Synopsis: Born in Minnesota in 1958, Tim Kaine began practicing law in Richmond, Virginia, after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1983. He was voted to the Richmond City Council in 1994. He eventually was elected Virginia governor in 2005. Following some time as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. In 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton chose Kaine as her vice presidential running mate.
Timothy Michael Kaine was born on February 26, 1958, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He grew up near Kansas City, Missouri. He was the eldest son of an ironworker and a home economics teacher. Kaine wasn't raised in an overtly political household. But he became drawn to politics during the political and social revolution of the 1960s.
Kaine, who is Catholic, attended an all-boys Jesuit high school where he joined mission drives to fund Jesuit activities in Honduras. He also became student government president. He went on to the University of Missouri, completing his bachelor's degree in economics in three years. Then he entered Harvard Law School.
Kaine took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. There, he ran a small vocational school for teenage boys while honing his Spanish. It was an eye-opening experience for the Midwesterner. He witnessed the devastating effects of poverty up close, and ignited his longstanding commitment to social justice.
After earning his law degree from Harvard in 1983, Tim Kaine moved to Richmond, Virginia, to put it to use. Early in his career, he took on the appeal case of a death row prisoner named Richard Lee Whitley, even though Whitley had already confessed to assault and murder. Kaine was deeply opposed to capital punishment, or having someone put to death for a crime he committed.
Over 17 years as a lawyer, Kaine specialized in representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability. He devoted much of his time to helping people for free. He helped found the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness. Additionally, he taught legal ethics at the University of Richmond Law School for six years.
Tim Kaine entered politics in 1994 when he was elected to the Richmond City Council. He served six years, including the last two as mayor. That was when he helped create the law known as Project Exile to reduce gun-related violence. He was then elected Virginia's lieutenant governor in 2001. In that role, he served as president of the Virginia Senate.
When Kaine ran for governor in 2005, he introduced himself as a leader guided by his family and Catholic faith. He also urged his fellow religious Democrats to talk about their faith in campaigns, saying, "Voters want to understand what motivates you." Republicans attacked Kaine's opposition to capital punishment. He responded with a TV ad in which he explained that his religious beliefs led him to oppose capital punishment, but that he would enforce the state's laws. Similarly, although he was personally opposed to abortion, he felt obligated to uphold its legality.
Virginia Governor And DNC Chairman
Tim Kaine was inaugurated as governor in Virginia's colonial capitol at Williamsburg on January 14, 2006. His star on the rise, he was selected to give the Democratic response to President George W. Bush's State of the Union address shortly afterward.
Kaine cut social welfare programs to save money for the state and invested in infrastructure development. Otherwise, he struggled to push through major legislation. His national reputation continued to improve, however, as he was the first governor outside Illinois to support Barack Obama for president. He was widely considered to be on the list to be picked as the Democratic presidential candidate's running mate. He lost out to Delaware Senator Joe Biden, though.
Kaine became chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2009. He held onto the position despite his party's significant losses in the 2010 midterm elections. He stepped down in 2011 to campaign for one of Virginia's Senate seats.
Tim Kaine defeated former Virginia Senator and Governor George Allen in the 2012 campaign. Then Kaine became the first senator to deliver a speech in Spanish from the Senate floor.
Kaine has joined a number of committees as senator. Among his accomplishments, he introduced the Troop Talent Act of 2013 to help servicemen and women move out of the military and into other jobs. Additionally, he is a founder and co-chair of a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic members of Congress working to promote career and technical education.
On July 22, 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced that she had selected Kaine as her vice presidential running mate. She also tweeted the announcement.
Kaine met his wife, Anne Holton, at Harvard Law School. Holton was named Virginia's secretary of education in January 2014. She is the daughter of former Republican Virginia Governor A. Linwood Holton Jr. (1970-74), who desegregated Virginia's public schools.
The couple, who married on November 24, 1984, are actively involved with Richmond's St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. They have three children: Nat, Woody and Annella.