As a former civil rights attorney, Tim has spent his career fighting for the rights of all Americans. He and his wife Anne have dedicated their careers to making Virginia a place that provides equal opportunity for everyone, and he’ll keep fighting in Congress until the federal government ensures equal voting rights, equal pay, and protection against discrimination no matter one’s race, sex, nation of origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or age.
As Senator, Tim has pushed to ensure the protection of fundamental freedoms for all Americans. He has worked to protect minority groups from discrimination in housing, the workplace, and education. He is committed to ensuring equal treatment for all Americans under the law. Concerned by the lack of recognition of African American history, Tim led efforts to propose a commission commemorating 400 years of African American history in the United States. Tim partnered with the NAACP, Congressman Bobby Scott, and a bipartisan group of Senators to announce legislation to create this commission, which passed into law in 2017.
As Governor, he promoted equal protection by banning discrimination against state employees on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, veteran status or disability.
Tim has been a strong voice for women’s equality. He believes we must permanently end a culture where a woman who speaks out faces doubt or retribution about experiences with sexism, harassment, and assault. Tim has pledged his support for women everywhere who fear coming forward. He has called on the Senate to hold hearings on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and successfully called for the public release of data on the Senate’s sexual harassment claims and settlements.
Tim believes our nation is not doing nearly enough to address the fact that women still do not have an equal role in many areas of our society. Tim co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act because he strongly believes men and women must be paid equally for the same work. The current inequity amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost over a woman’s lifetime. As every dollar counts for families trying to make ends meet, gender-based discrimination harms the well-being of families and households — which depend on the wages of working mothers as well as working fathers — across the country.
He also co-sponsored the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was signed into law in 2013 and remains a consistent supporter of reauthorization efforts. As Lieutenant Governor and Governor, he made it a priority to update laws on sexual violence and improve the treatment of survivors.
Tim supports the constitutional right of women to make their own reproductive choices. He opposes efforts to weaken Roe v. Wade and defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that 30,000 Virginians rely on for health care. He is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect and strengthen women’s access to abortion services and codify Roe v. Wade’s protections. He is also an original cosponsor of legislation to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.
Criminal Justice Reform
Tim has worked hard to improve the criminal justice system and strengthen police relationships with local communities. He is concerned about persisting racial inequalities in the criminal justice system and believes Congress must do more to address them. In the Senate, Tim has supported the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, a bipartisan compromise bill to reduce over-incarceration and improve community safety by reforming “three-strike” laws and expanding access to rehabilitation and reentry programs. Tim believes our nation must improve the way it treats mental illness and addiction so those who need treatment do not end up in local jails that lack the resources necessary to deliver care.
Tim believes that by investing in education and skills-training opportunities for those in the federal, state, and local prison systems, society can help reduce repeat offenses and give formerly incarcerated individuals a chance at a successful life. He is an advocate for drug courts and programs that emphasize treatment over incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. He has also worked to strengthen financial protections for men and women seeking to reenter society after leaving prison, urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to protect inmates from predatory practices.
Tim believes that voting is a fundamental right in our democracy that must be protected. He has long fought to protect voting rights and expand access to the ballot box.
He was extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decisions in Shelby County v. Holder and Brnovich v. DNC to gut key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. For decades, the Voting Rights Act was responsible for dramatically increasing minority voting, and, in turn, minority representation. He has voiced concern that since the weakening of the law, many states have limited access to the ballot box by limiting weekend voting, closing voting locations, and stripping voter rolls.
In response, Tim led efforts to pass voting rights legislation in the Senate. He was a key negotiator of the Freedom to Vote Act, legislation he introduced to improve access to the ballot for Americans, advance commonsense election reforms, and protect our democracy from attacks. He is also an original cosponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore safeguards against potential restrictive changes to voting rules.
Tim is also concerned about the use of partisan gerrymandering to disenfranchise minority voters and will continue be a strong advocate for nonpartisan redistricting.