Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Kaine grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, graduated from the University of Missouri, and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School before entering private practice and becoming a lecturer at the University of Richmond School of Law. He was first elected to public office in 1994, when he won a seat on the Richmond, Virginia City Council. He was then elected Mayor of Richmond in 1998, and was in that position until being elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2001. Kaine was elected Governor of Virginia in 2005 and was in that office from 2006 to 2010. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.
On July 22, 2016, Hillary Clinton announced that she had selected Kaine to be her vice presidential running mate in the 2016 presidential election, and the 2016 Democratic National Convention nominated him on July 27. Despite winning a plurality of the national popular vote, the Clinton-Kaine ticket lost the Electoral College, and thus the election, to the Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence on November 8, 2016.
Kaine was born at Saint Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the eldest of three sons born to Mary Kathleen (née Burns), a home economics teacher, and Albert Alexander Kaine, Jr., a welder and the owner of a small iron-working shop. He was raised Catholic. One of Kaine's great-grandparents was Scottish and the other seven were Irish. Kaine's family moved to Overland Park, Kansas, when Kaine was two years old, and he grew up in the Kansas City area. In 1976, he graduated from Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit all-boys preparatory school in Kansas City, Missouri. At Rockhurst, Kaine joined the debate team and was elected student body president.
Kaine received his B.A. in economics from the University of Missouri in 1979, completing his degree in three years and graduating summa cum laude. He was a Coro Foundation fellow in Kansas City in 1978. He entered Harvard Law School in 1979, interrupting his law studies after his first year to work in Honduras for nine months from 1980 to 1981, helping Jesuit missionaries who ran a Catholic school in El Progreso. While running a vocational center that taught carpentry and welding, he also helped increase the school's enrollment by recruiting local villagers. Kaine is fluent in Spanish as a result of his nine months in Honduras.
After returning from Honduras, Kaine met his future wife, first-year Harvard Law student, Anne Holton. He graduated from Harvard Law School with a J.D. degree in 1983. Kaine and Holton moved to Holton's hometown of Richmond, Virginia, after graduation, and Kaine was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1984.
After graduating from law school, Kaine was a law clerk for Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Macon, Georgia. Kaine then joined the Richmond law firm of Little, Parsley & Cluverius, P.C. In 1987, Kaine became a director with the law firm of Mezzullo & McCandlish, P.C. Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in fair housing law and representing clients discriminated against on the basis of race or disability. He was a board member of the Virginia chapter of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, which he represented in a landmark redlining discrimination lawsuit against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. arising from the company's practices in Richmond. Kaine won a $100.5 million verdict in the case; the judgment was overturned on appeal, and Kaine and his colleagues negotiated a $17.5 million settlement.
Kaine did regular pro bono work. In 1988, Kaine started teaching legal ethics as an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. Kaine taught at the University of Richmond for six years, and his students included future Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. He was a founding member of the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness.
Kaine had a largely apolitical childhood, but became interested in politics in part due to the influence of his wife's family and his experience attending Richmond city council meetings. In May 1994, Kaine was elected to the city council of the independent city of Richmond, from the City's 2nd District. He defeated incumbent city councilman Benjamin P. A. Warthen by 97 votes. Kaine spent four terms on the council, the latter two as mayor.
On July 1, 1998, Kaine was elected mayor of Richmond, succeeding Larry Chavis. He was chosen by an 8-1 vote on the majority-black City Council, becoming the city's first white mayor in more than ten years, which was viewed as a surprise. Rudy McCollum, an African American city councilor also interested in the position of mayor, decided to back Kaine after a private meeting between the two, clearing the way for Kaine to win election. Previous mayors had treated the role as primarily a ceremonial one, with the city manager effectively operating the city; Kaine treated the office as a full-time job, taking a more hands-on role.
As mayor, Kaine used a sale-leaseback arrangement to obtain funds to renovate the historic Maggie L. Walker High School and reopen it in 2000 as a magnet governor's school, the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, which "now serves the top students in Central Virginia." Three elementary schools and one middle school were also built in Richmond under Kaine. Along with Commonwealth's Attorney David Hicks, U.S. Attorney James Comey, and Police Chief Jerry Oliver, Kaine was a supporter of Project Exile, a "controversial but effective program" that shifted gun crimes to federal court, where armed defendants faced harsher sentences. The effort "won broad political support" and the city's homicide rate fell by 55% over Kaine's tenure in office. Kaine later touted Project Exile during his campaign for lieutenant governor in 2001.
On several occasions, Kaine voted in opposition to tax increases, and supported a tax abatement program for renovated buildings, which was credited for a housing renovation boom in the city. Richmond was named one of "the 10 best cities in America to do business" by Forbes magazine during Kaine's term.
