Respected Progressive Organizer Makes Her Case for Tim Kaine

Some of my progressive friends were surprised by Hillary Clinton’s decision to select Tim Kaine as her running mate. Here’s my take on him.


Tim Kaine grew up in a working-class family, earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Missouri and then went to Harvard Law School. He took a break from law school to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras. He speaks fluent Spanish.

As a lawyer in Richmond, Virginia, he focused on civil rights issues, specializing in fair housing law and representing clients discriminated against on the basis of race or disability. As a young lawyer, he won a $100 million jury verdict against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company for its discrimination against African-American neighborhoods—a practice known as redlining. He was also a founding member of the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness.

He was elected to the Richmond City Council in 1994, then elected the city’s mayor. He served as governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012.

He took on the gun lobby in Virginia: a courageous thing to do in that state.

As governor, he issued an executive order to restore voting rights of formerly incarcerated citizens. Throughout his career, he’s been a supporter of the right to vote.  

He also took on Big Tobacco, signing a bill to ban smoking in Virginia’s bars and restaurants  

He is a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, favoring a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. This impacts the lives of millions of people now living in the shadows.

He opposed the Keystone XL pipeline as early as 2013. When he was governor, he protected 400,000 acres of land from being developed. He has a lifetime score 91% rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

Conservative groups like the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the American Conservative Union have given him a 0% rating.

He is an advocate for a strong working families economic agenda.

Both the NAACP and the AFL-CIO give him a 96% rating.

He was a strong supporter of the Iran agreement and was one of the first in the Senate to refuse to attend the Benjamin Netanyahu speech organized to block the nuclear deal.

He argued that the president needs authorization from Congress to carry out air strikes.

He opposes the death penalty (although as governor, he oversaw executions).

He backed marriage rights for same-sex couples and opposed the effort to prohibit this in the Virginia Constituiton.

He was a supporter of TPP. We are told he is going to come out against TPP—what an additional way to show and build progressive strength!

He was anti-choice in his actions until he entered the Senate in 2013. He is supported by Planned Parenthood and Emily's List, which gave him 100% ratings as a senator. He has the confidence of Hillary Clinton, who would be the strongest pro-choice president we will ever have.

He supports strong enforcement of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Hillary Clinton chose Tim Kaine to help win this election and have someone she can work with. They are trying to build an electoral majority in a country that is still divided and in which our progressive movement is not as strong as we would like it to be. But it has been strong enough to help win this progressive platform, drive so many of the areas of our concern to the front of the nation's agenda and to nominate these leaders who are committed to that platform and so many progressive issues.

We need to keep organizing and fighting for the full progressive vision. We spend our lives doing that.

Winning Virginia for Democrats is also a way to make progressive victories more possible in the future, around the country and at all levels. We need to be progressive and to win to actually improve lives and give people confidence that this struggle is worth the effort.

We are all in a fight for our lives and for the future. We are all part of the forces for progressive change.

We are all doing everything we can think of to advance that change. We have somewhat different strategies for getting there.

We have somewhat different priorities—all of which are important.

We need to promote our positive vision as well as expose the terrifying prospect of a Trump presidency. And this is not just about the presidency, but about creating a wave to bring in a more progressive Senate, into the House and state and local races, and to build a progressive movement that can advance a progressive vision and a country and world where all are treated with dignity and respect.

To advance this vision, to build the movement and to win in November, I am not only anti-Trump, I am for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

I will do everything I can to advance their election. I hope we can join together to make this a reality.

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