On Friday night, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced her selection of Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her vice presidential running mate.
The initial reaction from many on the left was disappointment (we each had our favorites!), then grudging acceptance (okay, fine, it’s her choice, it doesn’t change our committment) … then this happened: on Saturday afternoon, Hillary introduced us to Tim Kaine – and he won us over:
Thank you so much for the warm welcome to the team, Jan!
I could not be more honored to fight alongside you — I know that together, we’re going to win in November.
I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit more about myself — and bear with me, Jan, since I know you might not have even heard of me before yesterday!
Growing up in Kansas, vice president was never a job I aspired to.
My dad ran an iron-working shop and my entire family pitched in to help.
My parents taught me the lessons that have guided my entire life — my mom once told me: “Tim, you have to decide if you want to be right or do right. If you want to be right, be a pessimist. If you want to do right, be an optimist.”
Jan, I’ve been an optimist ever since. And since my time at a Jesuit boys school, I’ve been a man of faith.
After racing through college and starting at Harvard Law, I took a year off to volunteer with missionaries in Honduras. I got a firsthand look at a system in which the few folks at the top had all the power and everyone else got left behind.
That experience convinced me: We’ve got to expand opportunity and equality for everyone, no matter where they come from, how much money they have, what they look like, or who they love.
I’m lucky to have married a woman who felt the same: Anne is the daughter of Virginia Governor Linwood Holton, who integrated Virginia’s public schools and modeled how important it was by sending his kids in to lead the way.
Anne and I settled in Richmond, started a family, joined a church, and made our home together. I took on work as a civil rights lawyer, representing people who were denied housing because of their race or disability.
I found myself at a lot of City Council meetings to raise the issues I was dealing with on behalf of my clients. But the infighting was horrible! So in 1994, I decided to run for office. I knocked on every door in my district, and I won by 94 votes. (I know the value of the kind of organizing this team is doing!)
If I’m good at anything in public life, it’s because I started on the local level, listening to people, learning about their lives, and trying to find consensus.
In the years that followed, I became mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor of Virginia, and in 2006, I served as governor.
I had to make tough calls during the recession. But I’m proud of what we accomplished in Virginia: the best managed state, the best state for business, and my personal favorite accolade, the best state to raise a child.
I’ve kept it up as Virginia’s senator. And I won’t stop when Hillary and I are in the White House. We’ll do what we know best: Deliver results for people.
That’s what drives us both. Hillary and I have different faiths but we share a common creed: Do all the good you can in all the ways you can.
We don’t back away from tough fights. We’re energized by them. Hillary and I have a strong progressive agenda and we’re not going to get distracted from it.
We’ll make our economy work for everyone. We’ll make college debt-free. We’ll take on the NRA, we’ll work toward comprehensive immigration reform — we’ll fight for paid family leave, and equality for women, and making sure every kid has a chance to live up to their potential.
These are tough times — but we’re tough people. We can do it.
Let’s go, Jan. I’m excited to work with you to make history:
Thanks again for the warm welcome.
Based on Tim Kaine’s biography, his purple state electoral bona fides, his simple decency, his enthusiasm(!) – I am convinced that this is a person who will be an asset to Candidate Hillary Clinton and President Hillary Clinton.