According to John Moeser, a professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at Virginia Commonwealth University and later a visiting fellow at the University of Richmond's Center for Civic Engagement, during his time as mayor Kaine "was energetic, charismatic and, most important, spoke openly about his commitment to racial reconciliation in Richmond." The New York Times wrote that Kaine "was by all accounts instrumental in bridging the city's racial divide." In the early part of his term, Kaine issued an apology for the city's role in slavery; the apology was generally well received as "a genuine, heartfelt expression." In the latter part of his term, a contentious debate took place in the city over the inclusion of a portrait of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in a set of historic murals to be placed on city floodwalls. Many African Americans were outraged that Lee would appear on city walls, while Southern heritage groups demanded that Lee's picture remain. Kaine proposed a compromise in which Lee would appear as part of a series of murals that also included figures like Abraham Lincoln and Powhatan Beaty. Kaine's stance drew criticism from the NAACP; Kaine argued that placing Lee on the floodwall made sense in context, and that "Much of our history is not pleasant; you can't whitewash it." Kaine's compromise proposal passed the council on a 6-3 vote.
During his tenure as mayor, Kaine drew criticism for spending $6,000 in public funds on buses to the Million Mom March, an anti-gun-violence rally in Washington, D.C.; after a backlash, Kaine raised the money privately and reimbursed the city.
Kaine ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2001. Kaine joined the race after state senator Emily Couric dropped out due to pancreatic cancer and endorsed Kaine as her replacement. In the Democratic primary election, Kaine ran against state Delegate Alan A. Diamonstein of Newport News, and state Delegate Jerrauld C. Jones of Norfolk. Kaine won the nomination, garnering 39.7% of the vote to Diamonstein's 31.4% and Jones' 28.9%.
In the general election, Kaine won with 925,974 votes (50.35%), of the vote, edging out his Republican opponent, state Delegate Jay Katzen, who received 883,886 votes (48.06%). Libertarian Gary Reams received 28,783 votes (1.57%).
Kaine was inaugurated on January 12, 2002, and was sworn in by his wife Anne Holton, a state judge.
In 2005, Kaine ran for governor of Virginia against Republican candidate Jerry W. Kilgore, a former state attorney general. Kaine was considered an underdog for most of the race, trailing in polls for most of the election. Two polls released in September 2005 showed Kaine trailing Kilgore—by four percentage points in a Washington Post poll and by one percentage point in a Mason-Dixon/Roanoke Times poll. The final opinion polls of the race before the November election showed Kaine slightly edging ahead of Kilgore.
Kaine ultimately prevailed, winning 1,025,942 votes (51.7%) to Kilgore's 912,327 (46.0%). (A third candidate—independent state Senator H. Russell Potts Jr., who ran as an "independent Republican"—received 43,953 votes (2.2%)).
Kaine emphasized fiscal responsibility and a centrist message. He expressed support for controlling sprawl and tackling longstanding traffic issues, an issue that resonated in the exurbs of northern Virginia. He benefited from his association with the popular outgoing Democratic governor, Mark Warner, who had performed well in traditionally Republican areas of the state. On the campaign trail, Kaine referred to the "Warner-Kaine administration" in speeches and received the strong backing of Warner. Kilgore later attributed his defeat to Warner's high popularity and the "plummeting popularity" of Republican President George W. Bush, who held one rally with Kilgore on the campaign's final day.
The campaign turned sharply negative in its final weeks, with Kilgore running television attack ads that claimed, incorrectly, that Kaine believed that "Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty." The ads also attacked Kaine for his service ten years earlier as a court-appointed attorney for a death-row inmate. The Republican ad was denounced by the editorial boards of the Washington Post and a number of Virginia newspapers as a "smear" and "dishonest." Kaine responded with an ad "in which he told voters that he opposes capital punishment but would take an oath and enforce the death penalty. In later polls, voters said they believed Kaine's response and were angered by Kilgore's negative ads."
In the election, Kaine won by large margins in the Democratic strongholds such as Richmond and Northern Virginia's inner suburbs (such as Alexandria and Arlington), as well as in the Democratic-trending Fairfax County. Kaine also won Republican-leaning areas in Northern Virginia's outer suburbs, including Prince William County and Loudoun County, where George W. Bush had beat John Kerry in the previous year's presidential election, and performed "surprisingly well in Republican strongholds like Virginia Beach and Chesapeake." Kaine also defeated Kilgore in the burgeoning Richmond suburbs. Kilgore led in southwest Virginia and in the Shenandoah Valley.
Kaine was sworn in as governor at the colonial Capitol at Williamsburg, on January 14, 2006, the first governor since Thomas Jefferson to be inaugurated there.
Kaine was chairman of the Southern Governors' Association from 2008 to 2009.
On January 31, 2006, Kaine gave the Democratic response to President George W. Bush's 2006 State of the Union address. In it, Kaine criticized the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act for "wreaking havoc on local school districts"; criticized congressional Republicans for cutting student loan programs; and condemned as "reckless" Bush's spending increases and tax cuts. Kaine praised bipartisan initiatives in Virginia "to make record investments in education" and to improve veterans' access to veterans' benefits. Kaine criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq War and treatment of U.S. soldiers; saying that "the American people were given inaccurate information about reasons for invading Iraq"; "our troops in Iraq were not given the best body armor or the best intelligence"; and "the administration wants to further reduce military and veterans' benefits."
