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Timothy Michael "Tim" Kaine (born February 26, 1958) is an American politician, governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He was elected governor in 2005, after serving as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond, Virginia. As governor, he is a member of the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Democratic Governors Association. Before entering into Virginia politics, Kaine was a lawyer in Richmond, Virginiamarker, and worked with the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) as a Catholic missionary in Hondurasmarker. Kaine endorsed the Democratic nominee, now President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election and was considered a possible choice to be Obama's running mate, but was not ultimately chosen.

Early life and education

Kaine was born in Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker, to Mary Kathleen Burns and Albert A. Kaine, a welder and the owner of a small iron-working shop. Kaine grew up in the Kansas City areamarker and graduated from Rockhurst High Schoolmarker in Kansas City, Missourimarker.

Kaine graduated from the University of Missourimarker with a B.A. in economics in 1979. He attended Harvard Law Schoolmarker, taking a year-long break during law school to work with the Jesuit order as a Catholic missionary in Hondurasmarker. Kaine is fluent in Spanish from his time in Honduras. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1983, and was admitted to the Virginia Bar. In 1984, Kaine married former Richmond Juvenile Court Judge Anne Holton. Holton is the daughter of former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr.. Kaine and Holton have three children, Nat, Woody, and Annella.

Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability. He was recognized by local, state, and national organizations for his fair housing advocacy. He also taught legal ethics for six years at the University of Richmondmarker Law School. More than ten years into his legal career in 1994, he was elected to the city council of the independent city of Richmondmarker from the portion of the city in which he resided under Richmond's system of nine wards.

Mayor of Richmond

He was elected mayor of Richmond by the city council (which until 2004 chose the mayor from among its membership) in 1998. He spent a total of seven years on the city council, including his time as mayor. As mayor, Kaine was credited with helping to create and implement a controversial gun law known as Project Exile.

More controversial still was the use by Kaine of taxpayer funds to influence congress via the Million Mom March in 2000. Kaine used nearly $7,000 to pay for buses and to throw a party at the city's Arthur Ashe Center for about 400 Richmonders recruited for the march.

Lieutenant Governor

In the Virginia general elections of November, 2001, Kaine ran for lieutenant governor and won with 925,974 votes (50.35%). His opponents were Republican Jay Katzen with 883,886 votes, (48.06%), and Libertarian Gary Reams with 28,783 votes (1.57%). Kaine was inaugurated on January 12, 2002. As lieutenant governor, he served as president of the Virginia Senate.

Gubernatorial election

Tim Kaine at the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade
In 2005, Kaine ran for and won the office of governor of Virginia in the November general election, defeating Republican former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore by a margin of 52-46 percent. Kaine has said he will look to retain the tax and education policies of his predecessor, Mark Warner, and keep the budget balanced. He held a series of statewide "town hall" meetings focused on transportation.

An underdog for most of the race, Kaine led in some polls for the first time in October 2005, and held his lead into the final week before the election. While the previous Democratic Governor, Mark Warner, was credited with doing especially well for a Democrat in rural areas of the commonwealth, Kaine's win featured surprising triumphs in traditionally Republican areas such as Virginia Beachmarker, Chesapeakemarker, and the Northern Virginia exurbs of Prince William Countymarker and Loudoun Countymarker, as well as impressive showings in Democratic strongholds such as Richmondmarker and Norfolkmarker.

Kaine closely associated himself with popular outgoing Democratic Governor Mark Warner during his campaign; he won his race with a slightly smaller portion of the vote than Warner did, but achieved a slightly wider margin on account of the third-party candidate's comparatively greater success in 2005. He promised homeowner tax relief, centrist fiscal leadership and universal pre-kindergarten. . A number of factors, from the poll numbers of President George W. Bush to public reaction to the death penalty ads run by Kilgore, have also been cited as key to his decisive win.Kaine was inaugurated in Williamsburgmarker on January 14, 2006. This makes Kaine the first governor since Thomas Jefferson (in 1779) to be inaugurated in Virginia's colonial capital. Virginia's capitol building in Richmondmarker was under renovation at the time, with the process completed in mid-2007.

Governor of Virginia

On January 31, 2006, he gave the Democratic response to President Bush's 2006 State of the Union address. In his response, he argued that the Republicans failed to support bipartisanship in Washington and condemned Bush's spending increases and tax cuts as "reckless".

