Virginia Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine returned to Richmond with his wife on Monday to say “thank you” to the city where he began his political career 22 years ago.
The Aug. 1 homecoming rally was hosted at Huguenot High School — only a few miles from where Kaine and his wife permanently reside in Richmond.
“How do I sum up and give thanks for 32 years of friendship in RVA? What I know about public service, you taught me,” Kaine said Monday night. “Everything I know — everything I’ve learned — I’ve learned from you. I don’t know what to say. Thank you.”
The former lawyer, Richmond City Council member, mayor and Virginia governor described his first 10 days on the campaign trail with his running mate, Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Kaine’s national tour began July 22 in Miami, only hours after Clinton “tapped” him for VP. Shortly after, Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, resigned her position as Virginia Secretary of Education so she could “dedicate every minute” to the campaign.
A few days later, Kaine delivered a keynote address on the third night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia before hitting the road again with Clinton for a joint bus tour to sway voters in battleground Rust Belt states.
“When I was on stage in Philly on Wednesday, my mother said to me, ‘this is the best night of my life,’” Kaine said. “Not only because her son was being nominated for Vice President; she was so excited to be there on the night when a woman was going to be the first female nominee.”
In the packed high school gymnasium in Richmond on Monday, Kaine also made a case for he and Clinton’s platform — which includes debt-free college and a larger economic plan that received overall high marks on Monday in a report by Moody’s, a non-partisan analytics company.
Kaine held no punches against Republican nominee Donald Trump during his homecoming address, either. The Virginia politician said the price of being on the presidential ticket was getting made fun of by “the Donald,” and in Kaine’s case that meant being called a “terrible governor of New Jersey” during a July 27 press conference.
Kaine, who is one of 20 people in American history to have served as a mayor, senator and governor, never held office in New Jersey.
“Give Donald a break, he’s new at this,” Kaine said as audience members laughed.
The VP pick then criticized the real-estate mogul’s keynote address on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Trump called the United States a “divided crime scene.”
“That was no view of the United States, folks,” Kaine said. “That was a guided tour through the mind of Donald Trump and that is a scary place.”
Kaine also described Virginia’s history of segregation and his personal role in the fight for civil rights as a defense attorney. When he looked to his wife and emphasized the commonwealth needs to better appreciate “strong women who uplift strong men,” he was interrupted by supporters chanting “Yes We Kaine!”
Kaine also called Trump’s comments belittling the parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan, a muslim soldier who attended the University of Virginia and died in 2004 serving in combat in Iraq, the “lowest of the low.”
“Is there any limit to how low this guy will descend?” he asked.
Kaine underscored the importance of Virginia in the general election, too. He explained the commonwealth voted blue for the first time in 44 years during the 2008 presidential election, and is widely considered a swing state this November.
When the state tilted left eight years ago for President Barack Obama’s first term, Kaine was in office as governor. Kaine said then-senator Obama was skeptical the Democrats could take Virginia that year, but persistent campaigning efforts ultimately saw their party claim a critical victory.
“Hillary is confident she can win in Virginia,” Kaine said. “And if we win in Virginia, we won’t have to stay up and see if there’s a ‘hanging chad’ in Florida. If we win in Virginia, we got this in the bag.”
Print News Editor, Fadel Allassan
Fadel is a sophomore print journalism major. He is fluent in English, French and Sarcasm, and he probably doesn’t like you. Fadel enjoys writing about politics and making people drive him to Cook-Out. // Facebook | LinkedIn
Executive Editor, Sarah King
Sarah is a junior studying political science and philosophy of law. She is a copyeditor for INK Magazine and reporter for the Capital News Service wire. Last spring, Sarah worked as an editorial intern for Congressional Quarterly Researcher and SAGE Business Researcher in Washington, D.C. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn