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, marking the start of a political ascent that eventually led to his election as Virginia governor in 2005. Following a stint as chairman of the Democratic National Party, 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. On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence defeated Clinton and Kaine in the presidential race.
Politician, lawyer, Virginia governor and senator, Timothy Michael Kaine was born on February 26, 1958, in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up in the area of Kansas City, Missouri. The eldest son of an ironworker and a home economics teacher, Kaine has noted he wasn't raised in an overtly political household, but became drawn to matters of public interest during the political and social upheaval of the 1960s.
Kaine attended Rockhurst High School, an all-boys Jesuit high school, where he joined spring mission drives to fund Jesuit activities in Honduras and became student government president. He went on to the University of Missouri, completing his bachelor's degree in economics in three years, before entering Harvard Law School.
Kaine took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, where he ran a small vocational school for teenage boys while honing his Spanish. It was an eye-opening experience for the Midwesterner, who witnessed the devastating effects of poverty up close, and ignited his longstanding commitment to social justice.
After earning his J.D. from Harvard in 1983, Tim Kaine moved to Richmond, Virginia, to put his law degree to use. He made a name for himself early in his career by taking on the appeal of a death row inmate named Richard Lee Whitley. Although Whitley had confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering a 63-year-old neighbor, Kaine was deeply opposed to the death penalty, and his investigation into Whitley's troubled background had spurred him to fight for the inmate.
Over the course of 17 years as a practicing lawyer, Kaine specialized in representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability. Devoting much of his time to pro-bono work, he helped found the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and was a board member of the Virginia chapter of Housing Opportunities Made Equal. 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 when he helped to create and implement the law known as Project Exile to reduce gun-related violence. He was then elected Virginia's lieutenant governor in 2001, a role in which he served as president of the Virginia Senate.
When Kaine ran for governor in 2005 against Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, 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." When Republicans attacked Kaine's opposition to the death penalty, 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 in Virginia's colonial capitol of Williamsburg as the state's 70th governor 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.
Battling partisan gridlock during his term, Kaine cut social welfare programs to balance the budget and invested in infrastructure development, but otherwise struggled to push through major legislation. His national profile continued to rise, however, as he was the first governor outside Illinois to endorse Barack Obama for president. He was widely considered a strong candidate to be picked as the Democratic presidential nominee's running mate, before eventually losing out to Delaware Senator Joe Biden.
Kaine became chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2009, and held on to the position despite his party's significant losses in the 2010 midterm elections. He stepped down in 2011 with the intention of campaigning for Jim Webb's soon-to-be-vacated Virginia senate seat.
After defeating former Virginia Senator and Governor George Allen in the 2012 campaign, Tim Kaine became the first senator to deliver a speech in Spanish from the Senate floor.
Since being elected to his post, Kaine has joined the Senate's Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees. Among his accomplishments, he introduced the Troop Talent Act of 2013 to help servicemen and women transition to the civilian workplace, and coauthored the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Additionally, he is a founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and has introduced legislation to address issues of sexual assault and drug treatment.
Vice Presidential Running Mate
On July 22, 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced via text message to her supporters that she had selected Kaine as her vice presidential running mate. She also tweeted the announcement.
After one of the most contentious presidential races in U.S. history, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence defeated Clinton and Kaine on November 8, 2016. Trump earned the majority of electoral votes, making him the 45th president of the United States. The historic election was considered a resounding rejection of establishment politics by blue-collar and working class Americans.
The following afternoon Kaine introduced Clinton before she made her concession speech. "I’m proud of Hillary Clinton because she has been, and is, a great history maker in everything she has done as a civil rights lawyer, and the first lady of Arkansas, and the first lady of this country, and senator, and secretary of state," he said. "She has made history in a nation that is great at so many things, but that has made it uniquely difficult for a woman to be elected to federal office. She became the first major party nominee as a woman to be president, and last night she won the popular vote of Americans."
He continued to address Clinton's accomplishments, saying: "I’m proud of Hillary Clinton because in the words of Langston Hughes, she’s held fast to dreams. She was inspired at a young age to an epiphany that if family and children do well, that’s the best barometer for whether a society does well. In everything she’s done, she’s focused on that. We know she would have made history as a president in one sense, but we’ve never had a president who’s made their whole career about the empowerment of families and children. I was as excited as that in the Oval Office as I was excited to have my friend Hillary there to make history as the first woman president."
When Clinton addressed the crowd, she thanked Kaine and his wife Anne: "It has been a joy to get to go know them better and it gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front lines of our democracy representing Virginia in the senate."
Kaine met his wife, Anne Holton, at Harvard Law School. Named Virginia's secretary of education in January 2014, Anne is the daughter of former Republican Virginia Governor Linwood Holton (1970-74), who desegregated the Commonwealth's public schools.
The Kaines, who married on November 24, 1984, are actively involved with Richmond's St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. They have three children: Nat, Woody and Annella.
We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!