As governor, Kaine successfully protected 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) of Virginia land from development, fulfilling a promise that he made in 2005. Kaine's conservation efforts focused on conservation easements (voluntary easements that preserve the private ownership of a piece of land while also permanently protecting it from development); a substantial Virginia land preservation tax credit encouraged easements. From 2004 to 2009, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (a quasi-governmental entity set up in 1966 to preserve open land in the state) protected more land than it had in the previous forty years, a fact touted by Kaine as his term drew to a close.
As governor, Kaine established the Climate Change Commission, a bipartisan panel to study climate change issues. The panel was shuttered under Kaine's Republican successor, Governor Robert F. McDonnell, but was revived (as the Governor's Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission) under McDonnell's successor, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
In 2008, Kaine supported a coal-fired power plant project in Wise County, clashing with environmentalists who opposed the project.
In 2009, Kaine expressed support for tighter restrictions on mountaintop removal coal mining imposed by the Obama administration.
In October 2006, Kaine signed an executive order banning smoking in all government buildings and state-owned cars as of January 1, 2007. He signed legislation banning smoking in restaurants and bars, with some exceptions, in March 2009, making Virginia the first Southern state to do so.
In 2007, the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly passed legislation, with "overwhelming bipartisan support," to require girls to receive the HPV vaccine (which immunizes recipients against a virus that causes cervical cancer) before entering high school. Kaine expressed "some qualms" about the legislation and pushed for a strong opt-out provision, ultimately signing a bill that included a provision allowing parents to opt out of the requirement without citing a reason.
In 2007, Kaine secured increases in state funding for nursing in the Virginia General Assembly and announced a 10% salary increase for nursing faculty above the normal salary increase for state employees, plus additional funds for scholarships for nursing master's programs. The initiatives were aimed at addressing a shortage of practicing nurses.
Following the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed by Seung-Hui Cho, Kaine appointed an eight-member Virginia Tech Review Panel, chaired by retired Virginia State Police superintendent W. Gerald Massengill, to probe the event. The commission members included specialists in psychology, law, forensics and higher education as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. The commission first met in May 2007, and issued its findings and recommendations in August 2007. Among other recommendations, the panel proposed many mental health reforms. Based on the panel's recommendations, Kaine proposed $42 million of investment in mental health programs and reforms, included "boosting access to outpatient and emergency mental health services, increasing the number of case managers and improving monitoring of community-based providers." In April 2007, Kaine signed an executive order instructing state agencies to step up efforts to block gun sales to people involuntarily committed to inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment centers. Kaine, who had been in Japan on a trade mission at the time of the shootings, received widespread praise for his quick return to the state and his handling of the issue .
Among Kaine's greatest challenges as governor came during the 2008–09 economic crisis; the Washington Post wrote that "perhaps his greatest success was keeping the state running despite [the crisis]." In the midst of the Great Recession, unemployment in Virginia remained lower than the national average. During Kaine's tenure as governor, the unemployment rate in Virginia rose from 3.2% to 7.4%, a smaller increase than the national unemployment rate which rose from 4.7% to 9.9% during the same period.
As governor, Kaine approved about $3.31 billion in general fund spending cuts, and after the end of Kaine's term in office, the Virginia General Assembly adopted about $1.33 billion in additional budget cuts that Kaine had recommended, for a total of $4.64 billion in cuts. The Washington Post noted: "Unable to raise taxes and required by law to balance the budget, he was forced to make unpopular cuts that led to such things as shuttered highway rest stops and higher public university tuition." Virginia was one of three states to earn the highest grade in terms of management in a report by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States. Virginia took first place each year from 2006 to 2009 in the "Best States For Business" rankings published by Forbes magazine.
In July 2007, during the debate on the Silver Line of the Washington Metro through Tysons Corner, Kaine supported an elevated track solution in preference to a tunnel, citing costs and potential delays that would put federal funding at risk.
In 2006, early in his term, Kaine pressed the General Assembly to support a legislative package to ease severe traffic congestion by spending about $1 billion annually for highway construction, repairs to aging roads, mass transit, and other transportation projects. The money would raised through increases in taxes and fees that would have raised an estimated $4 billion in revenue over four years. The Democratic-controlled Senate supported the plan, but the Republican-controlled House was ultimately unwilling to approve the taxes necessary to carry out the project, however, and the effort failed even after a special session of the Legislature was called over the transportation-funding stalemate.
In 2007, Republicans in the General Assembly passed their own transportation-funding bill. Rather than a statewide tax increase to finance the transportation improvements, as Kaine and most legislative Democrats favored, the Republican bill called for transportation funding "to come from borrowing $2.5 billion and paying the debt costs out of the general fund"; authorized local tax increase in Northern Virginia; increased fees and taxes on rental cars, commercial real estate, and hotels; and increased traffic infraction fines and driver's licenses fees.
