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Everything You Need to Know About Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's Running Mate

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As the Democratic National Convention moves along this week in Philadelphia, all eyes will be on the newly confirmed Democratic ticket—Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. While Kaine’s career in public service may have made him a household name in Virginia, he's still relatively unknown on the national stage. If you're not familiar with Kaine, here are some important facts you should know about your potential next vice president.


Sen. Tim Kaine is one of only 20 people in U.S. history to have served as a mayor, a governor and a senator. Kaine was elected as a city councilmember in 1994, as mayor of Richmond in 1998, as lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2002, as governor of Virginia in 2006, and as Virginia’s junior senator in 2012. Kaine serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations Committees in the Senate, as well as the Special Committee on Aging.  During his time in the Senate, Kaine sponsored or co-sponsored over two hundred bills, regarding a variety of issues, including education, taxes, women’s health and Syrian refugees.

One of Kaine’s most controversial positions is his stance on reproductive rights. As a practicing Catholic, Kaine is personally opposed to abortion. However, he has also stated, “I strongly support the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions and, for that reason, will oppose efforts to weaken or subvert the basic holding of Roe v. Wade. We all share the goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The right way to do this is through education and access to health care and contraception rather than criminalizing women's reproductive decisions.” Despite his religious objections to abortion, Senator Kaine has continually promised to uphold the law and support a woman’s right to choose. 

This separation between legality and personal views carries over into Senator Kaine’s position on the death penalty. Though Kaine is personally opposed to the death penalty, he oversaw 11 executions while serving as Governor of Virginia. According to The New York Times, “He said his obligation to uphold the law as governor overrode his moral opposition to capital punishment, which was shaped by his Roman Catholic faith.”

Another polarizing issue in today’s political landscape is gun control. Though a gun owner himself and a supporter of Second Amendment rights, Senator Kaine is also in favor of gun control laws, saying, “I have long been a supporter of what I think are reasonable regulations, the kind of contemplated, frankly, by the Second Amendment, and I think those and others would be reasonable," Kaine said. "In Virginia we worked in the aftermath of Virginia Tech to do some important things on the databases of folks who have been adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous so that they couldn't purchase guns.”

Kaine’s positions on these three controversial issues show a pattern: that he is able and willing to separate his own personal views from what is legal and what is best for the country as a whole.

In addition, Kaine supports President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform and the DREAM Act, and is in favor of allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the United States legally and establishing a path to citizenship.

It is also important to note for us college students that Senator Kaine is in favor of reducing college costs, proposing cutting interest rates on student loans and offering more financial aid. Education at all levels is a priority for Kaine, as evidenced by his expansion of preschool programs for at-risk children while governor of Virginia, his support of the Every Student Succeeds Act and his opposition to school vouchers.


For those of us who watch a lot of political news coverage, we’ll be seeing a lot of Sen. Tim Kaine in the next few months. After November, it is possible that Kaine will be one heartbeat away for the presidency, as the saying goes, so it's important for voters to know the vice presidential candidates’ views as well. Now that both parties’ tickets have been confirmed, make sure to research both the top and the bottom of the ticket. Happy voting this November!


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