status by paying a fine and taxes.
Kaine “strongly disagrees” with the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC 2010). Kaine, alongside fellow Virginia senator Mark Warner and many other Senate Democrats, wrote that the ruling “reversed long-standing precedent and has moved our country in a different and disturbing direction when it comes to corporate influence in politics.”
In a 2015 letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, Kaine has urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to require publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to their shareholders to “increase transparency in the U.S. political process” post-Citizens United.
Kaine supported passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 (“Obamacare”), 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.
Kaine supports some smart growth-style policies to manage sprawl and transportation issues; he refers to these plans as “balanced growth”.
In 1984, Kaine married Anne Bright Holton, the daughter of former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr. The couple met while they were both students at Harvard Law School. Holton has served as a judge for juvenile and domestic relations court in Richmond. After serving as first lady of Virginia during her husband’s term, she was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe in January 2014 to be Virginia’s secretary of education. The couple has three children: Nat (b. 1990), Woody (b. 1992), and Annella (b. 1995). Nat, the elder son, is a United States Marine.
Kaine and his wife have been congregants of the St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond, a mostly black congregation, for 30 years.
Awards and honors
Kaine has received the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, then the Virginia Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice (2000), the Virginia Council of Churches’ Faith in Action Award (2009), the University of Richmond School of Law’s William Green Award for Professional Excellence (2012), the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Congressional Award (2015), and the Center for the National Interest’s Distinguished Service Award (2016).