Kaine and most legislative Democrats opposed the Republican legislation, stating that it was inadequate to address traffic congestion and that the withdrawal of funds from the general fund would affect core services such as health care, law enforcement, and education. Kaine ultimately signed a bill with amendments reflecting "concerns by local government officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers who were concerned that the plan took too much money from the state's general fund."
Under Kaine, participation in Virginia in early childhood education increased by 40.2% due to the Kaine's expansion of the Virginia Preschool Initiative, which makes pre-kindergarten more accessible to four-year-olds from households close to the poverty line. Kaine sought increases to the budget for preschool programs every year during his term as governor. Virginia was rated as the best state to raise a child in a 2007 report by Education Week and the Pew Center on the States.
Kaine made the following appointments to his Virginia Governor's Cabinet:Chief of Staff — William Leighty (2006–2007), Wayne Turnage (2007–2010)
Secretary of Administration – Viola Baskerville (2006–2010)
Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry – Robert Bloxom (2006–2010)
Secretary of Commerce and Trade – Patrick Gottschalk (2006–2010)
Secretary of the Commonwealth – Katherine Hanley (2006–2010)
Secretary of Education – Thomas R. Morris (2006–2010)
Secretary of Finance – Jody Wagner (2006–2008), Ric Brown (2008–2010)
Secretary of Health and Human Resources – Marilyn Tavenner (2006–2010)
Secretary of Natural Resources – Preston Bryant (2006–2010)
Secretary of Public Safety – John W. Marshall (2006–2010)
Secretary of Technology – Aneesh Chopra (2006–2009), Leonard Pomata (2009–2010)
Secretary of Transportation – Pierce Homer (2006–2010)
Assistant for Commonwealth Preparedness – Robert P. Crouch (2006–2010)
Senior Advisor for Workforce – Daniel G. LeBlanc (2006–2010)
As governor, Kaine made a number of appointments to the Virginia state courts. Kaine made two appointments to the Supreme Court of Virginia, naming Chesapeake Circuit Judge S. Bernard Goodwyn to the Court in 2007 and Virginia Court of Appeals Judge LeRoy F. Millette, Jr. to the Court in 2008.
On September 27, 2007, just weeks after appointing Esam Omeish to the 20-member Virginia Commission on Immigration, Kaine learned that Omeish had made videos accusing Israel of genocide and calling for the impeachment of President Bush. Kaine immediately requested and received Omeish's resignation and said that background checks would be more thorough in the future.
Kaine announced his support for Senator Obama's presidential bid in February 2007. It was maintained that Kaine's endorsement was the first from a statewide elected official outside of Illinois. Because Kaine was a relatively popular governor of a Southern state, there was media speculation that he was a potential nominee for vice president. Obama had supported Kaine in his campaign for governor and had said about him: "Tim Kaine has a message of fiscal responsibility and generosity of spirit. That kind of message can sell anywhere." On July 28, 2008, Politico reported that Kaine was "very, very high" on Obama's shortlist for vice president, a list which also included then Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. Obama ultimately selected Biden to become the vice-presidential nominee.
In January 2009, Kaine became chair of the Democratic National Committee. Kaine had turned down the position the first time it was offered to him, expressing misgivings about accepting a partisan position, but nonetheless took the job at the request of President Obama. He took on the position as chair part-time as he continued his term as governor of Virginia. Kaine's main goals as DNC chair "were protecting the party's seats in Congress during the 2010 midterms and integrating the president's campaign apparatus, Organizing for America, and its technological acumen into the party machinery." In the 2010 midterms, the DNC under Kaine's leadership outraised the Republican National Committee (RNC) by some $30 million. Nevertheless, Democrats lost control of the House and lost seats in the Senate amidst a Tea Party backlash. Kaine was largely not blamed for the losses.
Kaine kept a low profile in the position in comparison to his counterpart, RNC chairman Michael Steele. Kaine focused more on fundraising and maintaining party unity than on attacking political opponents.
In February 2011, after Kaine spoke to union leaders in Madison, Organizing for America got involved in Wisconsin's budget battle and opposed Republican-sponsored anti-union legislation. They made phone calls, sent emails, and distributed messages via Facebook and Twitter to build crowds for rallies.
After completing his term as governor in January 2010, Kaine taught part-time at the University of Richmond, teaching a course in spring 2010 at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and another in fall 2010 at the University of Richmond School of Law. Kaine explained that he had chosen to teach at a private university, rather than a public university, "because it would not have been right for a sitting governor to be seeking employment at an institution when he writes the budget and appoints the board of the institution."
