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Kaine Brings Strong Faith, Progressive Ideals to Democratic Ticket

  • VOA Staff

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., at a rally at Florida International University Panther Arena in Miami, July 23, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., at a rally at Florida International University Panther Arena in Miami, July 23, 2016.

When Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced her vice presidential choice, she referred to Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as a progressive who is “everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not.”

Timothy Michael "Tim" Kaine was born on February 26, 1958 in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri metro area. He is the eldest son of an ironworker and a home economics teacher. Kaine attended an all-boys Jesuit high school, where he joined spring mission drives to fund Jesuit activities in Honduras. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Missouri before entering Harvard Law school.

Kaine took time off from his law studies to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras for nine months in 1980-81, helping Jesuit missionaries who ran a Catholic school in El Progreso. His time there is said to have helped form his support for citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States — a stance likely to attract Latino voters. He also learned to speak fluent Spanish, seen as a possible advantage with Hispanic voters.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally in Annandale, Va., July 14, 2016.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally in Annandale, Va., July 14, 2016.

Kaine met his wife, Anne Holton, at Harvard Law School. Anne is the daughter of former Republican Virginia Governor Linwood Holton (1970-74), who desegregated the Commonwealth's public schools. She now serves as Virginia's secretary of education. They have three children.

After law school, the Kaines settled in Richmond, Virginia, where he spent nearly two decades as an attorney focusing on civil rights and fair housing. He helped found the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and was a board member of the Virginia chapter of Housing Opportunities Made Equal.

Tim Kaine entered politics in 1994 when he was elected to the Richmond City Council, then became the city's mayor. He was elected Virginia's lieutenant governor in 2001. In 2005, Kaine ran for governor of Virginia against Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore, a former state attorney general. Kaine was considered an underdog for most of the race, trailing in polls for most of the election, but winning in the end. He was governor from 2006 to 2010. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, after a stint as chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the Senate, Kaine has worked on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees.

According to the New York Times, Kaine "is widely described by people in his political orbit as a likable, if less than charismatic, figure...guided by moral convictions that flow from his deep Christian faith." In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, he confessed to being “boring.”

After Clinton's announcement last week, Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona tweeted: “Trying to count the ways I hate @timkaine. Drawing a blank. Congrats to a good man and a good friend.”

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