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 Americans from discrimination in housing, the workplace, and education. 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 end the culture of silence that makes women face doubt and retribution for speaking out 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 cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act because he strongly believes men and women must be paid equally for the same work. The current inequality amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost over a woman’s lifetime. Every dollar counts for families trying to make ends meet, and 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.
As Lieutenant Governor and Governor, he made it a priority to update laws on sexual violence and improve the treatment of survivors. As Senator, he has been a consistent supporter of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has been a critical source of funding for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to prevent, respond to, and prosecute domestic violence. Tim cosponsored the most recent reauthorization of VAWA, which President Biden signed into law on March 15, 2022.
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. After the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, Tim introduced the Reproductive Freedom for All Act, which would enact the core holdings of Supreme Court cases, including Roe v. Wade, which established and affirmed the rights to abortion and contraception. 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 revise mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, making sentencing fairer and more proportionate to the offense. This bill also helps former inmates successfully reenter society while tightening penalties for violent criminals and preserving key prosecutorial tools for law enforcement. He was proud to vote for the bipartisan First Step Act, legislation to reduce recidivism and reform criminal sentencing, which was signed into law in 2018. 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 has successfully secured funding for drug courts and programs that emphasize treatment over incarceration for non-violent drug offenders.
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 (VRA). For decades, the Voting Rights Act was responsible for dramatically increasing minority voting, and, in turn, minority representation. He has voiced concern that many states have limited access to the ballot box by limiting weekend voting, closing voting locations, and stripping voter rolls after the weakening of the VRA.
In response, Tim led efforts to pass voting rights legislation in the Senate. He was a key negotiator of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis 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.
Tim believes in the need to improve transparency of political spending in federal elections. He has cosponsored legislation to strengthen campaign finance laws by requiring organizations and lobbyists to disclose their large donors and certify that they aren’t using foreign money in federal elections.