After Senator Jim Webb's decision not to seek reelection, Kaine announced on April 5, 2011, that he would run for Webb's seat. He was initially reluctant to return to public office, but Webb, Senator Mark Warner, and other Virginia Democrats saw Kaine as the strongest potential Democratic candidate and convinced him to run. Mike Henry was chosen as Kaine's campaign manager. Kaine filmed announcement videos in English and Spanish and was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He defeated former Senator and Governor George Allen in the general election.
Kaine was sworn in for a six-year term on January 3, 2013, reuniting him with Mark Warner, the senior senator. Kaine was lieutenant governor when Warner was governor of Virginia.
On June 11, 2013, Kaine delivered a speech on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" immigration bill. The speech was entirely in Spanish, marking the first time a senator had ever made a speech on the Senate floor in a language other than English.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kaine pushed for a new Congressional authorization of military force for the American operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Kaine supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, though he also helped Republican Senator Bob Corker hold a vote on a resolution of disapproval on the deal. Kaine has taken several trips throughout the Middle East, meeting with the leaders of states such as Turkey and Israel.
While in the Senate, Kaine has continued to teach part-time at the University of Richmond, receiving a salary of $16,000 per year.
Kaine voted with his party more than 90% of the time. According to the Washington Post, Kaine has "crafted a largely progressive record as a senator." He reportedly has good relations with both Democratic and Republican senators.
During the 2016 vice presidential campaign, Kaine frequently criticized Donald Trump, saying that Trump "as commander-in-chief scares me to death" and had a "bizarre fascination with strongmen and authoritarian leaders." In 2017, after Trump took office, Kaine continued to criticized the new president's "authoritarian tendencies," citing his attacks on media, judges, and peaceful protesters. At an event at George Mason University, Kaine said that with Trump in office, Americans "are in a 'living experiment' to see whether or not the Constitution still works to check executive power."
In February 2017, Kaine met with Pope Francis at a general audience at the Vatican. Kaine also met with the Jesuit Refugee Service to discuss refugees and met with Vatican officials to discuss Latin American issues. The same month, Kaine delivered an address on "The Truman Doctrine at 70" at London's Chatham House.
In the 113th Congress (2013–15), Kaine was on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Foreign Relations. In the current (114th) Congress, Kaine is on the same three committees, plus the Special Committee on Aging. In July 2013, Kaine was named chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
Within the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kaine is a member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support (for which he is the ranking member), and the Subcommittee on Seapower.
Within the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Kaine is a member of the Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development (for which he is the ranking member), the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, and the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women's Issues.
In January 2014, Kaine, with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, established the bipartisan Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus (CTE Caucus), which focuses on vocational education and technical education. Kaine and Portman co-chair the caucus. In 2014, Kaine and Portman introduced the CTE Excellence and Equity Act to the Senate; the legislation would provide $500 million in federal funding, distributed by competitive grants, to high schools to further CTE programs. The legislation, introduced as an amendment to the omnibus Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, would promote apprenticeships and similar initiatives. Kaine and Portman introduced similar legislation, the Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act, in 2017.
Kaine endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2016 and campaigned actively for Clinton in seven states during the primaries. He had been the subject of considerable speculation as a possible running mate for Clinton, with several news reports indicating that he was at or near the top of Clinton's list of people under consideration alongside figures such as Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro.
The New York Times reported that Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, privately backed Kaine as his wife's vice-presidential selection, noting his domestic and national security résumé. On July 22, 2016, she announced Kaine would be her running mate in the election. Clinton introduced Kaine as her choice in a joint appearance at a rally at Florida International University in Miami the following day. The 2016 Democratic National Convention nominated him their vice presidential candidate on July 27, 2016.
Kaine was the first Virginian since Woodrow Wilson to be on a major party's ticket, and was the first Virginian to run for vice president on a major party's ticket since John Tyler in 1840; he was also the first senator or former senator from Virginia to be on a major party's ticket since Tyler.
In accordance with longstanding political custom in the U.S., upon being nominated for vice president Kaine publicly released his full tax returns for the last ten years. Kaine also publicly released medical records; his physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, wrote in a letter that Kaine was "in overall excellent health." In September he published a campaign book co-authored with Clinton, Stronger Together.
In Kaine's preparations for the vice presidential debate in October 2016, lawyer Robert Barnett played the role of Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence. (During Pence's own debate preparations, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker played the role of Kaine.) Pence was criticized after the debate for not defending Donald Trump's comments, while Kaine was criticized for being too aggressive and interrupting. According to ABC News, Kaine interrupted seventy times throughout the debate, while Pence interrupted forty times.
Despite winning a plurality of the national popular vote, the Clinton-Kaine ticket lost the Electoral College, and thus the election, to the Trump-Pence ticket on November 8, 2016. This is the only election that Kaine has ever lost. Clinton-Kaine did win Virginia, the only Southern state to vote for the Democratic ticket, a victory attributed in part to Kaine.
After the 2016 election, Kaine said that he would run for re-election to the Senate in 2018. He expressed his desire to emulate John Warner, who represented Virginia in the Senate for 30 years. He added that he would not run for President or Vice President in the future.
About 145,000 emails from Kaine and his staff during his term as governor are publicly accessible from the Library of Virginia. Politico conducted an analysis of the correspondence and wrote that the messages show Kaine to be a "media-savvy" and detail-oriented "micro-manager" who is also a policy "wonk".
According to The New York Times, Kaine "is widely described by people in his political orbit as a likable if less than charismatic figure...guided by moral convictions that flow from his deep Christian faith." Kaine described himself on Meet the Press as "boring."
In terms of political ideology, FiveThirtyEight gives Kaine an average score of −37 (−100 is the most liberal, and 100 is the most conservative). FiveThirtyEight characterizes him as a "mainstream Democrat" and notes that his ideology score is very similar to that of Vice President Joe Biden. Three conservative groups—the American Conservative Union, the Club for Growth, and Heritage Action—gave Kaine zero percent ratings in the few years before 2016, while the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action gave Kaine a 90% rating in 2014. The New York Times wrote that "in hyperpartisan Washington, he is often seen as a centrist" while also describing him as an "old-fashioned liberal...driven by Jesuit ideals."
Kaine, a Roman Catholic, is personally against abortion, but is "largely inclined to keep the law out of women's reproductive decisions." Kaine has said: "I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them." Kaine supports some legal restrictions on abortion, such as requiring parental consent for minors (with a judicial bypass procedure) and banning late-term abortions in cases where the woman's life is not at risk.
In 2009, Kaine signed a bill to create a "Choose Life" license plate, among the more than 200 Virginia specialty plates already offered, the proceeds of which would partly go to Heartbeat International, a Christian organization that operates anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America expressed disappointment in Kaine's decision. Kaine considered such license plate messages a matter of free speech and added that the move was "in keeping with the commonwealth's longtime practice of approving specialty plates with all manner of political and social messages."
Kaine previously criticized the Obama administration for "not providing a 'broad enough religious employer exemption'" in the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but praised a 2012 amendment to the regulations that allowed insurers to provide birth control to employees when an employer was an objecting religious organization.
In 2005, when running for governor, Kaine said he favored reducing abortions by: (1) "Enforcing the current Virginia restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother"; (2) "Fighting teen pregnancy through abstinence-focused education"; (3) "Ensuring women's access to health care (including legal contraception) and economic opportunity"; and (4) "Promoting adoption as an alternative for women facing unwanted pregnancies."
In 2007, as governor, Kaine cut off state funding for abstinence-only sex education programs, citing studies which showed that such programs were ineffective, while comprehensive sex education programs were more effective. Kaine believes that both abstinence and contraceptives must be taught, and that education should be evidence-based.
As a senator, he has received perfect scores from Planned Parenthood and the abortion-rights advocacy group NARAL. He has received a score of zero from the anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee.
Kaine "strongly disagrees" with the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC (2010). In 2015, Kaine joined a group of Senate Democrats in a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White that said the ruling "reversed long-standing precedent and has moved our country in a different and disturbing direction when it comes to corporate influence in politics." They urged the SEC to require publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to their shareholders to "increase transparency in the U.S. political process" following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.
Kaine personally opposes capital punishment, but presided over eleven executions while governor. Kaine said: "I really struggled with [capital punishment] as governor. I have a moral position against the death penalty. But I took an oath of office to uphold it. Following an oath of office is also a moral obligation." During his time in office he commuted one death sentence in June 2008, that of Percy Levar Walton to life imprisonment without parole on grounds of mental incompetence, writing that "one cannot reasonably conclude that Walton is fully aware of the punishment he is about to suffer and why he is to suffer it" and thus executing him would be unconstitutional. Kaine vetoed a number of bills to expand the death sentence to more crimes, saying: "I do not believe that further expansion of the death penalty is necessary to protect human life or provide for public safety needs." Some of the vetoes were overridden, while others were sustained.
Kaine acknowledges the scientific consensus on climate change, and in a 2014 Senate speech criticized climate change deniers, as well as those who "may not deny the climate science, but ... deny that the U.S. can or should be a leader in taking any steps" to address the issue.
Kaine has expressed concern about sea level rise (a major consequence of climate change), and in particular its effect on coastal Virginia. In 2014, he partnered with two Virginia Republicans—U.S. Representatives Rob Wittman and Scott Rigell—to hold a conference on sea-level rise and "local adaptation efforts to protect military installations in the Hampton Roads area."
Kaine endorses making coal energy production cleaner, saying that it is imperative "to convert coal to electricity with less pollution than we do today." He has criticized those who "frame the debate as a conflict between an economy and the environment," saying that "protecting the environment is good for the economy." Kaine co-sponsored the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation (ACCTION) Act, legislation to increase investment in clean coal technologies. He voted against passage of legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Kaine supports the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to harvest natural gas from shale formations. He believes this will reduce carbon pollution. Kaine voted against an amendment, introduced by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, that would have repealed a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that exempts hydraulic fracturing from the underground injection control provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result, regulation of hydraulic fracturing remains in the hands of state agencies; the U.S. EPA cannot regulate hydraulic fracturing nor require a federal permit. Kaine supports exporting liquid natural gas (LNG) to other countries.
