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Va. Sen. Kaine, With Deep Ties Here, Wins Democrats’ Veep Nod

DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL nominee Tim Kaine (center) hung out with Falls Church News-Press staffers at a regional Kennedy-King Dinner when he was governor of Virginia. Left to right: Darien Bates, Managing Editor Jody Fellows, Mike Hume, Kaine, FCNP Owner-Editor Nicholas Benton and Simon VanSteyn. (Photo: News-Press)
DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL nominee Tim Kaine (center) hung out with Falls Church News-Press staffers at a regional Kennedy-King Dinner when he was governor of Virginia. Left to right: Darien Bates, Managing Editor Jody Fellows, Mike Hume, Kaine, FCNP Owner-Editor Nicholas Benton and Simon VanSteyn. (Photo: News-Press)

Falls Church’s venerable State Theatre live music venue will be the location for a free “watch party” tonight to view the Democratic National Convention’s acceptance speech by the party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Both regional and statewide Democrats have been ecstatic in the past week since Clinton announced her choice of Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine to be her running mate last Friday.

As rumors swirled on the eve of that decision last Thursday, Sen. Kaine was swamped by national media at a church in Arlington to participate in a round table with local advocacy groups on immigration reform.

But while Kaine gave his stock answer when asked about the vice presidential nod (“I am a happy senator not looking for another job”), he became very animated when asked to comment on the GOP’s presidential nominee Donald Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. might not honor its NATO and other military alliances.

“Whenever you say to an ally in this post-9/11 world regarding a treaty obligation that you’re not sure we will meet that obligation, you have done a very dangerous thing,” Kaine said. “We have troops in those counties that are at risk.” He added, “So, is this his new rule, that our word is not our bond, and our treaties are not worth the paper they’re written on? I was stunned.”

Kaine noted that the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling allowing enormous sums of secret money to influence the elections is part of an effort to “intentionally make outcomes bad” in elections by “discouraging interest in public service” by the population in general. “It’s all about suppression of the vote,” he said, “and every day people are going to have to push back.”

He said the immigration reform issue, far from being stymied by the electoral process, will be advanced by it “because it will be joined as one of two or three key issues where the differences between the candidates will be really clear. If the voters vote on issues that have been made clear, then the election’s outcome will represent a public mandate on that issue that even the losing side will have to acknowledge.”

Kaine repeated many of his answers in Spanish for the benefit of the immigration organizations he’d met with and for the Spanish-speaking media.
Kaine was asked, “Since the national public doesn’t know you well, what would you say you are best at?” He paused for a moment, and then said he’d draw on his Jesuit upbringing to say, “The goal in life is to say, ‘Let me be better tomorrow than I am today.’ That’s my answer.”

Kaine has been a familiar face in Falls Church and environs beginning with statewide races for lieutenant governor (2002), governor (2006) and U.S. Senate (2012) and his two-year stint as chair of the Democratic National Committee (2010-2012), speaking before the Falls Church City Democratic Committee, at exclusive interviews with the News-Press, and in regional fundraisers and rallies.

In an exclusive interview with the News-Press upon winning his U.S. Senate seat in November 2012, Kaine stressed it was his “positive, straightforward approach” to the campaign, by contrast to the “looming storm clouds, deep, sinister voices and scary pictures” of his GOP opponent George Allen.

His approach was reflected in TV ads that “simply had me standing in front of a camera and focusing on working together to fix the problems in Washington.”

He said he “defeated a bombardment of negative attack ads that came from pro-Republicans super-PAC organizations.” Those organizations included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent more money to defeat him than on any other race except for the presidential election.

Kaine, as governor in 2007, was one of the first public officials in the U.S. who came out for Obama for President.

Raised in Kansas, he was a missionary in Honduras before completing law school and opening a civil rights practice in Richmond, with many of his cases involving challenging red-lining practices.

Running from a predominantly African-American district in Richmond, he was elected to the City Council, and the predominantly African-American City Council elected him mayor before he joined the ticket with now U.S. Senator Mark Warner running for governor and lieutenant governor, both winning in the November 2001 election.