Tim Kaine has helped people throughout his life as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher and elected official. He is one of 20 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, Governor and United States Senator.
Tim was elected to the Senate in 2012 as a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across old lines of party, race or region. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees and is Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
Tim’s Armed Services work focuses on crafting smart defense strategy in a changing world and also enables him to tackle a personal mission – the reduction of unemployment among veterans, especially Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans. His first legislation, the Troop Talent Act of 2013, established new standards to help active duty servicemembers attain civilian credentials for military skills to assist their transition into the workforce – a bill inspired by conversations Tim had with Virginians on the campaign trail. In his committee role, Tim has also worked to secure key Virginia priorities in the past two defense bills, including the refueling and overhaul of the Norfolk-based USS George Washington in the 2015 authorization that preserves the U.S. Navy’s 11 aircraft carrier fleet and supports thousands of jobs across Hampton Roads.
On Foreign Relations, Tim works to enhance American diplomatic leadership, with a special focus on the Middle East and Latin America. He is one of the Senate’s few members fluent in Spanish and serves as honorary chairman of the US-Spain Council. Tim has also been a leading voice in efforts to improve the way Congress and the President consult on matters of war and the initiation of U.S. military action. He has introduced bipartisan legislation to revise the War Powers Resolution of 1973, as well as pushed for a debate and vote on a new authorization for ongoing U.S. military action against ISIL – a mission he believes goes well beyond the intent of existing Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
On the Budget Committee, Tim used his experience making tough budget decisions in local and state office in Virginia to help Congress pass a two-year budget agreement in 2013 to offset the worst impacts of sequestration that had disproportionately impacted the Commonwealth. He passionately believes that working in compromise with the House to produce regular budgets will help provide the economic certainty necessary to grow the American economy and create jobs.
Tim is a founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, which focuses on improving access to CTE programs to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century. Tim also supports expanding economic opportunity for all through infrastructure investment, immigration reform and smart strategies to expand affordable health care access.
In the 113th Congress, Tim introduced many pieces of important legislation for Virginia, including a bill to grant federal recognition to six Virginia Indian tribes and another to preserve the Commonwealth’s historic Civil War battlegrounds, which President Obama signed into law. He also worked to pass bipartisan legislation to expand pediatric cancer research at the National Institutes of Health in honor of Gabriella Miller, a young girl from Leesburg, Virginia who lost her battle with brain cancer in October 2013.
Tim has focused closely on climate change and its effects on Virginia, especially sea level rise and flooding. In 2014, he co-hosted a bipartisan conference that brought together policymakers, experts and regional stakeholders to discuss strategies to combat the threat that these challenges pose to Hampton Roads.
Tim grew up working in his father’s ironworking shop in Kansas City. He was educated at the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and started his public service career by taking a year off from Harvard to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. After law school, he practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in the representation of people who had been denied housing due to their race or disability. He also began teaching part-time at the University of Richmond in 1987.
Tim was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006. During his tenure as Governor, Virginia attained national recognition as the best state for business in America, the best managed state in America, and the state where a child is most likely to have a successful life. During the nation’s worst recession in 70 years, Tim worked to ensure that Virginia had one of the lowest unemployment rates and highest median incomes in the nation, all while maintaining its stellar Triple A bond rating for fiscal stewardship. Tim was Chair of the Southern Governors’ Association from 2008 – 2009 and Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 – 2011.
Tim is married to Anne Holton, who currently serves as Virginia Secretary of Education. A former legal aid lawyer and juvenile court judge, Anne previously ran Great Expectations, a program for more than 500 foster children attending Virginia community colleges. Tim and Anne revel in the adventures of their three grown children and live in the same Northside Richmond neighborhood where they moved as newlyweds more than 30 years ago. Tim loves reading, being outdoors and playing harmonica with bluegrass bands throughout Virginia.