Like his fellow senator from Virginia, Mark Warner, Kaine applauded the U.S. Forest Service's plan to close most, but not all, of the George Washington National Forest to hydraulic fracturing and other horizontal drilling activities.
In 2013, Kaine supported oil and gas exploration off the coast of Virginia, saying, "I have long believed that the moratorium on offshore drilling, based on a cost-benefit calculation performed decades ago, should be re-examined." In April 2015, Kaine reiterated his opposition to the moratorium on offshore drilling. In March 2016, Kaine signaled that his position was softening, saying he was "particularly struck by the material objections of the Department of Defense to the incompatibility of drilling with naval operations off Virginia’s coast... I have participated in this debate for over a decade as a governor and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The DOD has been relatively quiet during this public debate and has never shared their objections with me before." By August 2016, Kaine stated his support for a ban on offshore drilling, bringing his position in line with that of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
Kaine supports the development of solar energy and offshore wind turbines. Based on his votes on environmental issues in the Senate, the League of Conservation Voters has given Kaine a 100% score for 2016, and a 93% lifetime score. (At the time of his 2016 vice presidential campaign, Kaine had an 88% score for 2015, and a 91% lifetime score.)
Kaine has said that he is "strongly for the regulation of the financial industry," and he supports the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In July 2016, Kaine signed a bipartisan letter that "urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to 'carefully tailor its rulemaking' [under Dodd-Frank] regarding community banks and credit unions so as not to 'unduly burden' these institutions with regulations aimed at commercial banks." The letter prompted criticism from progressives who viewed it as anti-regulation. Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, called the letter "a lobbyist-driven effort to help banks dodge consumer protection standards and regulations designed to prevent banks from destroying our economy." Kaine responded to the criticism by saying, "it's important you don't treat every financial institution the same. It wasn't credit unions that tanked the economy, it wasn't local community banks that tanked the economy, generally wasn't regional banks that did things that tanked the economy." Kaine also signed a letter urging that a requirement that regional banks report liquidity levels on a daily basis be loosened.
In the Senate, Kaine has supported the normalization of U.S.–Cuban relations and the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
Kaine expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict. Kaine also supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
On the issue of the war in Afghanistan, Kaine's website states "The main mission in Afghanistan—destroying Al Qaeda—is nearly complete and we should bring our troops home as quickly as we can, consistent with the need to make sure that Afghanistan poses no danger in the broader region."
Kaine is known for "expertise on the constitutional powers of the presidency" and has said that "war powers questions" are a "personal obsession" of his.
Kaine and Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona introduced the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014, which would replace the War Powers Act of 1973, bringing the Congress back into decisions on the deployment of U.S. military forces. The bill would establish a Congressional Consultation Committee, with which the President would be required to consult regularly regarding significant foreign policy matters; before ordering the deployment of the Armed Forces into a significant armed conflict; and at least every two months for the duration of any significant armed conflict. Kaine argued for the bill by citing his "frustration" over the sloppiness of "process and communication over decisions of war", noting that "Presidents tend to overreach and Congress sometimes willingly ducks tough votes and decisions. We all have to do better."
In 2014, Kaine argued that the U.S. military intervention against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), undertaken by President Obama, was unconstitutional without a new congressional authorization for the use of military force against ISIL. In November 2014, at the Halifax International Security Forum, Kaine, together with Senator John McCain, emphasized the necessity of such a congressional authorization, saying: "You just can't have a war without Congress. You can't ask people to risk their lives, risk getting killed, seeing other folks getting killed or injured if Congress isn't willing to do the job to put their thumbprint on this and say, this is a national mission and worth it." After the April 2017 Shayrat missile strike in Syria, ordered by President Donald Trump, Kaine said: "There is no legal justification for this. He should not have done this without coming to Congress." On Meet the Press, Kaine stated: "I'm a strong supporter that the U.S. should take action to protect humanitarian causes, like the ban on chemical weapons. Where I differ from this administration, and I took the same position with respect to President Obama, we are a nation that's not supposed to take military action, start war, without a plan that's presented to and approved by Congress."
On December 11, 2014, after a five-month campaign by Kaine, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved by 10–8 (straight party lines) a measure authorizing military force against ISIL, but barring the use of ground troops. In 2015, Kaine criticized Obama's approach to the Syrian civil war, saying that the establishment of humanitarian no-fly zones would have alleviated the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Kaine is a firearms owner. He has supported expanded background checks for weapons purchases as well as "restrictions on the sale of combat-style weapons and high-capacity magazines." As governor, Kaine oversaw the closing of loopholes in Virginia law that allowed some who had failed background checks to purchase guns. In the Senate, Kaine has supported legislation which would require background checks to be performed for weapons sold via gun shows and via the internet. He also supports legislation to bar weapons sales to suspected terrorists on the No Fly List.