In March 2006, after the Virginia General Assemblymarker failed to create a budget, Governor Kaine called for a special session that continued until June. The debate was over transportation issues and how to fund current and new projects. Most of the debate came from a battle within the Republican controlled Senate and House of Delegates. In 2007, however, a transportation bill was passed and signed into law by Kaine.

In May 2006, Governor Kaine announced his plan to conserve of Virginia real property from development before the end of his administration as Governor of Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia's landowners favor land conservation although Virginia lags behind other states' per capita expenditures on land conservation. As of 2007, according to government statistics, Marylandmarker spends as much as $21 per capita on land conservation, while Virginia spends $1.45. On the other hand, Virginia also has a higher proportion of its total land area under permanent protection than many other states, with about 13.69% of it currently protected.

In June 2006, Kaine signed an executive order banning smoking in all government buildings and state-owned cars. He also announced that Virginia will be the first state in the Union to digitize records from the Civil War Era Freedman's Bureau. This will open up research in African-American history after the Civil War.

Tim Kaine has signaled his support for vaccinating sixth-grade girls in Virginia with the HPV vaccine. In 2007, Virginia, along with twenty other states, was considering a law to expand such vaccinations. As such, in 2007, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law that mandated such vaccinations, while allowing parents to opt out of the requirement without citing a reason. After expressing "some qualms", Kaine signed the bill into law.

When news of the Virginia Tech massacremarker broke, Kaine canceled a trade mission to Japanmarker and Indiamarker to attend to the situation. Kaine spoke at the convocation held in Blacksburg the day after the shooting in which he invoked the Biblical story of Job to bring solace to the tearful crowd. Kaine said he would appoint a panel of independent law enforcement officials to examine what the university knew about the student responsible for the massacre, which killed 32 people. The commission, led by former Virginia State Police Superintendent Gerald Massengill and former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, began work on April 28, 2007, and issued their findings and recommendations on August 30, 2007. On April 30, 2007 Governor 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. Appearing alongside Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R), Kaine said the order would help prevent people like the shooter from illegally obtaining firearms in the future.

In July 2007, Kaine stepped in to support an above-ground solution to the debate on building the Silver Line of the Washington Metromarker through Tysons Cornermarker. Some people disagreed and preferred a tunnel. During the 2008 General Assembly session, Governor Kaine backed $22 million expansion to increase the accessibility of Pre-K education for at-risk four-year-olds.

Kaine has earned opposition from environmentalists for supporting a coal-fired power plant in Wise County that will emit an estimated 5.4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. In a radio interview, Kaine said "We are not going to eliminate coal, a native source that we have, as one of the sources that will power our country."


Political positions

Despite his personal opposition to capital punishment, often cited during the 2005 campaign by both sides, he has so far overseen eleven executions as Governor as of November 2009, the most recent being the execution of John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper on November 10, 2009. He has vetoed eight death penalty expansion bills although some of the vetoes were overturned, and opposed the electric chair as an option. On June 9, 2008, Kaine commuted the death sentence of Percy Levar Walton to life in prison without parole.

Tim Kaine has stated he is personally opposed to abortion but he opposes overturning Roe v. Wade. He supports restrictions on abortion, such as requiring parental consent and banning so-called partial-birth abortions in cases where the woman's health is not at risk.

Kaine opposed an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would define marriage as that between one man and one woman, though he has publicly stated that he personally opposes same-sex marriage.

Kaine supports some smart growth-style policies to manage sprawl and transportation issues; he refers to these plans as "balanced growth."

In early 2009, Kaine was tapped to become the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, succeeding Howard Dean.

2008 Vice Presidential speculation

Kaine endorsed Senator Barack Obama early in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. Kaine's support of Senator Obama's presidential bid began in February 2007. Kaine's endorsement was claimed to be the first from a state-wide elected official outside of Illinois. As a popular and successful governor of a southern state, there was media speculation that Kaine was a potential nominee for Vice President. Obama had supported Kaine in his campaign for governor and 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, 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, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. Obama ultimately tapped Biden to become the vice-presidential nominee.

Because of his leadership position in the DNC, governorship of an increasingly important swing state and close allegiance to President Obama, many suspect Kaine will become either the VP nominee in 2012 or a presidential contender in 2016.

Electoral history


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