Sunday, December 11, 2016

Introducing Tim Kaine

Whether or not you watched the Vice Presidential debate this week there’s a lot about Tim Kaine you probably don’t know. Like Hillary Clinton while Kaine was still in college he began working to make other peoples’ lives better. Kaine, a Jesuit educated Catholic, spent a year in El Progreso, Honduras working with Jesuit missionaries. Kaine ran the school which taught carpentry and welding. He expanded enrollment by recruiting new students in the village. He has often said that his time in Honduras helped him answer the question “What do I do with my life?”. Kaine says he learned from those missionaries that faith is about more than words or doctrine — it’s about action and that lesson turned his life toward public service. Kaine is also fluent in Spanish as a result of his work in Honduras.
Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, Kaine began 17 years of work representing people who were denied housing due to their race or disability. Among other things he sued Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company for redlining, in other words they were denying home loans to people of color just for being people of color. Tim Kaine was also a founder of the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness.
While serving as a Richmond city councilman and later as mayor Kaine earned a reputation as a conciliator who brought the city together. He was chosen as mayor by other mostly black city council members due to his efforts to improve the lot of their constituents. Rather than take the easy road of past mayors who viewed the job as largely ceremonial and let the city manager handle day to day operations Kaine approached it as a full time job. Among other accomplishments he worked to create a magnet school and opened three other schools during his tenure. Tim Kaine was also instrumental in an effort that "won broad political support" for reducing the city’s homicide rate by 55% during his tenure in office.
Kaine later ran for and won a term as Lt. Governor, then won two terms a Governor of Virginia where he shepherded funding for new public schools, passing the largest bond package for higher education construction in Virginia history. Kaine was also a forceful advocate for expanded pre-Kindergarten access. During his tenure as governor, Virginia earned Forbe’s magazine rating as the best state for business. At the same time Virginia became a one of the country’s best places to raise a child.
As Governor, Kaine used his executive authority to restore voting rights to thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals. Later as a United States senator, he helped introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act to fight voter suppression and repair the damage done by the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, which gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act and disempowered millions of voters across the country. In the Senate Kaine co-sponsored the Protecting Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and restore contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. He also introduced legislation to provide women access to affordable, FDA-approved, over-the-counter birth control pills.

Like Clinton Kaine has made a life of fighting for the less fortunate, for civil rights and to make everyone’s lives better, we deserve his leadership as Vice-President of the United States.

Published in the Seguin Gazette October 7, 2016

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