Kaine has a 100% rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and an "F" rating from the NRA.
Kaine supported passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 ("Obamacare"), saying in 2012: "I was a supporter and remain a supporter of the Affordable Care Act. I felt like it was a statement that we were going to put some things in the rear-view mirror." In 2013, Kaine said that he agreed that changes to the ACA should be debated, but criticized Republicans for "wrapping them up with the threat" of a federal government shutdown.
Kaine supports President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs, which would allow up to five million undocumented immigrants to gain deferral of deportation and authorization to legally work in the United States. Alongside fellow Virginia senator Mark Warner and many other members of Congress, Kaine signed on to an amicus brief in support of the program in the Supreme Court case of United States v. Texas.
Kaine also supports comprehensive immigration reform, which would allow persons illegally present in the U.S. to earn legal status by paying a fine and taxes.
In 2006, Kaine campaigned against an amendment to the Virginia State Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and in March 2013, Kaine announced his support of same-sex marriage.
In the Senate, Kaine co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In 2005, Kaine said: "No couples in Virginia can adopt other than a married couple — that's the right policy." In 2011, however, Kaine shifted his position. In 2012, he stated that "there should be a license that would entitle a committed couple to the same rights as a married couple."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Kaine noted that his position on same-sex marriage was "at odds with the current doctrine of the church that I still attend." He predicted that the Roman Catholic Church would someday adopt his view. In response, two bishops heading the doctrine and marriage committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that the church's position "cannot change" and reaffirmed their opposition to same-sex marriage.
Kaine supports allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for those with incomes above $500,000.
In 2012, Kaine supported raising the cap on income subject for the FICA (Social Security) payroll tax "so that it covers a similar percentage of income as it did in the 1980s under President Reagan, which would greatly extend the solvency of the (Social Security) program."
In the Senate, Kaine has supported the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales taxes in the same manner as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
Kaine supported granting President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA or "fast track") to allow him to negotiate free trade agreements. Kaine stated that the goal should be to "negotiate deals that protect workers' rights, environmental standards and intellectual property, while knocking down tariffs and other barriers that some countries erect to keep American products out."
In July 2016, Kaine said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was "an improvement of the status quo" in terms of it being an "upgrade of labor standards... environmental standards... intellectual property protections", but maintained that he had not yet decided how to vote on final approval of the agreement, citing "significant concerns" over TPP's dispute resolution mechanism. Later that July, Kaine said that he could not support the TPP in its current form.
Kaine has been a proponent of NAFTA.
Kaine supports some smart growth-style policies (which Kaine calls "a balanced approach to growth") to control sprawl and improve transportation. He favors a transportation policy that includes public transit, bicycles, and pedestrians. As governor, Kaine pushed through a $100 million open-space acquisition initiative. Under Kaine, Amtrak service in Virginia was expanded. Kaine also participated in a White House roundtable discussion on high-speed rail in 2009.
Kaine is "generally pro-union" and has received a 96 percent lifetime Senate voting rating from the AFL-CIO, which praised his selection as vice presidential nominee. However, Kaine supports Virginia's longstanding "right-to-work" law, which "frees union nonmembers from any legal obligation to pay fees to a union that bargains collectively on their behalf".
Kaine supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expands the cases in which worker can sue against gender pay discrimination. Following his selection by Clinton as a running mate in 2016, Kaine was praised by the National Organization for Women.
Kaine favors an increase in the minimum wage.
In November 1984, Kaine married Anne Bright Holton, the daughter of A. Linwood Holton Jr., who was the Republican governor of Virginia from 1970 to 1974. The couple met while they were both students at Harvard Law School. Holton has been a judge for the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Richmond. After serving as first lady of Virginia during her husband's term, she was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe in January 2014 to be Virginia's secretary of education, and held that position until July 2016, when she stepped down after her husband was named as the Democratic vice presidential candidate. The couple has three children: Nat (b. 1990), Linwood Michael ("Woody") (b. 1992), and Annella (b. 1995). Nat, the eldest son, is a United States Marine. Kaine and his wife have been congregants of the St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond, a mostly black congregation, for 30 years.
He has played the harmonica for over twenty years, and often travels with several.
Kaine is fluent in Spanish as a result of his nine months in Honduras. During the 2016 campaign, "Kaine made history as the first member of a presidential ticket to deliver a speech in fluent Spanish."
Kaine has received the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, then the Virginia Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice (2000), the Virginia Council of Churches' Faith in Action Award (2009), the University of Richmond School of Law's William Green Award for Professional Excellence (2012), the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Congressional Award (2015), the Center for the National Interest's Distinguished Service Award (2016) and he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (2017).